Since the scale of the BP catastrophe began to register, there have been a lot of questions swirling around the political implications of the spill. Will it help or hinder efforts to pass a climate bill? Should environmentalists seize upon the opportunity to galvanize public support like never before behind an aggressive shift towards clean energy, or should they avoid calls for a drilling moratorium?
For their part, more than a few environmental groups have understandably chosen the former option, and have sprung into action mobilizing supporters behind a flurry of new campaigns. Here’s a sampling of some of the various campaigns that are unfolding across the country:
In Virginia, hoping to encourage Gov. Bob McDonnell to join the ranks of his peers Gov. Arnold Schwartzeneger (R-Cal.) and Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.), the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has launched the “Windmills, Not Oil Spills” campaign. The campaign kicked off last week with a press conference around a mock oil spill on Virginia Beach, and organizers hope to collect 10,000 signatures on a petition urging Governor McDonnell to tap Virginia’s significant offshore wind potential instead of the outer-continental shelf.
The Florida based “Hands Across the Sand” campaign has been going full bore against offshore drilling since February but following the spill organizers have stepped up plans to take their show on the road to other coastal states in the coming months. The organizers are calling all beach loving citizens to join hands with them as they take a stand against oil on the sands of Virginia Beach this June 26th.
Louisiana & DC
As if they weren’t busy enough organizing their 10/10 Global Work Party, the 350 campaign joined the Sierra Club for a rally in New Orleans this past Saturday and the group has another major rally scheduled to take place in Washington DC tomorrow, Tuesday May 11th. The DC “Crude Awakening” action will feature a march from the Interior Department to the White House where participants will deliver a banner that reads OBAMA: THIS IS YOUR CRUDE AWAKENING.
Through May 16th the Sierra Club is organizing a Series of “Clean It Up” demonstrations in communities all over the US. The Club is calling on activists to host mock oil spill events like the one in Virginia Beach, or to rally outside of BP stations.
Finally, though not technically an environmental organization, the Answer Coalition, is planning a series of nationwide demonstrations this Wednesday calling for a seizure of BP’s assets to help pay for the environmental and economic damage.
More to come…
Whether the gulf spill turns out to be the Three Mile Island of oil politics or not, as this first wave of protests makes clear, the environmental community has no plans to stand by flat footed as this crisis continues to unfold. Watch this space for more updates.