Sustainability & Climate Change Issue Update: Thom Yorke, Ben Harper and Seafood Lovers are Cursing the Oil Spill

The images are heartbreaking. Over a month after the BP Deepwater Horizon rig went up in flames, the underwater oil spill is still spewing an estimated million gallons a day into the waters of the Gulf Coast. Scientists are warning that oil is already on its way to Florida, and could reach up the eastern seaboard.  Hit the beach while you still can! Read on to get the latest on the spill and what you can do to help.

  • Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Ben Harper have spoken out against BP. During his performance at the Hangout Festival, Ben led the crowd in a chant of “F&*k BP” and teamed up with the guys from Guster to create an anti-BP website with that racy URL. HeadCount was also at the Hangout Festival and played an integral part in changing it from just a beach party into a “Concert for the Coast.” Check out this column in the Huffington Post about how all that came together.
  • For a quick indication of the negligence, poor oversight, and greed that led to this tragedy, check out this gripping 60 Minutes’ interview with a technician from the Deepwater Horizon. He claims the BP executives ignored safety concerns and forced drilling to continue even in the face of clear warning signs. His interview, which recounts how he literally jumped off the platform into a sea of burning oil, has become a widely spread social media story since the spill began.
  • Love oysters and shrimp? Well you might not see any of the domestic variety in the near future as restaurants prepare for a nationwide shortage. Mother Jones has reported that for now, it’s still safe to consume the Gulf’s oysters and shrimp. But, the spill could have lasting impacts on some fish species like the already endangered Bluefin Tuna which spawn in the Gulf’s waters.
  • The oil spill has shaken things up in our nation’s capital. The long awaited Kerry-Lieberman climate bill was released on May 12, but includes provisions to expand offshore drilling – a key compromise that was made prior to the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. That said, in the past week President Obama has created an independent panel that will produce a report on the root causes of the spill, and what can be done to prevent future spills. Then, the President announced that although the federal government has already granted new permits since the spill began, for the next six months the federal government will not grant additional permits to drill new deepwater wells off of the U.S. coast.  Planned exploration of Alaska’s coastal waters has been put on hold until 2011 and commitments to drill in the Gulf and Virginia’s coastal waters have been cancelled.  Yet President Obama has affirmed that he remains committed to offshore drilling as a part of the US energy mix.

Want to make a difference yourself?  Donate funds (or hair,) then see the Surfrider Foundation’s Anti-Offshore Drilling blog for a list of ways you can directly help the spill victims. To keep up with these developments on a daily basis, follow us on Twitter.

Our thoughts go out to all who are coping with the devastating effects of the spill, to the families of the 11 oil workers who lost their lives on April 20, and to all of the volunteers and organizations who are hard at work in the Gulf.

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