Friday, August 25, 2023

Feel Good Friday - The Climate Reality Project

With recent news full of stories about destruction from hurricanes and wildfires, and melting sea ice drowning baby penguins, it’s time to highlight another organization working to combat climate change, The Climate Reality Project.

Founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2006 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the mission of The Climate Reality Project is “to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.”

They do this by organizing and empowering communities of people who are passionate about the environment and committed to building a sustainable future together. Today there are over 3.5 million climate advocates across 130 U.S. chapters and 11 international branches.

Volunteers in the chapters work together to support Climate Reality initiatives, many of which are focused on getting to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Examples include: reducing fossil fuel emissions, strengthening international cooperation on climate, and calling out greenwashing by companies who share misleading information about their climate responsibility and commitments. Climate Reality is also financing a just transition by pushing governments and development banks to end support for dirty fossil fuel projects while also mobilizing billions in public and private finance to help Global South nations recover after disasters and build resilient clean energy economies.

Additional programs include a campaign to get communities, businesses and schools to commit to using 100% renewable electricity and a leadership corps, which has provided over 45,000 advocates the tools, training, and network needed to make a difference on climate. Since forming, Climate Reality has stopped pipelines, secured climate commitments, empowered communities and affected policy. Watch this 4-minute video to learn more.

If you’re ready to join Climate Reality in the fight for a sustainable, just, and equitable future, become a member of your local chapter or register for an upcoming leadership corps. You can also support them by making a donation and spreading the word on social media. Follow The Climate Reality Project on Facebook and on Instagram @climatereality. 


Friday, August 18, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Hawai'i Community Foundation

Today’s Feel Good Friday highlights the Hawai’i Community Foundation, and their response to the recent wildfires on Maui.

Founded in 1916, the mission of the Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) is to “inspire generosity, advocate for equity, forge connections and invest in community to create a better Hawai’i.” 

HCF describes their work as follows: “HCF strengthens Hawai‘i’s communities by creating partnerships with funders, nonprofits, community and government leaders because we believe the resulting alliance is more powerful than the sum of its parts. We invest in initiatives that are tackling Hawai‘i’s greatest needs, from affordable housing to fresh water.  And we create grant opportunities for local nonprofit organizations who are working to build a stronger Hawai’i.”

The focus of today’s post is on the newly created Maui Strong Fund. It was set up to provide financial resources that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on rapid response and recovery. As of August 17, 2023, $43,796,771 has been raised! 100% of these funds are being distributed for community needs and $5,177,260 has already been awarded to grantees.

Some examples of organizations putting these funds to use include: Aloha Diaper Bank, which will be delivering diapers and wipes door-to-door to families of low-income, the unhoused, and others in crisis; Family Life Center which is setting up a temporary shelter for 30 displaced families; Maui Food Bank which is already providing food to the thousands of people displaced by the fires; and the Maui Humane Society which is addressing the animal displacement and injuries by providing care and temporary shelter. You can check this link to read more about all the grantees and see the current donation total.

The Hawai’i Community Foundation has been fostering the spirit of giving for more than 100 years and today would be a great day for you to let the spirit move you. If you’ve been looking for a way to help the people of Hawai’i as they recover from the fires, consider making a donation to the Maui Strong Fund. You can also show your support of the Hawai’i Community Foundation by making a donation to one or more of their other funds and amplifying their message on social media. Like the HCF Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @hawaiicommunityfoundation. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Save the Elephants

I just learned that tomorrow is World Elephant Day. That’s a great reason for us all to learn about Save the Elephants.

Founded by Iain Douglas-Hamilton in 1993, the mission of Save the Elephants (STE) is “to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.”

Why elephants? In addition to being intelligent, iconic animals who attract tourists to Africa, elephants are a keystone species who play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of their ecosystems. They do this in a few ways: eating vegetation as they walk through it creates pathways for smaller animals to use, digging for water with their trunks provides water for all nearby, and um “depositing” dung far from where they eat helps disperse seeds and boosts the health of the savannah.

While it may come as no surprise that tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory, you may not know that human-elephant conflict due to livestock encroachment now accounts for almost all of the illegal elephant killings in the ecosystem. In this video celebrating 25 years of STE, they share that between 2008 and 2018, over 1,000 park rangers were killed and 140,000 elephants disappeared from Africa.

To save the elephants, STE specializes in research. They use GPS trackers to monitor over 900 elephants in 16 countries across Africa and Asia. That provides them with scientific insights into elephant behavior, intelligence, and long-distance movements. STE works with farmers on human-elephant conflict mitigation projects, and provides education and outreach programs for communities and schools. Finally, the Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting partners in Africa and ivory consuming nations and helping them meet their goals of stopping poaching, thwarting traffickers and ending the demand for ivory.

In the last 30 years Save the Elephants has engaged more than 20,000 children in northern Kenya with their educational activities. They’ve also distributed $31m to hundreds of organizations in over 40 countries through the Elephant Crisis Fund. You can read more about STE’s impact on this page.

If you’re ready to help Save the Elephants there are several ways to do so. Shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the STE Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow them on Instagram @savetheelephants.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary

It’s Feel Good Friday and time to take a summer road trip to Saint Pauls, North Carolina to visit the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary (BCR).

North Carolina law allows for animals who are sick, injured or blind to be killed immediately in animal control facilities. When a 6-week old blind cat named Louie was not accepted in the shelter where the BCR founders were volunteering, they decided to take him home and soon after registered Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary as a non-profit in North Carolina.

The first BCR building was built in 2005 as a lifetime care sanctuary for blind cats who were deemed not adoptable by regular shelters. In 2011, they built a second shelter to provide a safe place for Leukemia positive (FELV+) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV+) cats who otherwise would be killed because they tested positive for these viruses.

In addition to providing homes for these cats, BCR’s website has helpful information for owners. For example, blind cats can do almost everything that sighted cats can do and will use their whiskers to navigate around objects. One way you can help them is by staying consistent with where you place their litter box and food bowls.

Cats that are FIV+ can live for years before becoming sick. Since FIV is primarily transmitted through a deep, penetrating bite, positive and negative cats can live together with no problems. While cats that are FELV+ typically have 3-5 years of healthy life, several of the FELV+ cats at BCR are nine years old.

If you’re curious to meet and support the cats at BCR you can click on their names on this page to see photos and read their individual stories. For example, Houdini is an FELV+ cat who came to BCR earlier this year after being hit by a car in Miami, and Popcorn is a cat with no eyes who has been living at BCR since she was found on a country road in 2011. Check out the live streaming cameras to see what the cats are up to. When I looked everyone was asleep but hey, cats are gonna cat.

If you’d like to support the cats at Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary, there are several ways to do so. Go to the open house on Saturday, August 12 and visit the cats in person, volunteer your time, donate your money and spread the word on social media. Follow BCR on Facebook and Instagram @blindcatrescue.