by Jacquie Ayala, Florida Organizer, Southern Energy Network
Cross-posted from the Southern Energy Network blog.
Young people from Florida International University held an “Oil Spill Black Out” action this Friday to mark the second anniversary of the tragic BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Young people and community members gathered to remember the victims of the oil spill by taking personal pledges to reduce their oil consumption and to demand that we end our nation's addiction to oil.
Since the disaster two years ago, the oil that persists in the Gulf continues to threaten the Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems. Out of this disaster, there is an opportunity to transition Florida, and our country to an economy powered by clean, safe energy. At the campus, the activists called for President Obama and Congress to make clean energy a priority now.
“We are still feeling the effects of the oil spill today, two years later,” said Christina Novaton, Students for Environmental Action President, “and we will feel them for a long time to come. We need our elected leaders to stand up to Big Polluters like the oil companies and end our nation’s addiction to oil. Now is the time.”
Young people took the FIU campus by storm, asking students and community members to sign pledges to reduce their consumption of oil, and to add their footprints to a large black banner with “We Stand With The Gulf” painted in white, which will hang with banners from across the Southeast for the full 86 days the oil spill occurred. The youth activists will be taking it one step further in the coming weeks, when they meet with their elected leaders to deliver the hundreds of personal pledges collected and demand bold action for a clean energy future.
“With the election season already upon us, we want our elected leaders and candidates to know that clean energy is a top priority for the youth vote,” said Alexandra Colby, Vice President of Students for Environmental Action. “We will no longer accept that things like the Gulf Oil Disaster are ‘necessary risks’ for us, and we make sure our elected leaders do something about it.”
This Black Out Action is one of many taking place on college campuses and in communities across the Southeast to highlight the second anniversary of the BP oil drilling disaster and to recognize the ever-growing environmental and economic impacts on communities across the Gulf. Young people are taking bold action across the country to stop these disasters, and now is the time for our elected officials to take a stand with us.