Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.
The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges river, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect. Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent.
And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?
Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.
Learn in two minutes about how Spectra and ConEd plan to bring fracked gas, laced with radon, into New York via a new explosive, high pressure pipeline. This is bad for the environment and bad for New Yorkers.
To learn more, listen to what a former NYC environmental commissioner said about gas and radon.
After serving 10 days of her 15-day sentence for trespassing during a protest against fracking, activist Sandra Steingraber was released from the Schuyler County jail last week in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The day before she was imprisoned, she talked with Bill about her fight to stop fracking and the release of toxins contaminating our air, water and food.
Steingraber had been arrested along with nine other protesters on March 18 for blocking the entrance to the Inergy natural gas facility to protest “the industrialization of the Finger Lakes.” After refusing to pay a fine, Steingraber and two other members of the “Seneca Lake 12″ received 15-day sentences.
In this exclusive video, watch Steingraber’s supporters greet her with flowers, cheers and song as she is released from jail. An emotional Steingraber tells the crowd: “I would do it again in a minute. …Being new to civil disobedience, I’m still learning about its power and its limitations… But I know this: all I had to do is sit in a six-by-seven-foot steel box in an orange jumpsuit and be mildly miserable, but the real power of it is to be able to shine a spotlight on the problem.”
The Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group conducted independent tests on the air and water from Lake Conway in response to the Exxon tar sands oil spill, and presented the findings during a Townhall gathering in Mayflower, Arkansas this week. Residents were alarmed by what they heard.
John Hammons lives near an area known as "The Cove," a body of water sitting across from Lake Conway in Mayflower.
"We can smell it. So I know it's there," Hammons said, who is concerned about his three children and wife, who is seven months pregnant.
"She's broken out in hives, had nose bleeds, (and) respiratory problems," he explained.
The Hammons were among a group of concerned people in the area who met for the town hall meeting.
Chemist Wilma Subra said ExxonMobil is being attentive to those inside the Northwoods subdivision, where thousands of gallons of heavy crude oil spilled nearly one month ago, but others in the area have suffered with little attention.
"There's a population all around that's been made very, very sick by the emissions," Subra said.
To evaluate the situation, Subra independently analyzed air and water data captured from the Lake Conway area, claiming the carcinogen Benzene is present in the region.
While Exxon denies the claims, State health officials are saying the same thing as Exxon -- that "all air quality tests returned safe levels for people in the area."
Yet Subra's claims were echoed by Scott Smith of OPFLEX Solutions, a company that offers solutions for absorbing oil. Smith's preliminary findings indicate the presence of tar sands oil in Lake Conway, both in "the cove" of Lake Conway and in the larger lake beyond the cove.
In 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning animator Mark Fiore created this humorous and poignant take on the BP oil spill.
Three years ago this week, a disastrous oil spill began in the Gulf of Mexico, eventually hemorrhaging 210 million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude into the water. Now the media has moved on and public anger has cooled, but the full extent of the damage is finally coming out—and it’s clear that the spill was even worse than we thought.
"It’s as safe as Dawn dishwashing liquid.” That’s what Jamie Griffin says the BP man told her about the smelly, rainbow-streaked gunk coating the floor of the “floating hotel” where Griffin was feeding hundreds of cleanup workers during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently, the workers were tracking the gunk inside on their boots. Griffin, as chief cook and maid, was trying to clean it. But even boiling water didn’t work.
“The BP representative said, ‘Jamie, just mop it like you’d mop any other dirty floor,’” Griffin recalls in her Louisiana drawl.
Griffin did as she was told: “I tried Pine-Sol, bleach, I even tried Dawn on those floors.” As she scrubbed, the mix of cleanser and gunk occasionally splashed onto her arms and face.
Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.
Then things got much worse.
Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”
We already knew that BP had lied about how much oil had gushed into the Gulf (210 million gallons, according to government estimates) , as lying to Congress was one of the 14 elonies to which BP pleaded guilty last year in a legal settlement with the DOJ. What is now finally coming to light thanks to an anonymous whistleblower, is how BP managed to hide such a massive amount of oil from the public, and the media.
They have five times the amount of coal, gas and oil that is safe to burn -- and they are planning on burning it all. Left to their own devices, they'll push us past the brink of cataclysmic disaster -- life as we know it will be irrevocably altered forever. Unless we rise up and fight back.
Do The Math chronicles follows the climate crusader Bill McKibben as he works with a rising global movement in a David-vs-Goliath fight to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.
This growing groundswell of climate activists is going after the fossil fuel industry directly, energizing a movement like the ones that overturned the great immoral institutions of the past century, such as Apartheid in South Africa. The film follows people who are putting their bodies on the line the Keystone XL Pipeline and leading universities and institutions to divest in the corporate polluters hellbent on burning fossil fuels no matter the cost.
The film also features a veritable who's who of the climate movement including Dr. James Hansen (Director, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies), Naomi Klein (Author, The Shock Doctrine), Lester Brown (President, Earth Policy Institute), Michael Brune (Executive Director, Sierra Club), Majora Carter (Founder, Sustainable South Bronx), Jessy Tolkan (Co-Executive Director of Citizen Engagement Laboratory), Phil Radford (Executive Director of Greenpeace), James Gustave Speth (Co-Founder of Natural Resources Defense Council), Mike Tidwell (Executive Director, CCAN), Van Jones (CNN Correspondent & Author, The Green Collar Economy), Bobby Kennedy Jr. (President, Waterkeeper Alliance ), among others.
The Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill continues to be the source of questions about the long-term health, environmental and financial consequences for residents in a town the state's attorney general described as a scene out of "The Walking Dead."
And even as Exxon was cleans up after its tar-sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas on Wednesday -- and threatening to have reporters arrested -- it spilled an unknown amount of unknown chemicals, possibly hydrogen sulfide and cancer-causing benzene during an accident at the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana.
ExxonMobil first reported releasing 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene, a volatile organic carbon compound known to cause cancer, because those amounts are the minimum required for reporting, [Coast Guard Petty Officer Jason] Screws said. But the company has since said it is unsure exactly what chemicals were involved or how much may have been released, he said.
The spill occurred as a result of a break in a pipeline connecting a drum used to store “liquid flare condensate,” with a flare on the refinery site, Screws said. He said the company measured 160 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide and 2 parts per million of benzene in the air at the site of the spill, but has not seen similar readings at the plant’s fence line or in the neighboring community.
"We haven't told the refinery to shut down because we haven't any cause for a shutdown," Zeteza said. "We've no indication that this is dangerous."
The "safety" record of the Louisiana refinery sounds horrid and includes a 36-barrel spill in January, and 10 incidents in which it violated the pollution limits, including an outage caused by Hurricane Isaac during the last 6 months of 2012.
Not too surprising, but the size of the Exxon tar sands disaster in Arkansas grew by thousands of barrels on Friday.
Since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured and leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas suburb a week ago, the company has maintained that only "a few thousand barrels" spilled at the site.
"We've had no reason to change that at this stage," Exxon spokesman Charles Engelmann told InsideClimate News on Friday.
Reports posted online by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate the spill even higher—at 4,000 to 7,000 barrels—as much as 40 percent more.
Austin Vela, the EPA spokesman at the spill site, said the agency stands by its 4,000 to 7,000 barrel estimate. When asked why those higher numbers aren't being included in the daily press releases issued by the joint command of the cleanup operation, Vela did not respond. The joint command includes five EPA employees as well as ExxonMobil officials.
An update to the article notes that after it was published, Exxon Mobil updated the joint command incident report for Friday, and it now states that approximately 5,000 barrels of oil spilled in Mayflower.
For some perspective on the size of this mess, the report notes that if the EPA's highest estimate of 7,000 barrels is correct, that would make this spill about one-third the size of the Enbridge spill in Michigan's 2010 dilbit disaster.
Exxon is still keeping tight control of the command center even though the EPA is the designated on-scene coordinator. An employee of the oil giant threatened to have InsideClimate News reporter Lisa Song with arrested after she went to the command center in an effort to contact the EPA and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) employees who are working there.
The Bakken oil boom in North Dakota has brought much-needed jobs and economic development to the region. But the fast pace of the drilling has caused many problems, including industrial-scale impacts on Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the land surrounding it.
"A Boom With No Boundaries" explores how one of America's 59 national parks is already being affected by the pollution, traffic, and noise associated with oil and gas drilling.
Mayflower Police Chief Robert Satkowski said that the evacuations will remain in effect over-night. The chief also stated that it's too early to say how much oil spilled, but crews have prevented it from getting into Lake Conway. That was a big concern all day; the work ahead will focus on clean-up around the affected areas in town.
Chief of Police Bob Satkowski. He confirmed to Channel 7 News that the Northwoods subdivision on Highway 89 was evacuated because of health risks from the crude oil fumes and possible fires should any sparks reach the oil.
Faulkner County Judge Alan Dodson said in a LIVE interview on Channel 7 News at 6:00 that the oil flowed into the storm drain system, a drainage ditch, under Highway 365 and under Interstate 40. Emergency responders managed to stop the flow at all locations.
They are now working to strengthen the earthen dams they have set up to ensure the oil does not begin moving again. Once that is done, they will create an underflow culvert that will allow water to drain through without releasing the oil into Lake Conway and then they will begin the cleanup process.
A Hazmat team from the Office of Emergency Management is on site. They said that a lot of residual oil flowed down Starlight Road - one of two main streets in the subdivision.
The spill prompted evacuations as clean-up crews tackled some drainage areas in town where the oil flowed to. Along Highway 89 across from Lake Conway, crews sealed off two pipes under the road to keep oil from flowing from a city drainage pond into the lake.
An apparent breach in the Pegasus pipeline occurred late Friday afternoon. The pipeline has been shut off and crews are working to contain the spill.
Exxon Mobil said it's investigating the cause and working with local authorities in clean-up efforts. The company added that the breach was in a pipeline that originates in Illinois and carries tar sands oil to the Texas Gulf Coast.
In 2009, Exxon modified the capacity of the Pegasus pipeline, increasing the capacity to transport Canadian tar sands oil by 50 percent, or about 30,000 barrels per day. In a 2012 report, Bloomberg News reported the pipeline daily capacity to be 96,000 barrels of oil per day.
Operational enhancements, such as new leak detection technology, were also reported to be "incorporated to support ExxonMobil Pipeline Company’s primary focus on operating its pipelines in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."
"The expansion of the Pegasus Pipeline is another example of how ExxonMobil Pipeline Company is continuing to develop new projects that provide valued services and enhance supply security," said Gary Pruessing, president, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company.
The Pegasus Pipeline was down for a week of maintenance in mid-December of 2012, possibly a starting point for determining what caused Friday's spill.
From Superstorm Sandy to soaring temperatures in Australia, ongoing drought that has parched more than 60% of the U.S., and flooding from hurricanes around the world, we are experiencing the consequences of our carbon pollution now. We are paying the cost of these dirty weather disasters and other climate impacts through taxes, medical bills, and insurance rates (to name just a few). It’s past time to talk about the real cost of carbon pollution and to take action so that the polluters are paying their fair share.
Carbon pollution is not only disrupting our lives, it’s hitting our wallets. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts shows how, laying out the billion-dollar connection between fossil-fuel energy and dirty weather events like Superstorm Sandy caused by carbon pollution.
In the spirit of moving forward to solve the climate crisis, it’s time to jump-start a real carbon conversation.