At the New Orleans Earth Day Festival, April 17, LABB sponsored two panels at the “Solutions to the Spill” tent with the help of Tulane students to discuss possible pathways forward and solutions to the current Gulf oil spill crisis.
Here’s a recap of the discussions from one of the coordinators, Cate Irvin:
During the first panel, many relevant issues were brought up that have often been ignored or misrepresented – including the health repercussions experienced by local communities as a result of the oil spill and cleanup actions, and the unknown state of Gulf seafood due to a lack of rigorous testing. This panel focused on the short-term pathways that could lead to longer-term changes; they emphatically pushed for more community participation in the policy decision-making process, citing the reintroduction of town hall meetings as one method to organize and solidify a community voice to influence local and national policymakers.
The second panel focused less specifically on the immediate issues facing the Gulf area, and instead at broader changes that need to take place over the next decade in order to create a sustainable region. They emphasized the need to begin the conversion to alternative energy, citing the vast resources Louisiana has at its disposal for this transformation – from solar power and water power potential to the use of urban biomass to power cities. They also emphasized the need for community participation and a revision of the current policy standards that govern the oil industry in Louisiana.
These two panels had very different perspectives on solutions to the current and future problems of the Gulf region, but together they have mapped out a number of possible pathways forward, towards the creation of a more resilient and sustainable area.
Besides the discussion panels, the Solutions to the Spill tent also offered festival-goers a chance to voice their ideas in other ways, including a banner that was set up at the tent. Below are some of the comments people provided. Thanks to everyone who provided input throughout the day!