The recent BP oil spill is still leaking 250,000 gallons of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick is threatening over 1,000 miles of fragile wetlands and billions of dollars in fishing and tourism for the surrounding communities. If you're anything like me, you've been following the news and feeling pretty helpless about what might be the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
It turns out that there are a lot of ways that we can help! Here are just a few.
The non-profit group Matter of Trust is accepting donations of nylons and hair to help with cleanup. Nylons and hair? Yep! It turns out that hair mats are excellent at sopping up oil. They're filling the nylons with hair to create "hair booms" which also help effectively absorb oil.
If you'd rather make a cash donation, there are several different non-profits working on relief efforts. Mobile Bay Keeper is looking for funds to help with cleanup of the Mobile Bay Watershed. In Florida, Sea Bird Sanctuary is gearing up for cleanup when the oil reaches the panhandle's beaches. The Greater New Orleans Foundation started a fund to assist communities in the area that will be affected by the spill.
Would you rather donate some time and energy? In Sarasota, FL, Mote Marine Laboratory and Save Our Seabirds have put out calls for volunteers. The National Audubon Society is also looking for folks to help out. In Mississippi, volunteers can train this week and help clean up the beaches before the oil makes landfall. Clearing debris from the beaches in advance will help make the eventual oil cleanup easier.
We can help prevent future disasters by letting our politicians know that we're opposed to off-shore oil drilling. Care2 has a petition that you can sign. It's always powerful to contact your representatives directly, too. Oceana makes that easy with their ready-made letter and tool for sending to your Senator.
Is there an organization in need of help that I missed or a way to get heard that you'd like to share? Please let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: US Coast Guard