When oil spill expert and democracy activist Riki Ott learned about the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, she decided to volunteer for one month to coach people in coastal communities about what to expect, based on her 20-year experience with the Exxon Valdez disaster. That month turned into one year.
While in the Gulf region, she crisscrossed paths with film producer Bryan Hopkins, who had also spontaneously diverted his life to the Gulf Coast because he wanted to find and tell the tough personal stories of those most impacted by the oil (then) still gushing from the wellhead. Hopkins was big of heart, but low on funds. He gained access to the stories he sought when Louisianans discovered he was sleeping in his car in the summer heat¬¬–-and invited him into their homes and fed him.
Hopkin’s award-winning social justice documentary, Dirty Energy, paints a poignant portrait of the human cost of BP’s calamity and the systematic failure by BP and the U.S. government to effectively and transparently manage the environmental impact––a harrowing repeat of the failed Exxon Valdez oil spill response over two decades earlier. The film suggests government-industry collusion is the norm and that American people are kept intentionally ignorant of the true costs of our oil dependency. The film also questions whether the cure to oil spills––dispersants––may be worse than the harm. Dirty Energy challenges Americans to reassess the risk of offshore oil, our oil dependency in general, and toxic dispersants. It is a call to action.
On May 14, Vashon Theater and Island GreenTec are hosting Riki Ott for a screening of Dirty Energy from 6-8 PM.
During the Q/A session, Ott will also discuss the Ban Toxic Dispersant campaign, the connections between Extreme Energy (offshore oil, tar sands, fracking) and loss of democracy¬¬––and what people can do to improve oil spill planning and response in Puget Sound.
The event is free and donations are welcome.