5 Reasons to Be Thankful for the Letter ‘R’

Posted Thu, 11/22/2018 - 15:03
An image that reads "Happy Thanksgiving" with a picnic basket and food.
Image credit: Creative Commons.

NOV. 22, 2018 — With Thanksgiving Day began the tradition of taking a moment to think about all the things you’re thankful for — from the past year, your entire life, or maybe even just on that one day. In homes and classrooms across the country, families pick just one to put on a paper turkey of their own making and they reflect on it as they sit down together for a feast of good food and good company.

For us at least — and we’re probably not alone — it can be challenging to narrow down all that you’re grateful for into a single word or phrase. We’ve all got plenty to be thankful for, so why pick just one? But this year, we’ve managed to narrow it down to a single letter. Here at NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, we’re thankful for the letter ‘R.’

The letter ‘R’ alone does not encapsulate all that we are grateful for, but it comes pretty close. Almost everything we do and everything that we work to achieve starts with that one simple thing — an ‘R.’ But, of course, you really have to know what comes next to understand why it is we’re so thankful.

Here are five reasons why the letter ‘R’ means so much to us:

  • Response. Whether from natural disasters such as hurricanes, or human error during the use and transportation of oil and chemicals, accidents happen. While prevention is always the first priority, when accidents do happen it’s important to be ready to respond. By providing scientific support to the U.S. Coast Guard and other entities, we help to mitigate the risks from incidents and in turn do our part to keep the coasts clean from threats of marine pollution. Check out our website to learn more about our response efforts.
  • Remediate and Restore. Marine pollution, no matter the scale, can be detrimental to the environment and affect entire ecosystems. An oil spill can kill both plants and wildlife, but the impacts from a spill don’t end with the direct injuries. Many of the natural resources damaged from marine pollution serve as habitat and food sources for a wide array of other plants and animals. That’s why it’s important to not only clean up the spill, but remediate and restore the natural resources that were damaged. Learn more about OR&R’s natural resource damage assessment process to find out how we help to restore and compensate for lost or damaged natural resources.
  • Readiness and Resilience. Driving our goals to prevent and prepare for incidents is the desire to be ready for anything. By preparing for future disasters, we can bolster the resiliency of our coasts and the communities that depend on them. OR&R recently boosted its preparedness efforts with the new National Ocean Service Disaster Preparedness Program, which aims to prepare NOS and partners to respond to and recover from pollution events and natural disasters.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Making the world a better place since the 1970s, this trifecta known as the “Three Rs” plays an important part in mitigating the threat of pollution from everyday objects and other marine debris into our coasts, oceans, and waterways. Visit OR&R’s Marine Debris Program website to learn more about how we work to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris.
  • Research. Learning from the past and preparing for the future wouldn’t be possible without research. From discovering more about the true impacts of oil and other pollutants to finding new ways to clean and monitor for spills, research propels our work forward and leads to a better understanding of how marine pollution affects the environment and what we can do to mitigate the risks. Some important examples of research we’ve been a key part of include research into the use of drone technology to monitor for oil spills, as well as studies on the use of chemical dispersants for spill response.

So there you have it, our five reasons to be thankful for the letter 'R.' What are you thankful for?