Over the past few days, we have heard from several of our Gulf Coast organizers who are struggling to cope with the personal, environmental and economic impacts of the BP Deepwater oil disaster. It’s one thing to read about the spill in a newspaper or listen to a correspondent talk about it on TV, and entirely another to receive stories from people living in the midst of this horrific tragedy. Please take a moment to read these two messages – they are a sobering reminder that our addiction to fossil fuels comes at a high cost:
Yesterday I was studying outside on campus (I'm a student at the University of New Orleans), and on a stiff breeze I could smell the oil in the air. While the smell is intermittent with the wind, the atmosphere remains thick with it. You can feel the unease, the dread, as the situation only gets worse. The torrent flowing from the well seems unstoppable. Our booms fail in the choppy waters. The oil is beginning to make landfall. And worse, there is talk that if the winds shift the oil could get caught in the Loop Current, be swept into the Gulf Stream, and travel up the east coast. There are plenty of ifs in this scenario, but that this scenario is even possible is horrendous. I can't even imagine the magnitude of the disaster if the oil gets caught in the Loop Current. For our climate, for our ecosystems, for our environment, for our economy, it is time to end our oil addiction. So thank you for your work.  – Aaron Maus, New Orleans LA
My family made one last trip to our favorite beach in Pensacola FL on Sunday to see it in its unspoiled state.  I felt like I was attending a friend's funeral.  I first visited Santa Rosa Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, in 1983, and returned several times before we finally moved to nearby Mobile, AL in 2006.  My family – my husband, myself, and our young daughter, now five – has made beach-going a regular part of our life, and as urban dwellers, it is our closest connection to wild nature.  Now I have had to explain to my child that our beaches are going to be ruined and many animals and plants are going to die because of an oil leak in the Gulf.  And on top of the looming ecological catastrophe, we face dire economic consequences as our tourist and fishing industries become paralyzed.  We live here; my husband's job is here; we can't just move if the going gets rough.  What kind of a future can we – as a region – have with all this devastation?
– Angela Jordan, Mobile AL
In the days, weeks and months ahead we will continue to mobilize communities and work towards a clean energy future here in the U.S. and around the world. Keep sending us your stories, ideas and input as we move forward, and we'll keep you updated on our campaigns and opportunities for you to get involved.
P.S. If you live in or near New Orleans, we encourage you to attend an upcoming rally organized by our friends at the Sierra Club this Saturday, May 8. We’re telling BP to “Clean It Up!” and we hope you can join. Click here to RSVP, and contact [email protected] to volunteer during the rally.