Real Gulf Coast Recovery Requires Resilient People, Communities and Ecology

Now that the BP oil hole has finally stopped gushing, people and communities in the Gulf region will need ongoing assistance as they recover and rebuild.  Research shows that certain people tend to come through disasters such as this and Katrina in better shape than others.  The ability to withstand and even thrive under adversity is known as resilience.  This article starts with tips for building resilience within people and communities; followed by summaries of key articles about disaster from the journal Science.  Finally, there are quotes from philosophers, athletes, politicians and others about  resilience and how it can be achieved.
Click below to learn important lessons about resilience:

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Surveys Reveal the Broad Scope of Negative Socio-Economic Impacts from the BP Oil Spill

The impacts of the BP Oil Spill on individuals, businesses, and communities will take a long time to become fully realized.  Recent survey research helps to document the broad  scope and scale of these impacts.  Understanding what people are going through will be vital for targeting assistance efforts to mitigate the negative economic and social impacts.  This information should also be helpful as lawsuits are launched against BP and other companies.  The stories collected here point to the kinds of questions that need to be answered through careful social science research.
Click below to read results from a variety of surveys.

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Feinberg’s Policies Won’t Make Many Gulf Residents and Businesses Whole Again!!

The process of compensating victims of the BP oil spill is about to be turned over to the Oil Spill Czar, Ken Feinberg.  He has extensive experience, but comes off as arrogant and threatening – particularly for scared gulf residents who have had their lives torn apart.  It is of great concern that he seems unlikely to show much (if any) sympathy for the psychological and mental health damages that people have experienced and will continue to experience for many years to come.  He has stated that such claims would not be considered legitimate.  He is also likely to be quite stingy when it comes to paying any claims for lost tourism and other indirect costs of the BP oil spill.  All in all it does not appear that this claims process will be able to make the people of the gulf region whole again – as they have been promised.  Potential claimants clearly need to get legal advice before accepting what Feinberg has to offer.
Click below to learn about the flawed process.

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Religion and Spirituality Play Essential Roles in Serving People and Restoring Gulf

As is the case with any disaster, many people in the Gulf region are turning to religion to find comfort, compassion and assistance. At the same time, religious groups of all persuasions are actively trying to embrace environmentalism as a social movement to build their congregations and preach the gospel.  Here I have collected some of the most interesting and inspiring stories about how religion plays an important role in addressing the social and spiritual crisis faced by people in the Gulf. This post summarizes key articles about how religious institutions are helping address the material and spiritual needs of their congregations.  The gulf presents challenges to churches’ budgets, while also driving a new type of spiritual ecology.
Click to connect to nature on a spiritual level.

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Many Gulf Businesses and Communities Won’t Fully Recover from Oil Spill’s Impacts

The news for gulf coast residents and businesses continues to get worse, as BP’s broken oil well continues to gush.  It is now becoming clear that many communities will face unprecedented damage to their social and economic fabrics. Some of the most direct and dramatic impacts will involve lost tourism and damage to the fishing industry.  The oily gulf will also permanently damage whole ways of life and leave many area residents drifting without a life jacket. 
Click below to learn about these significant impacts.

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Oil Spill Means Long-term Trouble for Mental Health and Community Well-being

The oil spill in the Gulf is directly threatening millions of people in terms of their mental health and ability to earn a living as they have for generations.   Lessons from other disasters (especially the Exxon Valdez oil spill and Hurricane Katrina) show dramatic increases in all types of social psychological problems (e.g., depression, violence, substance abuse.)  This BLOG post combines a number of articles about these important topics.  Particular attention is paid to the impacts on families from coastal fishing communities and their traditional way of life. 
Click below to learn what is happening to people.

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