When I first heard about the oil drill rig explosion on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the gravity of the situation didn't hit me. I thought it incredible that over 100 workers came out alive and felt bad for the anguish of the families of the 11 missing. Then the story got worse and really hit me hard in the last 24 hours. It didn't occur to me that the well 5000 feet deep in the gulf waters would still be spewing out oil with no one sure how to stop it...and now reports are that it's spilling out 5000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day. A day. This is likely to exceed the Exxon oil spill in 1989 when 11 million gallons spilled in Alaska.
The reports this morning is that it's hitting the Louisiana Coast. I feel totally helpless. Creatures that I love are nesting in sensitive areas and this gloppy mess is creeping their way. I know a lot of news reports are focusing on pelicans but not so much on the uber cute birds that nest on sandy shores like the above piping plovers.
Their chicks look like little cotton balls running around on toothpicks. And it's not just nesting birds that are affected, but sea turtles and otters too, not to mention fish. This is going to have long range and far reaching effects. We already have a dead zone in the gulf, now this. If you are feeling helpless to the situation like I am, I think the group to watch is the International Bird Rescue Research Center which sadly is well experienced in dealing with spills. They have a blog with up to date information on the spill and what they are doing like helping to support and mobilize wildlife rehabbers in that area. Wildlife rehabbers already have it busy this time of year because of baby bird season, who knows how much oil covered wildlife they take in. Already the IBRRC has contact info for those who want to help:
"Anyone wishing to learn how they help must contact the British Petroleum Community Support Team Hotline at 1-866-448-5816.
To report oiled wildlife affected by the Gulf oil spill please call the Wildlife reporting hotline at 1-866-557-1401."
If you are like me and cannot fly down to Louisiana and help pick up oiled critters or do the painstaking task of wiping oil off rocks and cleaning soil, you can help support the organizations doing it. You may not have a ton of money, but something simple you can do is the next time you purchase detergent for your dishes--get DAWN. When you purchase a bottle of DAWN, you can enter the bottle's number online and IBRRC and the MMC will split $1.00 per bottle donation from Proctor & Gamble. The maximum donation from DAWN will be $500,000 to both groups. IBRRC will certainly need the money in the coming weeks.