Green Week Sees a Touch of Black
By Joe Scott
On the backdrop of a beautiful, festive Green Day celebration, the organization Campus for Clean Energy held an event Friday in remembrance of a truly dark event for Gulf Coast.
Friday the group held an event called I Stand With The Gulf: Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill Day of Remembrance and Awareness to recognize the two year anniversary of the BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.
The event went on all day and was located in front of the Student Union. The CCE decided to make the anniversary of the spill a priority event to show strong resolve in a state still feeling the detriment brought on by the environmental catastrophe.
"This event is our way of standing in solidarity with our Gulf Coast, and remembering the importance of our Gulf not just to our environment, but also to the people who live in it.” a statement from the CCE said.
The Deepwater Horizon spill is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the drilling industry, claiming 11 lives and spilling oil into the ocean for 87 days. The oil contained 40% methane, which causes large “deadzones” throughout the coast, depleting sea life of oxygen. The spill reached for 68,000 square miles, a distance roughly comparable to the state of Oklahoma.
The event was sponsored by the Southern Energy Network, a group that facilitates state networks that focus on cleaning the environment. The SEN is receiving proceeds from similar events being held at several college campuses across the South East.
The aim for the group was bringing focus to the major environmental catastrophe by sending postcards signed by supporters to local representatives, encouraging people to wear black and black out their social media pictures to show support of Gulf Coast, and making a banner signed by supporters to send to a coastal community and those still working to clean up the waters.
The postcards that people signed included a section where the student stated what they were doing to help reduce oil usage, and a section where the political leader who receives the card must state what they will do to push for a less oil dependent policy.
“We are trying to raise awareness of the Oil Spill and also the bigger issue, which is our nation’s over consumption of oil.” Zach Jarjoura, CCE organizer and Grad Student said. “We want for students to hold themselves and their politicians accountable for helping to reduce that consumption of oil.”
The CCE meant for the day to be a blackout day, where student use the color black to show solidarity with the Gulf Coast, which is still seeing effects from pollution. The clean up for the Coast is still an ongoing process now 2 years after the fact. In Mississippi the cleanup work is on the south side of the barrier islands and an area near Bay St. Louis and tar balls continue to appear on the beaches of Fort Morgan, Ala.
“I think the Gulf Coast Oil Spill is definitely something that has fallen by the wayside.” Will Bedwell, Freshman ASB Director of Sustainability said. “The Gulf Coast community is still trying to rebuild their way of life and make a safe environment for fishing, tourism, and their own living conditions. There are still concerns for the environment there and it is definitely something we need to keep a light on.”
Students visited the table through the day and did their part to contact their public leaders and sign the banner to send to the Coast.
“They are gonna hang the banners up at public libraries for 88 days for the 88 days that the spill happened.” Bedwell said. “The idea of the black banner and to where black is remembrance.”
Green Week has been a big week for environmentally conscious students, marked with many events to promote a more sustainable future. This event brought us closer to the end with a reminder that we are responsible for our environment.
“As a whole I think we should be more aware of what resources we are using.” Younne Gooden, Senior Sociology Student said. “A lot the blame goes to BP, but I feel like the blame can really fall on all of us because of how we use oil.”
I've had the privilege to write content for a variety of publications and digital media, including The Daily Mississippian, The Oxford Eagle, The Red Blue and Green Blog, The Elevator Project, and The Visit Oxford Blog,