Floridian’s biggest fear came true a couple of weeks ago when tar balls washed ashore the panhandle coast bringing with them waves of oil staining the white beaches. Summer spirits crushed, animals wounded, and thousands out of work, BP’s carelessness has taken a toll on summer vacations, lives, and the environment. The easy-going floribbean summer spirit was dampened when oil crushed summer plans. Humanitarians are now lending a hand to those innocently victimized in this environmental crime. This past Sunday, Alabama grown Jimmy Buffett threw a free beach concert for the panhandle victims. Hoping to salvage one day of their ruined summer, Buffet performed a 3 hour plus selection of the parrot head’s hits. His philanthropic gesture was well received, giving the panhandle a summer night to remember.
One thing Jimmy Buffett cannot do is reverse the impact the oil has had on the environment. Baby chicks are suffering from the oil and starvation. Rescuing the chicks has been a challenge, teaching them to eat and raising their borderline hypothermic temperature in order to be cleaned. The already endangered population of Loggerhead turtles is dwindling further. This past winter, the turtles were stunned or killed by the freeze and are now struggling to survive because of the oil. The animals may be helpless in this situation but we do not have to be. Organizations like International Bird Rescue Research Center and National Wildlife Federation welcome volunteers and donations. Donating to a food bank in the panhandle will go a long way. Panhandle food banks are asking for donations to help those unemployed because of the oil. Most of America not effected by oil holds the misconception that “oil is everywhere.” Here in Charlotte Harbor we are oil free, but that does not anchor our efforts to help the northern Gulf Coast.