In the midst of new disasters, environmentalist stand against plans to expand infrastructure and development of industry. On June 16, an oil tanker began leaking its cargo into the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, jeopardizing the ecosystems of several pristine islands, waters and coral reefs. Although details released have been scant and sketchy at best, according to biologist Ahmed el-Droubi “there are dead birds and dead sea turtles scattered across the island covered in oil.” At the same time, in the US, the EPA is cleaning up an oil spill that has been leaking out of an abandoned pipeline close to Arcadia Lake, Oklahoma for an undefined amount of time. 250 gallons of oil have been found in the nearby Canada River so far.
While these spills draw more concern towards the rising plight of the environmental conditions of our Earth, BP moves forward with their dangerous plan to drill in Alaska and politicians move forward with the Canada tar sands pipeline. BP’s Alaska project would drill two miles undersea and then 6 to 8 miles horizontally to reach an oil reserve that contains an estimated 100 million barrels of oil. BP was allowed to conduct its own environmental study in preperation for these plans, as federal regulators broke with practice to grant permits to the unprecedented project. The Canada tar sands pipeline would stretch 2,000 miles, from Alberta, Canada to Texas and the Gulf Coast. Experts are calling the project “a BP disaster waiting to happen”, and 50 members of US Congress are campaigning against it.
The big enviros seem to have a big answer to the emerging crisis: buy ad space, do publicity stunts, get info out there and ask people to become more involved in the democratic process. According to an article in the Washington Post, four environmental groups (League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Service Employees International Union and VoteVets.org, or the Gang Green, as we like to call them) is planning an 11 million dollar advertising program to pressure politicians to regulate greenhouse gasses. Reaching out through the media is important, but stemming the crisis obviously goes beyond these kinds of compromises.
Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) announcement of victory after a court lifted a ban against Monsanto-engineered alfalfa is a perfect example of the impotence of environmental groups today in the hands of the judicial system and the corporate media. The CFS is obviously trying to manipulate the media spectacle surrounding the impunity of the insidious GMO manufacturer by presenting themselves as “in control” when they come up empty after a long struggle through the political process. While corporations do need to be targeted as well as legislative decisions, the direct action aproach is the only thing that remains.
The international whaling ban faltering, and environmentalism against the ropes, we need the movement reinvigorated, with the energy and momentum of hundreds of years of struggle. Maybe local, bioregional direct action in defense of the Earth isn’t the only answer, but its sorely needed to support the rest.
By the way, the roadshow is in Kansas! Come see us at the Percolator Gallery at 8pm tonight!