281 - Hands Across the Sand

O desastre da BP no Golfo do México em abril demonstrou o quanto os cidadãos comuns são impotentes diante de eventos desse tipo. Hands Across the Sand organiza protestos na forma de uma corrente humana de mãos dadas em praias de todo o mundo. Surtirá algum efeito?
by Lorenza Cerbini.

One of the most dramatic events this year has undoubtedly been the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, better known as the “BP oil disaster.”
The spill lasted from April 20 to September 19. BP estimates its total cost to rectify the situation at $ 40 billion. According to Wikipedia, it is “the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.”
Not surprisingly, the disaster has given great impetus to the environmental movement and has made people think again about alternative energy sources. On June 26th a series of events called “Hands Across the Sand” took place all over the world. In the USA alone, more than 100,000 people took part. {yootooltip title=[They linked hands]} they linked hands: eles deram as mãos {/yootooltip} across beaches around the country, in order to protest against offshore drilling.
One person who was closely involved in the organisation was John Weber, of an environmental group, the Surfrider Foundation. He met with Speak Up on a rather {yootooltip title=[noisy]} noisy: barulhenta {/yootooltip} beach. As he explained, the Deepwater Horizon Spill is just one of many in a long line of American oil disasters:

John Weber
(Standard American accent)

In 1969 there was an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and there were many dead seabirds and sea life and it was such that people in California could see the damage right in front of their eyes and many people think that that helped give rise to the modern environmental movement in the United States. So, after that, offshore oil drilling was questioned because in Santa Barbara that was a bad accident. So that was over 40 years ago and then, in 1989, we had the Exxon Valdez oil spill. And I haven’t been there myself, but people say you can go to Prince William Sound in Alaska and {yootooltip title=[dig down a few inches in the dirt]} dig down a few inches in the dirt: cavar alguns centímetros sob a terra {/yootooltip}, or among the rocks, and there’s still oil there. And Exxon never properly cleaned up there, and they never properly compensated fishermen and people {yootooltip title=[that made their living in such a way]} that made their living in such a way: que tiravam seu sustento de lá {/yootooltip}. Exxon spent more money {yootooltip title=[fighting it in court]} fighting it in court: defendendo-se nos tribunais {/yootooltip}, on lawyers, than it would have taken just to compensate people properly.

The Deepwater Horizon {yootooltip title=[oil spill]} oil spill: vazamento de petróleo {/yootooltip}, better known as the “BP oil disaster,” has been a dramatic reminder of the high environmental cost of our dependence on oil. The explosion – and first spill – took place in April, and wasn’t completely sealed until September, allowing roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil to escape into the ocean.

Yet American citizens were aware of the {yootooltip title=[threat]} threat: ameaça {/yootooltip} posed by oil long before the Deepwater disaster. The first moratorium on {yootooltip title=[offshore drilling]} offshore drilling: perfuração marítima, em alto-mar {/yootooltip} became law in the early 1980s and, after the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989 (see interview, below), President George H.W. Bush extended it. Unfortunately, his “oil-friendly” son, President George W. Bush, began to relax it. It was expected that Barack Obama would have a different approach, but he also seemed to support offshore drilling. Local state governments were similarly in favor. {yootooltip title=[This was certainly the case]} this was certainly the case: foi assim com certeza {/yootooltip} in Florida, and one resident, Dave Rauschkolb, was particularly angry about this. Rauschkolb describes himself as “a surfer and owner of three restaurants on the beach in Seaside, Florida” and he came up with the idea of organizing a protest. On February 13th of last year (two months before the “BP Oil Spill”) thousands of Floridians linked hands on beaches around their state in order to “protect” it against offshore drilling. The “Hands Across the Sand” movement was born.

The Deepwater {yootooltip title=[oil rig]} oil rig: plataforma {/yootooltip} explosion (in which 11 people died) and its dramatic ecological impact on the Gulf Coast shoreline {yootooltip title=[increased awareness]} increased awareness: aumentaram a conscientização {/yootooltip} of the whole energy question. The Hands Across the Sand group therefore decided to organize more protests in the United States and around the world on June 26th (2010). John Weber (see interview) who, like Dave Rauschkolb, is also a member of another environmental campaign, Surfrider, says that “it ended up having almost 900 different events around the world and at least 100,000 people participated in the United States.”

Yet the horrors of the Deepwater disaster haven’t yet convinced all Americans that they need to think again about energy. Sarah Palin, the controversial former Governor of Alaska (the state where the Exxon Valdez spill took place), continues {yootooltip title=[to chant]} to chant: cantar em coro {/yootooltip} “Drill, Baby, Drill!” But at least President Obama appears to have understood the problem, even if John Weber describes his position as “{yootooltip title=[disappointing]} disappointing: deludente {/yootooltip}”.

{yoogallery src=[images/stories/galery/materias/ed281/hands] thumb=[polaroid]}

Answer these questions after reading Hands Across the Sand.