OPINION: Turn Your Outrage Over BP's Oil Leak Into Action

Dispatch from SSC Consultant Network, Mirele Goldsmith

We’ve been thinking about the BP oil spill and so has Mirele Goldsmith, one of the members of the SSC Consultant Network and SSC Certified Green Auditor. She published this call to action on her own blog and graciously allowed us to republish it here. Thanks Mirele!!

Last year the US House of Representatives passed climate change legislation that would accelerate the overhaul of our energy system and slow down climate change.  One year later we are still waiting for the Senate to act.  Has anything changed that might break the deadlock in Congress?

The answer is obvious, but it didn’t occur to me until this week.  On Monday I returned to Washington with the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care.  Fred Krueger, our fearless leader, pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency was created because of public pressure.  In 1970, President Nixon wasn’t anxious to set up another government department.  But he had to do something because the people demanded a response to PCBs in the Hudson, toxic wastes at Love Canal, and other environmental disasters.  Government responded to the public mood. 

So what can break the deadlock and get this country moving to a clean energy future?  It has to be our outrage about the oil gushing out into the Gulf.

This morning’s New York Times reports that “BP oil spill live feed” is close to being the most popular search term on the internet.  According to BP, over 300,000 people watched the oil leak on Tuesday alone.  And over one million people have watched the leak from the BP oil well on the website of the US House of Representatives.  They stopped whatever else they were doing to see it for themselves.  If all those people are as angry as I am, that’s a lot of outrage. 

Before I go on to tell you to put that outrage to good use, I have to stop and say I’m sorry to have to do it.  The oil leak is going to cause tremendous suffering.  One of the EPA administrators who met with us was close to tears when he told our group of religious leaders that he had attended the Blessing of the Fleet in Louisiana.  The fishermen know that this is probably going to be the last time they launch their boats.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of the human cost of the leak.

That said, let’s get to work channeling our outrage and sorrow into something positive. Call your senators and tell them to show some leadership in response to the BP oil leak.  Tell them to pass climate and energy legislation that will make oil drilling obsolete and create a clean, just, and sustainable energy future.