I snatched a few hours of sleep after getting home from my night job, then headed out to Holly Beach with my girlfriend. There, we joined up with almost 200 other volunteers. Our goal was to clean up as much trash and sea weed as possible so that when/if the massive oil slick reaches that section of the coast, the impact will be lessened, the oil cleanup will go smoother, and less toxic debris will be stuffed in our landfills. Cleaning up sand is one thing, but when you also have tons of sea weed and trash that's also caked in sludge, the whole process grinds to a halt.
Armed with rakes and sun screen we descended upon the beach in scores, rushing to pull the washed up sea weed away from the advancing tide. It was hauled up, bit by bit and then gathered into piles. Those piles were then loaded into trucks and onto trailers where they were hauled away where they will ultimately decay into large mounds of fertile soil.
A few hours later, the line of sea weed that typically adorns the tidal zone was completely gone as far as the eye could see in both directions. It was a very productive day and should the oil hit that section of beach, the cleanup will be much easier. But that's just one beach. The cleanup goes on. Some 90 miles of beach must be prepared for the worst. That preparation will not only make cleanup easier, but will also save the lives of hundreds or even thousands of birds, like the brown pelican.
Please, check out www.gulfresponse.org and sign up to be a volunteer. You'll be fed lunch and the sun hats, sun screen, rakes, trash bags, bug spray, gloves, shirts and water are all provided for you. All you have to do is donate some time, which is the one resource that is rapidly running out during this time of crisis.