It’s Easy Being Green: Cleaning Up After the Spill


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As cleanup begins on the BP oil spill some of us may feel the urge to get involved by helping to protect the wildlife and land in the oil spill’s path or contain the flow. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to do something, whether you want to donate to clean-up efforts or participate in those efforts yourself.

One of the more interesting ways you can help is by donating your hair. Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization based on San Francisco, is asking salons, pet groomers, and individuals to send leftover hair trimmings, fur clippings, and nylons that will be turned into highly absorbent hair mats and booms to help clean up the spill. As of May 4 the organization had sent 400,000 pounds of hair to the Gulf Coast to be used in booms, or “Boom B Qs.”

If you want to be on the frontlines, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is looking for volunteers of all kinds to fill a variety of needs, from oiled wildlife recovery to monitoring and photographing oil movement to providing a boat and driver for response activities. No specific training or experience is necessary, but you must be at least 18 years old to volunteer. They are particularly looking for pre-veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and anyone with hazardous waste response training.

Other on-the-ground volunteering opportunities can be found at, which coordinates volunteers to assist with the cleanup, and the National Audubon Society, who reports already receiving many inquiries from people asking how they can help protect the birds and other wildlife threatened by the gulf oil spill. Encouragingly, Oil Spill Volunteers already counts 7,166 registered volunteers as of Tuesday, May 4.

Finally, the Mobile Baykeeper, an environmental group, is collecting contact info for people who want to assist in any clean-up efforts. They plan on contacting volunteers in the future once they’ve assessed the situation and have a better idea of what kinds of volunteer assistance they’ll need.

Keep in mind that the spill’s severity will likely require a long-term and ongoing response, so if you want to help out but can’t at this time you may still be able to lend a hand in the future.