My Animal Empathy Goes Beyond Not Eating Them

When I was in third grade I remember pulling a book off a school library shelf about the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  I didn't really understand what had happened, other than the pictures of oil coated sea otters, black, dead birds and other creatures conjured up a mix-mash of third grade thoughts on cruelty and hell.  

I'm usually late to pick up on the news, but it's impossible not to follow the worsening daily reports of the recent oil disaster.  It's easy not to think too hard about coastal environmental disasters in the landlocked states of the US, (I know Texas isn't landlocked, but Arkansas was, and I'm still pretty far in), but the recent pictures of brown, iridescent water, fishermen enlisting to help with clean-up since they can't fish anymore or earn money, birds with stained brown feathers being force fed, and debris collecting barriers lining beaches are all I need to see to make my stomach turn.  

There's a great article with a time line of the events of the spill and a "what you can do" section at Planet Green.  If that's too hippie for you, Time, CNN, the New York Times... all have stories on the oil spill as front page news.  Just don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, who says "oil is natural, like water."  So is poison ivy and I wouldn't walk in it. 

Here, this is pertinent: 

People interested in volunteering in Alabama can call the Alabama Coastal Foundation at 251-990-6002; the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program at 251-431-6409; or Mobile Baykeeper at 251-433-4229.

I wonder if I could get excused from work for this...?  Now I'm really regretting not being a teacher with a summer break.  Put me in rubber wading pants.  I'm ready.