Not so long ago, we wrote updates every few days about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, just as we all suspected, there's less in the news about the spill, but clean-up efforts continue, and the longer term work of rebuilding goes on. Political challenges continue as well, as the climate movement aims to rebuild in light of Senate inaction, and as residents of some coastal states, once critical of an offshore drilling ban, backpedal.
Just a few days ago I checked in with our friend Aaron Viles at Gulf Restoration Network. They're busy planning for the 6 month anniversary of the spill, getting local groups together to respond en masse. Aaron and his team will be helping with local efforts on 10/10/10, hopefully highlighting restoration work taking place in the Lower Ninth Ward.
In addition to the work of the Gulf Restoration Network, other leaders are lending a hand. Yesterday and today, Spike Lee's new documentary, "If God is Willing and da Creek Dont' Rise," is airing on HBO and our partners at the Hip Hop Caucus are helping use this as an organizing moment towards the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Spike Lee's latest was intended to revisit his groundbreaking film "When the Levees Broke," but as he describes in this interview, the spill hit immediately after the filming was done. He and his team knew they had to go back and shoot more footage. They changed their earlier film, and moved from a happy ending (the beloved New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl) to the tragic one as represented by the spill.
This film will serve as a vehicle to keep attention focused on the Gulf even as we dn't hear as much about it in the news.
Another source of encouragement is an upcoming summit connecting heads of state from Caribbean islands (many of them outspoken advocates for 350 ppm inside the UN talks) with the mayor of New Orleans. The conference is titled: "Fighting for Survival: The Vulnerability of America`s Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Basin," and we'll post an update once we have it.
All in all, there's a lot to be amazed at–especially the resilience and dedication of people working in the Gulf. But the work for those of us outside the Gulf, pushing our elected leaders to wake up and get us off of oil, is needed more than ever.