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The Truth Behind the BP Oil Spill Exposed in 'The Big Fix'
The Big Fix Opens in NYC Dec. 2 - 8 at AMC Lowes Village 7
A Wide Coalition of Environmental Advocates will Gather for 7 Nights of Awareness and Talk with the Filmmakers and Audience after each 6 p.m. Screening
by Paul E. McGinniss
The BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010. Most of us thought the spill was cleaned up and the problem went away. Unfortunately, to a large extent, the event has been supplanted in the media and mass consciousness by other news stories and events from around the world.
After watching the documentary The Big Fix, it is hard to conclude that things are so rosy down in the Gulf. In fact, the bottom line message from this well-documented film, produced and directed by Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell-Tickell, is that the BP oil spill in the Gulf never went away and the oil is still spilling. And to top it off, the chemical dispersant, Corexit, which is still being used to clean up the oil, is an extremely toxic substance. The film reports that Corexit is wreaking havoc on the health of the people and marine life in the Gulf.
When you watch how the the Gulf residents captured in The Big Fix have been affected by Corexit and the spill, beware, it is both heart wrenching and frightening. When you see Gulf residents driven to tears by this environmental tragedy, you want to cry with them. Rebecca, herself, was seriously sickened by Corexit during their filming in the Gulf.
When you listen to eco-activist, Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of champion of the seas Jacques-Yves Cousteau, state so emotionally in the film, "We're being lied to," you realize the truth about the Gulf oil spill is being covered up.
When Josh and Rebecca emailed me to say they were opening The Big Fix in NYC at the AMC Loews Village 7, 66 3rd Ave., on Dec. 2 - 8 and wanted to create 7 Nights of Awareness in the theater, I immediately jumped on board. The purpose for the 7 Nights of Awareness is to divulge the truth about what's going on in the Gulf, in addition to stimulating a dialog that will foster positive action and create solutions which will help our planet become less dependent on fossil fuels and sustainable.
Despite the negative events depicted in the film, the filmmakers make a point to highlight an endearing bayou local. He wears a yellow t-shirt and dons a Mardi Gras-like necklace across his tanned neck while installing solar panels on the metal roof of his modest home. Tickell narrates at the end and urges the audience to "unite and take a stand" and deal with the truth, and get on with implementing clean energy solutions that are at hand. Tickell concludes the film by asking, "In a struggle for true justice and a better world, where do you stand?"
To date, the inspiring and passionate people and groups that have come on board for the 7 Nights of Awareness which happens each night after the 6 p.m. screening, include, NYC-based Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques and son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, and founder of Plant A Fish; Rocky Kistner, Natural Resources Defense Council; Stefanie Penn Spear, founder and executive director of EcoWatch.org; Justin Bloom, Marc Yaggi and colleagues from Waterkeeper Alliance; Dan Miner, founder of Beyond Oil NYC; New Orleans native and NYC-based architect, Drew Lang; Paul Mankiewicz, The Gaia Institute; Margaret Lydecker, Green Drinks NYC; Denise Katzman, EcoEdifier and Anti-Fracking activist; Stephen Del Percio, GreenBuildings NYC; Lyna Hinkel, 350.org NYC; Peter Fleischer, Empire State Future; David Braun, co-founder of United for Action and the National Grassroots Coalition, and a key member of the Gasland team; Clare Donohue, Sane Energy Project; Hilary Baum, Director of Baum Forum and founding Coordinating Director of Food Systems Network NYC; Leah Barber, Interdependence Movement, and Pamela Lippe, Earth Day NY.
For more information about the film, click here.
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.