A remedy to 'helpless'
Help Gulf of Mexico recovery, even from 1,500 miles away.
Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 15:35
JUST SAY NO: People demonstrated their disapproval of BP's timeliness in the Gulf of Mexico in front of a gas station in Bloomington, Minn., on May 31. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
The word of the day: helpless.
1) unable to defend oneself
2) weak or dependent, deprived of strength, powerless, incapacitated
3) the pronounced state of the Obama administration without BP's technology and expertise
4) the apparent state of BP after the many failed attempts in capping an oil spill lasting over a month
5) the position of the abundant sea life in the Gulf of Mexico covered in a thick black coat, now unable fly or swim from the oncoming wave of tar
6) a feeling or sentiment that many U.S. citizens, including myself, hold in light of an environmental crisis such as an oil spill
7) a word used to excuse course of action
Wildlife, plants and local residents continue to be plagued by the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The waves of tar spread like the black plague, causing death and destruction to the oceans' inhabitants and the people's way of life. We see unrecognizable seabirds that flail helplessly as they arise out of a jet black muck that used to be a blue ocean. The different mechanics involved in "Top Kill" failure continuously flash across CNN. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research there are predictions that if the oil leak continues, the spill may circle around Florida and reach the Atlantic as early as July.
These different images and events are captivated by news media and environmental organizations all displaying a bleak scenario: a dismal environmental crisis that continues to become more intense as the days pass.
Meanwhile denial from BP and the petroleum companies' refusal of voluntary assistance from organizations such as Matter of Trust, are not helping to create movement for clean up efforts.
Through all of this, sitting in Minnesota roughly 1,500 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, I am overcome with an intense and sickening feeling of, well, for lack of a better word for now, helplessness. As seen above, this is a powerful sentiment that is used to bestow responsibility on others, holds the power to deter attention and delay action, and overall a contagious and dangerous position for the United States' people to be in, especially in the midst of such an environmental catastrophe.
The instant remedy for helplessness: ACTION. The great thing about action is that no action is too large or too small and will help efforts to combat the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill, move the U.S. into a future of a clean energy economy, and is also self-serving by benefiting your mental state. I have put together a list of opportunities for those in Minnesota, whether you prefer to travel or you are looking to act from within our states borders.
Adopt-A-Bird: Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is calling on people to sponsor an individual of their favorite bird species to help with the payments for the feeding, care and shelter of birds injured from the spill. You can also give Adopt-A-Bird as a gift.
Donate through the organization of your choice: These are only a few of the hundreds of reputable organizations that are accepting donations to assist in wildlife and Golf Coast recovery.
• The National Wildlife Federation: Text message "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to automatically give a $10 donation to help the many birds, sea turtles, fish, dolphins and the many others affected by the spill.
Donate money in the name of Rush Limbaugh: On May 17, Mr. Limbaugh blamed the environmentalists for pushing oil drilling offshore. He claimed that the Sierra Club should be held responsible for the spill. "When do we ask the Sierra Club to pick up the tab for this leak?" In response, Sierra Club members are more determined to put an end to offshore oil drilling. Make a donation in the name of Rush Limbaugh at the Sierra Club website that will assure ocean ecosystems will no longer be damaged from oil.
Go on a dinner date: Dine Out for the Gulf Coast is a program in which restaurants across America will be donating their proceeds from June 10-12 to support restoration efforts and help the people whose livelihoods are affected by the spill. If you are near Marshall, Minn., make a trip to eat dinner (and lunch, and breakfast, and maybe purchase a few snacks) at the Landmark Bistro.
"Channel" some of your frustration: With the Mississippi River's headwaters beginning in Minnesota, our state is one of the 31 that contribute to pollution and runoff that end up in the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously, the Gulf has enough to deal with. Help lighten the pollution load by hosting your own river cleanup through the United by Blue organization. They will help you pick a cleanup site, organize your workers and also send you cleanup supplies.
Take a vacation to the coast: Volunteer organizations are calling for your help. Volunteer through the Nature Conservancy, Oil Spill Volunteers, Audobon Society. Gulf Coast Oil Spill Volunteers is a Facebook group that will give you more information and areas where you can become further involved.
Lobby like its your hobby: Contact President Obama through the Sierra Club North Star Chapter website, write or call one of our senators, or use the online form offered through Oxfam to contact our legislatures and remind Congress that reduction of fossil fuels and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a priority issue.
I have provided the contact information of our Minnesota senators here:
Finally, make the connection that it is our growing consumption of oil that required BP to transport in the first place. Decrease your fossil fuel consumption and plastic use, use canvas bags, reusable water bottles and buy items made from recyclable materials.
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