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. B Phillips

    Can they make a large rubber diaphragm to put over the hole then hook hoses to suck the oil out? If they start with Kevin Costner's machine, each day will help in the clean up effort. The hay to absorb the oil can be burned in a large landfill type hole? The burning should be less toxic than the damage done to the shoreline, marshes, wildlife, etc. I keep hearing excuses of why things can't work but if all of the recommendations were started, then things may be a little better – better than nothing at all being done. I think it is proof that all those brilliant minds cannot get anything done. Soon, God will bring to ruin those ruining the earth.

    June 9, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    I would like to suggest we request the help of all companies with the equipments to capture the oil that is floating in our waters and polluting our shores, the benefit would be for these companies to keep any amount of this free oil that is just floating around in the open waters. That will give BP the incentives and the motivation to clean up and contain its own mess.

    If we send out offer of free oil, I’m sure we will find some takers. This can be considered the same as finding treasures from ship wrecks in the open seas. Consider this, BP has no monopoly on any part of the open seas or oceans. Not even the water just above the gushing oil.

    June 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. matthew boheler

    i live in shelby,nc 28150.i was woundering if the quick stops in my area can raise up enough money to adopt a pelican for 200 dollars if so how can we give it to u if we dont know where to send it to..i THINK THAT BP COOPERATION SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE AQUATIC ANIMALS AND THE WILD LIFE THAT THEY HAVE ALREADY KILLED I THINK THEY NEED TO FIND SOME BETTER WAY TO STOP THE OIL SPILL. I THINK THEY DONE THIS ON PURPOSE BECAUSE IF THEY WOULD WOUD INSPECT THE PIPES EVERY YEAR THIS WOULDENT HAVE HAPPENED TO US .

    June 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jill

    BE PART OF THE NEXT MASSIVE BP PROTEST DAY - WORLDWIDE BP PROTEST ii. SATURDAY JULY 10.

    WE'VE GOT NUMBERS AND TRUTH ON OUR SIDE. GO TO YOUR LOCAL MEDIA AND GET COVERAGE. THIS IS GLOBAL. BERLIN, SYDNEY, PARIS, MADRID, SANTIAGO, VANCOUVER, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND....THE LIST GOES ON BUT THE DAMAGE TO OUR PLANET HAS TO STOP. "THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS MY LAND." DON'T EVER FORGET.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. BenignVanilla

    We have started a grass roots effort on Facebook to help the victims of the spill, directly. We are posting links to local businesses that offer their products on the web so we can support from anywhere in the world. Please come over to our Facebook group, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=108369475875969. Find a link and support a local business, and post some links of your own for small or hurting businesses in the gulf.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peter J. (Graduated Ecologist)

    My 2cents: Curing the symptoms is valid. Additionally we need to focus to remove root cause. This is challenging at least. Simplified, it comes down to achieve long term sustainability at the price of a perceived lower standard of living. Humans are generally bad at avoiding non-immediate negative impacts, if the alternative offers short term benefit (and i´m not excluding myself). Experience-based evidence indicates this is unlikely to change. But unlikely is not the same as impossible 🙂

    June 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PK

    Where can I go to give Anderson Cooper a big THANK YOU for putting more attention and focusing on the wildlife. There has not been enough of that including in Obama's speech today. I was sadly disappointed. Go Anderson Cooper! The more I see you get emotionally charged, the more pressure will be put on them to really start responding.

    June 16, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Molly

    There is no Republican outrage because they don't want to have fingers pointed at them! Send the former presidents to the area to help, like they shove over to other countries to solve crises. Send the Bush boys to dig out the oil!

    June 16, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • marleypup

      AND Molly, do you ever wonder who the American owners of BP might be? Maybe the news has made a statement about tha and I missed i tbut I'm with you!

      June 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Drake

    Could some one please tell me everything that BP is doing to clean up the oil spill? What exactly are they doing? I want to know, are they skimming? if so, where at? Are the scooping it up? if so, where at? Are they using biological microbes to help in the marshes? If so, where at? Will CNN please do a story that tells us exactly what BP is doing where?

    June 16, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • kim

      This is exactly my thoughts! Get the media (our united voice) IN THEIR FACE! BP, the withered spine sitting in the presidential seat....I am OUTRAGED! My stomach is just sick and my heart is broken over this. I'm going to see what needs to be done to establish a non prof and get together as many people as i can, grab a grant and get down there to help. There is no telling how many generations will suffer in all walks of life and all organic materials. This is further reaching than we can comprehend. I agree, where is the BP money to get people on the unemployment line to the coast to assist? This is not the time for laws, all law is out the window at this point. Get a spine Obama! DO SOMETHING!

      We can damn up rivers for pete's sake why the heck can't we damn up this thing somehow?

      Is there not a way to place several smaller tunnels for the oil to be directly streamed to ships? Something like a personal misting system but on a grandiose scale?

      June 27, 2010 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fifi

    WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OIL LEAKS IN THE OCEAN FOR THE NEXT 5 OR 10 YEARS, ETC.? NO ONE KNOWS WHEN THE OIL WILL STOP, THEN WHERE WILL THE U.S . AND THE EARTH BE???? SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE NOW OR WE TRULY WILL HAVE A BLACK OCEAN AND MUTUATION AND DEATH OF FISHES, ETC.

    June 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MIKE 32

    Why would ask for donations to adopt A Pelican in the oil disater. Go to BP and say cleaning the birds cost $200.00 each. We have cleaned 20 birds. cut A check for $4,000 Why should you ask the common folk to pay for BP'S mess. Trust me, BP has A heck of A lot more money than the common folk. It almost sounds like A scam, Adopt A Pelican?

    June 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Excellent idea. BP should pay $500 for each pelican covered with oil. I'm sure BP is cheering on some of these fundraising efforts for the Gulf, because in the end it will limit their expenses, even if by a little. But no, Americans have to adopt these cutesy little efforts in times of crisis, like adopting a bird or having schoolkids buy dish soap and toothbrushes to clean up the mess.

      June 21, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. anonymous

    Re: Gulf oil disaster: You guys are going to pay 5B for 4 years for profit ( "compensation") off this disaster? What a croc of !*%T!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. you know

    Re Gulf disaster! You mean $ 5 Billion a year for 4 years is going out for Profit ("compensation") qoute- unquote from this oil disaster and scandal? Who is making the profit off of this disaster?

    June 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brandon Garis

    Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak

    Results to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak have failed thus far. My plan of action for plugging the oil leak is to inflate a modified tractor tire tube with hydraulic fluid, to prevent from freezing, inside the broken pipe to temporally stop the flow of oil. Inflation of a giant rubber tube inside the broken pipe will seal the leak, preserve the well and allow for complete repairs to then take place. I sincerely hope the Gulf of Mexico oil leak can be plugged for good this week.

    Thank you,
    Brandon Garis

    June 21, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brandon Garis

    Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak

    Results to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak have failed thus far. My plan of action for plugging the oil leak is to inflate a modified tractor tire tube with hydraulic fluid, to prevent from freezing, inside the broken pipe to temporally stop the flow of oil. Inflation of a giant rubber tube inside the broken pipe will seal the leak, preserve the well and allow for complete repairs to then take place. I sincerely hope the Gulf of Mexico oil leak can be plugged for good this week.

    Thank you,
    Brandon Garis

    June 21, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
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