Last December I wrote a piece promoting the release of the outstanding feature documentary The Big Fix. Now I'm writing to let you know that if you haven't had a chance to see this film by Josh and Rebecca Tickell or have been wanting to share it with others, it is now out on DVD.
I've seen several films illustrating the impacts of the Gulf oil spill, but none so well portray the true aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, including the detrimental consequences that the spraying of the dispersant Corexit is having on all species living along the Gulf Coast. The film exposes the corruption behind the cleanup of the spill.
Interviews throughout The Big Fix reveal that after the Internal Revenue Service the second largest generator of money for the U.S. government is the collection of offshore oilfield revenues and royalties. In addition, BP is the single largest oil contributor to the Pentagon and many U.S. Congress members receive the majority of their campaign dollars from the fossil fuel industry or corporations closely tied with oil. It’s no wonder corruption runs rampant in the aftermath of this deplorable event.
The film has been featured at more than a dozen film festivals across the U.S., educating people on the powerful political and corporate systems that put profit before the health of people and the environment.
“We began by documenting an oil spill,” says Louisiana native Josh Tickell. "But the story we uncovered is one of corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government and the deliberate deception of the American people.”
With reports still coming out, like the one from Al-Jazeera in April detailing seafood deformities caused by residual impacts of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil in the Gulf following the explosion and at least 1.9 million gallons of Corexit 9527 oil dispersant—a toxin known to be mutagenic and hemolytic (blood thinning)—sprayed to dissolve the visible oil slicks, it's clear that we need to keep the issues surrounding the largest oil spill in America's history at the forefront of people's minds. The Big Fix is an excellent way to engage more people in the fight against the corruption and pollution of fossil fuels and Big Oil.
In May, Greenpeace USA released shocking photos that show graphic evidence of the destruction done to endangered sea life in the Gulf by the BP disaster. The photos, received via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in August 2010, appear to be part of the effort to collect evidence for the prosecution of BP and others, but have never been published by the government.
“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.—in The Big Fix. 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 carcinogens, genetic mutations and dermal lesions.
The Big Fix details the complicit behavior of the U.S. government in the long-term use of Corexit. 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 life-altering consequences,” said Harrell Tickell, “changed everything I thought I knew about America.”
Our work is not done in the Gulf region. We need to continue educating our friends, neighbors and family on the consequences of Big Oil and work to prevent deepwater drilling and drilling in the Arctic Ocean. We need to encourage our elected officials and government agencies to enforce strict regulations that can make offshore drilling safe.
Save Our Gulf, an initiative of Waterkeeper Alliance to support the Gulf Waterkeepers directly impacted by the BP oil disaster—including Mobile Baykeeper, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Galveston Baykeeper, Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Emerald Coastkeeper—created a petition that encourages strong regulation to prevent an oil disaster from happening again.
I strongly encourage you to order your copy of The Big Fix on DVD. Special DVD bonus features include an exclusive Jason Mraz interview, How to Get Your Car Off Oil video, deleted scenes, directors’ commentary, an update from the directors and secret features.
For more information or to order a DVD, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
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By Julia Vergin
It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.
EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.
Climate models are predicting faster warming of the North Atlantic Ocean, which will shift the Gulf Stream. NASA
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By Jessica Corbett
As a United Nations agency released new climate projections showing that the world is on track in the next five years to hit or surpass a key limit of the Paris agreement, authors of a new study warned Thursday that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nearing a level not seen in 15 million years.
<div id="1a097" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3be1f37aee62477983e577219c84d7a9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281182404116385792" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">https://t.co/3sNdmN8mCz New study covered by @guardiannews, we look at CO2 levels in the Late Pliocene (~3 million… https://t.co/xRhhLcpdJ5</div> — Tom Chalk (@Tom Chalk)<a href="https://twitter.com/ChalkyOceans/statuses/1281182404116385792">1594292663.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="23d44" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a800573625ce69a53bedfe537b572116"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281123005695959040" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Annual mean global temperature likely to be at least 1° C above pre-industrial levels in each of coming 5 years (20… https://t.co/WOBeEOhbCe</div> — World Meteorological Organization (@World Meteorological Organization)<a href="https://twitter.com/WMO/statuses/1281123005695959040">1594278501.0</a></blockquote></div>
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Jane Goodall on Conservation, Climate Change and COVID-19: 'If We Carry on With Business as Usual, We're Going to Destroy Ourselves'
By Jeff Berardelli
While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world's collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world's been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of "biological annihilation" may soon be "unimaginable."
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Anyone entering a U.S. Starbucks from July 15 will have to wear a face mask, the company announced Thursday.
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