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HEAL THE OCEANS BENEFIT ROCKS SANTA BARBARA
MICHAEL FRANTI SPEARHEADS ALL STAR BILL
DREW ATTENTION TO URGENT SOUTH COAST ISSUES
Santa Barbara, CA
Michael Franti and his band, Spearhead, headlined a dynamite benefit
concert for various environmental
organizations lead by Heal the
Ocean this weekend. Adding to the
festivities was a special guest
appearance by Jack Johnson.
Michael is a long time political activist, using his
musical talents to support
anti-racist, anti-police brutality and anti-war
organizing around the country.
Other fantastic acts included the Animal
Liberation Orchestra and multimedia artist Mathew McAvene, who
provided awesome puppets in the
form of fish, jellyfish, and assorted
creatures of the sea. Opening was
the Culver City Dub
The benefit was organized under the inspiring moniker Solutions for
Dreamers. It would be impossible,
in a brief news item such as this, to
do justice to the many fine
performers and outstanding activists who
contributed to this event. Please
surf the websits and educate yourself
on the fine work being done by http://www.healtheocean.org/ and
reward yourself by cruising over to the
websites which are listed at
Heal the Oceans believes that the ocean can no longer be
used as a
dump. Attacking all sources of
ocean pollution, the group has an
interesting take on activism:
instead of lobbying the government for
action on ocean-pollution issues,
they study the problem ourselves and
recommend practical solutions.
They recently scored a major victory in the campaign to stop
dumping of homeowner waste into the
ocean. They succeeded in getting
a district of 81 homes to
change their method of waste management.
This will remove septic systems from seven miles of
coastline in the
Barbara south coast.
Other organizations represented at the event include the
IMC spoke to Shiva Polefka, EDC Marine
Environmental Analyst, who
described numerous issues such as the
Liquified Natural Gas projects
which the energy companies are striving
to plant off the southern California coast.
According to the EDC
website, the proposed Cabrillo Port would be moored off Malibu and
for at least 40 years and would have no firm expiration date
and the floating factory terminal
could remain moored offshore for
decades longer. This raises serious
environmental concerns, as LNG is
just a continuation of fossil fuels
dependency with commensurate
impact on global warming and
disruption of marine ecosystems.
The LNG factory terminal threatens one of the world’s
most productive ecosystems -The
Channel Islands National Park and
Marine Sanctuary. Cabrillo
Port would be sited just
sanctuary, resulting in serious
impacts which may be irreversible.
Other projects of EDC include work with the Mixtec
worker community - Central Coast Envionmental Health Project.
These workers, many of whom labor under the spectre of deportation,
are often subject to levels of
pesticides which are intolerable. Due to
their technical immigration status,
they are subjected to greater
pressure to accept substandard
working conditions and heightened
risks to their health and well
being. EDC has trained trainers who are
conversant in both Spanish and Mixtec so that workers will be aware of
the risks and in a position to
insist on safer workplace practices.
Shiva was also aware of recent developments in the ongoing
Naval sonar war games and its impact on
marine life. Despite efforts
via the California Coastal
Commission and a coalition of activist
organizations, the Navy appears to
be prepared to completely disregard
the recommended stipulations to
reduce the impact of sonar on marine
mammals. In other words, the
military wants to use sonar round the
will, with no mitigation; for whales and dolphins, this means
pure hell, disrupting their own
natural sonar navigation and possibly
endangering the viability of whole
tribes of marine mammals.
This point was brought home by a Nils
Larson documentary, filmed
entirely underwater, in which the
soundtrack was increased until
everyone in the audience was forced
to cover their ears. This hellish
racket is what Naval sonar sounds
like to the whales and dolphins.
Despite the serious issues at hand, the festival focused on
light and affinity for the awesome
oceans on this planet and the
inhabitants therein. As I remarked
to my companion, " Soy una
del mar, tu es una creatura del mar, todos criaturas del mar."
I am a creature of the sea, you are a creature of the sea, we are all
creatures of the sea.
As this shared planet grows more crowded, it is inspiring
that we can
still bond in celebrations such as
this one, brought to you by Jacob Tell
Records, Simple Shoes, and the organizing efforts of Heal
the Oceans. Be sure to check
out the compilation CD and the websites
of these dynamic organizations.
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