A.D. BP

I just want to go on record to say I’m as horrified and dismayed by the BP oil spill as anyone. I just haven’t had anything brilliant to say about it. Like everyone else, I’ve been a helpless witness to this unfolding disaster.

At first, I was led to believe that the spill wasn’t anything like the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdex spill. Unlike that event, which dumped almost 11 million gallons of oil into the water extremely close to the shore, the BP spill was "only" releasing 40,000 gallons a day from over 40 miles from shore. The implication was that there would be much more dispersal of the lesser volumes of oil into much larger quantities of ocean water.

But now it’s coming out that initial reports of how much oil was being released into the war were vastly under-estimated. Now we’re seeing the oil coming ashore, and those heartbreaking, all-too-familiar images of oil-saturated birds and water-life are being broadcast to our television screens. Now the tragic truth is becoming clearer.

The ironies for the Gulf Coast are obvious. Just as the region (in some ways) is emerging from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina (and Rita), now this. There are already reports of tourists canceling trips to the region — and to New Orleans in particular — for fear of unsightly beaches and contaminated seafood.

There’s a larger question of how a disaster like this is a direct result of our country’s — our world’s — insatiable need for oil. That’s something we all need to think about it. In the meantime, below is a list of organizations which are working to alleviate the effects of the oil spill. Some have even changed or adapted their focus from post-Katrina relief to this new ongoing disaster. Please consider donating something to their efforts while we continue to hope that a solution to the leak is found.

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EARTH 2100 coverage

Earth 2100 — TONIGHT.

Earth 2100

Earth 2100 — ABC next Tuesday

Earth 2100When ABC News’s Documentary Group approached me last fall to collaborate on a motion comic for an upcoming primetime show about climate change called Earth 2100, I was excited. Through an imagined future scenario — intermixed with interviews with scientists, a global summit simulation, and user-generated videos — the two-hour special explores the effects of catastrophic climate change, and educates viewers on possible solutions. Earth 2100 will air nationwide next Tuesday, June 2, from 9–11pm. (Here’s a promo.)

Earth 2100’s producers asked me (and my new studio Dojo Graphics) to create characters and scenarios that would put a human face on the hot-button issue. For me, this was a perfect match. Throughout my cartooning career (A.D., Titans of Finance, A Few Perfect Hours, and American Splendor), I’ve been drawn to documentary-style storytelling. And for my wife and collaborative partner Sari Wilson, this was an opportunity to use her strengths as a fiction writer and comics scripter to breathe life into my concepts and characters.
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