Still not over?
Here’s a picture I took flying with the Coast Guard over Kodiak Alaska while writing my book Rescue Warriors, and here’s a story from the NY Times on how that Town and Coast Guard families are being slammed by Trump’s government shut down. The Coast Guard and NOAA, the protectors and stewards of our ocean, and 750,000 other people plus the millions they serve should not be held hostage to one man’s ego project. Do something every day to support our federal workers.
50 Years later – Lessons of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill
On January 28, 1969,just a year after the federal government leased offshore drilling tracts in the Santa Barbara channel, and after it issued waivers allowing Union Oil (now part of Chevron) to reduce the length of their standard pipe casing from 500 to 15 feet, a crew drilling their fourth well hit a snag. Oil and gas exploded up the pipe string. When the blow out was capped, the oil began leaking below the shortened casing. Within days some three million gallons came ashore, covering 35 miles of sandy beaches with a viscous black coating of crude oil six inches thick giving the waves a sludgy pulse and the air the odor of a gas station.
When President Nixon made an appearance after the spill, he was met by thousands of silent angry residents some carrying signs reading “GET OIL OUT!” For many, this – along with the Cuyahoga River catching fire in Cleveland Ohio later that year – marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement including the first Earth Day one year later.
This photo was published in the Jan. 29, 1970 Los Angeles Times: “Boat with officials from GOO (Get Oil Out) leave after dropping a permanent buoy in Santa Barbara Channel where oil leaked the year before (Jan. 28, 1970).”
Of course in the wake of the Santa Barbara spill of 1969 and subsequent major spills including Deepwater Horizon in 2010 and another Santa Barbara spill in 2015, the focus remained on energy versus pollution. Only now we know drilling for hydrocarbons is also a product liability issue. Used as directed, fossil fuels spill carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, heat our air, alter our weather, dry our forests and soils and acidify our seas.
First steps in transitioning to more abundant renewable energy should include the early elimination of the dirtiest and most dangerous forms of fossil fuel in terms of worker safety, pollution and carbon emissions. That would have to include offshore oil and gas drilling. That’s why growing numbers of citizens from sea to shining sea are now mobilizing and reigniting the Santa Barbara spirit of 50 Years Ago with demands that our elected officials get in line with market trends, science and entrepreneurial opportunities to ‘Get Oil Out!’
To learn more, read my full story on the 1969 Santa Barbara spill running in this Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. I’ll be speaking in Ojai about the spill and the ocean movement it helped spawn on Saturday January 26. On Sunday January 27 there will be an Action program with speakers and music at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, sponsored by local environmental groups that were created in the wake of the 1969 disaster. Learn More.
The Local is Global
Point Molate Alliance Fights for Last Undeveloped Headland on SF Bay
Jane Goodall has said the forgotten climate solution is protecting nature. That means every part not already destroyed. The Richmond California based Point Molate Alliance (PMA) that Blue Frontier’s Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate co-founded is fighting to save 423 acres of city owned wildlife rich natural headland and healthy eel grass beds from a planned massive private housing development being promoted by a failed casino developer and a pro-development Mayor named Tom Butt. They hope to build over 1,000 units of high-end, high-risk housing on this isolated site near a major Chevron refinery (call it ‘Buttville’) to little benefit for our diverse, low-income city and under a questionable legal settlement now being challenged in court. We are working on a Community Plan to establish a regional park and world-class recreational destination as a better model for the environment, economy and community equity. Learn more here.
Every State is a Coastal State – Inland Ocean Action Summit
On the weekend of April 27-28 we are also planning an Inland Ocean Action Summit (IOAS) in Dallas Texas. The Summit is in partnership with the Inland Ocean Coalition that was so active during the 2018 March for the Ocean and EarthX Expo that will be taking place there, drawing well over 100,000 people. IOAS will include ocean and clean water activists from inland areas of the United States to help raise the profile of marine conservation through organizational growth and development so that the ocean cause is no longer seen as simply a coastal cause, but as an issue of national and global significance. IOAS will be the first opportunity for inland ocean advocates to come together to learn, network, and interact with a number of speakers and panels and participate in planning workshops to develop blue heartland strategies for 2019-2020. Stay tuned. Registration opens soon!
The Second Annual MARCH FOR THE OCEAN – Gets Bigger & More Global
On June 8, World Oceans Day, you can be part of the second global March for the Ocean. This year, repeat marches are planned for Florida, New York, Colorado, Suriname, Brazil, London and Ireland. New marches are being organized in Paris, South Africa and elsewhere around our blue world. These events will expand the youth leadership demonstrated in 2018. We will be using social media to spread the word and promote World Oceans Day marches and actions around issues of oil, plastic and other forms of pollution as well as solutions to climate change and its impact on our seas. If you’d like to be part of the planning locally and globally please go to www.marchfortheocean.org or email organizers at email@example.com and request to be added to the planning calls.
Emerging Voices of Youth
Youth leadership was prominent at the 2018 March. Blue Frontier has always believed that youth are not our future leaders – they are today’s partners in the fight to save our seas. Therefore, we’re opening up a monthly space in Blue Notes for ‘Emerging Voices’ from the ocean youth community. This first one comes from Jens Isenhart, a 16-year-old member of the Goshen, Kentucky chapter of Heirs To Our Oceans.
Approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Imagine 5 grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world! What if our oceans contain more plastic than fish by 2050? We are concerned. And we are doing something about it.
Heirs To Our Oceans in Kentucky will join their fellow Heirs and people around the world in marching for our oceans and waterways on World Oceans Day, June 8, 2019!
We are members of a new chapter of Heirs To Our Oceans in Goshen, Kentucky. Where we live there are few who recycle and few who understand the impact every one of us has on the environment, on our streams’ ecosystems and on the health of our oceans. We couldn’t let that slide. We knew we needed to raise awareness for the health of our water planet. We looked at the global waste issue on a local level and showed how anyone, no matter what age, can make a difference.
Our approach in raising awareness was through setting an example with our own actions, educating people about the harmful effects of toxic waste and getting involved in trash clean-ups. We hoped to empower others inland, here in Kentucky, to become environmental leaders, with a ripple effect!
Already we’ve had a huge impact! We created an inspiring website, held three major creek sweeps and removed truckloads of trash from local streams here in the Louisville area. We connected with biologists in the state and around the country and worked on guided research such as the study on freshwater mollusks that are indicators to the health of our streams. Our greatest achievement so far is the partnership we built with EcoCell, an organization that recycles i-devices such as iPhones (read about EcoCell Louisville online). We organized permanent i-waste collection stations at local school campuses in the North Oldham District now, and we are currently working on changing legislation on e-waste recycling in the state of Kentucky.
We know that we can make a difference for our waters even though we are youth. The health of our oceans and waterways is in our hands! Join us in raising awareness and March for the Ocean on June 8, 2019, no matter where you are on our blue planet!
Blue Frontier, like the Coast Guard, does more with less. Your financial support early in 2019 will help us build the next wave of awareness and engagement that will build a Sea Party of solutions for 2020. We will educate voters and citizens on how we can and must restore the blue in our red, white and blue and across our blue marble planet. Please give here or send a check to: Blue Frontier – 301 Commodore Drive, Richmond CA 94804
Thanks and Best Fishes in 2019 from the Blue Frontier team,