Monday, May 3, 2010

How are you reacting to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill?

“This is potentially a watershed environmental disaster,” said Wesley P. Warren, the director of programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This one is a gigantic wake up call on the need to move beyond oil as an energy source.” 

These words were recently printed in a New York Times article dated April 30th, 2010 by Jad Mouawad.

People are mad at British Petroleum (Beyond Petroleum?) for the accident - why not?  They are now they are facing a massive environmental disaster: destruction of wetlands, water pollution, death of birds, fish, mammals, and the potential ruin of many businesses that depend on nature for their income. The US President Obama is visiting the area. Volunteers, scientists and residents are gearing up for the clean up as the oil begins to hit the land. And the worst thing about it, the hole in the earth's crust from where the oil is spewing forth hasn't been plugged yet!

When talking with my friend Johanna this morning - she asked me how I felt - I expressed anger towards BP, sadness for the people, fear for the helpless animals, frustration for being trapped in a system that is dependent largely on oil for it's functioning and she commented, "I think I should drive my car less".

Her comment is the other side of the argument - we, gas consumers are the ones who create the demand. It's a very complicated problem - shifting our society away from our oil dependence to renewable energy solutions.  It will take time which is why we need to start NOW!

Commonly this issue trickles down to the family level by evaluating how we use fossil fuels in our lives.  Most commonly we use fossil fuels to power our cars, our homes, transport our food, clothing, consumer goods etc.  As a family you can do some of the following things:
  • Pressure governments - have a voice about what you want to change
  • Look at your own life and ask yourself - is it possible to use less fossil fuels?
  • Is there anything you can do to shift to renewable energy in your family home - remember baby steps are okay so long as you have goal
If you want to track the location of the oil spill click here.  I'll be watching closely, sending out good vibes for the people affected, avoiding BP petrol stations and doing my best to walk, bike and reduce my amount of driving where I can. 

If you want to help or live in an area that will be affected, here are some resources for you:

To report injured or oiled wildlife, call 1-866-557-1401. To report spill-related damage, call 1-800,440-0858, and to inquire about volunteering, or to report oil on the shore, call 1-866-448-5816.

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board is connecting BP with fisherman looking to aid in the cleanup effort. If interested, call 281-366-5511 or e-mail,
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is looking for volunteers to “fill a variety of needs.” Pre-veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and anyone with HAZWOPER training (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard) are “strongly encouraged” to register.
The National Audubon Society is recruiting volunteers in the fight to save “ecologically sensitive areas.” Visit their website to fill out a volunteer registration form. also provides the opportunity sign up and assist with the cleanup.
While their website says volunteers are not yet needed, Mobile Baykeeper is urging anyone who is interested to call their office at 251-433-4229or e-mail

The Sierra Club is mobilizing volunteers, and will connect you with opportunities to help. Please click here to sign up and for more information.

Save Our Seabirds is a Sarasota, Florida-based bird rescue group that is looking for volunteers and support as its response team prepares to help oiled wildlife. Please click here to fill out their online form   or call 941-388-3010.

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

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