Jun 09 2010

What Can We Do?

Published by at 10:45 am under Musings & News


When I first heard about BP’s Gulf oil leak, I knew it was bad for birds.

Though initially far offshore, the oil immediately affected diving birds: gannets, terns and pelicans.

The first dead gannet broke my heart.  It could only get worse — and it has.

When the oil reached the marshes it hurt herons, egrets and shorebirds who died unreported because the marshes are inaccessible to cameras.  Even birds that were rescued, cleaned and released flew home to get oiled again because the leak keeps flowing.

Recently oil and death moved into camera range and now the public knows.  The spill is very, very bad.  Even if the leak stopped today the oil will linger for months to come.

What can we do?

As individuals we can’t stop this leak but we can help with the cleanup and support those who are helping birds.  There are many ways:

Want to volunteer in the Gulf?  Check the websites above or click here to sign up at “deepwaterhorizonresponse.com” or here for the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

And finally, you can work to keep this from happening again by telling those in power, especially your Congressman and Senator who made the laws that allowed this to happen, that you’ve had enough.

We don’t have to live like this.

(Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller, released under the Creative Commons license with some rights reserved.  Click on the photo to see the original and a complete description.)

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “What Can We Do?”

  1. Tracion 09 Jun 2010 at 10:56 am

    Bravo! Thank you for this post Kate. The whole situation has left me feeling an anger so intense that it seethes. It’s beyond heartbreaking.

    Being provided with something tangible to in some way contribute – eases the grief…just a bit.

  2. kathyon 09 Jun 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Great post Kate! Thanks to the ‘drill baby drill’ crowd we are all going to suffer the repercussions of this travesty for decades to come.

  3. John Englishon 09 Jun 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I, for one, have stopped and never will again use BP.
    I stopped using Exxon years ago for same reason.
    Hit ‘em where it hurts!

  4. Suzie Mason Saloon 09 Jun 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks so much for this. It is unbearable to hear daily news about oil-covered and dead animals and birds and ….we feel helpless.

    Change of subject:
    Our neighbor has spotted 2 foxes in Highland Park in the last 3 weeks!? Have you commented on foxes before. (I just found your blog this spring.)

  5. Kate St. Johnon 09 Jun 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Here’s my personal decision but I’m not saying what any of you should do on this topic:
    I decided not to boycott BP because I want them to have the money to pay for this for years to come. And pay and pay and pay. By the same token the current CEO of BP should have to keep his job and not get his life back.

  6. Kate St. Johnon 09 Jun 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Suzie, Here are two links about foxes
    (near my house in the city) http://www.wqed.org/birdblog/2009/10/23/mystery-solved/
    (near Frick Park) http://www.wqed.org/birdblog/2008/01/17/red-fox-fox-squirrel/

  7. kellyon 09 Jun 2010 at 3:09 pm

    what can we do?

    ride our bikes, turn down our heat, stop using a.c.’s, stop drinking from plastic bottles…

    sorry, couldn’t help it.

  8. Steve-oon 09 Jun 2010 at 3:34 pm

    BP has enough money to pay for this clean-up, their net worth is still in the billions and billions of dollars. The only thing that we can do as a people is vote with our money. I also haven’t used Exxon in the 16 years that I’ve been driving and haven’t used BP since the spill. It will hurt the people that own the stores, but you can still shop at the C-stores, that is where they make most of their money anyway. There is talk of a week long boycott of BP, but I am not sure of the details, there is a popular facebook page (>400,000 fans) about the boycott.

  9. Steve-oon 09 Jun 2010 at 3:41 pm

    If I can, I’d like to ammend my previous post by saying that I drive a diesel VW. It already uses less fuel than a gas powered car to start off. And I buy B5 Biodiesel (5% biodiesel, the highest percentage covered by my warranty) at the GetGo on Baum Blvd. So, every 20 tanks of fuel that I use don’t come from under the ground. VW, Audi, Mercedes and BMW either have diesels now, or will soon. They get the similar mileage to a hybrid, but with more room and no toxic batteries. The government will even give you money for buying them.

  10. Vicki & Chuckon 09 Jun 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks, Kate. We definitely do not want BP to go bankrupt. They must put all their resources into taking care of the oil spill and repairing what has been spoiled, including the wildlife and business of the gulf and country. We will buy BP gas and they must fund cleanup for years and years.

  11. Dianeon 09 Jun 2010 at 4:57 pm

    There is a news story tonight (June 9) on ABC’s Nightline about the bird rescue operations in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. I am sure it will be heartbreaking but nonetheless important to watch.

  12. Jennieon 09 Jun 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks, Kate. I am in total agreement with you and with Vicki & Chuck. BP has made a commitment to fund clean-up efforts, and if it goes bankrupt, then who will pay and pay and pay? It’s heart breaking to think of the wildlife losing their lives, and the people losing their livelihood, and the loss of what used to be a beautiful area. Thank you for the links to organizations that need our support to help the wildlife through the difficult months to come.

  13. Peggy Hookeyon 09 Jun 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Perhaps we also need to put effort into understanding just what the entire price of this catastrophe really is, look around us to see what might be next, what needs our attention and become proactive. We can’t all go down and clean the birds but there are always things we can do, perhaps less dramatic but nevertheless important.

    Bless you for keeping our attention focused in this way.

  14. Robinon 09 Jun 2010 at 8:52 pm

    There are more great ideas on what to do here: http://news.deviantart.com/article/118865/
    I’d also like to add that gas isn’t the only oil product. There are petroleum byproducts like lip gloss and plastic bags. I only use non-petroleum-byproduct lip balm now, and I use reusable bags at the grocery instead of plastic. Giant Eagle sells them for a dollar, I believe.

  15. Steve-oon 10 Jun 2010 at 8:50 am

    I work for a small paint company in town (the one with the pretty building downtown) and everything in our coatings that isn’t water comes from oil. We can never not drill for oil, but we can reduce what we use. Plastic water bottles are made from oil, and the trucks that drive the water from the suppliers tap to the stores burn fuel. Lots of the ingredients in medicine comes from oil too. You can even make sugar from oil for food. Lots of small things can be done to add up to savings. Use resuable water bottles (metal is best), shop at farmers markets (fruits and vegetables from California and South America use oil to get here), I’d say buy organic foods because of the pesticides and fertilizers all come from oil, but some Organic pesticides and fertilizers are oil based. Nylon and polyester are both from oil.
    But BP’s assests can cover the clean-up costs. They could sell some of their rights to oil locations and pay for 10x the clean-up. One lease in the Gulf can go for 50-million dollars.

  16. Tracion 10 Jun 2010 at 9:42 am

    For those of us living in Pennsylvania, here’s a link to who our Congressman and Senators are:
    http://www.contactingthecongress.org/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=pa

    It is best to hand write a letter as it has more impact and is more personal. However, an email would be better than nothing.

    I agree that boycotting BP gas stations doesn’t make much sense, as they are locally owned and the gas they pump could have come from any number of sources. I think reducing the amount of plastics we use makes more sense. Eliminating the use of oil? To do so would elminate many of the luxuries we take for granted and that developing countries are just discovering. The use of oil won’t stop until there isn’t any left.

    I plan on writing to advocate for more legislation that would force more environmental safeguards and HUGE penalities for not implementing them. The Gulf explosion occured because some executive decided to ignore the crew’s warnings and advice and by-pass safeguards for the sake of more profit. As far as I’m concerned, that executive and his bosses, should go to jail. They are responsible for 11 men’s deaths and the devasation of life occuring now – not just the wildlife but a way of life.

    I believe we can make a difference – just one small step at a time.

  17. kellyon 10 Jun 2010 at 12:35 pm

    i’m thinking that legislation should include mandatory, intensive, on-going team training for anyone who works on an oil rig, similar to the team training that the major airlines implemented after the 1977 tenerife airport disaster:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_airport_disaster

    in both cases, senior officials chose to disregard crucial information provided by the “lay” workers, information that could have and should have been used to prevent major disaster.

    the checklist manifesto by atul gawande makes for interesting reading here.

    let’s hope for serious changes in protocol and philosophy for the future of offshore drilling if it is to continue as unfortunately it most likely will.

    afterall, we need to put oil in our leaf blowers. (sorry again, i can’t help it.)

    thanks to all for an interesting discussion.

    ~a life-long bicycle commuter from nj

  18. Carlon 10 Jun 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I’m probably not the only teacher who is trying to get their students interested. I have posted my attempt here for anyone who would like to borrow some or send me an idea or two. http://hazenscience2011.blogspot.com/

  19. Kate St. Johnon 10 Jun 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Great site, Carl! I am still reading all the information you’ve collected here:
    http://hazenscience2010.blogspot.com/2010/06/deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html
    Wow.

  20. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2010 at 10:17 am

    Kathy Borland sent me this link on the post release survival of oil-affected sea birds: http://intbirdrescue.blogspot.com/2010/06/post-release-survival-of-oil-affected.html

    It sounds like their prognosis is good – especially for brown pelicans!

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