Paul Blasenheim, a Wesleyan student, and a part of a protest by CT Rising Tide to draw the public's attention to the three-month anniversary of the BP oil spill disaster says that the group is trying to focus public discussion on the larger issues of petroleum consumption and the need for sustainable solutions.
"We were hoping people would see it and would be moved to think about oil consumption, as they were driving to work," Blasenheim said. "We want people to consider the bigger picture, and encourage that dialogue to begin. We want people to understand that we all have the capacity to do something different."
As of this posting, police had not removed the sign in Middletown, but had removed a similar sign placed on an overpass in Hartford. The Middletown sign was hung at 8 a.m.
It's no coincidence that the signs were hung to be viewed at rush hour. Blasenheim admitted that the group does not have the funding for a more costly anti-big oil marketing campaign, but thought that the number of cars and people passing at rush hour, and the mere fact that people were consuming petroleum as they saw the signs would make an impression.
"We wanted people to think 'I'm on my way to work, and I'm part of this,'" Blasenheim said. "We want people to understand that everyone has the power to shift to something different. What that 'different' is, we don't necessarily have the answer, because it's different for every location. It's not the same answer in Hartford as it is in Middletown."
Blasenheim said that Rising Tide started in the UK several years ago, and currently has between 40-50 chapters.
On a practical note, Blasenheim did admit that his group drove cars to unfurl their signs.
"We were conscious of that," Blasenheim said. "We admit that this is how we get around, and it's something that's a concern."
Blasenheim said that precautions were taken to ensure that the signs were not a safety hazard, weighting the banners with ziploc bags (ironically made from petroleum, as Blasenheim acknowledged), filled with water.