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By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer
Danna Breen, a resident of Portola Valley, joined people across the nation on Tuesday, June 8, in using MoveOn.org to organize some 200 evening vigils for the victims of the oil well disaster going on in the Gulf of Mexico.
About 25 people from Portola Valley and nearby communities showed up at Triangle Park in Portola Valley, some with signs, and chatted awhile before forming a standing circle and taking turns sharing their concerns. Votive candles were passed out.
"If we could just live a little more prudently and responsibly," Ms. Breen said, and recommended that people do more to conserve energy personally, including drying their clothes on a clothes line.
Ms. Breen's daughter Tenley, read off statistics about the leaking oil, including a report of 238 dead sea turtles as of June 4 and a grave threat to nesting brown pelicans and their annual production of 100,000 chicks. The brown pelican is the Louisiana state bird.
Tenley Breen also noted a serious threat to sperm whales in the Gulf.
According to a recent National Geographic story, the Gulf's sperm whale community of 1,400 to 1,600 animals is in jeopardy. Among the threats: the whales, which are air-breathing mammals, may surface under an oil slick and suck the oil into their lungs. They can also inhale fumes from the oil, lose consciousness and drown, or ingest prey spoiled by oil and put healthy pregnancies at risk, the story said.
Sharing the spotlight of concern for the animals was anger toward the oil industry and the politicians, those associated with that industry and in general.
"From dogcatcher on up, everybody's bought and sold. It's ridiculous," said Elizabeth Feinler of Menlo Park. "I think that (issue) should be job one. If we get something to happen there, it trickles down to everywhere."