Defending the Gulf for the 5th Anniversary of Katrina

Reports from the Defend the Gulf Movie Screenings that happened around the country this weekend are pouring in! From San Francisco to New York to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, people gathered to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Katrina by learning about and taking action to protect the Gulf environment!For instance, in Truro, MA, there was a Defend the Gulf screening that preceded a concert by the Red Stick Ramblers, a Cajun band from Louisiana. In New Mexico, they added some red chile spice to the gumbo at the event and had an excellent evening. Organizers in Durham, NC held their event at a local hang out called The Pinhook and raised over $250 for GRN on a night filled with movies, music, comedy, and even a demonstration of how dispersants affect the oil in the Gulf. Some of the reports are pasted below.The films folks watched were an interesting and exciting mix of perspectives on the challenges facing the Gulf and what we can do to address them. The screenings were the world premiere of Jeremy Craig’s Terrebonne, which gives a sense of family life in the swamp and shows the beauty of the area. The heartwrenching home by Matt Faust and The Human Cost by Ed Houlub and Christian Roseland demonstrated the impact of wetlands loss and hurricanes on the people of the Gulf. GRN’s Gulf Tides series provides a regularly updated chronological look at the BP oil drilling disaster as it continues to unfold, and Walter Williams’ mockumentary pushes the oil companies to pay their fair share for coastal restoration. Thanks to all who contributed to the Defend the Gulf series, and, of course, to our editor extraordinaire, Gino Kalkanoglu, at NOLA Image Works.The people who gathered to watch these movies, learn more about the situation in the Gulf, and take action to restore the Gulf give me hope for our future. It will take years of work to hold BP accountable, understand the full impacts of the BP disaster and restore the Gulf, make our communities whole, and ensure something like this never happens again. And, of course, we were already fighting hard to restore the wetlands.The nationwide outcry that the Defend the Gulf movie screening events helped continue to build will be crucial to saving the Gulf. A huge thank you goes out to all the event hosts and to those that that made it out to a screening in their community.Check out a few examples of reports from our hosts!Sandra in Albany, NYWe had 18 people in our living room in Albany, NY. All friends – 100% turnout, which I wasn’t expecting. People really liked having an environmental cause as the theme and were totally cooperative about stopping chatting and socializing to start the film up. One friend emailed me afterward:Thanks for a wonderful evening on Friday. You did a superb job hostessing. The food and company were terrific. It was nice to have the chance to see everyone but it was especially nice to have a focus on the evening. Your timing for the cause was perfect.We served gumbo and bread pudding, both of which were a big hit. One person signed up as a sustainer, and 11 people bought raffle tickets. I think everyone was glad to learn that there is an organization GRN out there fighting for the cause.Shannon in Durham, NCI am so happy this morning after last night’s fundraiser and movie screening for the GRN. Allyn, co-organizer, has the donations and raffle ticket money to be sent to you – I’m not sure of the exact amount, but I think it’s somewhere around $160 or so! (Editor’s note: it was actually over $250)We had our event at The Pinhook, a local hangout in downtown Durham – they opened on a Sunday especially for this event (they are normally closed Sundays). Our event was really special:Interspersed with the video clips we had entertainment by members of D-town Brass doing NOLA standards, Jay Cartwright played some solo accordian and sang,artist Jim Kellough did a funny big oil vs. people of Louisiana one-man performance, and best of all, UNC professor Richard McLaughlin brought members of his research team and a big fish tank and did a wonderful presentation on how chemical dispersents react when mixed with oil and salt water (okay so we’re hiding the oil beneath the surface – great….). You can watch you tube clip of the demo here: we had an awesome drum circle – lots of participation all around, many good questions asked and thankfully many educated guests to answer the questions…. We really enjoyed the video and learned a bit more about the long-term challenges that the Gulf region faces. I think our attendence for the evening was around 50 folks. I had hoped we’d raise $500, but we are happy with the turn-out and hope the event generates interest in the GRN. We’ll send some pics when our friends send them to us!Che in Coupeville, WAWe had about 30 people at the Coupeville, WA Library. Pretty good for a Sunday night on our Island. I didn’t get too many pictures – probably should have asked someone else to take pictures! We had alot of interest at the discussion time – I think people would’ve stayed longer if it hadn’t been so late! Spent about 20 minutes after the event talking to individuals as they filled out the forms. Hope all of the other events were great!!

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