Monday, June 14, 2010

Helping the Gulf Coast, one bead/stitch/sketch at a time.

Like many of us, I'm shocked and appalled at the devastation caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf. I've seen the photos of oil-covered birds (and regretted clicking the link because images of suffering animals never fail to reduce me to immediate tears), and heard the news reports, but until recently, I didn't really have a picture in my mind of just how far-reaching this disaster was.

I recently came across a website, If It Was My Home, which places a big gray blob, representing the size and shape of the spill as it currently exists, over one's hometown. Here's what came up when I plugged "Chicago, IL," where I live, into the website:

This really stunned me, and hit home in a way that no news report could -- it's hard to picture the sheer magnitude of this disaster when you live hundreds of miles away from the affected area. If the spill were in my city, not only would all of Chicago be buried under sticky brown goo, so would the entire sprawling suburban area, Milwaukee, a substantial chunk of Lake Michigan, most of northern Indiana, and parts of western Michigan. That is just horrifying! It seems so much more real when you're looking at it in relation to where you live.

I've felt rather helpless reading and hearing about all of this devastation, but was excited to discover a small way that I could help -- Help the Gulf Coast, a collective Etsy shop that is donating all proceeds to organizations that are working to clean up the spill. As of this writing, the shop, stocked with all sorts of donated items from Etsy sellers, has made 206 sales and donated $1,000 to Oxfam America. Not too shabby for only being in business a few weeks!

Please consider supporting this very good cause (or donating an item or two, if you're a seller). Here are a few of the items for sale:

My donated piece!

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