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Deep Water Horizon: One year later

Image credit: WAtoday.com.au

Today is Earth Day, and this past Wednesday marked the one year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the last day or so, I’ve been reading a lot about the aftermath of the spill, especially as we approach (now bypass) the one year mark of what has been called the worst offshore oil spill in US history.

“Human Cost”, a guerilla art performance took place at Tate Britain. Image credit: Jeff Blackler/Rex Features

WAToday out of Australia featured a number of personal stories of some of those directly affected by the spill. Others, like The Guardian, have covered the memorial trip of the families of the eleven men who lost their lives on the rig, and some of the vigils and quiet protests of the disaster.

What is more sobering is the difficulty families and communities are having getting payment from the $20-billion compensation fund BP set up last year. To add insult to injury, BP made headlines yesterday with their lawsuit against the owners of the Deep Water Horizon rig and makers of the device that failed to stop last year’s spill. It’s disappointing to see after all the dramatics, furthered negligence, and finger-pointing the world witnessed last year – one year later, nothing has changed for the company once touted for their commitment to social responsibility.

GOOD recently posted the anniversary numbers of what has changed (or not changed) since the Deep Water Horizon disaster. Read more

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Girl Effect

 

The Girl Effect was created by The Nike Foundation in collaboration with partners like the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Since then, there have been a number of initiatives and organizations that have taken on the movement with their own campaigns that focus on girls in combating poverty and illiteracy.

You might ask – why the focus on girls? Here’s a short explanation by USAID that I think says it best.

Assume this initial condition: A 13 year old girl stands at a crossroads with two choices before her: school or child marriage. The problem is it’s not usually a choice.Married, she is more likely to die from childbirth at an early age; she is more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases; she is more prone to become a victim of partner violence; she never receives an education; and she is unable to contribute to society in a way that has a larger social impact and helps to push the human race forward.With an education she marries later in life—to someone she chooses. She decides the timing of her children and is in a position to make decisions about her own health. She invests money in her children’s health and education, and is able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Other people recognize her value and contributions, and begin to understand that all girls have value.Multiply that scenario by the 600 million girls in the developing world and it’s easy to comprehend how a small change in an initial condition is capable of determining the course of humanity. That is powerful.The human race cannot progress when half of the world population lives without the same rights and respect afforded to its male counterpart.

That’s a powerful message – and the brilliant design and execution of this campaign make the message even more powerful.

For more information about the girl effect and/or to contribute to the cause, go to girleffect.org.

Love fish? Help keep them around.

Documentaries are a staple in our household. We watch them as religiously as some families follow their favorite sitcoms or catch up on the evening news. This evening, I finally got around to watching “The End of the Line“, based on the book by Charles Clover with the same title. If you haven’t watched it yet and are one for documentaries, I highly recommend it.

The documentary discusses the fishing industry and focuses on the current state of the health of our oceans – and more importantly, the expected degradation we can expect if we do nothing to change our attitudes and behaviors. Having gone diving in some local waters that have been depleted of ocean life and also others that are protected areas that were teaming with life, I have to say the documentary struck a particularly sensitive cord in me. What a shame if within our generation we saw some of our most beloved fish disappear into extinction and the waters look as barren as they already do in some parts.

Upon finishing the documentary, I went to the film’s website where they have more information about what the average person can do, and updated news links about the fishing industry. They also provide links to other sites that give listings of restaurants (unfortunately, mainly in the United States) according to a sustainability ratings, as well as recommended fish to eat and to avoid – based on current population levels. For a detailed pocket fish guide (PDF) of the recommended fish to avoid and eat, you can download it here.

I’ve included a summary chart of the top ten fish to avoid and to eat below, in case it’s of interest to you. I know it was to me.

Image from fish2fork.com

If you’d like more details about why each of the fish is listed in either the avoid or eat list, you can find the original chart on the The End of the Line website. Just select the fish you’re interested and more content will appear.

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