Dispatch from the Gulf Oil Spill: Why We Are All Responsible for the Cleanup

philippe cousteau picking up trash photo

Photo courtesy of Philippe Cousteau

We made it into Tampa late last night and took the one hour drive to the beach near St. Petersburg. It was going to be another long day and we were prepared to get up early and get to the beach for the cleanup. I had come here in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy, one of the leading ocean conservation organizations in the country. The whole idea was to organize a beach cleanup as a way to channel the collective sense of frustration and demonstrate that people can take action to help the oceans...with or without oil. Ocean Conservancy runs the International Coastal Cleanup in September, the largest ocean cleanup in the world, and has started expanding it to events throughout the year. They invited me to come to the event in Tampa to help show people that we all have power. Even before oil reaches Tampa, and I hope it doesn't, it is important to clean up as much of the coast as possible. Once oil arrives any debris along the shore becomes a bio-hazard and is very difficult to clean up because is requires special training. The day was sweltering but the effort was worthwhile as we cleaned up over a ton of trash.

I have talked about it at length: We only have to look in the mirror to find someone to blame for this oil catastrophe because it is a symptom of a wider problem. However, in the same way we make the choices that cause us to be addicted to oil—a substance that poisons our air, our water and our future—we also have the equal power to change the world in which we live. To eat less meat, use public transportation, aspire to healthy and functional houses, vote in politicians that care about our world, and more...

As Gandhi one wrote, 'we must become the change we seek in the world'. There is always hope, we have the power to build the sustainable and just world our children deserve and if the spill reminds us of anything...it is that...

Read more about the Gulf oil spill:
BP Gulf Oil Spill Cheat Sheet: A Timeline of Unfortunate Events
Gulf Spill Exclusive: Shocking Marine Life Destruction and Angry Locals (Slideshow)
Less Than 1% of Oil-Soaked Birds Survive
Gulf Oil Spill: Amazing and Devastating Photos

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