Spend to Save (The Gulf): 7 Easy Ways to Help Oil Spill Recovery


The worst environmental disaster in America’s history is still happening right now – so where are all the benefit concerts, the televised fundraisers, the celebrities posing for photo ops in canoes? The truth is, despite the severity of the situation, very few people are willing to pony up the cash to help with relief efforts for a simple reason: BP is a billion dollar corporation, and it should be coming out of their wallet. But as BP hedges and fights, environmental organizations on the scene need emergency funds.

That, in a word, sucks. How long can we wait for a corporation that’s clearly in denial of its responsibilities to act, while we watch animals suffer, hard working people lose their livelihoods and an ecosystem change forever? Hopefully, more people will step up to the plate and come together to help a region that’s desperately in need. But in the meantime – even if you can’t (and perhaps shouldn’t) head down to the Gulf yourself to help out, you can contribute in these seven small, fun ways – like sipping on specialty cocktails, downloading songs and shopping for delicious-smelling soap.

Dine Out For the Gulf

From June 10th-12th, all you have to do to aid in oil spill recovery efforts is head to a local restaurant and enjoy some good food and specialty cocktails. Restaurants around the country participating in Dine Out for the Gulf will offer up Gulf seafood offerings and donate either a portion of total sales or the sales from specific menu items to organizations supporting the Gulf Coast fishing industry.

Get Anything You Want at Amazon.com

Got some shopping to do? If you spend some cash at Amazon.com via the Hope Vote website, a portion of your order will go to Gulf oil spill relief at no extra cost to you. HopeVote.com donates a portion of the profits it earns through the Amazon Affiliate program to charitable causes, with the recipients chosen through site users’ votes. Proceeds are currently benefiting the National Wildlife Federation and the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.

Help Canada Get Clean with LUSH

All eyes might be on the Gulf of Mexico right now, but LUSH wants to remind us that Canada is in the midst of an oil crisis, too. The cosmetics company is not only parading its employees around in oil barrels, but offering shoppers a chance to clean themselves in order to clean up oil pollution. One hundred percent of the proceeds from LUSH’s Wild Rose Country Bath Bomb will go to the Rainforest Action Network in support of their tar sands campaign effort, or you can get smooth and deliciously scented with the ‘Charity Pot’ hand and body moisturizer, which benefits the Dogwood Initiative’s No Tankers campaign protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest from oil spills.

Wear Your Support On Your Chest

Want to spread awareness of the spill? Say it loud and contribute to cleanup campaigns at the same time with the COAST Save the Gulf! t-shirt. COAST Apparel is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of this tee to two non-profit organizations: the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Gulf Restoration Network.

Download a Charitable Tune

Send some of your hard-earned pennies to the Waterkeeper Alliance just by downloading a new tune from Grammy Award-winning singer Sophie B. Hawkins, who’s donating all proceeds from “The Land, the Sea and the Sky”. Hawkins told US Magazine, “I don’t think there’s anybody else standing out in the forefront. I just performed a sold out show as a benefit for the organization Waterkeeper Alliance. It was a really good show and I met all these people, so [my outreach has] really been blossoming from there because what I realized is that everyone is looking for some way to do something. In addition to the concert, I am donating the proceeds from my song’s iTunes sales – I’m not taking a penny of this.”

Build a Bear, Help a Marine Mammal

Marine mammals may not be fuzzy and huggable as teddy bears, but Build-A-Bear Workshop is looking to spread the love. The interactive retailer, which allows customers to make their own custom teddy bears, donated $5,000 to the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program within the Audubon Nature Institute and will invite guests to donate $1 at the cash register in any Build-A-Bear location in the U.S.

Help New Orleans, Wherever Your Travels May Take You

Booking a hotel sometime soon? No matter where you’re going, a portion of the cash you spend on your hotel could go straight to New Orleans to help with both Hurricane Katrina and Gulf Coast oil spill recovery. Expedia Inc. launched a new website and charity program, TravelRelief.org, that allows you to send eight percent of your total hotel booking price to the charity of your choice – including The Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Stephanie Rogers

Stephanie Rogers currently resides in North Carolina where she covers a variety of green topics, from sustainability to food.