T-shirt Fundraiser Supports Gulf Coast Cleanup

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Earth Creations, an Alabama-based seller of organic, clay-dyed apparel, is taking sustainable sportswear to the next level with their Gulf Coast “Green Tees for Our Seas” T-shirt fundraiser.

This fundraiser T-shirt was designed by Carmen, a 15-year-old special-needs art student from Virginia. Photo: Earth Creations

Now through April 22, 2011, Earth Creations is selling young artist-designed fundraiser T-shirts and donating 50 percent of the proceeds to the Alabama Weeks Bay Foundation. The nonprofit organization maintains the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Alabama and is helping to deal with the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Earth Creations has spearheaded local fundraisers in the past, but when the oil spill struck the Gulf, they decided to take things national.

“When the oil spill happened, we knew we had to get involved,” said Joy Maples, Earth Creations co-founder and vice president of sales and product development. “I grew up on the Gulf Coast. I take my kids there.”

In fact, a trip to the Gulf with her children in August was what really made Maples want to do the fundraiser.

“We went down to the beach, and it looked good on the surface,” Maples said. “But when I stepped in the water, there was tar on my foot. It made me realize that we really need to make sure people are still working on this. It’s not over just because the hole is plugged.”

Although the fundraiser could translate into some helpful dollars for the Weeks Bay Foundation, Maples said she is equally concerned with raising national awareness of the lingering effects of the oil spill.

“It seems like the oil spill has died out of the media,” said Maples. “It’s like people forgot about it, but it’s important that people know what we’re dealing with because this could happen anywhere. Just because it’s in my backyard doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect the rest of the country. There is offshore drilling in other locations, and with the pressure to drill deeper and deeper, accidents can happen.”

Designed by Carmen, a 15-year-old special-needs art student from Virginia, the funky fundraiser tees are made from 100 percent organic cotton and colored with U.S.-harvested clay. Why clay? This creative dyeing method protects waterways from harmful salts and other by-products of standard clothing dyes. And it looks cool, too!

Carmen’s design, an oil-spattered dolphin with the words “Please save me,” was selected by online voters, and she is thrilled to contribute to the fundraiser.

“It feels pretty good to be a nationwide contest winner. I’ve never been this excited in my whole entire life,” Carmen told Earth Creations. “I love animals. Animals are like us, like humans, and they deserve an environment that is good and clean, like we do.”

Carmen’s design is now being sold in youth and adult sizes. So, everyone in the family can show their support for the cleanup effort.

“We really want people to get involved,” said Maples. “Whether it’s creating or voting on artwork, purchasing a T-shirt or telling a friend.”

The fundraiser tees, and other Earth Creations apparel, are sold at more than 600 retailers nationwide and can also be purchased online.

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni