Hundreds of thousands of

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered worldwide today to show their solidarity in support of clean, renewable energy and opposition to polluting fossil fuels. It was incredibly inspiring to see so many people from all walks of life, democrat and republican, old and young, who know that we can move beyond oil as a global community and who are willing to stand up and scream for just that. Hundreds of thousands of people who can imagine a world where our tax dollars, in the form of subsidies, go to support clean, renewable energy instead of in the pockets of the richest companies on the globe (the petro-chemical companies of course). Oil and coal is "cheaper" ONLY because our tax dollars support them and they are allowed to externalize their costs to our environment, to OUR Gulf, period.
It is so easy for us to get overwhelmed when faced with the daunting idea of completely reinventing our entire economic structure. Here are a couple facts I hope will inspire you like they did me:
1.     Remember the first Hands Across the Sands event? Shortly after that event the proposed bill to open Florida Waters up to offshore drilling was pulled from the senate floor and did not go to a vote! I cannot wait to see the impact the worldwide Hands event held today will have. Thank you to everyone who participated.
2.     It has been proven that countries that make the tough choice to get off fossil fuels actually experience significant economic growth as their markets are then flooded with entrepreneurs offering clean energy alternatives and creating even more jobs (oh, and reducing pollution and healthcare costs at the same time).
3.     If everyone in the US drove only 38 miles less per week we would save the amount of oil taken out of the Gulf of Mexico. We can all drive less, car pool and use our bikes more. We can also all support greater funding for public transportation.
Also, as you all know I have been screaming about the use of dispersants since day 1. The ONLY reason given by BP and unified command to use dispersants is to keep the oil from rising to the surface and impacting shorelines and shore animals. Well guess what, the oil is still impacting shorelines and shore animals AND now BP has seriously compounded this unfortunate issue by essentially pulling most of the oil into the water column and to the sea floor where we not only cannot see it, but we cannot CLEAN it up either! Not only that, but now it is even more toxic to our Gulf's food web and the workers on the scene; research shows that dispersants increase the bioaccumulation of the carcinogenic components of oil by anywhere from 12 to 50,000 times, this ultimately will impact the very species the dispersants are supposed to be protecting, along with the humans involved in cleanup and those who depend on and eat these species.
Even though EPA realized this conundrum and asked BP to stop using dispersants, BP was legally allowed to say, no. BP is allowed to use these dispersants because the EPA has them on their approved list. To get on this list industry does short term testing; if it is found years later that there are long term effects (like with dispersants) there is no process set up to get a product removed from this list and EPA and citizens are then powerless to stop companies from further polluting our homes! This is simply unacceptable.
I am working with other Gulf Waterkeepers, Riki Ott and attorneys to create suggested language for EPA to use to create a process for removing products from this approved list. All of you can have a significant impact on getting this de-listing process going by signing a petition if you have 1 minute, hand writing one letter to Lisa Jackson (EPA) if you have 5 minutes, and hand writing letters to all your legislatures if you have 30 minutes.
I will follow up with this next week with addresses and a petition. Get ready to make a difference.
We CAN do something and stop feeling powerless; we CAN insist that the Environmental Protection Agency actually protect the environment; we CAN promise to inconvenience ourselves and make at least 1 small change which collectively will make 1 huge difference; we CAN use our voices to demand BP keep their promise to "make us whole"; we CAN insist that our country be a people's democracy and not a corporate democracy. If enough people speak up we CAN make changes happen which will move us toward a cleaner, healthier, richer, happier country; we CAN make a difference, together.
Chasidy Fisher Hobbs
Emerald Coastkeeper, Inc.
o: 850-429-8422
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