The Spill, Personal Stories, and an Easy (and not so Easy) Way to Help by Gia Machlin, June 25 2010, 1 Comment

It's been almost a month since my last post. Why the radio silence? Well at first I was just overwhelmed by the Gulf Spill and I wasn't quite sure I could write a post that would do justice to the whole awful situation. Then I finally pulled together what I thought was quite an excellent post about someone I knew who was from New Orleans. She had lived in NY on 9/11, moved back to New Orleans only to lose her house in Katrina, and now she is living through this disaster. But my husband pointed out that I should really get her permission before publicly plastering her story on the internet. Problem is I hadn't spoken to her in years and didn't know how to contact her. I sent her my draft post via the only email address I had for her and haven't heard back. Then, this week, I have been dealing with an unthinkable tragedy at my son's school, so my focus has been on supporting him, his classmates, and his school community.

So, since I find myself at a loss for words, which doesn't happen very often at all, I think I will just post the article anyway, with the personal details deleted. My hope was to bring the whole situation a little closer to home by including an incredibly touching personal story, but use your imagination - think of the family of the charter boat captain who just committed suicide, and realize there are thousands of other stories that are just as tragic as his and my friend's.

{DELETED PERSONAL GULF STORY - INSERT YOUR OWN HERE}...

It's mind boggling that the BP well is gushing about 60,000 barrels of oil a DAY into the gulf (this estimate as of last week is twice as large as earlier reports) and nobody has yet figured out exactly how to stop it. It has been called the largest environmental disaster in US history and its ongoing effect will be economically worse for the Gulf region than Katrina. So where does this leave us?

We should all do whatever we can to help in the clean up efforts. MatterofTrust.org is collecting hair, fur, fleece and feathers from hair salons, farmers, schools and individuals to make booms (the hair soaks up the oil). As of last week, they had collected enough fiber to make 25 miles of boom! So far 10 miles of boom have been made and deployed on gulf beaches to clean up oil, but funds are needed to make and deploy the other 15 miles of boom. To help get this these booms made and out to the gulf beaches, EcoPlum is donating $10 for every new customer through this cause marketing campaign. Check out 10 more suggestions on ways to help from Care2.org.

Take responsibility. The blame for this disaster lies with many: the government agencies that turned their heads and did not enforce regulations, BP management's ignoring of warnings from employees about unsafe conditions, as well as our own addiction to oil. It's easy to point the finger at others, but we must also look at our own habits that contribute to the need to drill for petroleum in the first place. You and I can't give back to {Insert Name Here} all that he/she has lost in his/her life, but we can try to make him/her and his/her family's future a little brighter. So when you go about your business today, try to walk, bike and use public transportation, don't buy disposable plastic water bottles, don't use plastic bags, turn off your lights, reuse your coffee cup, and just do your part. We can all help us move away from the likelihood of something like this occurring again and affecting so, so many lives.