3 ways to combat Gulf oil disaster (#1 send your hair…)
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig may be dumping 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf each day. This epic disaster has caused steep drops in oceanic oxygen levels and put a myriad sea life in danger.
Yet amongst the onslaught of news headlines about BP’s inability to stop the leak and images of oil soaked wildlife, there has been little reporting on how citizens are combating the leak. It gives the impression that this debacle, and the governmental policies that let it happen, are totally out of our hands.
They’re not. As BP works to siphon oil from the leak using a mile-long pipe, there are a number ways to take action:
- Send hair. Think about it—why do we shampoo our hair? Because it collects oil. Turns out if you have lots of hair, you can collect lots of oil. San Francisco-based charity Matter of Trust collects hair from salons and pet groomers around the country. The hair is turned into highly absorbent mats or ‘booms’ and then distributed to the sites of oil spills. Help your favorite salon or barbershop get signed up here.
- Reduce your oil footprint. Remember that drilling policy, energy consumption, and climate change are all connected. The scope of a four million gallon oil spill may be intimidating, but it doesn’t change the fact that you can make a difference by bringing a canvas bag to the grocery store. At Celsias, you’ll find all kinds of everyday, practical actions against climate change, and a community of users ready to hold you accountable for your actions. (Want some help remembering to cover your pots while cooking?)
- Make your voice heard. The most important tool in preventing further spills is policy change. According to a recent Associated Press poll, despite the BP oil spill, 50% of Americans continue to support the idea of increased offshore drilling; only 38% are opposed — so they will have to speak loudly to effect policy change.
OCEANA, a broad-based, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the oceans, has posted a petition on its website urging President Obama to ban new offshore drilling. Join an array of activists, scientists, and celebrities (including my personal favorite) in supporting OCEANA’s efforts to ensure that policymakers don’t repeat the mistakes that led to the current disaster.
Let us know what you think of these ideas and any others you come across for how citizens can take action.