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. Vicky

    I dont know what has been done to stop the oil spill, but I thought about trying to put a stop to it like as if I was gonna clog my bathtub, use as much hair balls and clay to help it but, its just a thought of what might work, once the hair balls are in place that might put a stop to it after placing clay inside the leak; but like I said its just a thought

    June 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justin

    Nothing can be said to encompass how horrible all this is. BP should be sending money to pay people to go out and clean up there mess. A company that made $6 Billion in their first quarter doesn't have the resources to get this taken care of weeks, no days. Whats really sad is life goes on as far as the rest of the world with no concern of what is happening.

    June 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Justin

    Just wish I could afford to take time off to go do my part. This all gives me a sense of hopelessness when it comes to humanity changing there ways. The only thing that ever seems to change anything is $$$$$, and oil is cheap.

    June 6, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Christina

    This article needs to be updated, the website for the "adopt a pelican" says it cant accept any donations linked to the Gulf...

    June 7, 2010 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      You are so right. The site clearly states "your donations cannot be used to fund bird rescue operations in the Gulf of Mexico spill". Also, BP Spokesperson Graham MacEwen has been quoted for days saying the hair donations to Matter of Trust are useless. Wake the hell up, CNN - you have a job to do! Crappy journalism on this important national topic is inexcusable. Surely people can help, but not like this.

      June 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dayna Tolley

    Yesterday on CNN I saw two chemical companies who have developed ways of completely and permanently cleaning up the oil! One was a type of thin mat (it looked sort of like very thin styro-foam or plastic) that could be laid on the surface of the water and the oil would stick to it (permanently) and then be discarded ( a landfill or someplace to be determined later). It could also be laid down on sand on a beach, and permanently pick up all the oil like a blotter, but more successfully. They did demonstrations for both-It was amazing. The other company has some type of chemical pellets that freezes the tar balls and then they can be picked up and discarded much like the mats above. Now both of these companies said they had their product ready to go. They both had appointments with BP to see which one/or both that BP might use. BP will hav to buy this product. Here's the BIG QUESTION: Why isn't this stuff put to use right away??!! What are we waiting for?? And why isn't the public apprised of these methods so they don't feel such frustration and desperation? If these methods were used right away, it would mitigate a disastrous outcome.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • new jersey

      its all about the money.

      June 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dayna Tolley

    And for Ms. Gosselin-does she have any idea what this Blog is all about? Not her family, not love, not her job, not how much money she has, not how close to God she is. She is on the wrong web-site! Heidi, this blog is about IDEAS on how to solve the Gulf Oil crisis, NOT your personal life! No one here cares about you!

    June 7, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan Cabarrao

    BP should not be relying on volunteers to help clean up their mess. I believe BP should be hiring the thousands of unemployed people in the States affected by this disaster. They should be canvassing unemployment offices, posting jobs on career builder and the likes and paying people to clean this up. This will help their image and also the communities where this is happening. They need to be out there getting people who want to work, who want to help. They should not be taking advantage of volunteers, they should be paying the people who are affected by the current economic crisis and paying those whose communities will be ruined by this lack of response and responsibility.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. TrishaM


    June 7, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. BenignVanilla

    We've started a group on Facebook called Helping the Victims of the BP Gulf Oil Spill, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=108369475875969. The group's intention is to collect URL's for businesses in the gulf that are losing business because of the spill, so we can buy products and services from them from anywhere in the US so we can help them out. This will get money from us, directly to them. Please come over to the group, post a link for a business in the gulf, and post when you buy something from them!

    June 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jorge hernandez

    To recover oil from the ocean I thinlk the best way would be to set a flexible hose
    on a Catamaran p[aased under the pontoons put a fneld at the end and run the catamaran against the oil spiil and let funld into the hose recover in the other end into a Barge. if you like my idea please answer me on my Emai. thanks

    June 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. annet

    What i really do not understand is that BP refuses to get help from european companies like dutch and belgium companies who are specialised in cleaning up oil from the ocean. The dutch have cleaningships that can clean more than a 100000 liter per hour in the ocean , they have 8 of those ships which they offered, but BP refuses. Than the Belgium company have ships specialises in cleaning under water, 10 times more than what BP is doing now. And they offered to come with a ship that makes a sandwall for the coast of louisiana, the oil would not have gone on land!! But because there is a american law that says they can not use ships or companies outside US. I think when a disaster happens you should use the best tools in the world, no matter the law a disaster is an exception.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad in Canada

      Get AMERICA to ask for help??? ARE you serious?? the Washington ego would never allow for that. Better to see a city go bankrupt (N.O.) or watch a natural habitat get destroyed then ask for help. Arrogance is the enemy here. And by the way,, the Oil rig IS American. Do some research. Owned by Transocean which is an American company headofficed in Switzerland to avoid taxes. Originally based out of Delaware. Workers on board are Americans contracted by BP. OH OH the truth is coming out America!!!!!!!!

      June 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. william

    bp fess up and fix the darn thing, and fire the sorry ceo while you are at it.. and mr president, step in and take the bull by the horns and say enough is enough. ask help from other countries, it is ruining our wild life, oceans, beaches, and the list goes on, it cant wait until the fall. what would happen if a hurricane came in, get with the program.. and all you politicians our there, that have interest in the oil business, doesnt this bother you at all?

    June 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jaime Greer

    BP should be the primary sponsor for of these wildlife agencies. BTW how much is BP giving to these agencies to save the wildlife they killed?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Linda Herman

    This makes me so sick. I truly think the only reason they will not stop this spill is they want to be sure they can get the oil. GREED. This must stop. We are going to have a dead sea on our hands. I am amazed that this is still happening. How can anyone begin a project like this without numerous contingency plans for worst case scenerios? How did this get approved? I am all for helping out, however, each bird that is cleaned and anything else should all be paid for by BP. Not donations. The Gulf has long been my favorite vacation spot, shame on you BP. Is this a terrorist attack? I am not paranoid but this is all unbelievable to me. The loss of human lives was bad enough but add to it the loss of animal life also, this is disgusting. The Gulf may never recover in our lifetime.

    June 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rudy Barnadas

    I believe we are all trying to second guess the engineers trying to minimize the oil coming out from the well. Most of us lack the technical information of the side effects that may be generated by experimenting with some ideas to cap 100% the BOP. Therefore, my suggestion is to use the present vents to pump upwards water or oil creating a vacuum venturi effect sucking any fluids outside the vents thru the pipe right to to the oil tanker ship(s) floating above. The idea of the concept is to relieve the BOP base from any counter critical pressure which may make the case worst than it is, while getting most of the oil coming from the well until the either the well runs out of natural pressure or BP manage to plug the hole with the new two lateral drillings.

    Rudy Barnadas
    Mechanical Engineer

    June 8, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • jennymae40

      @Rudy Barnadas- I appreciate your idea as it is the most intelligent comment made about this article. I didn't know they were drilling lateral holes. Can I assume they are to relieve pressure of the leak? Where did you get that info? I would love to read a more detailed account of what they are doing and what they have done. Thanks.

      June 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
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