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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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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