It’s been over seven weeks, and residents of the Gulf Coast are struggling to survive as crude oil washes up on their beaches, killing birds and marine life, and filling the air with toxic fumes.
Reports of media blackouts, and less-than-accurate estimates about spill size and impact continue; just listen to this interview with documentary film maker James Fox:
Even if you can’t physically make it to the Gulf to lend a hand, here are 10 important ways you can make a difference to those who are on the ground fighting to keep up with this tragedy:
1. Boycott BP
Yes, this catastrophe could have happened to any petroleum company, but no matter which corporation is ultimately at fault, consumers MUST communicate their disapproval with the most powerful weapon they have: their pocketbooks. BP brands to avoid include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, Wild Bean Cafe, and Safeway gas. For more news on the boycott already in progress, visit the Boycott BP page on Facebook.
2. Tell the Government, “Enough is enough!”
The only way to help prevent future disasters it to let our politicians know that off-shore oil drilling is dangerous, and we want it to stop. Sign the Care2 petition telling President Obama to reconsider his plan to expand offshore drilling and invest in clean energy resources instead. It’s always powerful to contact your representatives directly, too. Help Oceana reach its goal to gather 500,000 names on a petition to stop offshore drilling permanently.
3. Shave Your Head
Ok, maybe just trimming off a few inches is enough. Matter of Trust, an ecological charity based in San Francisco, has a hair mat, oil-spill program that uses human hair to produce super-absorbent mats that can be used to clean up messes including oil spills (pet hair works too!).
Since putting out the call for hair to help soak up the BP oil spill, Matter of Trust has collected 400,000 pounds of hair and sent it to addresses along the Gulf Coast, but more is always needed.
4. Purchase Dawn Dishwashing Detergent
If you remember the tragic 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 you likely remember that the chemical composition of Dawn detergent makes it perfect for animal rescue. Purchasing a bottle or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid at your local grocery store gives you two ways to help: a) you can enter the bottle’s activation code at Dawn-Dish.com triggering a $1 donation to wildlife conservation efforts from the Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue Research Center, and b) you can donate your bottle of Dawn directly to the Gulf clean-up efforts through the Facebook page Help Us Help the Gulf Wildlife.
5. Donate Essential Supplies For Volunteers
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, which was a significant workforce in the disastrous Tampa Bay 1993 oil spill and has experienced avian care professionals on-staff desperately needs donations of kennels, towels, gas gift cards, paper towels, and bottled water to assist their avian hospital in treating and rehabilitating wildlife that has been affected by the oil spill.
6. Support Those Saving The Wildlife
The National Wildlife Federation has set up mobile giving services to support their work in the Gulf Coast. Donors can send a text message with the code “WILDLIFE” to 20222 to automatically give a $10 donation to help wildlife affected by the oil spill.
The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) lets you support the 16 members of their Oil Spill Response Team, as well as other non-profit organizations working in the region, by “donating, becoming a member or adopting a bird.”
7. Become A Hero
Register through OilSpillVolunteers.com to volunteer or join a cleanup organization.
Volunteer with Global Green, an organization that plans to spend the coming months working to protect injured wildlife and lobbying Congress to enforce tougher regulations on the oil and coal industries.
8. Save A Fisherman
The mission of the Gulf Relief Foundation is to provide relief to the fishing community of the Gulf Coast and their families, and to address the long-term challenge of restoring and protecting America’s coastal wetlands.
Text “GULFAID 10″ to 27138 to donate $10 to Gulf Aid. Replace “10″ with the number of US dollars (no $ sign) you’d like to pledge, donate as little or as much as you like. You can also visit Faux Pas Prints for the latest official GulfAid.org merchandise. Portions of the proceeds go to the Gulf Relief Foundation.
9. Join Hands
Begun in Florida, Hands Across the Sand is an international movement concerned with protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, fishing industry and coastal military missions. Cities all across the world are pledging to stage peaceful demonstrations on June 26th during which thousands of people will join hands to convey a simple, yet powerful message: NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy. Learn more about how to organize or join an event in your area.
10. Get Connected and Inspired
Find full Care2 Coverage of the Spill here.
Image Credit: www.maritime-connector.com