Like most people, I am finding it hard to wrap my head around the mind-boggling size of the oil ‘spill’ in the Gulf of Mexico. The images of the oil-soaked animals (the photos that are making it out anyway) are devastating, and I am itching to get down there to help. At this very moment, I am waiting for a call from the folks I worked with during the rescue of 19,000 oiled penguins in South Africa ten years ago. I am hoping to make it to the Gulf in the coming weeks to assist with bird rehab efforts.
I see Facebook posts from concerned people every day – individuals who want to go down to the Gulf coast to help, but who are not able to for various reasons. But there are many others ways to help other than doing the hands-on work. I have to thank my wonderful agent, Julie Barer, for sending me this link, which has a great list of ways to help make a difference for the Gulf region. (How to Help the Gulf Coast.) Action items include sending donations of money or supplies, and how to let your senators know that you support climate and clean energy legislation. There is no need to feel powerless – each small contribution adds up to a greater whole. Together, we can make a difference!
If you need further proof of this, just look to the youth of this country for inspiration. There are many kids who have turned their pain and anger over this disaster into concrete, positive action. Olivia, Alexa and Casey are just a few of these remarkable young people. Ten-year old Alexa (with the help of her mom Cindy) has a great blog (Oceans4Ever) through which she shares her concern for the oceans. Today, in fact, she and her 12-year old friend Casey (whose website is LoveASeaTurtle) are holding a coast-to-coast bake sale to benefit the Gulf animals.
And Olivia’s story is truly incredible. This young artist (who just turned 11-years old) wanted to do something to help the birds that she loves so much. She contacted the Audubon Society and offered to provide them with 500 original bird paintings for them to give to people who donated to Gulf spill relief efforts. In less than two months, her beautiful paintings raised more than $125,000! Check out Olivia’s Facebook page to learn more about this remarkable young woman.
Never doubt that one person can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are. All that matters is that you DO something. Remember that everything you do has a ripple effect – by taking action, you will inspire people around you to get involved as well. And before you know it, you just may have started a new movement. Anthropologist Margaret Mead stated this beautifully when she said, “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”