Audubon Oil Spill Response Team Update #4: Commitment to care

Gretna, Louisiana, 1:20 a.m.

I'm not going to lie: Disaster response is a stressful, overwhelming and exhausting experience for all involved.

But, if I take a few quiet moments to reflect at the end of a hectic day, I begin to think of all the people who want to do something -- anything -- to help the birds, ecosystems and communities affected by the ongoing oil spill. And I realize, Audubon works because people care.

There's Olivia, a young artist who's sending artwork to people who donate to Audubon and a handful of other environmental NGOs. There's Lexie, who voluntarily stayed in a meeting till well past midnight after sitting on a dock all day.

There's Elizabeth, who -- well, she can speak for herself:

We're inspired and buoyed by your support, encouragement and offers of help during this difficult and frightening time.

But I hope that I -- and you -- learn some long-lasting lessons out of all this, however it plays out in the end.

It's easy to care during a crisis. It's a lot harder to care in the lulls between disasters, but that's when we make a thousand small decisions that influence the future.

Disaster response is crucial. So is a longterm commitment to care. To make smarter, safer choices that are more respectful of human life and all other life on earth.

Will this disaster inspire us to make those choices, both large and small? Well, as with the impact of the spill itself, I think it's still too early to say. But I hope so, I really do.

David J. Ringer
Mississippi River Initiative
National Audubon Society

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