Please sign the petition — Dogwood Initiative

Please sign the petition — Dogwood Initiative.

Protect the BC coastline from irreparable oil spill damage.

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Save Power for One Hour

Today (March 31, 2012) at 8:30 P.M. is Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a global action that comments on climate change.
But it’s also more than that. It’s an opportunity for community action. It’s proof that if we all do our part we can make a difference in our world.

Earth Hour 60+

Earth Hour 60+ (Photo credit: Regi Fauzi)

Last year more than 5200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide turned off their lights for Earth Hour.

This year the estimate is that 5251 cities will participate from 147 countries.

Can you imagine what that looks like from space? A gradual darkness that covers the globe – that’s the goal.

So for one hour today, turn off your lights. Ignore your computers, your televisions, your radios. Unplug your phones. Save power for one hour, and be a part of a powerful global action.

I know I’m going to! I’m going to shut off all my lights, turn off my computer, and leave my house.

© Patrick Doyle / WWF-Canada

What are you going to do?

For more information, please visit WWF Canada, or Earthhour.org.

Reasons to Adopt from Animal Shelters

So you want to adopt a pet? You’re looking for that perfect dog, that gorgeous cat? Maybe something small and furry: a ferret maybe, or a rabbit? Perhaps you’re looking for a bird or two!

Ferret plays a stuffed animal.

The truth is, you shouldn’t have to look further than your local animal shelters! Here are some great facts as to why:

1) Animal shelters work to prevent pet overpopulation:

Gray kitten

Gray kitten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The more animals adopted from shelters, the less that are being purchased from pet stores and breeders, thus reducing the pet overpopulation problem.

For more information on pet overpopulation, please click here

2) Where are your animals coming from?

Animal shelters guarantee that the animal you’re getting needs a home.
What you might not know about pet stores is that they often bring in their puppies from puppy mills and their kittens from kitten mills (imagine dogs and cats in cages with the sole purpose of breeding). These dogs and cats are often inbred, or have major health problems. They can be temperamental and difficult to train.

Many shelters also do a temperament test on their animals to assess the animal’s personality and compatibility with children, cats, or other pets. Thus, you end up with a pet that you’re far more educated about.

3) Animal shelters are cheaper:

So you want a purebred? Nothing wrong with that. You can find them at shelters or from rescue organizations. Not to mention these dogs are often at least partially trained, already spayed/neutered, de-wormed and vet-checked (with their shots!). Which means you don’t have to pay for all of that after buying the animal.

Shelter animals are cheaper than pet stores and breeders as well, so you’re getting a lifelong friend without the hole in your pocket.

Dog at animal shelter

Dog at animal shelter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4) Shelter’s have a large selection:

Whether you want a purebred or a mutt (personally, I think mutts are cuter!) you’ll find both at shelters!

Due to overpopulation, shelters and rescues often have a huge selection of animals to choose from. More options makes it more likely that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.

And you’ll probably fall in love with your new friend right on the spot.

 

 

5) Save a life!

By adopting from animal shelter’s you are guaranteeing that the animal you choose gets to live a full life instead of being put down.

These animals are lonely and just waiting for you to love them. And believe me, they’ll love you all the more in return!

You’re saving lives, folks. How could you turn that down?

If you’re not sure how to go about finding a shelter:

Check online! Many shelters have websites or phone numbers that are easily accessible. Remember, these shelters WANT to be found! Their goal is to save the lives of the neglected or forgotten animals that come to them.

Petfinder is a great way to find animal near you, along with the shelters they’re from!

Happy trails!

Ian Somerhalder: More Than Just a Pretty Face

You may know Ian Somerhalder from popular television shows Lost (Boone) and The Vampire Diaries (Damon). What you may not know about him:

Ian Somerhalder has his own Foundation.

Ian Somerhalder (photo taken from isfoundation.com)

That’s right, folks! Who you thought was just the man behind the (sexy) vampire is actually someone who is working (very hard, I might add) to make the earth a better place.

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation works towards the betterment of the environment and all it’s creatures, animal and human alike. The foundation’s website currently promotes campaigns in four categories: Environment, Creatures, Youth, and Kids.

Under the About section of the website I found a couple things that really stood out:

Mission: “to empower, educate, and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.”

“We are a team, a group of people, who view the environment as an interconnected organism of which we are not separate but a part of. There is no differentiation between all living things: trees, rivers, animals and humans. We are all one interdependent organism.”

“Nature does not behave independently. It works in unison with all its elements. Working independently to transform our planet is like trying to playing a violin without strings.”

What Ian is saying is that we have to work together to save the earth. We need to act. Part of what makes us human is the uncontrollable desire to be amongst other humans. That’s our nature. So naturally it makes sense that we can accomplish so much more by working together.

And now, from Ian himself:

Want to get involved? You’re in luck! The IS Foundation has ample opportunity for a wide variety of involvement. You can volunteer for the foundation by signing up, donate to the foundation, purchase from the online store (funds go to the foundation), or join the IS Foundation on Facebook to find other like-minded people near you and create a project!

One of the product logos in the store

...is yours?

People, every little bit counts. We can change the world. We can help to keep it green, and beautiful, and eternal.

Ian’s got his head in the right place. Without the earth, we are nothing. So let’s do our part to protect and preserve it.

If you feel like you don’t have the time or resources to be involved in the foundation directly, there are other ways that you can help the earth. You can promote the foundation (like I am) to increase awareness about it. Even things like reducing your carbon footprint by recycling, taking the bus, turning off the lights, and not buying bottled water will help. The more people who do it, the more effective it will be. It’s like voting.

Let’s keep it green, folks.

Count me in!

Change Is In The Air

A follow-up to yesterday’s It Gets Better post:

I found this article on the It Gets Better Project website, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Dan Savage of It Gets Better Project

Dan Savage of It Gets Better Project (Photo credit: chtyson)

Homophobia: It’s getting better | The Economist.

So you see, it’s already getting better, and it will keep getting better, especially if everyone does their part.

Please sign the pledge. You can make a difference.

And here is a video that I thought was very good.

Francois Nel, It Gets Better

He’s right. We are family. Time to start acting like it.

It Gets Better.

I want you to take a moment and listen to this song. Watch the video. Read the lyrics.

The first time I saw this video, it actually made me cry.
(And believe me folks, it takes quite an emotional response from me to make me shed tears)

I’m sure all of you have either experienced or been witness to a scene similar to the ones shown here.

I’m sure some of you have even been the bullies in situations similar to this.

I get it, it’s hard. Peer pressure and all.

But that’s not a good enough excuse for me to accept.

I was a victim of bullying. I know what it feels like. I’ve gone home and cried. I’ve moved schools. I’ve wondered if it was EVER going to end.

There were times when I really felt alone. I didn’t have a single friend to talk to.
There were times when I was afraid to get up in the morning, knowing what was waiting for me at school.
There were times when I really felt like I was living in a personal hell.

Luckily for me, I have an unbreakable streak of stubbornness that refused to die. Every day I’d get up and go to school. Kindergarten (if you think that’s too early to be bullied, you’re wrong) to grade 5 were the worst years. But even after I moved schools it started up again to some degree. I was not even fully free from it by high school, although by that time I had become so shy I went by more or less unnoticed.

When I think about it now, I was lucky. I was lucky I was stubborn, and that my mother was a constant support to me. I was lucky that I refused to back down and by refusing built my character. I was lucky that I had such a burning hope that things would improve.

Some aren’t so lucky.

We can never be fully aware of the consequences of our actions. I hope that by sticking up for people when I was younger that I helped them. I regret that I didn’t do it more.

When you bully someone, you’re hurting them in ways that you probably don’t even know. You’re breaking their confidence and making them feel small. For what, to make yourself feel better? Is the price really worth it?

When you witness an act of bullying, what you don’t realize is how much power you have. What you say is almost more important than what the attacker says. You can change the scene before you. You can help someone. So why wouldn’t you?

You can make a difference.

Now, if you did not watch to the end of the video, I will post the website there here (also, go Rise Against for being so damn awesome):

It Gets Better Project

When you click the link, you’ll be asked to sign a pledge. Do it. All it’s asking is for you to do your part and work to eliminate bullying as best you can. Do your part to save a life.

Also included in the website is a page for those who need help and don’t know where to look. On this page are numbers for help hotlines organized by state, Kids Help Phone, and The Trevor Project hotline.

Besides signing the pledge, there are also numerous other ways for you to get involved. You can donate to the foundation, create an It Gets Better video like the clips you saw in the video above, share your story on the website, buy a t-shirt (click the photo to go to the t-shirt page) and wear it to let others know that It Gets Better

I’m buying mine as soon as I can.

To the victims: this post is for you, to tell you that you are not alone.
To the bullies: this post is for you, to tell you that you can save a life.
To the witnesses: this post if for you, to tell you that you can make a difference.

I’ve said it before people. You can make a difference. Your actions influence the world around you, regardless of how small they are.

Every person is unique, and should be accepted and respected for that. But just because we are all different does not mean that we are all alone. We are not alone. We live in a world of over six billion people. We have the power to make it stop.

It does get better. I’m proof of that. And I will go on living and being myself.

Do not let other people push you around. Do not let them suppress who you are. Because it really does get better. There’s only one of you, and you are important. Nobody’s dreams are yours. Nobody thinks like you do. You have more power than you realize: one day you could be the one saving a life. The world needs you.

Like Rise Against sings it,

It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
So stay awake with me, let’s prove them wrong.

The World in a Bottle

There’s a neat little saying on my beautiful stainless steel water bottle: “It’s A Green World After All.” But is it, really? Sure, it looks green now. How will it look in, say, ten years, or twenty? How will it look in 2100? 2500? Will it be green then, or will our need to consume ultimately be the earth’s death?

I came across this video after I had seen another like it on television.

Did it make you think?

I hope it did, but in the case that it didn’t, I’ve got a few facts to add to that video.

You may think that bottled water is healthier for you. You may buy it because it’s convenient.
In reality, it is neither of these things. There is nothing more healthy about bottled water than your regular tap water, and it’s certainly not convenient to the environment it’s destroying.

“But I recycle them!” you’re saying. Well good! You’re more the solution than the problem. In fact, you’re part of the 12% that recycle your bottles. That’s right, an estimated 88% of Canadians do not recycle their bottles. Which means the rest of the world probably isn’t too far off that mark either.

Deutsch: Stilles Mineralwasser, d.h. kohlensäu...

Image via Wikipedia

So good, you recycle. There’s just one issue: your recycled bottles are actually being “down-cycled”. They are being used to make different plastic products, which means that the bottles you’re buying are all made from virgin materials.

Another fun fact: it takes five times as much water to make a plastic water bottle than actually goes in the bottle. Say you buy a 500 ml bottle of water every day. Times that by five: 2500 ml, or 2.5 L. You buy that daily: 912,500 ml, or 9, 125 L of water, completely wasted. There are approximately 34 million people in Canada. Provided every person drank a bottle of water per day, that would make litres of water wasted a whopping 310 BILLION. And that’s just in Canada!

The waste doesn’t end there! Bottled water companies used over 1.5 million barrels of oil last year. That doesn’t even include the amount of petroleum used to transport the bottles: enough to fuel 100,000 vehicles for a year!

Fossil fuels are also used in the plastic bottle process. A common plastic known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common plastic used for the bottles, and it is made from crude oil. Now, if your water is sitting in this bottle for who knows how long, what do you think is going to happen to it? That’s right. All those chemicals you want to avoid? They’re leaching into your water from the plastic of the bottle. Including BPA, a hormone disruptor.

“But how!” you gasp, “how can this be allowed?!”

Well, the bottled water industry is actually one of the least regulated industries in North America. That means you just don’t know what you’re getting, or what quality it’s going to be. In fact, tap water is strictly regulated and you’d be far better off drinking it instead of bottled water.

Speaking of tap water, did you know that Dasani (Coca Cola) and Aquafina (Pepsi) actually are just that? If the bottle says that the water is from “municipal” or “community” source, it’s just tap water. So you’re paying $2.50 for something you get free at home. Another fun fact, the brand Evian actually spells ‘naive’ backwards.

Naive indeed! Your hard earned money is going towards something that you can get for free. If you have 8 glasses of water a day, the yearly tap cost is approximately $0.50. That same amount bottled is $1,400!

What Can You Do?

Ditch the plastic water bottle! Seriously, it’s terrible for your health, your pockets, and the environment.

You know what? It’s not hard to do!

1) Drink tap water. Plain and simple. It’s more regulated than the bottled water anyway, and it’s fluorine content guarantees that it contains far less bacteria!

It’s A Green World After All!

2) If you use a water bottle, buy one! WAY cheaper to have one you can wash and refill than having to constantly buy new plastic ones. I recommend stainless steel because they’re durable and they keep water cold longer. However, it’s completely your preference! Shop around!

If you simply MUST clean your water:

3) Buy a tap filter. It’s a water cleaning filter that attaches right on to the nozzle of your tap, so you get your purified water instantly.

4) Buy a filtered water jug. Requires a bit more effort, but at least this way your purified water will
be crisp and cold!

5) Buy a filtered water bottle. Did you know they made those? I didn’t until today, but I sure think they’re swell! The Bobble Mini is a very cute bottle, but there are others to choose from as well!

Bottled water needs to be replaced. Now since you know it’s not hard to do, just do it! You won’t regret it, and the environment will thank you.

It may be a green world now, but we have to work to keep it that way.