One Picture = 1,000 Words

oil-duckThis image haunts me.

When I first saw the disturbing photo on the front page of The Post, I gasped. The enormity of the oil spill in the Gulf finally hit home.  My heart still beats fast every time I see this soon-to-be iconic shot by AP photographer Charlie Riedel; it makes me want to DO something to help with the clean-up and deal with its catastrophic aftermath.

So yesterday, after hearing the various sound bites of politicians castigating BP execs on Capitol Hill (and what exactly did all that blustering accomplish anyway?!?), I was motivated to act. I looked up a few of the wildlife rescue organizations which are busily helping the situation versus playing the blame game. My intention was to donate to their worthy efforts.

I started with the the International Bird Rescue Research Center as I had seen their staff clean off oil-covered birds on CNN. What I discovered was that, while the IBRRC accepts donations, its web site specifically says that BP is expected to cover the cost of the Gulf clean-up, and money raised would go to IBRRC’s other operations.

I was impressed by the non-profit’s forthrightness and willingness to put donors on notice that their money would not be headed toward the Gulf region. Since I wanted to feel like I personally was making a difference through my donation, I kept looking for a wildlife organization that could use my money for the Gulf.

I headed over to the National Wildlife Federation to check out NWF’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund. Donations to the Fund support:

  • Development and deployment of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Surveillance Teams, a volunteer network that is being organized to monitor the coast for wildlife impacted by the oil spill.
  • Restoration of vulnerable nesting and breeding grounds, as well as other delicate ecosystems found throughout the Gulf Coast for water birds, sea turtles and other animals.
  • Public education about the oil spill and its impacts on wildlife, including informing the press and others about the impacts the oil spill is having on coastal communities and wildlife.
  • Policy work at the national and state level to support restoration of habitat in the Gulf Coast and better protection of our waters and coastlines.

Sounds like what I was looking for. I clicked on the donation button. After I was done with the process, I circled back to IBRRC‘s site and made a donation there, too. I rarely (OK, never) give to environmental causes, but this oil-covered duck really got to me.

I now feel slightly less powerless as I hear and watch the overwhelming news and images coming out of the Gulf. Only slightly less, but, hey, it helps.

How have you reacted to the Gulf oil spill?


  • Anne Says:
    6-21-2010 21:17:37

    what an awful picture – so entirely haunting as you say. what burns in my gut more than anything about this awful spill is the pure sense of helplessness. i can’t imagine if the shores and wildlife that are so near and dear to my heart in New England were being assaulted in the same way. thanks elaine for pointing out some worthy organizations to donate to.

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