We interrupt our regular programming to bring you five ways you can join us in helping the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. Since the April 20 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, teams have been working to rescue animals and organizations have also come up with creative ways to absorb excess oil. Although there are many ways to donate money or even volunteer your time in the region), here are our suggestions:
National Wildlife Federation
Text "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to donate $10 to the National Wildlife Federation. Your money will help with the organization's immediate response work as well as long-term, on-the-ground efforts to protect wildlife such as restoring nesting and breeding grounds.
International Bird Rescue Research Center
If seeing the birds covered in oil is really pulling on your heartstrings, adopt one. Damage to habitats, whether caused by the oil spill or other reasons, leaves many birds orphaned. The bird you adopt will even be tagged with a code unique to you as part of the center's research.
Animals aren't the only ones in need of some support. Oxfam America has been working in the Gulf Coast region since Hurricane Katrina and now they are turning their attention to the communities whose livelihoods depend on the wetlands and marshes. Money will go to help support local organizations and immediate needs like HAZ-MAT training for fishermen.
Matter of Trust
Oily hair may be a faux pas, but donating your locks to suck up spilled oil certainly wouldn't be. Hair, fur, and fleece can be made into tubular boons that absorb oil in the water along coastlines. Salon owners, individuals, alpaca farmers, groomers, and anyone with a surplus of hair can donate. All donations are currently going straight to the Gulf.
With a scary up-to-the-minute tracker of the number of gallons spilled since the explosion (24 million as of this morning), Oceana offers an opportunity to get involved that doesn't mean opening your wallet, but using your voice. Although they recognize the steps the President has taken (like suspending Artic offshore drilling) Oceana believes offshore drilling will never be safe. If you agree, they have a petition with close to 80 thousand signatures you can sign.
Image via Boston Globe