Media coverage of Katrina and her aftermath is simply beyond my ability to comprehend. We see image upon image of destruction on a scale I could never have imagined. Our thoughts and prayers, indeed the nations, rest upon all the people of the Gulf region.
In Central Florida, we witnessed the most intense season of storms and damage in recent memory. We are still putting back the pieces. Roofs still are missing shingles, a local church is still missing its steeple, and yet four hurricanes pale in comparison to what the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are going through.
As we get past the initial shock, we’re hit with more and more bad news, but things will settle. Indeed, we begin to ask the question, “How can I help?”
First, we can, and must, all donate to Red Cross, www.redcross.org and United Way, www.uwbrevard.org.
This burden is immense, but we must begin acting as quickly as possible and give to these causes today, not tomorrow. Both organizations can not possibly be staffed to deal with this. Your contributions will dramatically help.
Red Cross Needs Volunteers
They are opening a host shelter for the Gulf Coast evacuees and are looking for volunteers to help man the shelter. Any time you could give us in this effort is both needed and appreciated.
Please contact Disaster Services at (321) 723-7141 at extensions 13 or 34 if you can help.
Contact Jason Ferrell, Director of Health & Safety Services, American Red Cross, Space Coast Chapter at email@example.com
It is amazing to me, that so many people need and now call upon these groups for help, yet during any other time have never even considered giving to these groups. During our storm season last year, United Way filled a crucial gap, organizing and manning the front lines, delivering aid and comfort, ice and water, supplies and caring support. We often think they are part of an anticipated government response, but they are not. They are your neighbors. They are active citizens who give, and you can both join and help with your time and donations.
On another note, gas and energy conservation are important matters that we can profoundly effect with minimal, but crucial effort.
As the communities of the Gulf Coast begin rebuilding from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina, the State of Florida is encouraging its residents and visitors to contribute to the recovery by conserving fuel and energy.
State government is leading by example and taking active steps to reduce energy consumption in State facilities. By adopting simple energy conservation habits, all Floridians can help replenish fuel supplies in impacted areas and make a significant contribution to the nation’s response to this natural disaster.
Details about the State’s energy conservation plan, along with energy saving tips for residents and remarks by Florida Governor Jeb Bush from September 1, 2005 can be found at www.floridadep.org or www.myflorida.com
Regardless of price at the pump, we all can drive less, drive more responsibly and reduce our speed to conserve. Just this morning, as I drove into my office, I was amazed and depressed that so many people still speeded and passed, weaving through traffic to beat me to that next red light. Relax, slow down a little and together we can all conserve just by our driving habits.
The price of gasoline
I am shocked by the reactions of fuel retailers. On the prospect of a storm, prices went up. As Katrina pounded the Gulf and the devastation was realized, prices lurched on speculation of shortfalls.
The industry says it is simply market driven–sSupply and demand sets the price. But I put forth that each and every station and retailer, the entire industry, has taken huge advantage of the public. At every turn we bear witness to their willingness to profit from our collective misfortune.
It is time for serious public debate and action over America’s energy future.
To close, we are all deeply moved by this event. These past few years have produced disaster after disaster of biblical proportion. Our prayers are with those effected by Katrina, and those who will continue to be effected by its aftermath.
As we ponder what it will take to return to normalcy, I predict it will be a full decade before New Orleans and the Gulf will recover.
I’ll end on a silver lining. The region has an opportunity to redevelop itself in a much more sustainable manner, and the new New Orleans, will be a city of the future. As we all work together, as we donate our time and resources, we will see a new day, a better day. Get involved. Be part of the solution.