The People Must Act to Stop Gulf Oil Catastrophe

Minimum Security
Thank you to artist Stephanie McMillan for this!
She's offering this print as a fundraiser for the Gulf Emergency Summit.  Please support!

By Debra Sweet, 
Director of World Can't Wait
I've been here in New Orleans less than 48 hours, but it quickly becomes clear on the ground how the oil spill is intensifying the trauma of Katrina and its aftermath. I've met people who are too shell-shocked to be able to think about the disaster looming here.
Local activists helping on the Gulf Emergency Summit urge that the stories of the people out in the parishes, the bayous; the fisher people, Native Americans, those who work in the oil drilling industry, the scientists who have experience and ideas -- all who are NOT being listened to -- finally be heard. People speaking for the effect on wildlife, including that which cannot be seen from shore...they also are voices which we must hear.


Environmental activists here such as Marylee Orr from the Louisiana Environment Action Network have been speaking out very forcefully, including last night, about the health hazards from the dispersants that, with the oil, are affecting air and water quality of communities close by as well as "first responders" sent out to do clean up.
Her group is providing respirators to clean up workers, etc., but she says that very little protection is generally offered, or information shared, and that many of the people hired to do clean up are willing to risk their health because they are so desperate for work, and that there are reports of BP actually telling people not to wear protective equipment (Orr says this is likely done because they worry about the public relations effect of armies of people wearing all this gear--and the fear this might induce about safety). She says that some local health agencies are reporting increasing instances of respiratory problems.
We also hear reports that BP is controlling access to public beach property, keeping news media from talking to clean up workers.
Obama's speech Tuesday night was an insult towards suffering people and the planet. We watched it in a bar in the French Quarter. Essentially, people should pray for help, and this is a great "opportunity" for the country to work for green energy! Platitudes about God watching over the fleet delivered from a leader who acts to protect profit.  17 countries have offered help; all have been denied.  Where are the ships to siphon up the oil?  they have not been brought to the Gulf, right now, where they could make a difference.
The basic message of the federal government and BP hasn't changed: "we're in charge, and we're handling it." Obama acknowledged that people have a right to be angry about the damage, which is still being lied about, as the flow rate of the spilled oil continually gets readjusted up. Now -- officially -- it's 60 times what BP said after the well blew.

Earth 2 Obama:

Drilling & Spilling is Killing the Planet
...and No One at the TOP is Doing Anything! 
So WE Must!
The Gulf Emergency Summit 

Saturday June 19, 10:00 am
First Unitarian Universalist Church
5212 South Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans LA

Facebook Event
We'll hear from people affected,environmentalists, people with ideas on what to do, and how, to come out with an ACTION plan to begin immediately.
Contact Summit organizers:
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YOU can help: 
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NEEDED: Videographers, Housing, Drivers, Food Donations, Phone Bankers & Protesters!
If you are in or near New Orleans, call 504-644-7214 right away.
People from all over are writing and calling to say: something is really WRONG with this!  We can't trust the government or BP to tell the truth about the problem; to have the right answers, or to go all out to stop the damage.  And with more drilling, it will happen again. it's not just that Obama or BP doesn't have "the answers."  They show no intention of stopping this direction.  And what they have done has had a main consideration of hiding damage, and protecting BP's public image.

I am not swallowing any of it!

This Gulf Emergency Summit is really needed!
Hundreds of people have endorsed this Saturday summit. Cindy Sheehan called to say she's coming, and others on this list have sent money, and called to say you're coming from San Antonio, Florida, and Washington D.C. Your support and involvement is needed right now!
As the 
Call for the Summit says,
The Emergency Summit will bring together scientists, people from fishing communities, environmental activists, progressives, radicals and revolutionaries, artists, intellectuals and all who want to halt this horror. There will be testimony on the true scope and impact of the disaster and on what can be done to protect ecosystems, wildlife, and people. We'll thrash out ways for people to act now - on different fronts and in different ways - and to galvanize many, many more, across the Gulf and beyond.
The world is watching. We must not allow the Gulf and oceans to be devastated. Our mission is nothing less than stopping this catastrophe.