Here in the Gulf Coast, the effect from the oil spill is overwhelming. An entire way of life is gone forever. It’s not an overly dramatic statement. The entire fishing industry will never recovery and people who have worked on the water their whole life (or whose professions rely on water-based industries) are now without a viable way to make money. What’s worse is that many of the areas hardest hit are actually the same areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. What that means is that many of those communities are still repaying loans from Katrina and are unable to take on a second loan from the SBA, even with deferred payment.
A phrase heard from natives about natural and unnatural disasters that have attacked this region is, “When CNN goes away, the lawyers come out to play.” How tragic and deplorable to think that if the national media veers their attention that BP won’t hold itself accountable for decimating the livelihood of thousands of families, recreation activities for the entire region and destroying the wildlife and wetlands that the entire country depend on to keep our fragile eco-sysytem in place.
I therefore implore you to do what you can to keep this topic top of mind. That can mean using your own social networks to tell stories, re-share photos taken, signing petitions to lawmakers, making donations to nonprofits doing direct relief work, create ways for your industry or business to give back and keep pushing forward. The “disaster fatigue” is upon us that sets in during enormous devastation and I applaud so many of you out there reading this for your hard work and precious time in helping those who need it. You inspire me.
Yours in better times,
Edited from an original post published on June 20, 2010 as a NOLAlicious special edition called “Gulf Oil Spill Special Edition.” For more information on NOLAlicious or to sign up for the weekly e-newsletter, visit our website NOLAlicious.com.
From The New York Times Interactive Map to the Oil Reporter Mobile Application, there are many resources gathering information and sharing photos, videos, blog and news updates from the entire Gulf Region. One site to bookmark is WWOZ’s BP Oil Disaster Resource and Update page. You can find more information like what is listed here that can help build your own resource guide of information surrounding the disaster.
There are many small community groups making an immediate impact in the Gulf Coast region where your donations will be put to use immediately. To help you, follow this Twitter list of organizations to support. Another great opportunity to give is during Monday night’s 2-hour CNN telethon special. You can direct your donations to one of three national nonprofits, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy or the United Way. If you remember, the CNN Haiti telethon raised over $5 million, and these national endeavors are critical fundraising channels for giving back on a national scale.
Gatherings for Good
Follow @TEDxOilSpill, or attend the event June 28th in Washington DC where leaders around the country and across industries including government agencies, NGOs, and environmental groups are coming together to tackle the tough questions raised by the recent and ongoing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics will include mitigation of the spill and the impending cleanup efforts; energy alternatives; policy and economics; as well as new technology that can help us build a self-reliant culture. There are 72 Meetups happening around the country that day (including this one in New Orleans) so you can participate where ever you are.
LA Gulf Response is collecting names for possible upcoming volunteer opportunities around the Gulf Region. Its important to note that the health affects of the oil spill and it’s air-borne particles are not known, and most relief agencies are looking for skilled volunteers or to hire those from the local community who need income to help. Much of the area around the oil spill is highly-restricted, follow the agencies supporting this response effort for more information.
Most products supporting Gulf Coast nonprofits have sold out in a heartbeat (including this one from Threadless) but one to jump on is the collaboration between Fleurty Girl and the Audubon Institute’s Louisiana Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP). 100% of the net proceeds from the sales of this T-shirt, called “Rescue Me”, go towards the Audubon program. Another is from We Add Up, with your custom number on the shirt totaling people making a difference.
@BPGlobalPR is NOT actually the BP PR team on Twitter. It’s an account started by humorist Leroy Stick. His satire is sharp while raising awareness to the actions of BP and those responding to the spill. The account has over 160,000 followers (versus 12,000 for the real BP Twitter account). It’s not a laughing matter, but these tweets will bring a smirk to your face and we all need something light hearted. His “BP CARES” T-shirts can be purchased here and 100% of the proceeds go to the Gulf Restoration Network