Manatees helping manatees

12 06 2010

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Although the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil blowout is in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Florida, residents of the state’s eastern coast are taking notice as well. Scientists are speculating that in the weeks to come, predominant ocean currents could carry oil, with its slicks and and sheens and tar mats and balls, through the Keys, around the peninsula, and up the Atlantic seaboard well beyond the Sunshine State’s shores.

One Florida group is taking a novel approach to protesting BP’s environmental destruction and subsequent efforts to spin their way out of the public opinion doghouse. The Brevard County Manatees, members of the Class A Florida State League and affiliates of the major league Milwaukee Brewers, play their home games at Space Coast Stadium (above) in Viera, Fla., about 40 miles east of Orlando and just north of Melbourne, midway along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Recognizing the potential impact of the oil on their community, the Manatees have decided, in their own unique way, to take a symbolic stand.

In [light] of recent events regarding the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill of the Gulf Coast of the United States, the Brevard County Manatees have announced that the club will be officially changing the name of “batting practice” or “BP” for short to “hitting rehearsal”.

“As an organization we feel that changing the term ‘batting practice’ and ‘BP’ to ‘hitting rehearsal’ shows that we are deeply concerned and hurt by the disaster on the Gulf Coast,” Manatees General Manager Kyle Smith said.

“We hope to send a message to the community that we are definitely worried with the pollution that is in the waters off the Gulf Coast and its potential impact on the beaches here in Brevard County.”

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, the Manatees’ gesture is insignificant. Certainly the article’s commenters seem particularly strident in their insistence that the team’s protest is a tempest in a teapot — no doubt many of them still proudly display their “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” bumper stickers (which, believe it or not, I still see occasionally as I drive around the state). But at a time when all Floridians (or at least all those still a safe distance from the abyss of right-wing insanity) are keeping a wary eye on the Gulf and the BP fiasco has completely reversed their earlier solid support of offshore drilling, any effort to draw public attention to the true perpetrators of this quite unnatural disaster can help offset the blame game from the Right, who hypocritically point their gnarled fingers at the White House or anyone else with a “D” after his or her name in a desperate attempt to shield their oil baron pals — and themselves — from accountability for this crime against our planet.

And maybe by this small — you might even say minor — act, the Brevard County Manatees can help protect their gentle, seafaring namesakes from the ghastly fate that already has befallen so many other creatures.

(cross-posted at Alan Colmes’ Liberaland)




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