Monday, June 28, 2010

The Gulf Oil Spill (and what you can do about it)

Pelicans captured at Grand Isle, Louisiana, following the BP oil spill in the Gulf. 
Photo Credit: International Bird Rescue Research Center

As the worst oil spill in American history, BP's Gulf Oil Spill gets an F. The effects of the spill and subsequent damage to the communities and species along the coast are immeasurable. Hundreds of thousands of barrels are leaked each day and Mother Nature simply doesn't have the means to fix our problem. Among the horrors of the gulf spill are:

1) Extreme sickness caused by chemicals - The toxins in the oil have been reported to cause legions in the brain and clog the lungs. Fishermen and children who have been exposed to the spill are already showing signs of severe illness.

2) Extinction of animals - The National Wildlife Federation reports that already more than 150 threatened or endangered sea turtles are dead. And 316 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannets, have been found dead along the Gulf Coast as a result of the spreading oil.

3) Worsening Hurricanes - As the Gulf Coast is prime hurricane country, if a storm blows in, the result could be devastating. The presence of oil could lead to a more powerful hurricane because crude accumulating at the surface could be raising the temperature of the surrounding water.

Scientists have employed the use of genetically-altered bateria designed to eat the oil. This solution gets some credit as an organic solution to this devastating crisis. Will these super-oil-eating bacteria be enough, however? Only time will tell.


Looking to Help?
If you're looking for ways to help, even in the smallest way possible, here are some great ideas from Oceana:

1)  Tell Obama and Congress to stop offshore drilling. Sign the petition here.

2)  Help distribute this petition in your neighborhood and send back your signatures to Oceana, c/o Stop the Drill 1350 Connecticut Ave, NW 5th Floor Washington, DC 20036 or fax them to 202.833.2070.

3)  Sign up to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Flyover of the Deepwater Horizon site with the US Coast Guard on Wed May 19th 2010. 
Photo by: David Rencher

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