We've been debating whether to put National Wildlife Federation's URL on the cover of this week's Stranger, pointing readers to a place they can donate money to help with oil spill fallout. The question that's been bugging me: Does giving money to help with cleanup efforts ultimately mean BP will have to pay less? Because obviously BP should get stuck with as large a bill as possible.
Susan Kaderka, the regional executive director of NWF's South Central Regional Center, agrees that BP should have to pay as much as possible, but she pointed out that Louisiana has something like 7,000 miles of coastland (it's a very intricate, jagged coast), and BP and government officials need all the help they can get finding animals and nature in distress. It's an overwhelming amount of land to traverse on foot. She also pointed out that NWF has a lobbying arm in DC, where a better-funded NWF can put more pressure on politicians to make sure BP has to pay as much as possible. And she pointed out that NWF has been taking reporters for various magazines, newspapers, and TV stations (including Time and the BBC) to see affected wildlife populations up close—those reporters would otherwise just be standing on a dock somewhere, hoping to see some oil roll in. Getting those reporters up close to the damage gets real information out to people, including the politicians who can do something about it and everyday people, who can further pressure politicians to do something about it.
We're putting the URL on the cover—www.nwf.org/oilspill. (Our cover artist this week, Aaron Bagley, is donating his earnings from this week's cover to the relief effort, too.) At that website, you can find out how to donate money, how to volunteer, and what NWF is doing to make things right for the Louisiana wetlands and all those pelicans, turtles, and other animals. Alternately, if you just want to give $10 through your cell phone carrier, you can text WILDLIFE to 20222.