BP Protest Ride 2010
The BP Protest Ride was a 450-mile, round-trip bicycle journey taken in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill Disaster.
Inspired by—and in direct opposition to—marketing schemes where merchants sold petroleum-based products such as “Save the Gulf” rubber bracelets and oil spill condoms, my decidedly non-commercial action aimed to challenge and inspire people to do something about the situation instead of buy something.
I was in graduate school at the time and had to travel from Portland, Oregon to Port Townsend, Washington for a college residency. Normally I would have carpooled but I chose to ride my bike instead so to avoid burning petroleum.
Performing the trip through the blog was a way to broaden the conversation and invite others into the discussion. Some readers wanted to donate money for every mile I rode and a businessman offered to sponsor my trip for $1,000 if I promoted the eco-friendly condominiums he was developing in Canada. I declined all financial offers and purposefully avoided any commercialization so to avoid capitalizing on the disaster. However, that was a mistake because commerce—buying or donating money—is how consumers take part in things.
Had I to do it all over again, I’d have invited other students to join me, taken more time to ride, and said yes to offers of financial support (although to what end I’m unsure). Ultimately, the BP Protest Ride ended up being an interesting personal experience that serves as research and inspiration for future projects.
Location: Oregon and Washington