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On this day in 2010: BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill



Three years ago today, the world experienced the largest oil spill in history, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, releasing 5m barrels of oil into the surrounding environment.

One year later, a US court found the British oil giant guilty of negligence. It was claimed that the quality of its rig wasn’t sufficient, and its safety measures were lacking.

BP was told to pay a $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion) criminal fine and shelled out $17.6 billion (£11.6 billion) in civil claims.

We expressed doubts about these fines at the time. Although they might have seemed considerable, they represented a minor percentage of the company’s huge profits.

Did the fines make up for the huge social and environmental impact of the spill? Let’s look at its impact.

Local Gulf Coast residents have campaigned tirelessly for BP to be fully accountable for its actions. Photo: Andrew Whitehurst/Gulf Restoration Network

The marine habitat was severely damaged and many species of birds, fish, crustaceans, mammals, including 26 endangered species like turtles and whale shark, died after being suffocated by the spilt oil.

Images of seabirds covered in petroleum sadly became symbols of the event.

The environmental effects of the spill are still visible today, while the long-term effects are as yet unknown, as oil can affect the marine and human ecosystem by staying in the food chain for decades.

Eleven workers lost their lives in the explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to pay compensation, though it is difficult to image a life may ever have a specific price.

Impacted residents and workers are still facing consequences on their own health, such as liver and kidney damage and throat irritation, caused by toxic chemicals released during the spill. Again, if they have long-term health effects, it will only be revealed in the future.

The spill also had a huge impact on the economy. While BP faced huge losses, the local economy struggled to restart, too.

Fisheries experienced difficult times as the fish population strongly declined; the tourism sector faced a deep crisis.

The US Travel Association quantified $23 billion losses over three years in the tourism industry, where about 400,000 jobs are generated and $34 billion profits are made every year. Housing sales decreased significantly as well.

In an effort to rebuild trust, BP has often announced financial help to boost tourism in the affected areas.

Just last week, three Gulf Coast residents travelled to the UK to address BP’s shareholders. “Clean-up workers, fishing families, researchers, and – most alarming – children, continue to show adverse, long-term health impacts from BP’s application of dispersant, burning of oil, and lack of proper safety procedures”, South Louisiana resident Drew Landry said.

Nevertheless, the company’s PR machine is working tirelessly, with BP saying recently that the spill was not only its fault, and that it is also helping to restore the economy in the area.

So, is the compensation enough for all the damage that has been done? Probably not. The long-term adverse health and environmental effects are still unknown and immeasurable – though are likely to be severe.

Have BP and others in the oil industry learnt their lessons in the three years since?

Considering the recent big oil spill in Arkansas by Exxon Mobil, and Barack Obama’s hesitations over the Keystone XL pipeline plan, there is evidence to suggest they haven’t.

The question is, how many more environmental catastrophes are we going to have to put up with before we truly commit to a clean, renewable, safe energy future?

Further reading:

Gulf Coast residents target BP shareholders over impact of 2010 disaster

Gulf of Mexico oil spill was not just our fault, says BP

BP faces £11bn civil fine over Deepwater Horizon misdeeds

BP to pay under 2% of annual profits in Deepwater Horizon fines

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy


Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands



Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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