I just want to go on record to say I’m as horrified and dismayed by the BP oil spill as anyone. I just haven’t had anything brilliant to say about it. Like everyone else, I’ve been a helpless witness to this unfolding disaster.
At first, I was led to believe that the spill wasn’t anything like the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdex spill. Unlike that event, which dumped almost 11 million gallons of oil into the water extremely close to the shore, the BP spill was "only" releasing 40,000 gallons a day from over 40 miles from shore. The implication was that there would be much more dispersal of the lesser volumes of oil into much larger quantities of ocean water.
But now it’s coming out that initial reports of how much oil was being released into the war were vastly under-estimated. Now we’re seeing the oil coming ashore, and those heartbreaking, all-too-familiar images of oil-saturated birds and water-life are being broadcast to our television screens. Now the tragic truth is becoming clearer.
The ironies for the Gulf Coast are obvious. Just as the region (in some ways) is emerging from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina (and Rita), now this. There are already reports of tourists canceling trips to the region — and to New Orleans in particular — for fear of unsightly beaches and contaminated seafood.
There’s a larger question of how a disaster like this is a direct result of our country’s — our world’s — insatiable need for oil. That’s something we all need to think about it. In the meantime, below is a list of organizations which are working to alleviate the effects of the oil spill. Some have even changed or adapted their focus from post-Katrina relief to this new ongoing disaster. Please consider donating something to their efforts while we continue to hope that a solution to the leak is found.
- Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
- Matter of Trust
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- National Wildlife Federation
- National Audubon Society
- The Greater New Orleans Foundation
- Oxfam America
- Catholic Charities