At first news of the oil spill I started looking for opportunities to help. (Oil spill is such a euphemism here, as if, “oopsie, we spilled a little oil.”) I knew one thing from the Exxon Valdez catastrophe, nothing goes straight to my heart like the sight of oiled birds. (Or any of the other animals threatened by this maddening disaster.)
From all that I have looked into, there doesn’t seem to be much hands-on work for untrained civilians in the Northeast–aside from donating money, advocating, and activism, which are all great things to be doing. It is heartening to know that the number of local volunteers is greatly outnumbering the opportunities for volunteers now. As for the actual cleaning of oiled birds, relief efforts are looking for people trained in wildlife rehabilitation–which led me to the International Bird Rescue Research Center. I was seriously ready to apply for an internship, alas, it requires a 3-month commitment in California for the training. And although I think Care2 would have granted me a sabbatical, I’m pretty sure my young kids wouldn’t.
If you are looking for places to lend a hand, here are some of the organizations that are coordinating volunteer efforts. Again, many organizations are not actively looking for able bodies or material donations, but there may be other non-material ways for you to help:
The National Audubon Society
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research
National Wildlife Federation
Greater New Orleans Foundation
International Bird Rescue Research Center
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
Matter of Trust
Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service
211 Connects Alabama
But here’s a great way to help out: Be an armchair activist! One of the most effective ways to mobilize against more oil disasters is to start signing petitions, and look at all the petitions Care2 has for you to sign!:
Demand Environmental Review of Offshore Drilling!
Rush Said What?!
Tell Obama to Stop Offshore Drilling
Hold Oil Companies Accountable
Rethink Offshore Drilling
Hottest Wildlife and Environment Petitions
Ban New Offshore Drilling
Pass Strong Climate Legislation Now
Care2 Causes Oil Spill Coverage
Have you found other ways to help? Are you boycotting BP and their brands (including ARCo gas stations and ampm markets)? Cutting down on your oil needs? Tell us about what you are doing in the comments field, we want to hear.