Are you watching the latest disastrous updates from the Gulf oil spill and wondering what you can do to help? From Lisa Heindel, my good friend in New Orleans, comes the timely answer below. Whether you are native to the region and in a position to volunteer, or like me, stuck in a desert miles away, there are ways in which you can contribute to the effort. With stunning nonchalance from Beyond Petroleum (the company name alone as rich in irony as the tar that is invading our coastal waters) and the memory of an inadequate federal response to Hurricane Katrina still fresh in our collective memory, it behooves the populace to act. This is too large of a problem to ignore and wait for the powers that be to correct. Thanks, Lisa.
In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, we take for granted easy access to fresh fish and seafood. We take for granted that we are home to many species that are reliant on the condition of our coastal waters and wetlands to survive. We take all of this for granted until they are threatened by something that is out of our control.
Over 6,000 square miles of fishing waters have been shut down due to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Stop for a moment and consider that. Over six thousand square miles.
That number will more than likely grow over the coming days since it appears that BP has yet to figure out how to cap the leak that continues to spew oil into the Gulf at this moment.
Not only is this a tragedy for our environment, but 11 workers lost their lives during the initial rig explosion. Many of them were from right here on the West Bank and it makes my heart ache to see posts offering prayers to those who lost loved ones.
I've been watching the Facebook updates from people who live in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. I've read how willing people are to step up and offer help in any way they can, whether it's with the actual clean up or through donations. It's been difficult to separate the real information from the rumors, but this appears to be the most accurate list I can find.
- From the State of Louisiana
To report oil on land and for Community and Volunteer Information, call 1-866-448-5816.
To offer your vessel for service or submit alternative response technology, services or products, call 281-366-5511 or email HorizonSupport@OEGLLC.com
You can register through OilSpillVolunteers.com to volunteer or join a cleanup organization.
The BP Volunteer Hotline has set up numbers if you need to report injured wildlife or damage related to the spill. You can also request volunteer information at 866-448-5816.
The Oiled Wildlife Care Network is providing volunteer information, though help from private citizens is not being requested at this time.
- The Audubon Society is rounding up volunteers here.
- Can't join the clean up? Local t-shirt designer Fleurty Girl is selling the Rescue Me shirt, with all proceeds going to the Audubon Institute's oil spill rescue efforts of marine mammals and sea turtles. Printed with soy inks, no petroleum products were used in printing. You can order shirts here and use discount code RESCUE for free shipping.
The impact this will have on the Gulf Coast environment and economy has the potential to be devastating for many. Please take a moment and help in whatever way you can.