This is what it should ALWAYS look like.
I also happen to be an optimist who thinks everyone can play a role in helping fix things. After Katrina, I went down and helped rebuild a house, which was an amazing experience (and still ongoing.) With that under my belt, I was thinking of all of the different ways people can help the Gulf. Donate. Share. Volunteer. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Attend or host a Citizen Gulf Day of Action event in your area. People across our nation are self organizing to raise money and awareness. Proceeds will go to a Catholic Charities program on the ground to fund after school programs for kids in the affected areas. For those of you in DC, we'll be at Busboys & Poets at 5th & K Streets NW starting at 6:30. Bonus: Drink specials and date auction!
2. Bear witness. Share stories about the Gulf with you friends, family and community. When you see evidence of oil or something that needs to be addressed, snap photos and share in every way possible. Tweet it and tag it with #CitizenGulf to get the word out.
3. Stay informed. Follow people like satirical but dead-on @BPCares, local New Orleans news site NOLA.com and reporters who are staying on the case, like Bloomberg's tenacious Lizzie O'Leary. Ask, no, demand that your local news keep reporting on the progress and the recovery.
4. Look for ways to reduce your oil consumption. No one expects anyone to stop driving cars in a place without public transportation, but there are plenty of things we can do to reduce consumption. Here are 10 ways, including cutting back on Ziplocs, checking your tire pressure and doing a home energy audit. The bonus is that these all also save you money!
5. Find ways to volunteer on the ground. Don't don your poor man's haz mat suit and head for an oily beach though, this stuff is dangerous. This article from Huffington Post talks about how volunteers are being utlized and lists organizations where you can get involved in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
Got another way you are helping, share it in the comments.