So, this is one of those really fun times of year in southern Louisiana, but a nearly unfathomable pall has been cast on it all by this horrific spill geyser of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been trying to balance enjoying yourself with constant media updates on the state of things in the Gulf. I’ve been hearing about frightening strategies for dealing with the situation, like setting the Gulf on fire and filling it with chemicals. I have also heard bizarre but intriguing ideas, like using human and animal hair to absorb oil. Here is a youtube video about that:
The simple fact is, I have no special skills or expertise in the area of oil spill clean-up, but I want to help. And the whole “text these five numbers to add $10 to your phone bill” modern version of charity isn’t going to cut it, for me anyway. So, from what I’ve been able to gather so far, if you want to volunteer, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is signing up volunteers. I don’t think they are mobilizing anyone yet, but if you want to be in those ranks when the times comes, you can register. They are looking for people with special skills as to oil spill clean-up, and also for the rest of us. Here’s what they have to say:
The oil spill off the mouth of the Mississippi River has been declared a “spill of national significance,” and threatens damage to the Gulf Coast—perhaps for months to come. With the first wave of the oil slick expected to impact coastal Louisiana as early as Thursday evening, Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency. CRCL is joining with our partners at the local, state and federal level to begin registering volunteers to assist with spill recovery efforts.
We do not know the location or the extent of impact to birds, wildlife, and habitat at this time. What we do know is that we need to be ready with on-call volunteers in the event that they are needed. National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana are building a list of volunteers prepared to help with this response.
Volunteers can fill a variety of needs, from oiled wildlife recovery, to monitoring and photographing oil movement, to providing a boat and driver for response activities. No specific training or experience is necessary, although you must be at least 18 years old to volunteer. Some tasks, such as food preparation, may require no training. Other tasks, such as washing oiled birds, may require specific certifications or skills. We encourage pre-veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and anyone with HAZWOPER training to volunteer. Anyone with experience in dealing with wildlife handling, rehabilitation, or hazardous materials clean up is also strongly encouraged to register.
And, when we’re done, as a Facebook friend put it, we can send BP our timesheets.