Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sweaters for Penguins- Crafters and Oil Spills

Sometimes as an artist I wonder what I would have done had I become a marine biologist or environmental scientist. Could I be of better assistance in times like today, when oil spills threaten and ice bergs are melting?

So, instead of bemoaning my lack of a science degree, I decided to do some research on practical ways that crafter and artisans can and are helping the environment, particularly related to the BP Oil Spill.

Of course there are the obvious ways.
Money is helpful.

Spreading awareness and writing to your local and federal representatives helps too.

Protests also are effective in getting out a message.

But there are other surprisingly useful ways that crafters can lend a hand to the cause.

Penguin sweaters, for instance.

After listening to an eye-opening report done by Nell Greenfieldboyce of NPR questioning whether oiled birds should be cleaned in the aftermath of an oil spill, I began to wonder the same myself. You can read the report yourself here. Some scientists argue that it does more harm than good, while others say it is better than letting them suffer.

However, these sweaters were created after a 2000 New Year's Day oil spill off of the southern tip of Australia. The sweaters helped the birds to stop preening their feathers, which causes them to ingest the oil, one of the most difficult parts of rehabilitation as it causes illness. The sweaters also kept them warm until they were well enough to be cleaned, and also helped to build up the natural oils in their feathers. Not too bad for a little sweater.

You can read more about these penguin sweaters at this website. You can also find a pattern for penguin sweaters at this website.

But, how can crafters and artisans who are now experiencing the BP Oil Spill help out the loons and pelicans affected? Not only this, what about other sea life below the surface? I am not sure of the answer yet... a new crochet pattern for pelicans may not work like it does for the penguins. However, I can continue to do the other things listed above to do something to contribute. Or, like Elizabeth of SerendipiT, I can donate proceeds from my sales towards the effort (Props to you, Elizabeth! I shall soon follow your example!)

So, do what you can, in whatever way you can, whether it is creative or mainstream. Every bit helps!

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