Thursday, July 08, 2010 1:04 PM
If Toy Story 3 wasn’t poignant enough for you, perhaps you’d be interested in the work of some researchers from the University of Hawai´i at Mānoa. At the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, some fine folks have crafted one of the saddest animations you will see this summer—simply by illustrating a possible ocean drift scenario for all that shiny oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico this spring.
Source: University of Hawai´i at Mānoa
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:29 AM
Does boycotting BP gas stations send a message to the company that fouled the Gulf of Mexico? Or does it just hurt the poor mom-and-pop station owner down the street? The Columbus, Ohio, alternative weekly The Other Paper attempts to answer this burning question for guilt-ridden gas consumers in the story “Pissed Off at BP?”—and gets a stark solution from a BP station owner: Just don’t drive.
That’s right, Bill Englefield, who along with his brother Ben own 127 BP-supplied stations in the Columbus area, is
proactively getting the message out in advance of summer driving season that simply bypassing the green flower cannot ease your conscience.
“BP is one of the major suppliers of all gas in this market, and we’re not the only ones who buy their product,” he said.
The guy across the street could be supplied by BP regardless of what the sign says, Englefield added. And if they’re not supplied by BP one day, they may be the next, depending on the market.
So what should an emotionally charged activist do to avenge brown pelicans dying in distant lands?
“The best boycott is to just quit driving,” said Englefield.
Now that’s the most sense I’ve heard from a station owner in a virtual gusher of spare-the-small-business-owners homilies in the mainstream media. The Christian Science Monitor, using much the same logic as Englefield, ends up doling out similar advice, putting “Bike or walk—don’t drive” at the top of ways to truly send a message to BP.
Of course, Englefield—who doesn’t fit my definition of a small business owner—intends to lay down a gauntlet of sorts, sensing that most people simply can’t quit driving, hence resistance to BP’s vast market reach is futile.
I suggest we call his bluff. Even if we can’t all quit, perhaps enough of us can cut back to send a message to the “small people” in the boardroom at BP.
Sources: The Other Paper, Christian Science Monitor
Image from MoveOn.org's Facebook page.
Friday, June 18, 2010 3:12 PM
If the BP oil spill were a practice drill for an even larger environmental disaster—say, out-of-control climate change—our society and particularly our leaders have failed the drill with their ineffective response. Bradford Plumer of The New Republic describes what “absolutely terrifies” him about the spill:
What’s especially unnerving … is that the recklessness that helped bring about the spill, and the political reaction that followed, seem to indicate a larger inability to prevent and cope with other large-scale ecological catastrophes—particularly climate change. … With both the oil spill and climate change, there seems to be a lingering sense that technology can come along and save us if things ever get too ominous. … And yet, as we’ve seen with the flailing cleanup efforts in the Gulf, there’s not always a technological solution. Nature, once despoiled, can’t always be fixed. Sometimes disaster strikes and there’s simply nothing we (or even James Cameron) can do. What’s more, when dealing with complex ecological systems, quick fixes can often make the situation worse. The chemical dispersants that BP is using to break up the surface oil could end up wreaking havoc on the food chain on the seafloor—no one really knows. Likewise, we have little idea about whether those wacky geoengineering schemes could end up, say, disrupting rainfall patterns around the globe.
Source: The New Republic
Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:27 PM
A day or two ago, I read a comment chiding a news outlet’s coverage of the BP spill for its seeming fixation on numbers—that is, how much oil, exactly, is leaking. Obviously, figures matter. Gallons matter. But the commenter’s sentiment also rang true; making numbers into the news distracts from what we already know: This spill is enormous. And can the average person visualize the difference between 10,000 and 100,000 gallons anyhow?
I can’t. But Andy Lintner, a Michigan-based software developer, has made an interactive website that (quite literally) brings the BP oil spill home. At If It Was My Home, type in a location—and with a little help from Google Maps—you can see the sprawling BP oil slick overlaid on your hometown or anywhere else in the world. The image above is a screenshot of the Twin Cities.
“I was shocked at how big it actually was,” Lintner told the Tornoto Star. “People can’t comprehend the size.”
Source: If It Was My Home, Toronto Star
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:52 AM
If you thought you liked the BP oil spill when it was just creeping across the ocean’s surface and gently moisturizing the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem, just wait until you see this Google Earth program that superimposes the spill onto maps of Manhattan, San Francisco, and Rome. If you don’t have it, download the Google Earth plugin and see humanity’s folly from outer space!
Source: Paul Rademacher
Image by uscgd8, licensed under Creative Commons.
Monday, May 24, 2010 11:44 AM
A journalist travels to Louisiana for a look at the spill and finds herself in a web of PR flacks, angry law enforcement officials, and spill workers. Oh, and that oil washing up on beaches? BP is bagging it and processing it. They've still got to make a buck, right?
God bless Mother Jones.
Source: Mother Jones
Image by uscgd8, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 11:20 AM
Twenty years after the Exxon Valdez spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into Alaskan waters, the disaster continues to wreak havoc on wildlife, according to a 2009 report from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. The Animal Welfare Institute reports that more than 16,000 gallons of oil remain in the environment.
On the growing list of likely extinctions attributed in part to the spill is a small AT1 population of orcas, which has inhabited the area for thousands of years.
Source: Animal Welfare Institute
Image by jimbrickett, licensed under Creative Commons.
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