Alpaca Fiber For Gulf Coast Oil Spill Cleanup
Back in March of 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska and dumped approximately 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the sea of this pristine and remote location. The incomprehensible, devastating damage done to the sea life, shoreline, and local communities and economies was insurmountable and continues until this day. Exxon has denied responsibility continually and has appealed every verdict regarding this issue. At the time, the environmental activist in me joined the millions of others as we all went into full activist mode, writing letters, calling elected officials, signing petitions, donating money to cleanup efforts through environmental organizations, and my personal favorite: mailing little baggies of oil to Exxon’s headquarters. The legal wrangling has spanned 20 years, and so has my complete refusal to buy gasoline from an Exxon station. I choose to run out of gas first. One of the saddest outcomes of this tragedy is the fact that our legal system has done literally next to nothing to get the spill really cleaned up properly, nor to compensate and assist the communities that were affected. And to top it off, hardly anything has been done to switch our country over to clean, safe energy.
Here it is now, 21 years later, and another devastating oil spill is happening in our beautiful Gulf Coast waters. I cannot believe that once again I will be working in some capacity to clean up yet another major oil spill. This time, an explosion occurred on April 20th at a deep sea oil rig owned by BP. As well as major environmental devastation again, many lives were lost due to the explosion. I pray for those families. It is now 19 days later and oil is still gushing out. BP is denying responsibility and says they’re not accountable. Supposedly our government is doing ‘all it can.’ Is it? When will this leak stop and who will clean it up? And what does all this have to do with alpacas?
Alpacas are ‘green,’ very green. Their fiber can literally absorb oil and allow clean water to pass through! As history does tend to repeat itself, it will be we concerned citizens that initiate clean up efforts before the ‘officials’ step in. The alpaca forums are already buzzing about a group that has been mobilizing. Alpaca farms are banding together to mail alpaca thirds and unused alpaca fiber to collection sites. Booms are being made with alpaca fiber stuffed into nylons as well as felted alpaca mats. Once the oil is absorbed, oyster mushrooms are applied to break up the oiled booms and mats, and then earthworms finish up the job, turning a harmful substance into glorious dirt. Please visit this wonderful organization’s website, www.matteroftrust.org to learn all the details of this ingenious oil spill clean up method. And fellow alpaca farmers, send in your unused fiber! Recycle those empty grain bags!
If we citizens don’t take action to take care of our environment, who will? And where would we all live?
Here I am, all these years, writing letter after letter to my elected officials, begging them to think of the environment first and pass appropriate legislation. Who would've thought my love for animals and natural fibers, being outside, and gardening organically, would have brought me to a place in my life where I'm raising livestock that is not only ‘light on the earth’ but also is instrumental in cleaning up an environmental disaster. What a feeling!
Today is Mother’s Day. Hi Mom! And while we’re all thanking our Moms please, please remember to do something thankful for everyone’s ~ human, animal, bird, fish and sea creature, reptile, insect, and plant ~ mom, Mother Earth.