Athletes Tour Gulf Coast to See Impacts of BP Oil Spill
On July 13, as the devastating consequences of the BP Oil Disaster continued to unfold, a group of athletes ranging from NFL to NHL stars to Olympic medalists joined Sierra Club activists in coastal Louisiana to tour the damage, voice their support for Gulf Coast communities, and share with their fans what they saw. Listen to some of what they had to say on this video.
Pictured at top of post (front row, l-r) Leilani Munter, NASCAR/ARCA driver; Loree Smith, 2008 track & field Summer Olympian; Stacey Cook, 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympian and member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team; Krista Bradford Ference, X-Games snowboarder; Chanda Rubin, former World #6-ranked tennis player; Mike Richter, New York Rangers goalie and 3-time Winter Olympian; Andrew Ference of the NHL's Boston Bruins; (back row, l-r) Mike Alstott of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Ovie Mughelli of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons; Gary Morgan, 1988 Summer Olympian and holder of 17 national track & field titles.
Above, Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. Below, an oiled pelican struggles to survive.
Highlighting the connection between sports, human health, and a clean environment, the athletes discussed why we need to fully clean up the Gulf Coast and move the country toward clean energy to ensure that a disaster like this never happens again.
"Seeing this firsthand, I was struck by the vastness of the problem," said Richter. "As athletes we understand the connection between the environment and health. We want people to realize this isn't just about the environment—it's about people, health, economy, and quality of life. This is not just a Gulf Coast problem; it's everyone's concern. It's not a 'someday' issue; it's something we have to deal with now."
"It's time to wake up and smell the oil," said Bradford Ference. "We have an opportunity through this immense disaster to create new renewable energy jobs and educate people about the dangers of offshore drilling."
"This disaster should serve as the billboard for discovering new forms of renewable energy," said Mughelli, pointing out oiled grasses above, and talking with reporters below.
"Seeing the grass and birds covered in oil and smelling the oil in the air was like experiencing a symptom of a greater worldwide problem," said Ference. "Now we need the guts and the willpower to actually do it."
Below, a photo of oiled swamp grasses taken during the athletes' boat tour.
Let President Obama know that you oppose more offshore oil drilling, and learn how you can get involved in the Sierra Club's efforts to clean up the Gulf Coast and help America move beyond oil toward a clean energy future.