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Oil spill blues—and how to help

May 9, 2010

For those of us who live Louisiana, it’s hard not to think constantly about the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which claimed eleven lives and triggered an oil spill that continues to contaminate the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday’s New York Times reports that three million gallons have polluted the Gulf so far, placing more than 10,000 square miles off-limits to fishing. Given that Louisiana contains 40 percent of the wetlands in the Lower 48 states—and these wetlands “improve water quality by filtering out pollutants and absorbing excess nutrients, replenishing aquifers, providing erosion control and helping to dissipate storm surges,” as the National Wildlife Federation points out—this is a crisis of unimaginable magnitude.

What can we do to help? Community radio station WWOZ reports “a massive local movement to try to trap the oil before it reaches the sensitive wetlands and bayous—the heart of Louisiana’s fishing industry.” The station’s blog has a list of ways to help:

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