Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eco-Activists Protest Oil Spill on Arrigoni Bridge

From CT Rising Tide

This morning during rush hour, activists with the climate justice network Connecticut Rising Tide dropped two large banners off of the Portland Bridge in Middletown and over Interstate 91-North in Hartford, to highlight the irreparable destruction in the Gulf of Mexico on the 3-month anniversary of the oil disaster, and to demand an end to our oil addiction.

“The Deepwater Horizon explosion has caused the worst ecological disaster in history,” said Mica Taliaferro, a Hartford resident and a member of CT Rising Tide.  “Eleven rig workers have been killed, fishery economies have been bankrupt, and precious coastal ecosystems have been damaged beyond repair. Three months later, it is time to critically analyze our consumption of oil.  We need to be sure a catastrophe like this never happens again.”

The large banners were in full display for the morning rush hour, stating “Put a Cap on Big Oil” and “End Oil Drilling: Bikes and Buses!”  The banners conveyed the demand for an end to massive oil drilling, and a shift towards sustainability through measures such as increased public transportation and safer bike lanes.

Since the start of the leak three months ago, well over 100 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf.  Activists say that the sheer size and devastation of the spill is enough to warrant the total abolition of offshore drilling. We need to shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy. “It has become abundantly clear that our dependence on oil is destructive and unsustainable, and must soon end for the health of the planet and those living on it,” said Kevin Hayes, a student in Middletown and member of CT Rising Tide.

The leak was finally contained on July 15th, after oil spewed into the Gulf at a rate of 35,000 barrels per day since the initial explosion on April 20th.  Considering the extent of this damage, the moratorium placed on offshore drilling by the Obama Administration does not go nearly far enough; a permanent ban on offshore drilling is the only acceptable measure to take to prevent another catastrophe.

Activists emphasize that the oil disaster is not an isolated problem, but one which stems from America's addiction to oil and other dirty energy sources.  Our lifestyle of over-consumption has lead to an unhealthy dependence on environmentally destructive fossil fuels, polluting our water and air systems, and contributing heavily to global climate change.  "We need a massive energy shift away from fossil fuels and into locally generated energy systems in order to begin to repair  the damage that has already been done and build towards a more ecologically sound future,” said Kevin Hayes.      

Rising Tide is a grassroots network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change and promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis.  We are an international network born out of the conviction that corporate-friendly and state-sponsored solutions to climate change will not save us. As a matter of survival, we must decrease our dependence on the industries and institutions that are destroying the planet and work toward community autonomy and sustainable living.


Jason C. said...

Protests like this are simply disorganized and hastily planned graffiti. How is creating an eyesore going to create any kind of meaningful dialogue about our dependence on fossil fuels? If these "activists" were serious, they would take the time to get organized. Use time and resources to inform people of HOW to make a difference in their daily lives or go and help with the cleanup (we can do many things locally to clean up our environment). Spending an hour making a poorly made sign to distract drivers (and possibly create accidents and traffic jams) just makes these people look like spoiled college kids.

Anonymous said...

Everything is made from petroleum, or directly linked to it. Corn, which makes up a large percentage of the American Diet (also b/c it is fed to all our meat) is harvested using massive amounts of petroleum. 16 ziploc bags and an hour of driving is a small price to pay when 1 car x 1 person x1000 twice a day is the way we Americans commute. Theres no reason why 1000 cars and 1000 people cant turn into 1000 people and 350 cars with carpooling or buses.

Anonymous said...

A platoon of sandwich board-wearing pedestrians would have presented a more appealing and equally effective "demonstration" of this message.

I resent Jason C.'s name calling. These young people are engaging in political action that reflects their beliefs and a belief in the system of American democracy. Their energy is admirable.Taking individual action to address the issue is essential but inspiring others to act is necessary as well.

Anonymous said...

Graffitti written on a sheet is still graffitti. Stopping on the bridge to dangerously hang signs on the 180 foot bridge is still dangerous. Attempting this is an act of terrorism, just at the local level. What if they had fallen? What if a car had hit them while stopped on the bridge? They used petroleum products to protest the use of petroleum products. Interesting concepts there! There are MUCH better ways to protest what you deem wrong from BP. Who pays the bill when these "kids" decide their message wasnt read and they choose bigger and better protests? We the taxpayers of both Middletown and Portland. Use the education your parents had the decency to pay for! The world revolves around Wesleyan!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous Julky 20 635pm: I don't think they would have fallen or blocked traffic, since there is a sidewalk on the bridge. I'd also bet that anyone who lives around here would know that fact (bridge has sidewalk); meaning, your comment is obviously from someone who doesn't live in our area.

Does anyone else read that sign's "Put a" as one word? It's very offensive in Spanish; if you don't know it, look that up on urbandictionary.com (here's the link: just text, but not safe for work or small kids! http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=puta.

martel said...

Anon 8:36, I suspect the sign actually says "put a" but the appearance of the "puta" is due to the sign not being well hung.

Anonymous said...

That's the beauty of living in the US--you are allowed to protest!

Thank you for bringing local attention to this matter.