Friday, August 26, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Panthera

Often these Feel Good Friday posts tie into the time of year or current events. Today, however, is a rather random post about wild cats highlighting the work of Panthera, not to be confused with the 80’s metal band Pantera

Founded in 2006, Panthera's mission is to "ensure a future for wild cats and the vast landscapes on which they depend.” Utilizing the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and implements global strategies for the most imperiled cats. They focus on wild cats because their presence indicates healthy, intact ecosystems that support all life, including people.

Based in New York City, Panthera has partners in 34 countries and runs projects in over 300 sites around the world. It is the only organization dedicated solely to protecting our 40 species of wild cats. While much of the work they do is focused on the seven species of big cats: cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers, their team of scientists also implements conservation and research initiatives on many of the 33 smaller wild cat species around the globe. 

Examples of current projects include: Tigers Forever, connecting tiger conservation organizations across Asia to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% over a 10-year period; monitoring the status of the leopard in West and Central Africa to put an end to leopard poaching; and the Jaguar Parade NYC 2022, an open air art exhibit starting September 7th, in which 40 jaguar sculptures designed by global artists will be placed around New York City, then auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to support jaguars. You can see the full list of projects at this link

Panthera has made a big impact since their founding. Tiger populations have rebounded in India and Nepal, critical jaguar habitat across 18 countries has been protected, wildlife technology has caught poachers in real-time and an alliance between six indigenous tribes has been forged to help protect pumas and bobcats in Washington state. You can watch this short video to see more about what Panthera has accomplished: Panthera: 15 Years of Protecting Wild Cats.

If you want to support the work being done by Panthera there are many ways you can join the pride. Make a donation, shop for merch and share the love. Download the social media toolkit and start sharing information on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @PantheraCats and Instagram @pantheracats. #wildcats 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Ballot Ready

With only 81 days until the midterm elections in the U.S., it’s time for another voting related Feel Good Friday post, this one focused on Ballot Ready.

Launched in 2015 by two University of Chicago classmates, the mission of Ballot Ready is “to make democracy work the way it should by helping voters across the U.S. exercise their right to vote and vote informed on every race and measure on their ballots.”

How do they do it? Ballot Ready provides personalized ballots and nonpartisan information to voters in all 50 states. Start by entering your address on the website’s home page and Ballot Ready displays a list of your federal, state and local representatives. You can select a representative and find out what it is they do - I’m looking at you California State Board of Equalization - get their contact information and links to sites where you can learn more about them. The information Ballot Ready provides about candidates and issues is comprehensive and nonpartisan. You can read more about their research process here.

From the home page of the website, you can also check to make sure your voter registration is current and, when it gets close to an upcoming election, research your ballot and get connected to resources to help you vote. If you’re ready to take your participation to the next level, you can also host a Ballot Party. These interactive events help you and your guests research your ballots together using Ballot Ready’s resources, then leave informed and prepared to vote. Use this toolkit to plan, promote, and host a party.

For those of you who like to educate others there is a Super Voter program, which provides resources for you to inform other voters about an election, a candidate, a ballot measure, or making a safe and easy plan to vote. Teachers can use these four, ready-to-use lesson plans designed to help students in grades 8-12 learn about the voting process while engaging with technology.  

In addition to using Ballot Ready to prepare for upcoming elections and track your ballot, you can help other voters out by spreading the word on social media. Follow Ballot Ready on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @BallotReady and Instagram @ballotready. #VoteInformed 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Cool Effect

Recent heatwaves, flooding and fires are a reminder of the toll climate change is taking on the planet. It’s also a great reminder that there are organizations like Cool Effect who are addressing the problem.

Cool Effect began in 1998 as a project to build clean-burning cookstoves in Honduras. Since then, it has grown into a globally recognized non-profit platform whose mission is “to reduce carbon emissions”. 

First, why carbon? Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet to an unsustainable level and temperatures will keep rising if we don’t intervene. See this page to find out where the carbon emissions are coming from and what you can do to help. You may not be surprised to see driving cars, flying planes, and eating red meat on the list but have you considered the impact of fashion, food waste and FedEx?

Now that you’re onboard with reducing your carbon emissions, let’s find out how. Cool Effect evaluates carbon projects around the world to ensure they are scientifically and ethically sound as well as financially durable. The projects and pricing are then listed on the website so you can decide which projects you want to support in order to offset your own carbon emissions.

Some examples of current projects include burning methane gas from a landfill in Mauritius to generate electricity; planting trees in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and India to remove carbon the natural way; and installing more clean-burning cookstoves in Honduras. You can find the full list of projects, details and video testimonials here.

The vision of Cool Effect is that their vetting and support of these carbon projects will “give people the power and confidence to band together and reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” 

If you’re ready to join the Cool Effect band, there are many ways to do so. Offset your carbon emissions with support of a specific project, make a general donation, and spread the word on social media. Follow Cool Effect on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @cool_effect and on Instagram @cooleffect_  #CoolEffect #ClimateChange #GlobalWarming #CarbonDoneCorrectly 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Muttville

Did you know August was National Dog Month? It only started in 2020 so don’t worry if this is the first time you’re hearing about it. It’s the first time I’m hearing about it so I’m going to celebrate Feel Good Friday style with a story about Muttville.

Founded in 2007 by Sherri Franklin and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Muttville is a senior dog rescue “dedicated to finding homes or hospice for older dogs in need of help.” As they explain on their website, “older dogs are often the first to be euthanized in shelters to make space for more adoptable puppies and young dogs.” Muttville wants to change the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs.


The first year Muttville was in operation they rescued a total of 26 dogs. Now they take in between 15 and 25 dogs every week! Dogs are seen by a team of veterinarians then placed in foster homes while they’re waiting to be adopted. Foster parents care for the dogs and report on their personalities to help Muttville find them a perfect forever home. Adoptions can happen virtually, in-person, or at weekly adoption events


In addition to traditional adoptions where you choose a dog, pay a fee, then take your dog home, Muttville has some specialized options. Hospice adoptions are for people willing to care for dogs with untreatable terminal illnesses. Muttville waives the adoption fee, assists with palliative care costs, and offers support and guidance to hospice families. There is also a program called Seniors for Seniors available to people age 62 and older. In that case, Muttville waives the adoption fee and provides a welcome kit full of items such as a leash, doggy bed and a starter supply of food and medicine.


In 2021, Muttville rescued 1073 dogs, bringing their grand total to 9,990! If learning about Muttville has inspired you to adopt a senior dog, you can see the list of available mutts at this link.


People in the Bay Area who want to support Muttville have many ways to do so. Foster a dog, adopt a dog or volunteer at the facility. This 7-minute video gives you a great idea of the work volunteers do and the vibe at Muttville: The Magic of Muttville.


For people who live outside of the Bay Area and want to help, you also have many ways to do so. Make a donation to Muttville and spread the word on social media. Follow Muttville on Facebook at this link, onTwitter @Muttville and on Instagram @muttvillesf. #SeniorDogRescue