June 4th, 2010
02:40 PM ET

How to help Gulf oil disaster, even if you can't make it there

Workers clean an oiled pelican recovered from a barrier island off the Louisiana coast.

Can’t go down to the Gulf Coast to help out with oil spill cleanup? Here are some ways you can be an armchair volunteer following the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

Adopt a pelican
It is heart-wrenching to watch birds drenched with oil. The International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans and rehabilitates them, is asking for support for its 23-member team of bird-rescue experts.

The organization allows individuals to donate or adopt a bird. Adopting a pelican, for example, costs $200, which will go to the cost of raising and eventually releasing the bird.

The organization’s team is working with the Tri-State Bird Rescue, setting up rehabilitation centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Birds that are cleaned – it takes almost an hour to clean a single oiled pelican – and rehabilitated are then released in oil-free areas chosen by federal and state trustee agency personnel and the International Bird Rescue Research Center. The Tri-State Bird Rescue is also taking donations and adoptions.

Tweet, blog, update
The National Wildlife Federation is asking for support from those who aren’t able to volunteer or donate by spreading their cause via social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

For example, they are asking Twitter users to tweet and retweet messages with the #NWF tag. There is a Facebook fan page, and users can support the Wildlife Federation by setting up a “birthday cause.” Instead of getting presents from friends, you can direct them to donate to the organization of choice.

The organization also has created web banners that blog users can embed on their sites that will take readers to the wildlife federation website, which urges readers to volunteer or donate.

Each $10 donation will go toward dispatching teams to monitor the coast for wildlife hurt by the spill, restoring nesting grounds, public education and policy work.

Donate to help fishermen and the Louisiana seafood industry
Protectourcoastline.org is asking for donations to help families and businesses in the Gulf most affected by the disaster. With more than 30 percent of the waters closed to fishing, the site claims that a good portion of the fishing industry will be affected.

All donations will go to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board, and the America’s WETLAND Foundation, which heads the “Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana” project.

Write a letter
Donations aside, the Audubon Action Center is asking for people to write to their senators and members of Congress to support President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, which includes $35.6 million for larger coastal restoration projects. The site has a suggested letter that can be edited and sent out.

Part of it states: “We have an opportunity to create jobs, work to mitigate the impacts of this tragic oil spill, and again rebuild the critical coastal marshlands that nurture a significant Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, and buffer the Louisiana coast and its communities from storms and other threats.”

Leave a word of condolence
While all are focused on containment and cleanup efforts, there were lives lost in this disaster. Eleven workers died in the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon on April 20. Transocean has a condolence page on its website for people to leave memories and photos to remember those who died.

Check out other ways to help with the Gulf oil disaster and explore more ways to Impact Your World

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Anne Myers

    Why isn't BP being made to donate to these agencies, or hire people to help with the rescue efforts?

    June 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • MARY

      This site is for links for you or me to help. It's a matter of conscience, not blame

      June 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marigale

      I totally agree with Anne Myers. I donate faithfully to animal charities but this is different. It is not a natural disaster like Katrina but man made by BP. The pelicans and other animals are victims like everyone else who is felt by this mistake.

      June 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sad Girl from P'cola

      I say, get as much help there as possible as fast as possible... then bill BP, Haliburton, Transocean & every jerk who ever shouted Drill Baby Drill!

      June 4, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miguel Perez

      Too many interests are killing our world. Greed, ambitions, hipocrat solutions. The world has to stand together because this is probalbly the worst enviromental disaster in human history, that its going to affect the full ecosystem of the planet, from very small living animals to very big ones, and also another areas of human activities. I would like to make an invention to stop this nightmare, to run and save animals, to give a hand to those whom are suffering for this dissaster, but I cant do nothing, just write and express my feelings and give my support to the brave people that are fighting against the arrogance of the very few.

      June 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • AcornBPnow

      BP could stop this immediately if they would remove the shear head and replace it with a flat pliers/vise grip. Clamp it down on the pipe and leave it clamped, done!
      Stopping the oil is not what BP wants though they want to keep the oil/profits flowing. All US Govt. contracts with BP should be revoked immediately for their lies, and crimes which are far worse than what Acorn committed. Where is the Republican outrage in congress?
      Acorn BP Now!!!

      June 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. beachshoe

    I, truely, hate the disaster in the Gulf. I'll give 20 bucks,that's all i have. BP needs to man up. They are more worried about their freaking investors than the people on the Gulf Coast.

    June 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • richard

      We have not forgotten the Piper Alfa disaster in Britain, this was an Occidental run rig, (U.S.owed I think), it did not cause anywhere near the pollution, but it killed 167 souls. Britain dealt with it in a dignified way. I can't remember our politicians getting angry or trying to get U.S. company to be held accountable to the same extent as this disaster. My thoughts at this moment are with the bereaved.

      June 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Murtle

      And I would want to contribute my hard earned dollars to correct BP"s screw up because why? Maybe..he should sell his yacht and contribute that. Or .... maYBE.... we should see him out on the beach working, washing birds, being a parts of his mess. Sorry, these large corporations have way too much money for me to be contributing mine....I still got kids to raise and groceries to buy. Can't feel sorry for someone with a yacht who needs a day off....geez

      June 21, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • marleypup

      Just a statement about suicides in the gulf - These people are worried about how to buy groceries; health care for most of their children is probably not the ultimate concern right now. Sometimes I wonder if Americans really know the middle class at all anymore - in fact; i wonder if there is a middle America anymore. These people didn't have thousands of dollars tucked a way in a safe place waiting for their dependence on the sea to come to a halt. I listen to reporters but I don't think they really get the picture either. Why not give $$ directly to the FAMILY and maybe there would be time for "A Change in Direction". Where are we as Americans? and NO! I'm not anti Obama - this question existed long before this administration took office.

      June 30, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Esther

    Hey Yiffin' box, don't waste your time praying, God answers prayers from those who believe in Him. Obviously, you don't . This is a horrible environmental dissaster, why are you on here slamming Christians? I live in Louisiana and there are people and wildlife suffering here and we don't need fools like you...

    June 4, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack

    The sight of oil covered pelicans from the Gulf was heartbreaking. It rains on the righteous, and unrighteous. God loves all of us, and ALL of His creation. STOP using this site to vent earthly anger one to another. This dieaster is going to be monumental, and a time ALL of us need to pull together. Jack, Orlando, Fl.

    June 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monique

      You are so right. I could not agree with you more. WE MUST PULL TOGETHER especially in a time like this.

      June 9, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jennifer - Los Angeles, CA

    ALL of us need to pull together - Hes right! no matter what we need to pull together -and yes bp needs to man up.. but if everyone just sits here and watches and does a bunch of talk... we are just as much in needing of a "manning up" talk as BP does. EVERYONE needs to donate.. what ever it is time/resources/money/anything you have. We all can do this! LETS CLEAN IT TOGETHER!! Im doing everything i possibly can. And i know everyone has a level of "im doing everything i can" as long as everyone is at that level – anything is possible. Even cleaning this mess up faster than expected! DO NOT WAIT FOR BP TO DO SOMETHING – do something yourself. <3 I mean this in the most positive way!

    June 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      I agree, There have already been human lives that were lost, and now wild life is dying by the day. BP should be responsible since it was their company that was drilling, and their company that was responsible. In the mean time you cannot just sit back and let helpless animals die, and beaches be destroyed that will take many years to recover. This takes each and every available person to donate, manpower, or money to assist.

      June 10, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cartridgesforkids

    Recycle 4 Pets is collecting empty ink cartridges and used cell phones to benefit the wildlife affected by the Gulf oil spill. Visit Recycle4Pets.com to print a free shipping label. Write "GULF" in the return address, and they'll send the market value of your items to the National Wildlife Federation, who are working in multiple capacities to clean up the area. You can also email recycle4acause(at)yahoo(dot)com for more information.

    June 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • t

      thanks for posting Recycle4Pets.com, i'm going to get my company involved, at least feel like i'm doing something to help

      June 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wilma Reed

    Why don't they use giant paper towels to soak up the oil and then burn them for fuel?

    June 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Because paper towels also absorb water.

      June 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. meg thornton

    Thank you for this easy-to-use list of ways to help – and thank you to all of the readers of this site for caring enough to read and act. The link and form made it easy to "write a letter" to my representative. It was also then very easy to send the link to family and friends. As we all do, I feel helpless, so I really appreciate the spirit of community to work together to address this disaster and voice the need for change.

    June 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    We wonder why BP isn't doing more, because we are human. BP is not human, it is an "it" a corporation, whose only values are those of profit.

    June 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dina

    I know everyone wants to do something and feel good doing it.The animals are suffereing but isn't this a job for BP to pay for and not to expect volunteers to do it.?

    June 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barbara Dini

    My comment about Christians appeared in the wrong place. Whoever commented just ahead of it...I apologize!

    June 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. carolyn

    Wilma: Some farmers have proposed using bales of straw that float and could collect oil and then be burned for fuel. Why is this idea not a great one and put to use immediately? Who gets their ideas heard? How do people get through with these suggestions while the "mental giants" of BP continue to waste time and kill us all for profit?

    June 4, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Debbie Pratt

    As far as i am concerned they should have been better prepared for something like this,come on now with all the smarts and technology man has today they are just dragging there dam feet,whats sad about this hole situation is the animals where the hells the compassion it simply does not exist,The rich are for the rich the hell with the little guy that need to fish to support and feed there families!!!This world sucks and man will pay!!

    June 5, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. ally

    Why can't they place a giant cone or funnel like object over the leak to contain the oil,.The contaminated water would then rise to the surface thru the funnel and could be disposed of from there.

    June 5, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It is like 5000 feet underwater....

      July 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sydney Australia

    Why are you people putting 100% of the blame on BP? Are you all just blind sheeple following the obama pied piper lies?
    The Federal Gov is a big part of the current disaster. The Louisiana governor wanted to construction nearly 90 miles of sand barriers to block oil from reaching the wetlands. The plan would have to be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous other federal agencies. It's been over 2 weeks and the Obama Admin is wanting environmental studies!!!! How many of you think that extra sand on the beaches would be worse than the oil spill?

    June 5, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
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