Filmmakers Uncover the Truth About Gulf Oil Spill in The Big Fix
The LA Weekly calls The Big Fix "Mandatory viewing.” The new documentary film mixes daring journalism with archival investigation. The result is a true-life eco-horror story. Opening theatrically in New York City on Dec. 2 through Dec. 8, exclusively at the AMC Loews Village 7 at 66 3rd Ave. at East 11th St., from Green Planet Productions, The Big Fix features Peter Fonda and received critical acclaim earlier this year as the only Official Selection documentary of the Cannes Film Festival.
The Big Fix is the new movie from the filmmakers of the award winning Sundance documentary Fuel, husband and wife directing/producing team Josh and Rebecca Tickell. The film is executive produced by Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins, Peter Fonda and Maggie Wachsberger. Through interviews with scientists, government officials, journalists (including Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell who examined the Gulf spill in his article The Poisoning), attorneys (including New Orleans Toxic Tort attorney Stuart Smith) and Gulf States natives, The Big Fix recounts the events surrounding the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico and paints a disturbing picture of the aftermath of the largest oil spill in America’s history.
“We never intended to make this movie,” Josh Tickell said. “It was only after going home to my native Louisiana, and realizing that the sheer level of destruction was being totally downplayed, that we began filming.” The Big Fix reveals the powerful political and corporate system that put profits over the health and long-term sustainability of people and the environment. No matter what the petroleum and government officials say, the oil is still coming ashore, the seafood industry is wiped out and many people of the locals are sick.
“We’ve got shrimp with no eyes, fish with tumors, fish with oil in their guts—this disaster is happening right now,” said Dean Blanchard, once the largest processor of brown shrimp in the U.S. Despite claims from the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife that the fish are safe to eat, Blanchard’s liability insurance was recently cancelled. “I’ve been in business 25 years; I grew up on a shrimp dock, I never had a problem getting insurance, now nobody will insure us,” Blanchard said.
Up to 30 percent of the nation’s seafood in a given year comes from Louisiana. Toxicologists studying the fish from Louisiana waters are finding heightened levels of cancer-causing carcinogens. The Big Fix also explores the complicit behavior of the U.S. government in the long-term use of the chemical dispersant, Corexit 9527, a known hemolytic (blood thinner).
In an unexpected twist of fate, Co-Director/Producer Rebecca Harrell Tickell became severely ill after being exposed to the oil and Corexit mixture while filming. Her health struggle is cataloged in the film. “Making this movie and living with the consequences,” said Harrell Tickell, “changed everything I thought I knew about America. The Big Fix will host 7 Nights of Awareness Dec. 2 through Dec. 8 at the 6 p.m. screenings with some of today’s leaders in environmental advocacy. Each night of awareness will feature a post-screening Q & A with filmmakers Josh & Rebecca Tickell along with notable environmental advocates from New York and around the country.
The 7 Nights of Awareness is organized in collaboration with Paul McGinniss of the The New York Green Advocate.
For more information, click here.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.