We All Play a Partby Fernando Senra on May 27, 2010
With the recent work we are doing regarding the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it’s easy to get caught up in the politics of it all and lose sight of the negative impacts to real people who depend on the Gulf as the source of their livelihoods. During a recent visit to Destin to meet with local fishermen and business owners, I was hit with a dose of reality – this oil spill affects people just like you and me.
Each day you hear about fishermen, shrimpers and others who are impacted, but it’s not until you are in a room with them and see their range of emotions that you realize the impact of this disaster. Looking around the room at people who were frustrated, confused, angry and upset made me feel helpless. As much as I would want to help and make their worries disappear, I don’t know how to clean up an oil spill – the root cause of their grief.
The opportunity that we have as public relations professionals is to apply our skills to countless situations. From crisis communications to community organization, we know how to bring people together and provide them with the information they need to move past the shock and start on the road to recovery. The community seminars we helped plan provided the individuals in attendance with the know-how they need to stand up to a large oil company and the necessary tools to do it effectively.
Recovering from this oil spill will take years. The ecological and economic impacts on communities and individuals have yet to be fully understood. In the meantime we all must do what we can, pulling in the unique skills we each bring to the table, and work together to rise above this challenge.