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Environmental Disasters And Issues With Oil: The BP Oil Spill - How Can We Help?
BP Oil Spill - How Can We Help?
Most of us know by now about the devastating effects that the BP oil spill is having on the Gulf. The information continues to filter in and shouts to us daily from TV and other news sources.
Most horrifying of all is the 'grand science experiment' going on at present in the Gulf where millions of gallons of dispersants are being fed into the waters to try and control the oil spill. While this is all 'noble' on some level, it is first of all, far too late and second of all, no one knows what long-term effects this level of dispersants will have on the ocean, the habitat therein, or to our environment in general.
All that said, when I watch the reports, I feel helpless. I am caught between outrage and despair as I see the effects already on wildlife, a pristine ocean environment, and the effects that this devastation is having on a population of our people who depend on these waterways and industry for their livelihood.
What is to be done? At first, I felt paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of dread, then wanting to run and hide as this cannot be what we have done to ourselves! Our dependence on oil has driven us to this brink and we have all more or less sat back and watched while oil companies began drilling in pristine environments such as these - all because we believed that those in 'power' knew what was best for us.
But did they? If this is the outcome, I wager that NO ONE foresaw what could happen if there was a disaster of this magnitude. Now we are all sitting by and watching this tragedy play out before our eyes wondering what will become of our ocean; what will become of the wildlife so innocently made a part of this horrific scene?
Finally in my despair, I decided I had to do something - anything to figure out a way to help in some small way if at all possible. Here are my ideas for those of us who cannot volunteer to go to the Gulf and help out or who balk at sending dollars to organizations never knowing if the monies are truly used for what they promise them to be used for.
HOST A BEYOND OIL HOUSE PARTY
In my quest to find out more information on who to write and how to lend a helping hand in this disaster, I came upon several websites. In my opinion, any part of any of these ideas will make a difference, and I have decided that this is a concrete way for me to at least feel that I have done something - no matter how small, it is something tangible that I can do.
A Beyond Oil House Party is the brainstorm of the Sierra Club. You can visit the website for more information.
Basically, a house party for Beyond Oil is a way to get involved and get others involved. You can host an event yourself (they provide the DVD and information materials) or you can attend an event in a home nearby. Whatever way you decide to become involved, it is a plus!
The purpose of these meetings is awareness - to encourage people to view the destruction of oil spills and to come to a common agreement on ways as a nation to step away from our dependence on oil. Without our huge dependence on oil, these disasters would be prevented because of the decrease in consumption of oil. Our country is so heavily dependent on oil that we are constantly seeking new sources - to the detriment of our most pristine wildernesses. By finding ways we can minimize or reduce that dependence or even eliminate it greatly, we will be taking a positive step towards healing the environment.
The key to these meetings is to talk openly and honestly about the problems we see as pertains to the oil industry and ways that we can effectively speak out and let our legislators know that we want green means to cut down on our consumption of oil. By viewing the video provided, then discussing the problems as we see it, followed up by writing to the President and to our senators and representatives, we can as a group exert some pressure on the government to change things for the future - for our children's future. It is not a process that is instantaneous, but by saying nothing, I feel we are encouraging government to keep producing oil - to keep taking chances with our environment and even with our lives.
HOST AN OIL ON ICE HOUSE PARTY
Yet another great source for information on hosting a house party for alternatives to oil is Oil On Ice. This is a site dedicated to protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, however, their DVD and informational packets for hosting a house party are a general umbrella. They can embrace anyone concerned with the widespread problems associated with our nation's dependence on oil and the subsequent disasters we have seen come to pass. The information is great for any house party on oil. Visit their website for more information.
Oil On Ice suggests many aspects to having a house party about oil and one of their most unique ideas is to have someone attend the house party who has a hybrid automobile to demonstrate to folks about the many wonderful properties and qualities of a hybrid car. They suggest as well to have someone attend who is willing to give test drives or demonstrations on how the automobile works and at the very least to detail how the autos are made and how they work to ensure a clean environment.
Thousands of people around the
country and even areas outside the United States such as Puerto Rico
have hosted or attended house parties for Oil On Ice or Beyond Oil.
Whether you are a host or you are an attendee, you have done much to aid
in the cause towards preventing such tragedies as the Gulf Oil Spill.
How To Host a Beyond Oil or Oil On Ice Party
- Go to the sierraclub.org website (get together site) and sign up there for either hosting an event or participating/attending an event
- Go to oilonice.org/houseparty website and sign up there to purchase a DVD and obtain information on how to host an event or about attending an event
- Once you have decided you want to host an event, make sure that you have sent away for materials including DVD at least 7-10 days in advance.
- Decide on how many people you want to attend your event
- Good sources of attendees are neighbors, coworkers, friends, church members - remember you are not selling anything; you are simply asking people to view a video about the disasters connected with oil and offering a solution - writing your elected officials and showing them how to do that most effectively
- View DVDs and study material so that you will be informed as to what the information relays
- Determine how many people you can comfortably have attend in your home - or if you have a meeting hall or meeting room at your disposal - allow several hours for the viewing and discussions, letter writing examples, etc
- Make sure you can provide adequate seating for everyone and that they can view the TV that you will use - if necessary, have people bring folding chairs
- Send out invitations by email, postal mail, or phone call. You can also go to http://www.evite.com and keep track of invites and RSVPs
- Make up a sign-in sheet so you will know how many people attended - and you will have a verification of how many attended and how many supported the cause. A great followup thing to do is to notify either or both of the above agencies and let them know how many people supported your house party
- Obtain name tags if desired and have people fill those out when they attend - this lends a more intimate feel to the meeting and encourages people to get to know one another's feelings on the issues
- Obtain paper, pens, envelopes and stamps for the number of people attending - in case people want to write their letters on the spot and mail them to their representatives, senators or the President
- Look up and have at the ready the names and addresses as well as emails of your state legislators
- Have sample letters to legislators available for people to get ideas from - you can obtain samples at http://oilonice.org/act/general.php
- Find senators' addresses at www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_efm.ef
- Find representatives' addresses at www.house.gov/writerep/
- Preview your DVD to make sure it works in your machine and on your desired TV
- Post a notice in the local paper about the meeting if desired to get more publicity
- Send out a press advisory about it as well if desired
- Have a digital camera or recorder available to record bits and pieces or all of your event for future reference
- Contact someone locally with a hybrid car and ask them to attend - you can contact http://prius.meetup.com/ or a local Toyota or Honda dealer, etc. to see if they are interesting in sending a representative with a hybrid car
- Serve refreshments if desired - this sometimes encourages folks to linger longer
- Encourage people to write, call, email - or all 3 to make sure that their opinions are known
After The House Party on Oil
After the house party, you can also do the following to ensure that your efforts get the most effective results:
- Phone senators and representatives or the White House as a followup call to make sure your voice has been heard and your message received. Simply express your concerns about our heavy dependence on oil and environmental issues, etc.
- Encourage house party attendees to make followup calls as well
- Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121
- Place a letter in the local papers - address as a letter to the editor detailing the party and your concerns - and also reiterate to others to have a house party - or write their representatives, etc.
- Let the Sierra Club or Oil On Ice know of your success or any suggestions you would have for future house parties
- Continue to have house parties or attend other like events to render support to reducing the dependence on oil in the United States
Summing It Up
This latest oil spill is just one more example of how we are letting our environment be ruined and how we are potentially putting the earth in jeopardy. Even if this tragedy is remedied, I believe the long-lasting effects of the spill will be immeasurable.
In order to feel that I have contributed to ensuring that this kind of disaster cannot happen again, I feel that it is time that we do what America does best - band together and strike a blow at the heart of the hypocrisy and those who would take our great land for granted all in the name of money. I think it is time that we all started to look for ways to personally get involved and take a stand for a greener world. That is our only hope in salvaging what we love and hold dear.
I believe that in small, deliberate ways, we as citizens can spread the word and make our feelings known to our legislators - they need to know that we are tired of watching our world go up in flames and that we DO expect change. I believe that hosting a house party for beyond oil is a great way to contribute and a wonderful way to spread the word.
Even if you only attend a meeting, that is a huge contribution! If you 'only' write or call your legislators or the President, again - a huge contribution. Whatever we can do to band together and fight against such environmental disasters is what we should concentrate on. The damage has already been done but our job now is to move forward and try to prevent more from happening in the future. Our future depends on it!
Why Hold a Beyond Oil House Party
Oil on Ice Video
Stop Offshore Oil Drilling
Ban New Offshore Drilling
Real Truth on the Gulf Spill
Links To Support Efforts at Cleanup
- National Wildlife Federation
- Donations to Gulf Oil Crisis
- Updates on Gulf Oil Spill
- Gulf Oil Spill Recovery: Tips for Donors and Volunteers - BBB News Center
Stay up to date on all the important news, alerts and breaking stories in the world of business via the Better Business Bureau's News Center.
- Donate to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund Greater New Orleans Foundation
Email Print Share
- Link to Greater Good - Gulf Oil Spill
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