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Environmental Disasters And Issues With Oil: The BP Oil Spill - How Can We Help?

Updated on February 22, 2011

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.

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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.


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.


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 website (get together site) and sign up there for either hosting an event or participating/attending an event
  • Go to 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 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
  • Find senators' addresses at
  • Find representatives' addresses at
  • 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 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


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks BJ for the kudos and for the tag. I have written everyone I can write myself and just hate feeling so dang helpless. I agree with you - it is a disaster of major proportions and I can't believe our government is so totally calm about it. I shudder to think what the fall-out will be down the road for all of us!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      10 years ago from south Florida

      Dear Audrey - You have sent a powerful and compelling message with this well-written hub on the significant things we can all do right now to help alleviate this catastrophe.

      It's not just an oil spill - it's an oil disaster! Thanks for taking the time and effort to remind us that as a group we can be powerful in making a difference by provoking our slumbering leaders (?) to action.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Katie - as always!

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Westerville

      I just had to come back and watch all of the videos, great choices and very powerful. I've seen them all now and applaud your hard work in delivering this vital information. Thanks and Peace :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Nell - I hear you. I can't believe they did not know how to fix it if something went wrong...that is just pure and senseless madness if you ask me. It is making me so sad, too - but I just wanted to DO something other than stand by and cry! Thanks so much for coming by and for your thoughts - I think we all feel just sick about it. The fact that there are so many MORE oil rigs offshore around the world doesn't make me feel any better either!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      10 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, this is so sad, and the thing that makes me so mad is that if they are going to be dealing with oil, why on earth don't these companies always make something to counteract it before they even start? but I am getting off of the subject. you have some great ideas here, and well done for such a detailed and informative hub. cheers nell

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Always keeping positive thoughts for the whole mess - even though some days the news seems all bad. I so admire everyone that is there and pitching in! Thanks for tagging me on here as well.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Westerville

      akirchner, Great hub on the Oil Spill, It seems there is still issues putting folks to work cleaning up the beaches and such, keep positive thoughts that we get it cleaned up with more hands at work soon! Peace :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thank you, Faye for stopping in - godspeed to you as well.

      Holle - I know - it is so sad to watch and I don't think we've seen the end of it yet is the worst part.

      Alek - It is hard to not feel helpless and hopeless these days but trying to kick myself into action rather than feeling bad and doing nothing. Appreciate ya'll reading - it keeps me going!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      10 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      This is all so heart-rending. I'm glad you found a way to focus on something positive, Audrey. Great idea...we all need to have the sense that we are not totally helpless in this situation. Thanks so much.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Love the idea about the party! It breaks my heart that this is happening. Florida's Redneck Riviera is one of our favorite places on Earth, and I fear it will never recover fully. Great job you did!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      10 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Audrey, for great ideas on helping with the BP oil spill. Very informative hub. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Yes, C6 - If I gave up hope, I guess I would not do anyone any good at all! Thanks for the support back and forth!

    • Crewman6 profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the suggestions Audrey; I've linked your page to mine as well. The power of 'one' is to add, then multiply... we really can make a difference.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      I know, Lena - that's what is making me so upset. Everyone just acts like this is 'no big deal'. Don't they GET IT? I wonder why all the big money folks think they will be okay while the rest of us will perish? Something has to be done and as you say, I just pray that it is not too late.

    • Austinstar profile image


      10 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

      If you think Americans can't survive without oil, how do you think we will do without food?

      The oil is destroying the food chain in the Gulf. Eventually that will lead to global problems higher up the chain.

      We are killing ourselves. Sadly, it may be too late to stop. The effect is snowballing even as we speak.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, David for commenting - doesn't it just seem only RIGHT that this would also be an issue? I swear I wish I knew how people can be so dense in such an 'educated time' that we live in! I have a terrible feeling that the fall-out from this is going to be so far reaching that we have no idea. It just breaks my heart to think of it all and what a waste it all is. Thanks again for your informative comments.

    • Russell-D profile image


      10 years ago from Southern Ca.

      One thing not to do. Don't go to the spill area and volunteer to help clean it up. For $12.00 an hour. Many who worked on the Exxon-Valdes clean up have had lung illness ever since. A key spokesperson on the subject, suffers from the Alaska cleanup herself. Her position is until BP supplies adequete clothing and masks, stay away. Current workers already are suffering because BP refuses to allow proper protection. Till they do, have your oil cleanup parties, raise funds. But stay home. David Russel

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Pamela - I totally hear you! No worries on getting off topic....there is SO much that I do not understand. I wrote a very detailed letter to Obama myself as I have been his greatest defender since he was elected. I am SO disappointed in him and our government as well. What are they possibly THINKING? I just don't see how they can go blindly on thinking this will not have a serious effect on ALL of us down the road. What a tragedy and what a travesty. I just couldn't stand not doing something and it has been driving me crazy. I'm not sure this is the 'best' solution but it was the only one (and writing and writing) that I could come up with! Thanks so much for your support although I know where your heart is - mine too!!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Audry, It seems like things aren't even improving. I am mad at BP and mad at Obama. We had so many offers from other countries immediately after the disaster that he turned down and The Whale, a huge oil skimmer that can pick up 25,000 barrels of oil a day has been sitting waiting for EPA approval because the ship may only get 98% of the oil. Now there have been rough seas to complicate the problem further. I cry when I see those more birds. Anyway, I really got off topic here. You have some excellent ideas of ways to help. Great hub. Definitely rated up!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for commenting Billyaustindillon. I linked to your loggerhead hub - let me know if I missed the others as I did not see any others right off. I know you are right - it is a frightening thing to watch but then not to be informed is worse.

      HH - I agree. I think if we would start to consider cars that did not use gasoline, we would find that the prices would drop and make them more affordable! Thanks so much for your kudos! (Go Germany)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      I think it is more than high time the world switches over to electric cars. The technology is there so what is stopping it. The big shots who want to get rid of their oil. As you said stand together and show them that it is us who the power.

      Congratulation for a wonderful hub and so well written.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      10 years ago

      Just keeps getting worse - sadly it looks like it is a down hole and this will get a lot worse before it gets better. There has been some great efforts in wild life rescue which I have tried to cover in a few of mu hubs. Great hub on how to help here!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Prasetio - you are so right - if we don't stop destroying our earth, it will only get worse. There are so many offshore rigs everywhere and what is staggering is how no one knows how to contain it once it happens. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts - I hope we get this one right and learn from this huge mistake.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      10 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I feel sad hear this news. Although it not happen in my country, but this happen in this beautiful earth. I think we have to pay attention to this problem. I don't want it become worst. Thanks for the tips to share our thought to the right institution. I hope the best for this problem and it will end soon...amen. Great picture and video.


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Suziecat7 - you are not kidding! I was going to write about another of my humorous life moments but after watching this all week, I couldn't do it. Next time - and you are SO right...I want to write about food some time again. Just not sure it will be in this lifetime!

    • suziecat7 profile image


      10 years ago from Asheville, NC

      It breaks my heart to see it. If this isn't a wake up call, then nothing will ever be. Great Hub and not about food - :)


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