UPDATE: Learn about more ways to help with the gulf oil spill at National Geographic’s Global Action Atlas.
President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast yesterday, and called the oil spill that is threatening the region a “massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.” British Petroleum’s recovery crews spent the weekend fighting strong winds and surging water in their efforts to stem the spread of the oil toward the Alabama and Florida coasts, and the people living along the Gulf of Mexico are gearing up for a huge economic hit, with a ten-day hold on fishing in the waters that stretch from the Mississippi River to Florida’s Pensacola Bay. Alabama is already begun seeing slimy deposits wash ashore on its beaches, and tourism agencies in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana have been scrambling to prepare for the worst, and could stand to lose tens of billions of dollars in revenue.
Fortunately, there are ways to help. BP has set up a hotline, 1-866-448-5816, where people can call in to offer boats or cleanup equipment, sign up to participate in beach cleanups, or offer suggestions or ideas for the recovery effort. They’ve also created a website, www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com to provide updates and information on the spill.
Over at The Perch, the Audubon Society’s blog, they’ve been flooded with calls from people interested in helping preserve the birds and other wildlife that are threatened by the oil. You can help by signing up to volunteer with one of the local Audubon chapters. They note that only people who have been properly trained can handle and clean animals, and most other volunteers will participate in picking up litter and other debris from the shoreline, which will help speed the cleanup process if and when oil hits the shore.
MSNBC has also assembled a list of volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping, include the option of collecting hair clippings which can be used create booms to stop the oil from coming ashore. Mobile Baykeeper, an environmental watch group based out of Alabama, is also collecting names and will contact people when volunteers are needed. And the EPA is taking ideas and submissions for technology solutions from the public.
Have a volunteer opportunity you want to share? Let us know in the comments.
Photograph by Chris Graythen, Getty Images. See a gallery of images from the Gulf Oil Spill at National Geographic.com.
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