The oil spill: How can our campus help?
June 4, 2010
The oil spill.
The photos and stories are horrifying. So, what can we do about it? How will we, as members of the UW-Green Bay community, respond to this crisis?
The mission of UWGB is to prepare students to think critically and address complex issues. The University promotes both environmental sustainability and engaged citizenship.
So, let’s start doing some thinking. All of us—students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members—can take part. Our collective heads, hearts, and hands are needed.
Where does this conversation begin? We don’t have to look far to find basic ways we can help:
• Fund-raising: The International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans, and rehabilitates them, is asking for support for its bird-rescue experts. Adopting a pelican, for example, costs $200, which goes to the cost of raising and eventually releasing it.
• Tweeting and blogging: The National Wildlife Federation is asking for support via social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. Twitter users can tweet and retweet messages with the #NWF tag. A Facebook Fan Page invites users to support the Wildlife Federation by setting up a “birthday cause.” Instead of getting presents from friends, you can direct them to donate to an organization of choice.
• Writing in other ways: Leave condolences to the families of the eleven workers killed in the explosion. Transocean has a Web page that introduces the employees who died and provides space for messages of sympathy. Or you can write to your newspaper, to your legislators, or to BP.
• Learning: Read about the spill. How do oil rigs work? What failed? What solutions have been attempted? Why haven’t they worked? What’s next? How can problems like this be avoided…or can they? Talk about these things. Listen to people who have perspectives different from your own. Start forming a position…
and yet…we don’t have to know everything before we can do anything. According to Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in Challenging Times, if we wait until we have all the knowledge we need, ample time to give, and the right words to say, we’ll never act at all. Now is the time, as imperfect as it may be.
“The wonder, “ Loeb writes, “is that when we do begin to act, we often gain the knowledge, confidence, and strength that we need to continue.”
So, if we can’t go to the coast to hold back the oil or to clean off the pelicans ourselves, what can we do to support that area and to protect the environment here in our own community? We have a beautiful campus, city, and state. How can we keep them that way? What are your ideas?
Can we do something? Yes. Will we do something?