Thursday, December 21, 2006

Penguin Sweaters...

Looks like it's animal week here at Gazpachot. Again. What can I say, they seldom fail to spark the imagination.

Anyway, if you're alone for the holidays, and that fact is getting you down, way down, well my friend, I have an uplifting task for you. Put down the bottle of gin. Open the windows and turn off the gas. Great. Now, go get your knitting needles. And buck up, you've got work to do!

Ocean oil spills are one of the ugliest tricks us humans are capable of, especially when your consider the collateral damage to innocent lives. The toxic mess wreaks havoc on the entire ecosystem, often killing and injuring countless thousands of sea dependent creatures. In particular, Phillip Island Penguins, aka Little Penguins, who live along the coastal waters of Australia, get it bad. Their breeding grounds are typically lost in the spills, thus causing them to spread out, not mate, and loose precious group body heat. Oil gets all over their shiny feathers destroying the natural oils that keep them warm. They try to preen the sticky crude oil from their feathers, swallowing much of it, which is fatal.

So, how do you stop a penguin from freezing and eating toxic oil? You knit little sweaters for Little Penguins to wear while they are in Penguin Hospital of course. Little Penguins are the smallest of the penguin family, and they take a size extra small: about four inches across and nine inches tall with appropriate openings for the head and flippers. See here and here.

But before you start feeling too jolly about saving the planet, there's a twist to this wooly yarn. Unfortunately, it seems there are more lonely penguin sweater knitters than there are oil-covered penguins in the world. Thousands of tiny sweaters are sent to trouble spots each year with nary a penguin to don them. No matter, these places are stockpiling penguin "jumpers" for any future oil spills. In the meantime, how about knitting some sweaters for all the others who endure oil spills? Alaskan Salmon. The Fijian Pufferfish. Blue Whales. Kelp Beds. The list goes on... Use your imagination. Knitting a sweater for a Giant Sea Squid should get you through the first week of January, at the very least.


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