Friday, January 24, 2020

Feel Good Friday - The Ocean Cleanup

Solving the problem of plastics in the ocean is a recurring theme of the Feel Good Friday blog. Why? Because the oceans are still full of plastic!

I learned about today's organization, The Ocean Cleanup, from this article on the Good News Network, which I recommend you follow if you can't wait until Fridays to feel good.

When Boyan Slat was 16 he was diving in Greece and surprised to find more plastic than fish in the ocean. What did he do about it? Researched plastic pollution as a school project, came up with an idea to develop a passive concentration system, gave a TedX talk in his hometown of Delft in the Netherlands, inspired people to crowdfund $90,000 and founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013. Like you do.

As explained on their website, "The Ocean Cleanup is designing and developing cleanup systems to clean up what is already polluting our oceans and to intercept plastic on its way to the ocean via rivers." With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic littering the ocean and accumulating in 5 gyres, or garbage patches, Slat's floating system captures the plastic so it can be collected and recycled. Models put together by the team show that "a full-scale cleanup system roll-out could clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years." Learn more about that here.

That's not where it ends. The research team at The Ocean Cleanup found that 80% of the trash that ends up in the oceans comes from 1,000 rivers around the world. Enter the Interceptor, a ship of sorts that can extract up to 220,000 pounds of trash in a day. Slat's goal is to have Interceptors in all of the 1,000 worst polluting rivers by 2025. See how they work in this 2-minute video.

The Ocean Cleanup team, with over 80 engineers, researchers and scientists, aims to "reach a 90% reduction of floating ocean plastic by the year 2040." You can help them make it happen! Make a donation, shop for merch and raise awareness on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @TheOceanCleanup and @BoyanSlat. #TheOceanCleanup

Friday, January 17, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Sydney Wildlife

If you've been reading the news, you know that even though they're getting some rain, wildfires continue burning throughout Australia and the loss of human and animal lives is devastating. That's why in today's Feel Good Friday I'm following Mister Rogers' advice to "look for the helpers", like Sydney Wildlife.

Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services (aka Sydney Wildlife) is an all-volunteer organization founded in 1997 to "rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned native animals and to educate the community, at all levels, about the need to protect our native animals and to preserve their habitats."

You can tell you're dealing with an Australian organization when the FAQs include what to do when a Kookaburra attacks your windows or a an Eastern Water Dragon lays eggs in your driveway. Sydney Wildlife cares for a range of animals including: snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, birds, possums, bats, flying foxes, kangaroos, wallabies, long-nosed bandicoots and wombats! If you're wondering what a bandicoot is (like I was) it's a small marsupial you can learn more about here.

Because Sydney Wildlife offers rescue and advice service on a 24/7 basis, they rely heavily on their volunteers. If you live in Sydney and want to get involved in wildlife rescue, you'll need complete the two-day rescue and care course. Volunteers also give educational presentations at schools, offices and nursing homes and can set up an information booth at community events.

For those of us not in Australia, we can support the work of Syndey Wildlife with a general donation, a donation targeted to the "bush fire and drought relief wildlife recovery fund", and by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @SydneyWildlife1.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Hello my friends! I've returned from my travels in Jordan and Egypt, where everyone we met was warm and welcoming. Unfortunately, conflict in the region is heating up. That's why today's Feel Good Friday is focused on the anti-war Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

WILPF is an international NGO founded in 1915, during World War I, by suffragists who saw the connection between their struggle for women's rights and the struggle for peace. The mission of WILPF is "to end and prevent war, ensure that women are represented at all levels in the peace-building process, defend the human rights of women, and promote social, economic and political justice."

There are national sections in 50 countries around the world with an International Secretariat in Geneva and a New York office focused on the work of the United Nations. Programs are divided into four areas:
  • Building the movement by "sharing knowledge and articulating agendas for action, securing sustainable funding, expanding our networks, and being responsive to our grassroots."
  • Leveraging feminist perspectives on peace by advocating to include women in the peace process and for a feminist UN Security Council.
  • Redefining security from military might to an economy that invests in environmental protection, social, and economic rights. Example programs in this area include advocating for peace in Korea and nuclear disarmament around the world.
  • Promoting socio-economic justice by connecting grassroots activists to decision-makers in the UN and monitoring developments within the UN and creating publications, articles and newsletters suggesting solutions.
The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in both 1931 and 1946!

If you'd like to get involved in being an advocate for peace (Nobel prize not guaranteed), you can become a member, sign up for the WILPF newsletter, make a donation and show your support by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @WILPF.