The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill blog would like to announce a new contributor, Jesse Anderson. We met @ the Internet Cafe on Toulouse. The is a press release. This guy is what he says he is. Donate to his cause.
Wisconsin man treks over 1,200 miles to raise awareness and help with Gulf oil disaster
Determined to play a role in the oil clean-up, the Wisconsin college student travelled over 1,200 miles without using any extra oil products.
New Orleans, LA — Jesse Anderson is on a mission to do whatever necessary to lend a hand with the oil disaster. Attached with his mission is a message. He is raising awareness about oil consumption and its role in this disaster. “We demand it, because we have no choice, and in turn BP and other companies drill it and this is what happens.”
So far he has travelled from his home in northeast Wisconsin to New Orleans, Louisiana without consuming any oil. To accomplish this, he shared rides and hitchhiked. “One thing I didn’t want to do” he said, “is put another car on the road. Ridesharing is one simple way many of us can reduce our consumption of oil.”
Anderson’s reasoning for going the extra mile, actually 1,200 miles, boils down to two important factors. He said, “It’s about helping to make a difference, no matter how small, and about raising awareness about the issues at hand so we can all be a part of creating solutions.”The 27-year-old University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley student was born in Oklahoma where his father and uncles worked on oil rigs. Anderson has also lived on the Gulf coast in Florida, a place he said he wants to help keep beautiful.
Images of enormous pools of oil, oil covered birds and testimonies of devastated fishermen are what prompted Anderson to set out on his mission. “I can’t sit back in my comfortable home feeling bad for the people and wildlife in the Gulf region and do nothing,” Anderson said. “This is serious. Lives are being destroyed. Ecosystems we all depend on are deteriorating and all around me there are people turning a blind eye. Even when interest is lost and the news moves on, there is still devastation, there is still work to be done.”
Since the blowout on the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, it is estimated that up to 327 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, causing irreparable damage to industries and the wildlife that depend on a clean Gulf. Anderson, who is double majoring in sociology and psychology, says he sees too much apathy when it comes to social problems, so this time he’s leading by example. “I’ve got to do something,” he said.
It’s no secret that the amount of petroleum products Americans have been consuming is causing problems beyond this spill. It creates enormous amounts of waste, exhaust and health problems. “I see people calling this a tragedy and proceeding to fill up a 7,000 lb SUV with gas. I’m ashamed to say that is the American way. What are we supposed to do though? The government is allowing this to happen. We are way behind Europe when it comes to green transportation and nothing is being done about it because of the interest in the profit that comes from petroleum.”
Anderson isn’t alone. As frustration mounts, many people are playing a role by reducing their consumption and supporting causes related to the disaster. “I’m just one more guy trying to make a difference,” Anderson said, “Anyone who uses gasoline can and should be part of the solution,” he said. “The need for a reduction in our dependence on petroleum products has never been so obvious. If you simply can’t give up the V8 and the boat, buy carbon offsets or reduce consumption in other areas.”
As far as the clean-up goes, Anderson has been seeking out opportunities with organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, The Audubon Society and others, but says that it isn’t easy to find a position without the proper training and connections.
Anderson has obtained hazardous waste handling (HAZWOPER 40 hour) certification, which qualifies him to work with the oil. While there are limited opportunities now, both conservation and human services needs continue to emerge in the Gulf region.
Anderson also wants to be at the heart of the disaster to see firsthand what’s happening. He plans to offer those who can’t be there the opportunity to see the situation through an average Joe’s eyes. He has set up a blog, a Twitter page, a Facebook page and a YouTube channel to document and share his mission. In his video logs and blog posts he has portrayed how difficult and time-consuming it has been to jump through the hoops before he can even begin to offer his services and time.
A very limited budget has made this even more difficult. He’s slept at truck stops, stayed in cockroach infested guest houses and with people he’s met on the road. He’s also used CouchSurfing.org, an online community of people who offer their couch as a place to stay and ask to stay on a couch when they travel. At one point he had to skip meals in order to have money to rent a bed in a hostel. Still, he continues to work toward accomplishing his mission.
Anderson said, “If it weren’t for the kindness of strangers and the support of my friends and family, this mission would not be possible. It is because of them that I was able to afford the HAZWOPER certification, food and a roof over my head.”
Tomorrow Anderson has a ride to Venice Louisiana, where much of the operations are based. He hopes to find a job or volunteer opportunity there as soon as he arrives so he can begin the final part of his mission. “I hope I can meet someone right away so I can get to work and have a place to stay.”
Gulf Aid, the organization Anderson founded has set up a fund to help with day-to-day expenses such as food and lodging. For those who have been looking to contribute to a cause related to the oil spill and want to know exactly where their donation is going, this may be the opportunity they’ve waited for.
Upon his return, he will donate the remainder of the fund to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, which works with The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy and BTNEP. For those who would like to contribute to Anderson’s efforts supporters can send donations to:
Gulfaid – C/O Danielle Kroening
Capital Credit Union
2755 West Wisconsin Avenue
Appleton, WI 54914-1713
Anderson also has a secure PayPal donate button on Gulfaid’s Facebook page where donations can be made to help him along the way. “Every little bit helps, I am grateful for any and all support for my mission and for all of the great people who have made sacrifices to help with the disaster.” he said.
Anderson said, “My mission can be summed up with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ I couldn’t see it any other way.”
To follow Anderson on his mission visit the links to Gulf Aid’s social media sites:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gulfaidnow (the main hub with links to the others)Blog: www.gulfaid.blogspot.comTwitter: www.twitter.com/Gulf_aidYouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/gulfaid
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links with more information:· Anderson’s University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley student info: http://www.uwfox.uwc.edu/spotlight/jesse.anderson.html· Appleton Post Crescent article, Saturday, June 19, 2010 http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20100619/APC0101/6190528/Student-plans-trek-to-volunteer-with-Gulf-of-Mexico-oil-spill-cleanup