6 Arrested at BP Headquarters in Week of Action for Gulf Oil Spill Anniversary
On April 20, 2010 BP's offshore oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 workers, causing the largest oil spill ever in U.S. waters and the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It impacted wildlife and people, caused health problems from exposure to oil and dispersants, and decimated oyster, shellfish and finfish populations and damaged livelihoods and economies in towns dependent on fisheries. Five years later, much oil remains in the Gulf, but no one is sure how much. BP has fought in court to minimize its responsibility.
Kicking off a week of events marking the fifth anniversary of that event—with the damage to the environment and the ecosystem of the Gulf region still being added up—activists occupied BP headquarters in Houston. They carried signs with messages such as "Never Again: No Sacrifice Zone," "Extreme Energy Out of Our Communities," "No Kill, No Spill, Keep It in the Ground" and "BP Lies." As Gulf Coast residents stood in the lobby of the building and read a list of questions for BP, such as "Why is BP continuing to fight clean-up efforts in court?," security and police moved in and arrested six of the protesters.
Anne Rolfes, founding director of the grassroots environmental nonprofit the Louisiana Bucket Bridge, was one of those arrested.
“The BP Disaster shows that the oil industry isn't capable of preventing or cleaning up a catastrophe like BP," she said. "Let the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico be a cautionary tale: we should not drill in the Arctic. We should not drill off the Atlantic coast. In Louisiana, our oysters are dying, our fishermen are out of work. BP has killed our livelihood and our culture but instead of taking responsibility for that harm, the best they can do is churn out glossy PR photos of white sand and blue water.”
Another of the activists arrested, Cherri Foytlin of coastal southern Louisiana, said, "BP has used false advertising to sell the public a lie. The truth is many have fallen ill due to BP's heavy use of toxic chemicals. Our dolphins and turtles are still dying at unprecedented rates. Our fisheries still struggle to recover. Our hard-working, fishing families still suffer economic losses as BP has done everything possible to dodge their responsibilities to a settlement that they helped to write. Little has changed to protect the life and health of workers on the rigs."
"And BP's oil is still out there on the sea floor," she continued. "Their oil invades our shores to this day. The truth is that the oil is still here, and so are we. We, like the Earth herself, have a right to live. We have a right to thrive. Anyone who keeps us from that is an enemy to us. This is our battle. This is everyone's battle. And we will not yield.”
The protest is only one of the ways activists are calling attention to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Gulf South Rising's Week of Action from April 15-22 includes events all over the Gulf region, including Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
They include "Come Fish Off My Boat," launching in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and traveling to fishing towns around the Gulf all week. "Come Fish Off My Boat is an open invitation to local, state and federal decision makers, as well as, to members of the media to spend a day fishing with Gulf Coast fisher-folk who were affected by the BP Deep Water Drilling Disaster of 2010," says the group.
A protest on San Padre Island against the proposed construction of five liquified natural gas export terminals was planned to coincide with Deepwater Horizon's fifth anniversary. "Fossil fuel companies are bad for coastal communities, and we want to show them that they are not welcome here," say the organizers. "We are not willing to sacrifice our clean air, clean water and biodiverse wildlife habitats for corporate profits."
Other events are also honoring that anniversary. The 7th annual New Orleans Earth Day Festival & Solar Derby says, "This year Earth Day will be the 5th anniversary of the 2010 BP Disaster. What better way to remember the catastrophe than renew our commitments to renewable energy?" And also in New Orleans, the For The Gulf film screening and concert at the Howlin' Wolf honors the clean-up workers, fisherman and families of those who were on Deepwater Horizon.
On Monday April 20, there's an "interfaith memorial and jazz funeral procession for the Gulf of Mexico’s losses due to the BP oil disaster...humans, creatures, livelihoods and....truth." Whether the procession will be met by a wall of security in light of the earlier arrests remains to be seen.
"In Louisiana our oysters are dying, our fishermen are out of work. BP killed our livelihoods and our culture" #PayUpBP #BPlies @BP_America
— Tar Sands Blockade (@kxlblockade) April 15, 2015
A demonstration is also being planned outside the annual BP shareholder meeting in London April 16.
Meanwhile, others are reminding us of the lessons to be learned from the disaster, warning against expanding offshore oil drilling elsewhere. Rachel Roberson of Environment America′s Stop Drilling program cautioned against the Obama administration's plan to open the Atlantic Coast to drilling.
“Our precious coasts and wildlife must be protected from the kinds of environmental and economic tragedy the BP blowout brought to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Richardson. “That’s why we’re calling on the administration to rescind their dangerous drilling plan.”
“As we learned from the BP disaster, offshore oil spills don’t respect state boundaries," said Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts. "Drilling anywhere in the Atlantic would threaten the Massachusetts and New England economies and environment with the possibility of a devastating spill. Congress needs to act to turn the lessons from the BP spill into laws to ensure that we never experience a similar disaster again."
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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