SAN FRANCISCO, California - June 7 - The sixth episode of the Sierra Club's television series, which premieres Thursday, tells the story of an unlikely coalition in southern Mississippi that has banded together to fight plans to drill in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Across the country the oil and gas industry is pressuring lawmakers to lift coastal protections to allow destructive offshore drilling, but Mississippians have fought back in favor of a lasting tourism industry and pristine beaches. Filming of the episode was cut short last August when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, and now, at the start of another hurricane season, comes the story of these residents who don't want to see their state's most valued natural treasure put at risk by oil and gas development.
"Storm in the Gulf," episode six of Sierra Club Chronicles, will air Thursday, June 8 at 8:30 PM EST/PST and again on June 22 on Link TV and is available for viewing and download at www.sierraclubtv.org
The episode follows a coalition of unlikely allies, including businessmen, real estate developers, fishermen, Democrats and lifelong Republicans, a third-generation charter boat captain and a National Park Ranger who's risking his career to speak out. These allies are fighting drilling on the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a necklace of pristine barrier islands off the coast of Mississippi.
"Never has there been an issue that has united coastal residents and ignited passions as has the threat of offshore oil and gas drilling to our beloved barrier islands," explained Louie Miller; state director for the Sierra Club in Mississippi.
Through a manipulation of an Appropriations Bill passed in Congress last April, a clandestine clause was added to the bill that allowed Republican Governor (and former RNC Chairman) Haley Barbour to pave the way for oil and gas industry to start drilling. The residents profiled in "Storm in the Gulf" are just a few of the growing thousands of Mississippi coast dwellers who have banded together to expose and shame Governor Barbour for selling the state’s most valued natural treasure to oil and natural gas companies for a series of campaign contributions and under the guise of national security and responsible energy policy.
As our cameras were there filming this episode, the Category 5 Hurricane Katrina was within days of hitting the Gulf Coast forcing us to pull out. We returned to find massive devastation of land and property but the people were resilient. In fact, the destruction could have been much worse proving that the coalition was on target in stating the value of the barrier islands for the hurricane protection they provide. Now, their fight goes on as they rebuild their lives and continue to fight to protect the islands.
Sierra Club Chronicles is a monthly series by award-winning filmmaker Robert Greenwald ("Outfoxed," "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price"). Produced by Greenwald’s Brave New Films in association with Sierra Club Productions, and hosted by Daryl Hannah, the series captures seven David vs. Goliath stories: the dramatic efforts of committed individuals across the country working to protect the health of their environment and communities.
The next and final episode, "Rats to Roses," which airs July 13 and 17, covers "community gardens" in some of the most diverse and economically challenged parts of New York City. There were some 800 of these gardens, a number which has dwindled to 200 -- most of which were once empty lots full of weeds, trash and graffiti, but local residents got together to plant flowers, foliage, and, in many cases, to grow vegetables and fruits used to feed the needy. The episode chronicles a multi-year time arc of the threat and loss of the community gardens in New York -- but also the commitment and resilience of community organizers. Charles Louis founder of the Euclid 500 Gardens, says "these gardens have become community centers for people with nowhere else to go."
Summaries of all seven episodes and tips for planning a house party are available at www.sierraclubtv.org.
Link TV is on DIRECTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410. Emmy Award winner Molly O'Brien co-executive produces and Richard Ray Pérez serves as director and supervising producer. Kim Haddow and Adrienne Bramhall oversee the production for Sierra Club.
Sierra Club Chronicles is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.
About Sierra Club Productions
Emmy Award-winning Sierra Club Productions is a division of the Sierra Club, which is the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in America, with more than 750,000 members nationwide. Sierra Club Productions develops and produces dramatic and
non-fiction programming for television and film that reflects the
Sierra Club belief that every person is connected to, inspired by and responsible for the natural world. (www.sierraclub.org/scp)
About Brave New Films
Brave New Films is the new media company from Robert Greenwald, the award-winning producer of over 60 films, and the director of the 2 recent documentaries, "Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price" and "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." A pioneer in 21st century activism, Greenwald's films provide the centerpiece for guerilla campaigns designed to break through noisy news cycles. By utilizing the latest technologies, collaborating with numerous activist groups, and building a growing network of dedicated volunteer field producers, Brave New Films is producing and distributing entertaining and engaging films, television, radio, music, books and blogs outside the corporate system, building essential media infrastructure for long-term social progress.
About Link TV
Link TV is a non-commercial, independent television network available in more than 26 million U.S. homes on DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410. The 24-hour programming is a mix of documentaries, international news, foreign films and the best of World Music. The network recently received the first satellite-only Peabody Award for MOSAIC: World News from the Middle East, a daily news show featuring English translations of national television reports from more than 24 countries in the Middle East. Select Link TV programs are streamed on the Internet at www.linktv.org. Link TV is operated by Link Media, Inc., a California non-profit organization, with production studios in San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC.