Antonia Juhasz, Global Exchange’s Energy Program Director and author of the forthcoming book BLACK TIDE: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill is in London now through April 15 participating in the BP annual shareholder meeting.

She is joined by several Gulf Coast residents harmed by the spill. Together they are working with local and international organizations to raise awareness of the damage caused by BP in the Gulf and elsewhere, and taking on BP to hold the company accountable for its crimes in the Gulf.

BP’s annual shareholder meeting is on April 14th, and Antonia along with Gulf Coast residents who own shares are planning to attend the meeting.

Statements to BP’s Shareholders and Executives from residents of the Gulf whose lives have been forever changed by the disaster have been collected, and are being shared at the Annual Meeting.

Then it’s time for a 3 Week Book Tour!

On April 18, just four days later, BLACK TIDE: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill will be released in the U.S., two days before the one-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and two more days before Earth Day (April 22).

So following the BP shareholder meeting, Antonia will return to the United States where she will begin a three week book tour taking her across the country.

BLACK TIDE is a searing look at the human face of BP’s disaster in the Gulf. Dramatic and compelling, this book is based on hundreds of personal interviews Antonia conducted during her time spent embedded within those communities most impacted by the disaster. 

For BLACK TIDE book launch event information, please visit the BLACK TIDE Facebook page or look for book tour dates the Black Tide Event Listings page.

This post was originally sent to members on our News and Action list. Be the first to take action with Global Exchange and sign up for our e-mail lists.

The first few weeks of 2011 have been a time of transitions. Aside from transitioning to a new year and a new decade, we have seen a transition of power in the US Congress. The new Republican majority in the House threatens to impede real progress with their refusal to cut defense spending, a push to repeal healthcare, and a call to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency.

Global Exchange is prepared to stand with you in opposition to these regressive moves. We will fight to stop rollbacks of progressive policies and continue to push for positive change in our communities at home and abroad. Through grassroots activism we will prevail.

Here are just a few campaigns we have in store for 2011:

  • Transition from corporate interests to humanitarian justice: Corporate interests are among the strongest forces fueling the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. Come February, Global Exchange will host courageous feminist peace activist Dalit Baum. Dalit is currently working in Israel on a project called Who Profits?, an online database that exposes companies and corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation. She will bring her extensive knowledge of grassroots activism to North America, teaching Who Profits’ research methods to the peace movement to infuse their work with new perspective and hard-earned wisdom. The long-term goal is to help change public opinion and corporate policies, moving towards an end to the occupation and a lasting peace in Israel/Palestine.
  • Transition from dirty energy to clean energy: The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest oil spill in American history, and oil from the spill continues to impact lives and livelihoods throughout the Gulf. Through this tragedy we have been reminded of the negative consequences of our dependence on dirty energy and our need to support clean alternatives for people and the planet. One year after the devastating Deepwater Horizon explosion, Global Exchange’s Energy Program Director, Antonia Juhasz, will release her book Black Tide, a “searing look at the human face of BP’s disaster in the Gulf and exposes the human failings and the human cost of man-made disaster that will be with us for a very long time.”
  • Transition from free trade to Fair Trade: Despite almost ten years of commitments from Hershey’s to take responsibility for their cocoa supply chains and improve conditions for workers, significant problems persist. Hershey’s lags behind its competitors when it comes to taking responsibility for the communities from which it sources cocoa, so we’re calling on them to “Raise the Bar” and go Fair Trade. This year, we’re working on several ways to get the word out about Fair Trade through various campaigns such as Sweet Smarts, National Valentine’s Day of Action, Reverse Trick-or-Treating, and more.
  • Transition from climate change to system change: After the Climate Talks in Cancun this past December, it was clear that Western leaders favored corporate-driven solutions for climate change over community-based solutions. Although the climate agreement that came out of Cancun ignored thecommunities directly affected by climate change and the rights of nature, Global Exchange continues to advocate for climate justice in the upcoming The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Nature. The book, set to be released in April, will reveal a movement driving the cultural and legal shift that is necessary to transform our human relationship with nature away from being property-based and toward a rights-based model of balance that no longer views nature as property to be destroyed at will.
  • Transition from a greed economy to a green economy: Casino capitalism is wreaking havoc on the planet, but there is an alternative. It’s called local green economies – urban agriculture, locally controlled clean power, and sustainable industry — and we’re building them in Michigan, California and across the country. We’re also traveling from city to city sharing a message of a greener future at the Global Exchange co-sponsored Green Festivals – the biggest and best sustainability event in the country. Celebrating its 10th year, Green Festival will be expanding to the two biggest cities in the US — New York and Los Angeles.

You make this work possible. Thank you to everyone who gave a gift last year. We still need your support in 2011. None of our work is possible without the financial support of our members. Help us make the necessary, positive transition. Donate today!

Despite the new Republican leadership in the House, the grassroots movement has a great and important opportunity to be leaders in the fight for peace and social justice. We hope that you will join Global Exchange in 2011 to resist injustice, envision alternatives and take action.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The following post is cross-listed on the Chevron Program blog:

It’s official; the White House announced earlier today that the moratorium on deep water drilling which was not set to expire until November 30th is now being lifted. The announcement was made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. Salazar explained:
“We have made and continue to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling” and therefore, “I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set.”

Global Exchange is deeply disappointed by this decision to prematurely lift the ban. Antonia Juhasz, Global Exchange Energy Program Director, explained in a recent article:

IT SHOULD BE BLATANTLY CLEAR at this stage of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that we are witnessing the failure of an entire system, rather than of one operator. Systemic solutions are therefore required. One obvious first step is a permanent moratorium on all offshore drilling—a model of energy extraction which the industry is unable to safely perform and the government is unable to adequately regulate.

Upon hearing the news about the drilling ban being lifted, Antonia had this to say (while in Alabama via phone, researching for her new book on the Gulf oil disaster:)

One very positive step of the Obama administration was putting in place a deeply needed moratorium on deep water drilling, but it seems that election year politics have lead to a quid pro quo in which the administration implemented extremely limited regulations on offshore drilling in exchange for an early lifting of the moratorium.

Environmental groups have been quick to respond to today’s announcement.

Sierra Club issued a press release on their website stating “The BP disaster was a wake up call, but our leaders keep hitting the snooze button.” Greenpeace included a link to “Tell Congress: Now New Drilling. Period” along with photos of their protest today.

The moratorium on deep water drilling was originally imposed on May 27th before a revised ban was enacted on July 12th and set to expire November 30th.

If you’re concerned about the ramifications of this early ban lifting, here are a few ways to take action and make your voice heard:
Tell Congress No New Drilling: Visit Greenpeace for an easy-to-fill-out form.
Call or email the White House: White House phone #s and email are here.

(This article was originally posted on Huffington Post.)

“The fish are safe,” declared LaDon Swann of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This should have been good news to the audience at Alma Bryant High School in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

Virtually all of the 150 people attending the August 19 community forum made their living in one form or another in the Alabama fishing industry, and most had for generations, until the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.

Having spent four months with a severely reduced, or nonexistent income, all are now desperate. Even the lucky few able to participate in BP’s Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program are now largely out of work as BP has all but shut down the program in the area. Many can no longer afford rents or mortgages, pay medical bills, or even, in growing numbers, provide food for their families.

Even so, none appeared relieved at Swann’s words. They simply did not agree with him, as far too many continue to see far too much evidence that both oil and dispersant remain in their waters. As scientists at the University of Georgia concluded on August 17 using the federal government’s own data, as much as 79% of the 4.1 million barrels of oil BP spilled in to the Gulf “remains in the Gulf in varying forms of toxicity.”

Less then 24 hours later, in a small boat captained by Pat Carrigan, we encountered an oil slick within 15 minutes of setting off from Carrigan’s backyard on Dauphin Island. We were in the Mississippi Sound heading toward the Katrina Cut, a shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico opened when the storm split one portion of Dauphin Island off from the rest of the island five years earlier.

Photo: Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff

Photo: Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff

“That’s dispersed oil,” Carrigan said as we passed through a slick of light brown foamy goo. Carrigan has fished these waters for more than 20 years and is a former VOO worker. Glint Guidry, Acting President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, shared Carrigan’s assessment. Looking at a photograph of the slick I showed him the following day, Guidry said, “That’s oil, oil with dispersant.”

Photo: Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff

The shrimpers view the slick as cause for concern because these waters were reopened to shrimping on August 8.

But, as LaDon Swann had reminded the audience at Alma Bryant, the federal government and Gulf States have established specific protocols for re-opening these waters to fishing.

These protocols state that the visual observation of oil or “chemical contaminants” on the surface of the water is cause for the recommendation that the fishery be closed “until free of sheen” for at least 30 days in federal waters and seven days in Alabama state waters.

“These waters should be filled with shrimpers,” Carrigan explained to us on the August 20th trip. Instead, there was not a single boat on the water shrimping during the several hours of this trip. “They’re just not shrimping.”

And the oil was not limited to the water.

After passing through the sheen of dispersed oil, his passengers were more than a little disconcerted when Carrigan took off his shirt and jumped into the water to pull the boat ashore as we landed at a western strip of Dauphin Island accessible only by boat. We were even more concerned when he told us to do the same as we disembarked.

After trekking through a completely untouched and unpopulated strip of wild brush, green grass, and blue flowers, we came upon a landscape opened to clear blue sky, white clouds, and a stunning white sandy beach.
Rocky Kistner of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who had arranged for the trip, looked ecstatic as he gazed at the beach — that is, until he looked down.

Huge tar balls, some as large and as thick as an outstretched hand, stretched in a line where the waves had left them, as far as the eye could see down the beach.

A baby’s sippy cup lid covered in tar sat in a bed of white sand. A Dawn dishwashing soap bottle lay covered in the sticky goo. Using a piece of bark he found on the beach, Zach Carter of Mobile’s South Bay Community Alliance bent down and started scooping tar balls into a white bucket.

Photo: Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff

Photo: Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff

“It’s not only on the beach, it’s in the water,” Carrigan said, looking stricken. He stood in the ocean, bent down, gathering more tarballs in his hands as they washed up.

Most disturbing was that the beach, accessible only by boat, was deserted. “There used to be BP workers up and down this beach cleaning it up, constantly,” Carrigan said. “Now, nothing. Just oil.”

Photos by Sandy Cioffi and Greg Westhoff (please do not reprint without photo credit)

Oiled Grass

Oil soaking into the wetlands, the last defense against hurricanes, and vital to the health of the coast. The root system of the wetlands and marshes are rotting from the oil.

Why can’t BP be responsible for “fixing what it broke?”

In part it comes down to the law. Within our current legal structure, corporations, which are fictional, non-living entities, are recognized to have the same rights as individual people. In fact, the law provides corporations to have more say in our lives than we do: decisions made in far away corporate boardrooms about GMOs, mountain top removal mining, fracking and more have real implications for local people and nature.  And we are powerless to say “no”.

Yet while this may seem absurd, what is even more abstract is that while these fictional beings have the most voice, and are the same ones engaging in the most environmentally destructive of operations–all other non-human living beings, forests, rivers and ecosystems have no recognized rights.

Regulatory environmental laws in place do not look at the right for a river to flow, fish to regenerate or the right for an old growth forest to exist. Regulatory law actually legalizes damage – it only regulates how much. Unfortunately regulators turn to the “experts” – that is, the industry to be regulated – for guidance on setting those standards.

More washed up oil in the wetlands

Take the BP spill for example.

The oil spill has shown the ramifications of our regulatory system’s failure to protect people and ecosystems, in that it allows damaging practices–whereby corporations use the regulatory system to legalize harmful practices. And then the regulators turn to BP for answers on clean-up, including disbursement.

And who decides how much BP should pay for clean up? Seems BP executives have a hand in setting that standard too. And it won’t be enough, not nearly enough to return the Gulf to the way it was before the spill.

But what if — just what if —nature itself could sue BP for damages and ensure that the damages paid were enough to restore the Gulf to health?

Thomas Linzey, Executive Director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund explores how rights for nature would fundamentally change the way we deal with the crisis in the Gulf, and how this legal concept has been already implemented in various US municipalities, and the nation of Ecuador. Read his exciting article in the Daily Comet here.

Check out more on Rights of Nature on our Global Exchange Rights Based Organizing site.

Or join our list serve to get the latest on rights of nature!

Authors: Karen Swift and Shannon Biggs

Oil in grass between Oyster Bayou and Taylor's Bayou, St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana, July 30, 2010, Photo Credit: Antonia Juhasz.

On August 26th, 12pm, PST Antonia Juhasz, Director of Global Exchange’s Chevron Program and Kevin Danaher, Global Exchange Co-Founder will present a 60-minute report back from the Gulf Coast. Antonia will have just come back from long visits to the Gulf Coast and Washington, DC interviewing people and researching for her new book. Juhasz wrote an article to Huffington Post and was interviewed by Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman about the effects of the BP oil spill. She’s been working extensively to report on the oil spill and has a lot to share with us.

Antonia and Kevin will lead an interactive webinar conversation and Q&A about the impacts of the BP Oil spill and what it means for the Green Economy. They will discuss what really happened and what is truly going on in the Gulf Coast; how this environmental disaster affected the communities; what BP oil spill has to do with the Green Economy; and how Washington, DC is dealing with this situation.

Don’t miss the opportunity to know what the media is not telling us. Please join and invite your friends to participate! To attend please register now at Cost: Only $7.

For other Global Exchange’s webinar visit the first and second Green Careers webinars.

If you would like to know more about Antonia Juhasz background, visit:
Follow Antonia on Twitter and Facebook

If you would like to know more about Dr. Kevin Danaher’s background, visit:
Follow Kevin on Twitter and Facebook

As part of the National 3-month Gulf Disaster Anniversary Week of Action, there will be a Teach-In on the BP Oil  Spill and Big Oil. The teach-in will take place on Tuesday, July 20th from 7-9pm at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. The teach-in will discuss what’s really going on, what it all means and what we can do.



*Part of the 3-Month Gulf Disaster Anniversary National Week of Action*

Tues, JULY 20, 7-9pm
La Peña Cultural Center

3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley (at Woolsey, next to Ashby BART) (map)
FREE (donations appreciated) | Food provided

Rose Braz, Center for Biological Diversity. Since the BP explosion, the Center’s decisive action and in-depth investigating have exposed massive government corruption and lax environmental review, leading to major media exposés and six lawsuits to secure a full cleanup and wildlife protection.

Antonia Juhasz, will have just returned from the Gulf, meeting with impacted communities and groups. She is Director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange, and the author of The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most powerful Industry and What We Must Do to Stop It.

Lindsay Imai, with Urban Habitat‘s Transportation Program, advocating for affordable, reliable, and racially and economically just public transit system in the Bay Area.

Carla Perez, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project and Mobilization for Climate Justice West.

With MCs:
Ana Orozco, Communities for a Better Environment and
Dave Room, Bay Localize

Join us for a discussion on:
– the impacts of the disaster on Gulf Coast communities
– BP/Big Oil’s handling and response the spill; as well as grassroots responses to the spill
– root causes of the spill and the other disastrous impacts of Big Oil, including in the Bay Area
– positive solutions we can organize for in the Bay Area to end our dependence on fossil fuels and corporate capitalism
– how we can mobilize in the Bay Area to resist BP, Big Oil and their environmental and climate pollution

Also, before the teach-in:
4:30 to 6:30pm: Nonviolent Direct Action Training (Same location: La Peña)
Prepare for upcoming mass actions to resist BP/Big Oil and for climate justice (Sunday, August 29th will be a National/Bay Area mobilization– Save the date!)!
A free and open to the public workshop on the basics of nonviolent direct action, how it works and how to keep our power in confrontations with authorities before, during and after actions. Please come on time and stay for the whole time. Training sponsored by Mobilization for Climate Justice West.

Teach-In Sponsored by:
Mobilization for Climate Justice West & The Center for Biological Diversity


Facebook Event Page.