US Gulf Coast Recovery Background
Learn more about our Gulf Coast Recovery campaign
Why care about the recovery and restoration of the US Gulf Coast?
In recent years, the people and the environment of the Gulf Coast have endured a series of terrible blows. When the BP oil spill hit in 2010, coastal communities were still reeling and recovering from several devastating hurricanes – Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav. These events destroyed homes and businesses, battered wetlands, and decimated fishing beds and oyster reefs.
They also provided a glimpse of what the future could look like if we don’t invest in restoring the environment and building more resilient, sustainable communities. Oxfam America has deep roots in and long ties to communities in Mississippi and Louisiana, and we’ve been proud to work with people to recover, restore, and rebuild.
Vibrant people, vital resources at risk
Restoration of the Gulf is critical not only for the millions of people who live there, but also for the country as a whole. It’s often said that the Gulf feeds and fuels the nation. Each year, its lands and waters produce 1.3 billion pounds of seafood; provide more than 600,000 jobs in tourism and recreation; produce more than half the nation’s domestic oil and gas; and house 13 of the 20 largest ports in the country.
But the environment and the people are unusually exposed to climate hazards, and vulnerable to harm. With the rising sea level and loss of natural protections from coastal wetlands, the Gulf Coast could see more than $350 billion in losses by 2030.
Roughly 80 percent of US counties that experience persistent poverty are located in the Gulf states, and it is the poor who suffer disproportionately when disaster strikes.
What we’re doing
Oxfam is committed to increasing the resiliency of communities along the coast. When a community is truly resilient, it can endure the shocks of a disaster more easily, and it can restore and rebuild – homes, businesses, environmental resources, community buildings, and spirits.
Oxfam‘s Gulf Coast program combines financial support to key partner organizations with on-the-ground technical support as it focuses on addressing long-standing regional issues, including coastal restoration and economic development based on green jobs.
Oxfam also plays a critical role in making sure that the billions of dollars in fines that will result from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be directed to the region, and will play the best possible role in restoring the environment and the economy. Oxfam is working with many groups to formulate and advocate for new legislation, on federal and state levels, that will make sure the money goes to retrain and reemploy the people most affected while restoring the ecosystems.
Oxfam brings a special perspective to many of the efforts to restore the Gulf: we care about the people who live and work on the lands and water, while we appreciate the incredible resources and beauty of the environment.