It’s been one year since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, but the explosion and subsequent months-long spill has largely faded from public consciousness. And if people do think about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, they think about it happening “somewhere else,” to “someone else’s” community, and not really affecting their daily lives.
To mark the one-year anniversary since the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history, Oceana is asking the question: “What If It Happened Here?” What if the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and spill happened at a well-known and easily recognizable place in America? Would we still be chanting, “Drill, baby, drill?”
To try to personalize this message for people we created an ad campaign on display now in the Washington, D.C. Metro system that depicts the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion happening at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., the New York Harbor, and the San Francisco Bay.
We hope that by asking the question, “What If It Happened Here?” we will get people to think about how they would be affected, and how their communities would be affected, if the BP oil spill happened off their coasts. We hope these ads will help people realize that we need to stop the drill.
Oceana welcomed a very distinguished visitor yesterday. We hosted the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, along with representatives of 10 major U.S. environmental organizations in a roundtable discussion at our headquarters in Washington, D.C. The roundtable focused on promoting an open and active dialogue about trade and the environment and the WTO’s ability to address both.
The WTO is currently engaged in a dedicated negotiation on fisheries subsidies as part of the Doha Round. These negotiations are historic because they are the first time that conservation considerations, in addition to commerce priorities, have led to the launch of a specific trade negotiation.
Fishing subsidies promote overfishing by pushing fleets to fish longer, harder and farther away than would otherwise be economically feasible. Overfishing subsidies are estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, an amount equal to approximately 25 percent of the value of the world catch.
Oil isn’t the only pollutant pouring into the oceans these days. There’s another big one, only it’s much more insidious and widespread: carbon dioxide.
Today Oceana board member and actor Sam Waterston will be on Capitol Hill urging Congress to take action to stop ocean acidification.
Last year, Congress passed the Federal Oceans Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, which created an ocean acidification program in the federal government. Waterston will call on Congress to fully fund and implement the program.
On Sunday, amid performances by the Roots, Passion Pit and John Legend, Oceana spokeswimmer Aaron Peirsol spoke at the Earth Day Climate Rally on the National Mall here in Washington.
“Ocean acidification is a real threat, as is overfishing,” he told the crowd. “New drilling must be forestalled while other invaluable, sustainable alternatives such as wind energy adopted. Today, I'm helping here by speaking and partnering with the ocean conservation group Oceana.
Together, we created Race for the Oceans, an open water swimming event that raises money and awareness toward ocean conservation. We also created Racefortheoceans.org, an online forum for swimmers and conservationists alike.”