More than two years have passed since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf Coast. The incident led to the death of 11 workers, and additionally devastated the surrounding environment and economy, and poses ongoing challenges to the Gulf’s workforce. Read more…
This post originally appeared on After The Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf.
April 20, 2010, began as an ordinary day for residents of the Gulf Coast. Fishermen woke up early to head out for the daily catch, and news outlets reported on the perils of the U.S. economy. Outside, the skies were overcast with temperatures in the high 60s, standard conditions before summer’s suffocating humidity settled in. But by the end of the day that began as so ordinary, the lives of Gulf residents would be changed forever. Read more…
I’ve heard the axiom around Washington that when disaster strikes, Congress responds. But in the case of the BP Gulf oil spill, the worst environmental disaster of our time, this axiom has failed – until now. Still, advocates and activists have not given up, and momentum is building behind legislation crucial for the Gulf and our national energy and environmental future. This week is the time to speak out and urge Congress to invest in restoring the Gulf, empower citizens and community leaders to work effectively with oil and gas companies to protect their communities, and enhance health and safety across the offshore drilling industry.
Today you can join advocates from across the Gulf and people of diverse faiths from across the country by making a call for the future of the Gulf. This nationwide call-in day urges the Senate to pass the RESTORE Act, a bill supported by nine Gulf Coast Senators and designed to ensure that the Clean Water Act penalties collected from BP as a result of the spill are invested in Gulf restoration. This legislation would provide a desperately needed infusion of funds for restoring the ecosystems and economy hit hardest by the spill, many of which feed and fuel our nation. Nearly 500 miles of Gulf coastline in four states remains oiled, and the need for restoration is immediate.
But you don’t need to work in spitting distance of a farmer’s market to be an ethical eater or be in a city full of policy wonks to be a food advocate (nor do you need to be Jewish to access all the incredible resources at urj.org/food).
by Erik Schwarz
(originally posted on Afterthespill.com)
This entry is part of our interfaith series of reflections and calls to action around the one year memorial of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill disaster.
Now that we are just on the other side of the one-year anniversary of the spill, this is a good time to survey the field and see who continues to stand with the impacted communities along the Gulf Coast. Among many responders, faith groups have distinguished themselves as the most persistent agents for recovery and restoration. After the media have left the scene and the politicians moved on to other talking points, faith groups remain. Since the early days of the spill, these groups reached out to care not only for their flocks but for the larger communities in which they are embedded.
As we celebrated Passover this year, we also celebrated the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, the global day of environmental advocacy. Talk around my seder table centered on preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Religious Action Center and the upcoming Consultation on Conscience. But then things took a darker turn as we began talking about the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill disaster.
We all agreed that there were many elements to this dialogue that were baffling and frustrating. For example, despite the devastating impact the oil spill had on our ecosystem, our economy and the residents and communities of the Gulf, our fight to end our country’s crippling addiction to oil continues to feel like a losing battle. It also angered us to learn that 11 new deep water and 49 shallow water-drilling permits were recently issued in the Gulf.
Last week we celebrated the 41st Earth Day and commemorated the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill disaster. Earth Week might be over, but our work for a cleaner, more sustainable future is not.
Jewish and environmental leaders continue to urge us all to action on the critical environmental challenges of our time, on Earth Day and every day. Each day, month and year that goes by without action on climate change,
clean water and toxic pollution is an increasing threat to our
communities and our world. As our own Rabbi Saperstein said last week, “We have made tremendous progress since the first Earth Day, yet we know that it will take broad support and expedited effort to curb the impacts of climate change and to protect all of God’s creatures.”