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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the terrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s been nearly a month and despite all efforts to quell the growing leak, it’s now been predicted that the spill is quickly on it’s way to the Florida Keys and Greenpeace has reported finding blobs of oil on the coast of Louisiana. Even if the leak is stopped, there’s still the battle of what to do to clean it up.
A huge part of me wants to leave my husband and home and go volunteer in the clean up effort, but my job simply won’t allow for that. So what’s a conscientious green girl to do? Well, after seeing too many heartbreaking photos of oil-slicked seabirds and knowing what havoc spills like this brings, I did the only thing that I could do- I shaved my head. Why? Because hair, both human and animal, is one of the most effective substances for containing and absorbing oil spills.
With this knowledge, the organization Matter of Trust is leading the way; making booms in an effort to try to contain the BP leak. Matter of Trust accepts donations of all “natural” fibers including human hair, dog and cat fur, alpaca or sheep wool, feathers, you name it.
Call me extreme, but when I heard this I knew I had to shave my head. I even shaved the heads of a few friends! It coincided with my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better present to give the world that has nurtured me for 26 years. Not to mention, I look okay with no hair and it feels good in the sunshine.
Cutting my hair has been a time of personal growth as well. No longer can I hide behind my crazy curls! My blemishes, eczema, scars, whatever, are all on display, and as a bigger girl I was afraid that I would look a little pinheaded. But you know what? It’s all okay. I feel lighter, in every sense. I know people are staring, but I’ve stopped caring. This gift to the world has become a gift to myself.
While this spill is monumental and we’ve been shocked into action, this is a need that’s been long over looked. Sadly, Matter of Trust has reported that BP is not accepting the booms (everyone is hoping this decision may change) and as of May 23rd, MOT are asking that all donations be held as reserves to be used for future spills. Because unfortunately, there were over 2600 oil spills in the last year alone! Used motor oil discarded by households accounts for nearly 363 million gallons of oil that enter our oceans every year. It’s an ongoing effort to contain and clean up our world’s waters and the need for hair is one that is unlikely to go away.
So you want to help, right? But not so sure about taking the plunge into crew cut world? No problem! There are still plenty of ways to help. Ask the salons in your area to collect and donate their trimmings. Get a trim yourself or try a new look. What better reason to try bangs? Ask the groomer that washes your dog to keep their trimmings. In fact, ask your vet and local animal shelter as well; they often shave animals with mats, which are totally okay to donate! You can also donate a bag of your old (clean) nylons, even if they have some runs; these are used to make the casing of a boom.
Get involved! Educate yourself and those around you and start a donation box for nylons and other recyclable fibers. We’ve only got one world; let’s keep it clean!
Click this link to view a video and learn more about the Oil Spill Hair Mats Program.