Gulf Earth Month
by: Dan Favre, Communications Director, Gulf Restoration Network
April is Earth Month, and throughout the country, people will be celebrating the wonders of our natural environment and working hard to protect the planet. For the Gulf, April is also a month of memorializing the on-going BP oil disaster that began on April 20, 2010.
The Gulf still needs the support of the nation, and the Gulf Future Campaign is asking citizens around the country to join in Gulf Earth Month! Gulf Earth Month will be filled with education, sharing, and action. So here's the plan:
This week, we're asking all Gulf Future supporters to like GulfFuture on Facebook, follow @gulffuture on twitter, and invite all of your friends to do the same. Many of the activities over the month will be occurring online, and we need your help to reach as many people as possible. Everyone needs to know that the oil is still here and the oil disaster continues. From bacteria-filled tarballs and gooey oil coming ashore to more and more scientific reports detailing damages to the Gulf environment, there is still much work to be done restoring the Gulf.
Aggregating scientific reports paints a bleak picture of the state of the Gulf’s ecosystem. Dead dolphins continue to wash ashore in record numbers and dolphin sicknesses have been linked to BP’s oil; deep water corals have been severely damaged; traces of oil have infiltrated the food chain; fewer whale sharks are being spotted in the Gulf; Gulf killfish, an important bait fish, are showing gill damage (sublethal impacts lead to the complete collapse of the herring fishery four years after the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska); and fish are being caught with lesions and bacterial infections. Who knows what the long-term damage may be . . .
BP's Annual Shareholder Meeting
On April 12th, BP executives and investors will meet to discuss BP's insanely profitable year, and presumably, how they intend to minimize their liability from the oil disaster. We're going to make sure they know the world is watching, and that the communities of the Gulf are still suffering. We'll be releasing our new public service announcement featuring famous faces and resilient community members (all to a soundtrack by Portugal.theMan). It's a great peek at where we are now, so please share it widely and then send a message to BP executives reminding them that their oil disaster continues and they've got a long way to go before making the Gulf whole.
Along with asking you to send messages to BP execs, we'll be launching the BPglobalPR caption contest! BP's crack (mock) PR team has created captions for a series of photos of the oiled Gulf, and they're challenging YOU to do better! You'll have the chance to write your own caption to some crazy pics, and the suggested captions that get the most 'likes' on Facebook will receive a free GRN t-shirt!
While we like to take the opportunity to ridicule BP, the situation on the ground is anything but funny. Fishermen continue to struggle to find a catch, people are sick, and many communities are experiencing mental health crises.
Congress Returns from Vacation
On April 16 and 17, the Senate and House of Representatives get back from a two-week recess, and it's time to focus on solutions for the Gulf. The RESTORE Act's path to passage was complicated before the break, but it's imperative that Congress pass the legislation that will direct 80% of BP's Clean Water Act fines to the Gulf restoration. They'll also need to help ensure this sort of disaster never happens again by establishing a Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizen's Advisory Council to give local impacted communities a voice in making sure oil and gas companies are operating safely.
The Two-Year Memorial
On April 20, 2012, people around the country and the Gulf will mourn the 11 lives lost on the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent immeasurable loss of life stemming from the nation's largest environmental catastrophe ever. On the Gulf Coast, we'll be asking folks to join us at press conferences, town halls, concerts, and other events.
Throughout the nation, supporters can help restore the Gulf by bringing a message of Gulf restoration to local Earth Day events using Gulf Future fliers, poster, and petitions.
The Fight Continues
Once the two-year mark passes and another Earth Day is behind us, the fight continues. Gulf Future needs you to make your voice heard! Take Action Today
Attend an Event! Click here for a list of events across the Gulf