By Jake Johnson
"I wish I could say I was shocked, but a major spill from the Keystone pipeline is exactly what multiple experts predicted would happen," Greenpeace USA senior research specialist Tim Donaghy said in a statement. "In fact, this is the fourth significant spill from the Keystone pipeline in less than ten years of operation. History has shown us time and again that there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception."
As 350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted in response to the leak, "It happens over and over and over and over and over."
The latest Keystone spill was first detected Tuesday night by TC Energy, the pipeline's owner, and the extent of the damage to the surrounding areas is not yet known to the public. According to Greenpeace, the leak "is already the eighth-largest pipeline oil spill of the last decade."
The Keystone pipeline just spilled AGAIN** — and is now the 8th largest pipeline oil spill in the past decade. 😡😡… https://t.co/lEap0N9BIc— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1572545702.0
Brent Nelson, emergency manager for Walsh County, North Dakota, told the local Grand Forks Herald that the cleanup process could take months.
"The roads around the spill area have been closed to assist with the cleanup," the Herald reported. "Walsh County Sheriff Ronald Jurgens asks the public to avoid the area so the cleanup process can proceed. On-site security will stop and fine any driver ignoring the closed road signs."
TC Energy, previously known as TransCanada, denied that the spill had any impact on drinking water, a claim that was met with skepticism.
Keystone Pipeline leak spills oil in northeastern North Dakota Corp says the oil hasn’t contaminated any drinking… https://t.co/wcKZO7qCVn— R u t h H o p k i n s (@R u t h H o p k i n s)1572485448.0
Catherine Collentine, associate director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels initiative, said "this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won't be the last."
"We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when," said Collentine, "and once again TC Energy has made our case for us."
Keystone's leak in North Dakota was detected just hours after the U.S. State Department held a public hearing in Billings, Montana to solicit comments on the department's new analysis of the potential environmental impact of the Keystone XL project.
The Trump administration has worked hard to approve and accelerate the project over the protests and legal challenges of indigenous rights organizations and green groups.
Joye Braun, frontline community organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said the State Department meeting on Keystone XL "seemed more like an industry showcase rather than public comment hearing."
"We stand firm in opposing this project as the latest spill is further evidence of just how dangerous pipelines are," said Braun.
Reposted with permission from our media partner Common Dreams.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.