With the Gulf Coast still being ravaged by the worst oil spill in history, this special issue is geared towards sharing with you tools, resources and ways you can contribute and give back. A phrase we keep hearing from natives about natural and unnatural disasters that have attacked this region is, “When CNN goes away, the lawyers come out to play.” How tragic and deplorable to think that if the national media veers their attention that BP won’t hold itself accountable for decimating the livelihood of thousands of families, recreation activities for the entire region and destroying the wildlife and wetlands that the entire country depend on to keep our fragile eco-sysytem in place.
It is in this spirit that we implore you to do what you can to keep this topic top of mind. That can mean using your own social networks to tell stories, re-share photos taken, signing petitions to lawmakers, making donations to nonprofits doing direct relief work, create ways for your industry or business to give back and keep pushing forward. We know well the “disaster fatigue” that sets in during enormous devastation and we applaud so many of the subscribers on this list for your work and time in helping those who need it. You are our inspiration.
From The New York Times Interactive Map to the Oil Reporter Mobile Application, there are many resources gathering information and sharing photos, videos, blog and news updates from the entire Gulf Region. One site we have bookmarked is WWOZ’s BP Oil Disaster Resource and Update page. You can find more information like what we have listed here to help build your own resource guide of information surrounding the disaster.
Donate – There are many small community groups making an immediate impact in the Gulf Coast region where your donations will be put to use immediately. To help you, follow our new Twitter list of organizations we support. Another great opportunity to give is during Monday night’s 2-hour CNN telethon special. You can direct your donations to one of three national nonprofits, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy or the United Way. If you remember, the CNN Haiti telethon raised over $5 million, and these national endeavors are critical fundraising channels for giving back on a national scale.
Gatherings for Good – Follow @TEDxOilSpill, or attend the event June 28th in Washington DC where leaders around the country and across industries including government agencies, NGOs, and environmental groups are coming together to tackle the tough questions raised by the recent and ongoing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics will include mitigation of the spill and the impending cleanup efforts; energy alternatives; policy and economics; as well as new technology that can help us build a self-reliant culture. There are 72 Meetups happening around the country that day (includingthis one in New Orleans) so you can participate where ever you are.
Volunteer – LA Gulf Response is collecting names for possible upcoming volunteer opportunities around the Gulf Region. Its important to note that the health affects of the oil spill and it’s air-borne particles are not known, and most relief agencies are looking for skilled volunteers or to hire those from the local community who need income to help. Much of the area around the oil spill is highly-restricted, follow the agencies supporting this response effort for more information.
Purchase Power – Most products we’ve seen supporting Gulf Coast nonprofits have sold out in a heartbeat (including this one from Threadless) but one we’re hoping you’ll jump on is the collaboration between Fleurty Girland the Audubon Institute’s Louisiana Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP). 100% of the net proceeds from the sales of this T-shirt, called “Rescue Me”, go towards the Audubon program. Another is from We Add Up, with your custom number on the shirt totaling people making a difference.
Sloane Berrent is a cause-based marketing and social branding consultant, nonprofiteer and budding social entrepreneur. She uses social media, product evangelizing, fundraising and community development services to help for-profit and nonprofit companies with a focus on social action campaigns. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she has lived in Burlington VT, Boston MA, Rome Italy, and Los Angeles, CA. She spent 2009 as a digital nomad, traveling the world experiencing life and volunteering including stints in South America, New Orleans and three months in the Philippines as a Kiva Fellow.
She co-created “Cause It’s My Birthday” a campaign to raise money (over $19k to date) and awareness for malaria prevention in Ghana. Sloane moved to New Orleans as her new home at the end of 2009 and co-launched NOLAlicious, a weekly newsletter of events in New Orleans. She was recently named the citizen journalist to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for the MySpace and The Wall Street Journal communities. Her consulting practice, Answer With Action, focuses on strategic integrated marketing consulting. She speaks frequently on building community and blogs at The Causemopolitan.