Wow, neat story in the LA Times about how a bunch of surfers started a clean-up group in response to the oil spill caused by the Costco Busan in San Fransisco Bay. The gist of the story was that the government was taking too long to do anything, and there were dying birds and blobs of black goo everywhere. Fearing arrest, the original members simply started doing their thing on their own. They started by saving as many birds as they could.
After finding out that flip-flops and beach bum attire wasn't any good, they got local businesses to donate plastic zoot suits. Innovation such as using hair - as in mats of hair from local barbers - were found to soak up the oily goo faster than anything the government had. Today, hundreds of people are cleaning the beaches and the government even caved in, admitting the citizens were doing an excellent job.
Heaven forbid such a calamity would ever happen on our shores in the future, but the story is powerful: sometimes regular people do the job better than big government can.