The Oil Spill: What Can I Do?

It’s now up to 30+ Sea Turtles that have been found washed up dead along the Mississippi gulf shore. Numerous fish have washed up dead too. 5 of them have been studied and preliminary results have said that no oil contamination has been found, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find something later. My thoughts are, no contamination may be found. They don’t have to ingest the oil. The oil slick on the water will simply cut off the oxygen supply to these poor animals eventually killing them all. It can’t be a coincidence that all of these animals and fish are washing up dead on the gulf coast. It made me so angry when I heard this this morning and I wanted to do another post. A post about what we can do as citizens to change things instead of just getting angry. Even if only five of us do one thing, it has some effect, right? It’s better than nothing.

I want to start this off by saying that a lot of this post will focus on Louisiana because that’s where I am from. Not all of it, but some of it. But I by no means want anyone to think that I’m under the assumption that we’re the only one’s affected by this. It’s one of the things that bothered me about Katrina. Katrina affected so many more people than just New Orleans, but it seemed that only New Orleans got any attention. Yes, the oil spill hits Southeast Louisiana hard, but it affects the ENTIRE gulf coast, not just us. Please lend your support to everyone, not just us.

1. The first thing you can do was brought up in the comments of my first post about the oil spill and it warmed my heart that people all over the globe have taken this up. Boycott BP. ETA: BP includes Amoco, ARCO, and Castrol motor oil. They are the ones responsible for this spill. They are the ones who’s irresponsibility is continuing to ruin people’s lives, ruining our wetland, killing the lives of millions of organisms, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals. They are the ones who are costing you tax dollars. Yes, many of us (including me) are unfortunately reliant on gasoline, but we have the choice to get it from someone other than BP.

2. Write your congressman, write the president. You can write your own president in your own country and ask him/her to support oil drilling reform. Something needs to change. You can write from another country to our own country! Here is a direct link to a page that will allow you to contact the president. While I’m sure everything will not be read by Obama himself, it matters that we do it.

3. You can sign this petition to help stop production of Discovery Channel’s multi-million dollar “nature show” with Sarah Palin, the “drill baby drill” queen herself. I think it’s just disgusting. It felt good to me to put my name on that! Somehow, Discovery Channel, Nature, and Sarah Palin just don’t go together.

4. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Heather recommended this book as inspiration to me while planting my own garden and what an inspiration it’s been! Barbara Kingsolver decided to stop being reliant on food that was shipped from all over the world, processed over and over again with the use of fossil fuels, and decided to either grow her own food or buy locally. This book will change the way you look at your food. And you’ll be amazed at how much we are RELIANT on oil. Not just for our cars and for energy but for our food too. Think of how your food gets transported, how it’s stored, how it’s processed.

5. Grow your own grub! Start a garden. Just by growing your own vegetables or planting your own herbs in tiny pots (everyone can plant at least one pot of rosemary or parsley!) that’s one less thing that you’re buying from the giant supermarkets. That’s one less thing that’s being transported and sprayed with harsh, processed chemicals, all involving oil and fossil fuels. And it tastes so much better!

6. For the things you can’t grow and raise yourself, go to your local farmers market. I found our local farmers market on the internet last night and I’m so damned excited!! I’m going tomorrow morning πŸ˜€ By doing this, you’re not only supporting your local community farmers who need your business, but you’re also saying NO to all of the plastic packaging, the processed stuff, the preservatives, all of the fuel that was used to transport the food cross country. Think of how much fuel was involved just in that Kraft cheese that you buy. It’s processed, it’s packaged in plastic, vacuum sealed, printed with ink, made in a factory, the cows that the milk comes from are no doubt factory farmed and fed corn (which is not their natural diet), and then it’s shipped all the way across country burning tons and tons of oil. Now think that you can go to a farmers market and get delicious fresh cheese that’s made just 25 miles from your home!! And cheese is just one example…veggies, jams, milk, nuts, berries, fruit, fresh meat, seafood…so much! Plus there are bound to be some crafts and plants as well. And it’s just fun. And every state has them. I know in Louisiana, these are more important than ever as our locals are really hurting with the recent spill. To find a farmers market near you in the US, visit this website!

7. When you can’t find what you need in a farmer’s market, buy what you can locally. Sometimes you just have to get what you need from the supermarket. But I know which brands are local. For us, I know there’s Blue Plate Mayonnaise, Bunny Bread, Tabasco Hot Sauce, Domino Sugar, Zapps Potato Chips, etc. etc….Know your local foods and make the local choice so that you’re not reliant on food that’s shipped from far away. It normally tastes better anyway!

8. As for us here in Louisiana, much of our water is still safe…70% of it is still safe to be exact. So there is still fresh seafood coming from us. If you find Louisiana seafood, I URGE you to buy it. One thing I can promise you is that our seafood farmers would never send out bad seafood. If you see seafood with a Louisiana label (and of course if you like seafood :p), buy it! It’s good! And our fisherman need all the help they can get right now!!

9. Same thing for other Louisiana products. Like I said, we’re not the only ones who need help right now, but I live here, so I’m fighting for us. But from Louisiana when you can. Our growers and farmers can use all the help they can get right now. With seafood being taken away, we’re gonna need a spike in hot sauce, veggies, rice, pecans, citrus, candies, etc to help us out right now.

10. Show your support for New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana! This is really a plug for my favorite southern Louisiana tshirt company, but it’s more important than ever right now. Defend New Orleans is a tshirt company that’s been around since before Hurricane Katrina, but their name took on a whole new meaning after Hurricane Katrina. And it has continued to mean a lot to our citizens, especially in the underground/indie/bohemian culture of New Orleans. And their tshirts are so awesome and SO SO SO comfy as they’re all printed on American Apparel shirts. So buy yourself one and show support for us when we need it most!!

11. Link to this post, make others aware of what’s going on and what they can do!

12. Most importantly, Just be mindful of what’s going on. Don’t forget. Stay up to date and keep it in the forefront of your thoughts as you make your daily choices in life. That’s what I’ve been doing and I find it makes a big difference in how I’ve been doing things. And while the oil spill makes me horribly sad, the changes I’ve made in my own life, make me very happy!

Please feel free to add your own suggestions to this list in the comments!

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15 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post, Chris. I spent the day listening to the radio and being devastated about what has happened and unsure about what I could do. I will be doing as many of these things as I can. I learned on the radio that this will very likely be affecting the ocean near my house and the Chesapeake bay which I can walk to. Hearing that made it hit home even harder… this is going to affect *everyone*. We all need to be doing something.

  2. Quick question – do you know who all the BP subsidiaries are? Like which gas stations they own? I know in some parts of the world there are actual BP stations, but not here.

    To be fair, though, I don’t blame BP as much as I blame our government for saying this (the drilling) was okay in the first place. I blame our culture for putting so much emphasis on gasoline. I blame the car companies for ripping out the old public transit systems and not doing enough to make their cars fuel-efficient. If I had the money I would buy a car that used hardly any gasoline. I seriously wish I could live in a place like NYC where I don’t need a car. We as a country need to be moving forward. The gas companies are there because we rely on them too much, BP and all the rest of them. Drilling in the gulf is just plain stupid. Accidents like this are bound to happen, and if not like this, then other accidents where hurricanes come in and destroy equipment and cause another spill, etc. I hope all those Drill Baby Drill people are eating their words now. It just makes me so mad!

    Okay I’ll go now before I start ranting even more…

  3. Great post, Chris. You gave me a lot to think about. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that has a farmer’s market several days of the week in different areas of the city. Going to the farmer’s market is one of my favorite things to do though I have been in a while. The farmers are friendly and there’s great food to buy that might not be available in a store.

    I actually have a mini-garden growing right now. I live in an apartment right now so my Strawberry Popcorn and Black Cumin are growing in pots outside my door.

    Will definitely read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.

  4. Lu, Thanks! That’s so sad that they expect this to reach so far!!! 😦 It’s going to be such an ultimate huge disaster 😦 *hugs*

    Amanda, I totally agree with you that the drilling shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place. And that we’re way to reliable on fossil fuels to begin with. I hate that I do have to use so much gasoline. I so wish that I didn’t. That I could easily get around on a bike or walking. Or that I could afford a solar powered car. But I can’t 😦 However, I do lay the blame on BP for this spill. Yes, the government is ultimately to blame for allowing the drilling in the first place, but had BP spent the money they needed to to correctly install the rig, this wouldn’t have happened. Which is just disgusting to me. I feel your need to rant and rand Amanda, and please know that you can rant as much as you want to hear! It’s an open platform.

    Vasilly, Thanks! I’m glad I could give you stuff to think about πŸ™‚ We have our farmer’s market here three days a week, but I’m finding that I can only go on Tuesdays, so on Tuesdays I will go!! I’m really looking forward to it!! I love hearing about your mini garden πŸ˜€ It sounds so awesome!! And I think you’ll absolutely love Animal, Vegetable, Miracle πŸ˜€

  5. Done and done. I will be sure to do several of these things over the weeks to come – the first of which was signing the petition to keep Palin off of the Discovery Channel. I saw where she defended BP’s actions. Gah! That woman needs to go away…

  6. Excellent post, Chris. I wish there were farmer’s markets here. But a lot of greengrocers DO sell local produce, which I guess amounts to the same.

  7. I signed the petition.
    all that is happening from the spill is going to be on the news for a long long time…and already it makes me naucious to watch it. to see the dead turtles and to know, even before it happens, what we are in for. the long range effect will go on far longer and far wider then they ever expect.. but then no one bothered to think out how they could stop something like this before it happened. To many times this country “learns by experience” rather then know how to fix it or stop it before it happens. to many times this country forges ahead without thought to what the effects really will be. I don’t look forward to the coming weeks and months and years that this is going to change our lives, and what it does to the delicate balance of nature. (which in return effects us)

  8. I would like to donate to people/groups who are now directly involved in the clean-up. Can you recommend organizations that are right there, cleaning oil off the animals? I understand they need volunteers as well.

  9. Thanks for this excellent post and all the links, Chris. I’m heartsick over this horrible disaster, but your post(s) have helped me because you show me that there are things I can DO.

  10. Thanks for posting this, and your previous post on the oil spill. It’s such a mess, every successive news report seems to have worse and worse news.

    (Also, I am now super hungry for Zapp’s chips. The Mesquite BBQ kind.)

  11. Amazing post Chris! I especially appreciate how you point out that this impacts the entire Gulf coast, I would even go so far as to say it effects the entire world. Living in a province that is surrounded by oceans and containing thousands of lakes, rivers, and marshes I’ve learned that the smallest amount of pollutant in waters can have devastating effects on the surrounding eco-systems.

  12. Ah, that makes more sense. I didn’t realize the rig had been faulty or damaged or not properly cared for. I know accidents sometimes happen without it being equipment fault. No one had mentioned equipment on our news, so I thought this was one of those times. In that case, I blame BP as well as our government and culture. Just like the bastards that let the mining conditions get so bad there was that collapse. After reading Germinal, I think mining should be discontinued altogether! We definitely need to find a better way to power our world.

  13. I am so glad you’ve said all this. I do a few of these things, but I certainly could do more. I’m reading a book about sea turtles right now, learning how amazing they are. It makes me so upset to see them dying like this, not to mention all the other creatures in the ocean’s ecosystem.

  14. Chris, you have done a great job with this post. The more people that read it the better off we’ll be. The way to reduce oil dependence is to reduce the use of oil. I am lucky to live in a city that has Farmer’s Markets in a dozen different neighborhood, several local co-ops and a growing locavore movement. We are thinking of all of you, and the fish, and the birds and the animals.

  15. What a great post, Chris. The insurance company that I work for insures construction companies and several of them have been awarded or are bidding on jobs in the gulf to help clean up–hopefully sooner rather than later someone will find a solution that works!

    I have AVM on my reading list and hope to get to it soon. I acutally read the first chapter a while ago where it talks about all the fuel cost of shipping foods and it’s amazing! Progress is an amazing thing but sometimes I think our progress (in the general sense of the word) as sent us in too many negative directions.

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