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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

No Drills, No Spills


Illustration by S.K.

Six months ago the country watched in horror as millions of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico. Not since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 dumped 250,000 barrels of crude oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska had there been seen such an ecological disaster in United States territory. On Wednesday, October 20 from 10AM to 2PM, MassPIRG held a photo exhibit about the Gulf oil spill and the effects of the disaster.

“Eleven people were killed and 200 million barrels of oil were spilled into the ocean,” Molly Golish, a member of MassPIRG explained. The exhibit provided information about how to help displaced workers and ways to advocate for change.

This is part of MassPIRG’s Earth Environmental Ocean Sciences or EEOS program. According to MassPIRG’s No Drill No Spill coordinator, Stephanie Fletcher, “We hold various events throughout the year to educate students.”

MassPIRG has launched a petition drive and telephone campaign in order to demand that president Obama put a moratorium on off-shore drilling and they have already collected more then 200 signatures.

Fletcher explained that MassPIRG encourages students to become politically active. “MassPIRG has several volunteer opportunities. Students also can circulate petitions and merge them with ours. We also encourage faculty participation and academic scholars to work on these issues.”

Fletcher also mentioned that a grad student who has done research on the aftermath of the oil spill will be giving a lecture on his findings in about a week’s time.

Besides the ecological effects of the oil spill, the economic effects have been felt by local fishermen, who have lost their livelihood. It is important to ensure that such a disaster never happens again and MassPIRG wants students to know methods currently being explored for clean-up options. The event featured games that explained how hair is being used to help. Fletcher explained that these games serve to show students the effects of oil spills and educate them about clean-up efforts.

According to a press release from MassPIRG, Phil McCrory, a hair stylist, had the idea of using hair to clean up oil spills when he noticed that sea otters’ hair in Prince William Sound seemed to become saturated with oil during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. MatterOfTrust.org urges hair salons and pet groomers to donate hair for this purpose.

This is an issue that we will continue to feel the effects of for decades to come. The full extent of the damage is still not known and MassPIRG is urging students to take notice. What affects any part of the planet will eventually affect us.