Yesterday, I looked up what you can do to help during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
I compiled what I considered to be 10 of the most practical, creative, and easy ways to help:
1. Use your head - or your hair, rather. Matter of trust, an organization based in San Francisco, is creating natural flotation devices, made from materials such as, well, your hair, that, strung together, are helping to keep the oil from spreading. You can donate hair, fur, fleece, feathers, nylons and funding.
2. Buy Dawn dishwater detergent. After entering the activation code given on your packaging here, $1 of your purchase is donated to helping to save wildlife. Also, you can donate your bottle of dawn directly to clean up efforts through this facebook page, created by two teenage girls.
3. Send a text message with the code "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to automatically give a $10 donation to help wildlife affected by the oil spill - donations go to the National Wildlife Federation.
4. Donate to gulfaid, an organization assisting fishermen and their families through texting "GULFAID 10" to 27138 to donate $10 to Gulf Aid. Replace "10" with the number of US dollars (no $ sign) you'd like to pledge.
5. Purchase this sea turtle pendant for $25 - 75% of proceeds go to helping sea turtles survive.
6. Purchase this pack of magnets for $11.50, and $3.00 of your purchase will go to the National Wildlife Federation's BP Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund. The donation will go directly toward supporting NWF's immediate response and long term on-the-ground work to safeguard wildlife affected by the tragedy.
7. Sign up to help through the Sierra Club, or sign up to help through the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
8. Adopt a bird! Contact the International Bird Rescue Research Center. According to ivillage.com, "They have a team of experts working in the region to rescue seabirds and they also operate wildlife hospitals where new treatments are developed. If you opt for avian adoption, the bird you select won't necessarily be a Gulf Coast victim, but you can chose to help a species affected by the disaster, such as ducklings ($25), egrets and herons ($50) and pelicans ($200). The money goes toward raising a bird in need and preparing it for release in the wild."
9. My personal favorite: eat sea food. Designated areas of the gulf are still producing fresh seafood, shipped across the country. You can support the livelihood of fisherman through continuing to purchase shrimp and oysters in particular (oh, twist my arm! please!). More information on the safety of seafood here.
10. Report sightings of, "fishermen out or work, endangered wildlife, oil on shore, oil sheens, health impacts and other problems" to the Louisiana Bucket Brigade through, and viewed at http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org. Text or call in reports to (504) 27 27 OIL, email reports to: firstname.lastname@example.org and Tweet them through using the hashtag #BPspillmap.