Posted by: Vicki Burns | June 16, 2010

The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico – What Can We Do?

The tremendous environmental disaster that has been unfolding in the last few weeks in the Gulf of Mexico has captured the attention of millions of people around the world. As is often the case, there is much finger pointing and blame being dished out. It seems its human nature to want to blame. But my reaction is slightly different and focuses on two aspects of this fiasco.

image of green turtle covered in oil

Green Sea Turtle covered in oil, photo credit Kristina Summer

The first is how can we make sure we don’t make the same mistake twice. Its obvious that no one has a good answer for how to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Doesn’t that mean we should be extremely cautious about allowing any more drilling underwater? I am amazed to hear that our own Canadian government may be proceeding with issuing more drilling permits for the Arctic. How can we ensure common sense will prevail? Check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s suggestion for communicating with our political leaders.

The second thought I’ve been having was expressed very eloquently by Ingrid Newkirk, in a recent editorial entitled Largest case of cruelty to animals in U.S. history. As a former humane society executive director, I find the images of birds and marine animals suffering under the slick of oil, almost unbearable. However Ingrid has taken the pain of seeing such a huge amount of suffering and turned it into the question of what can we all do.  There are many large and small things that each one of us can choose to do to lessen our dependence on oil and oil based products, thereby decreasing the need to access more oil in environmentally threatening ways.

We can all make a difference to protecting the elements of the natural world that humans rely on for survival by making more conscious choices in our everyday actions. Are you willing to pick one thing you can do differently today?



  1. We can sing and protest about BP and Syncrude. Here are 3 songs we Raging Granies are going to sing to them at the corner of Lagimodiere and Fermor on July 19th.

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