"When oil washes ashore on a beach, you can always clean up the sand or truck in more," says George Barisich of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana's fishing industry. "But it's impossible to extract from the mud in our marshes." When oil from the BP rig explosion seeps into the wetlands along the Gulf Coast, it can kill the roots of fragile marsh grasses that literally bind together a natural floodwater barrier that has already been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. In New Orleans, people are wearing their environmental conscience on their sleeves. You can order a "Protect Our Coast" T-shirt from Dirty Coast or donate XXL to America's Wetland.
Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.