One year ago, the tragic Deepwater Horizon blowout triggered a summer-long nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico. None of us will forget our heartbreak as we viewed photos of oiled birds, turtles, and other wildlife—and the frustration we felt each day for the three months it took BP to cap the well. But in the midst of despair, our volunteers sounded a firm, confident note of hope. Some 34,000 responded to our appeal—and several hundred joined our active ranks in the Gulf. Those whose homes were too far away for direct action helped in many other ways, from contributing funds and inspiring others to do so, to creating healthy and inviting backyard habitat for birds en route to and from the Gulf during migration, to conserving energy. Thank you!
Today, April 20, is not just a time to look back. It is a time to look forward—and to focus on the challenges ahead of us. While the well is capped, the impacts of the spill are far from over. What we’ve learned from other spills, like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, is that the birds that are recovered and officially reported dead are only a small fraction of those that actually died. And the continued presence of oil and its by-products, in habitat and in the food chain, may impact food supply and reproductive health for many more years. Factor in the many other longstanding environmental threats confronting the Gulf region, and it’s clear that its wildlife and its communities still need your help. Visit the Audubon website to find out what you can do, or get directly involved by downloading the Hope for the Gulf, kit.