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Tag Archives: environment

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 7-Angry Birds

It’s the day after Halloween and most people are walking around in a candy induced coma, but at least we’re happy.  To me, this time of year really starts to happen in fast forward.  Next is my birthday (don’t forget to tell all your friends about my charity: water campaign!), then Thanksgiving, and Christmas is here before we know it.  The next best thing to do today besides chow down on candy is play Angry Birds.  Those mean little birds also happen to be a very popular costume this year.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky.  It is seriously addicting.  On the upside, I am thankful it entertained me on the bus. 

My friend Rachael always said she would have chosen to do research with birds if you didn’t have to get up so early in the morning.  I agree that birds, especially the pretty ones, would be a great species to study.  Before our little jaunt to Canada a couple of weeks ago I would have probably skipped right over the Bird Studies Canada organization, but not anymore.  I was pleasantly surprised at all the beauty ‘ole Canada had to offer.  BSC works to advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds in their natural habitats.  BSC thrives off the enthusiasm and contributions of volunteer avid bird watchers and scientists across more than just Canada.  BSC makes doing research and bird watching fun, and also not so dang early in the morning.  Every year they have a 24-hour Birdathon, Christmas Bird Counts, and a 48-hour Project Feeder Watch program from November to May.  We can’t watch all the birds there are at once, but together we can all watch some of them.  Even though raptors are little bit bigger and a little less friendly than your average pet store parakeet, the Carolina Raptor Center protects a powerful birds of prey.  Founded back in 1981, CRC rehabilitates injured and orphaned birds, and educates the public about how to become stewards of these unique birds.  More than 40,000 students are reached through the CRC’s education programs each year, and they have over 35,000 visitors each year to their Raptor Trail where there are more than 25 different species of raptors to see and learn about.  CRC also does research on parasitology and poisoning that affect raptors, and new surgical techniques that can help these birds.  Leave it to NC to embrace these angry birds.

Bird Studies Canada Donation

Carolina Raptor Center Donation

So here’s to you Angry Birds!  You’re right there on our phones when we need to be entertained in the car or avoid that weird person trying to talk to us on the bus.  You’re red, yellow, blue, explosive, and shot straight out of a cannon.  Just when we think we’ve beat you, you come out with a whole new addition!  Maybe that’s why you were so popular at Halloween this year, so we could capture you once and for all.  Thanks for keeping our boredom to a minimum, and sucking up the battery life of our phones.    

Week 48-Costumes and Charities Day 2-Vampires

Nothing is better than a baby vampire

I want to suck your blood!  Well maybe not but I do like vampires, and they have been all the rage in the past few years thanks to Sookie Stackhouse and Edward Cullen.  Even though I don’t think I would enjoy surviving on red blood cells, or sleeping in a coffin, but I would like having fangs.  Nothing says Halloween quite like fictional characters that are immortal.  I have to admit that I started reading the Twilight series and I just couldn’t stop.  I totally get the fascination with these pale skinned creatures, and it turns out that they’re charitable as well.  Google is a wonderful thing.

So there aren’t any charities that are run by vampires, for obvious reasons, but there are lots of actors who play vampires that are charitable.  Candice Accola, who plays Caroline Forbes in The Vampire Dairies, spends her free time volunteering for the Turn The Corner which works to bring awareness about Lyme Disease.  Lyme disease is the most common of the diseases ticks carry, and often goes undiagnosed because many of the symptoms mimic other diseases.  TTC wants people to know how serious lyme disease really is.  In the most severe cases the disease can cause paralysis or cause a patient to go comatose.  TTC is also working to discover innovative ways to diagnose and treat this unforgiving disease.  Candice has combined her passions for TTC and fashion to create a mu-mu whose sales will benefit the organization.  That is one mu-mu I would be proud to wear.  Candice’s co-star Ian Somerhalder takes to his Twitter to let the world know where his passions lie.  He’s also the founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.  I know surprise, surprise.  ISF empowers, educates, and collaborates with people and projects that positively impact the planet.  The ISF team believes that the world is one big organism which we are all a part of.  ISF also stimulates the minds of youth across the nation.  Most 14 year-olds are worried about what brand of jeans they are going to wear to school, but one ISF Youth wants to know if fashion is hurting our planet.  It turns out that clothes can be as green as they are fashionable.  Who know vampires were so considerate of the planet?

Turn The Corner Donation 

Ian Somerhalder Foundation Donation

So here’s to you vampires!  You wear scary capes and you hate garlic, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  You’re quite popular again these days, but I guess that you’ve heard that before since you are immortal.  Thanks for scaring the pants off me when I was a little kid, and taking care of our planet.  Ironic, I know.

Week 34-Decades, Day 6-1970’s

Yes I do!

I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to write about this very groovy decade this week.  This was the time when my parents were growing up and trying to figure things out for themselves.  I love the stories that they would tell me when I was little, and the real version of the stories that they can finally tell me now.  Plus, all the great music of the seventies will forever remind me of my parents.  The Eagles, Genesis, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Lynard Skynard, James Taylor, and I could go on for days.  To me the 70’s and the 90’s are neck and neck for the best decade of music there ever was.  And seriously, there is nothing like a pair of bell bottom jeans, platform shoes, and a polyester flower print shirt.  I’m just saying.

Even Barbie was a hippie

The hippie way of life may have begun in the late 60’s but it was certainly flourishing through the 70’s.  It only seems right that such an environmentally conscious day like Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970.  Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day, and they were determined to promote environmental citizenship all year-round.  The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.  Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, harnessed the anti-war protest movement and focused it on the real issue that people seemed to be ignoring, our planet.  Yes, the war going on in Vietnam was important, but as Americans we were totally oblivious to the damage we were causing our planet.  Nelson took a huge gamble with putting together Earth Day, but it paid off huge as well.  On April 22, 1970 Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, country, and city dwellers took the streets and beyond to show their support for Mother Earth.  The fact that over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year speaks to the power of this movement, but even more powerful are the other 364 days when people are also engaged in EDN activities.  Another great environmental power house that was founded in 1970 is Clean Wisconsin.  CW protects and preserve’s Wisconsin’s air and water resources, and works to create a cleaner environment by standing up and letting their voice be heard.  CW works on three main fronts to protect its great state; lobbying, litigation, and citizen action and education.  It is the oldest and largest group working to save the natural heritage of Wisconsin.  It also just happens that Gaylord Nelson was a senator from Wisconsin during this time, and CW was actually founded on the very first Earth Day back in 1970.  I could not have planned that better if I tried.

Earth Day Network Donation

Clean Wisconsin Donation

So here’s to you 1970’s!  You were the era of hot pants, mini skirts, and go-go boots, and that contagious fever that John Travolta started on Saturday night.  You were also a time of revolution, change, protest, hugs, drugs, and free love.  Some of those I think we could probably do without today, but I think you were onto something seventies.  You knew how to make people feel inspired, and do something about it.  Thanks for showing us how to put up or shut up.

Week 28-When I grow up… Day 5-Lawyer

How many times did you hear your mother or grandmother say to you when you were little, “Why don’t you be something respectable like a doctor or a lawyer?”  Probably more times than you’d like to remember.  The profession of lawyers is one that always seems to elicit some visceral emotions from the lay community, but there’s also a real fascination as well.  I mean why in the world would there be so many television shows and movies about lawyers if there wasn’t?  And as most of you know, lawyers don’t exactly live in poverty so those who like the finer things in life tend to be drawn to high-paying professions.  I mean if Elle can wear pink and practice law, then why can’t you?  Thank goodness for the illusions that the entertainment community gives us.

It seems like the core of being a lawyer always goes back to defending those who can’t defend themselves.  Earthjustice was founded in 1971 because the Earth needs, and deserves in my opinion, a good lawyer.  Over the past forty years EJ has been on a mission to defend the beautiful places on our planet, all the natural resources she provides for us, the adorable wildlife that she houses, and provides everyone with the right to a healthy environment.  EJ provides free legal service to hundreds of environmental organizations and communities across the country.  You could say that EJ is like the guard dog for the Earth.  They take government agencies to court for failing to enforce state and federal environmental laws, and big corporations for breaking the same laws.  I may be boring some of you out there to death but I am extremely thankful for people who are willing to tackle jobs I would never do, because that means I don’t have to do it.  Public Counsel takes care of defending those who need it most, but can’t afford it.  PC is the largest pro bono public interest law firm in the entire world.  PC has three main goals: protecting the legal rights of disadvantaged children; representing immigrants who have been the victims of crimes; and promoting economic justice by providing underserved communities with access to quality legal representation.  The staff at PC provides over 27,000 individuals with free legal services that would normally cost over $85 million dollars each year.  Now take those numbers and multiply them by forty and you’ll have a rough estimate of all the people PC has helped since it began.  Yea you can be impressed.  I am.

Earthjustice Donation

Public Counsel Donation

So here’s to all the lawyers out there!  I’m sure there are some of you out there who really are  lying scum bags, but it’s the good guys that make kids aspire to study law when they grow up.  You don’t need to have the southern drawl of Matthew McConaughey, or the pink Chanel suit of Elle Woods to be a successful lawyer.  You will however have to learn to balance the scales of justice, blindfolded, or something like that.

Lady Justice herself

Week 23-Emotions, Day 3-Festive

fes·tive/ˈfestiv/Adjective

1. Of or relating to a festival.
2. Cheerful and jovially celebratory.

I’m not sure how many reasons you need to feel festive, but I’ve had quite a few today.  I had a great meeting about my PhD program in the fall; one of my very good friends officially became a Dr.; it was the last day in my two-day work week; another friend is graduating with not one but two master’s degree next weekend; and we got to celebrate Fiesta Friday with yummy food and margaritas.  I know we are a day late for the Cinco de Mayo fiesta but still, it’s hard not to feel festive with all the good things going on in my life.  I’m so thankful for wonderful days when it feels like nothing can go wrong.  They are the days that get you through the ones that never seem to end, and keep you sane when you wanna pull out every hair on your head.

Festivus, it's for the rest of us

So what do you do when you’re feeling festive?  You party, that’s what, and what better place to party that Ravinia, the world’s oldest outdoor music festival.  Started over 100 years ago in 1904, it is renowned for its world class musicians that range in genre from classical music to jazz and beyond.  Just to give you an example the likes of Frank Zappa, Louie Armstrong, Janis Joplin, and Duke Ellington.  It seems like festivity seems to attract diversity.  Ravinia is also very diligent in making sure music is accessible to people of all ages, races, and backgrounds.  They reach and teach people so they can play!  Another festival that would be a blast to attend is the Kokua Festival in Honolulu Hawaii that is held annually on Earth Day.  They took a short break this year from the festivities after six very successful events, but plan on coming back for an encore when the time is right.  The KF is a fundraiser for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation which supports environmentally education in the school and communities all across Hawaii.  You may have even heard of the non-profit’s founder, the musician Jack Johnson.  KHF believes in giving children hands on experiences and examples that will enhance their understanding and appreciation for our planet.  We only have one Earth, so we might as well teach our kids to take care of it, and throw a party to celebrate!

Ravinia Festival Donation

Kokua Hawaii Foundation Donation

So here’s to you festive!  You make me wanna clap my hands and move my feet to the beat.  You seem to be around a lot during the weekends and days when I don’t have to work.  You help me remember to celebrate life and tell my friends and family how awesome they are.  It’s always so much fun when you show up and I get to celebrate with some really great people.  Thanks for reminding me that feeling festive extends way beyond the holiday season.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 7-Yo Body

If it’s important for us to green our homes then it must be doubly or triply important to green our own bodies.  They are the one thing that we each have total control over day in and day out.  You’ve always heard people say you are what you eat, or you’ll get out of your body what you put into it, so why not make it green?  No, I’m not telling you to go on a diet of broccoli, asparagus, and green tea.  What I am telling you to do is think about what you put in and on your body.  I’m so thankful that we have the choice to be green without sacrificing being beautiful.

Atta girl Kate!

Luckily there are people like Kate Hudson, yes the famous actress, that feels the same way.  She teamed up with stylist David Babaii to create these awesome natural, cruelty-free, environmentally free hair products that benefit WildAid.  Kate and David realized that looking good feels fabulous and doing good feels even better, so they wanted to find a way to combine the two.  WA is a charity that is dedicated to end illegal wildlife trade during our lifetimes by both educating the public and providing protection for marine wildlife.  WA has also garnered the attention of other celebrities like Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and Harrison Ford for their public service announcements that reach millions.  So before you go pick up your next bottle of shampoo or mousse from Wal-Mart think about all those cute cuddly baby animals you can save AND look awesome.  As a woman one of the biggest parts of our beauty is our hair, just ask any man.  The only thing more beautiful than long, flowing hair is cutting it all off for Locks of Love.  LOL is giving self-confidence and normalcy back to children who are suffering from hair loss by making high quality hair prosthetics from the generously donated ponytails they receive.  Started back in 1997 LOL has been providing hair pieces to underprivileged children who are under the age of 21.  Hair is one of those things most of us take for granted on a daily basis.  Just try to imagine reaching to pull your hair back into a ponytail and finding nothing there.  David Babaii said it best, “It’s beautiful to be good.”

WildAid Donation or Buy some DB4 WildAid hair products!

Locks of Love Donation or Donate your hair!

So here’s to yo body!  Be sure you treat it good cause it’s the only one you got.  You are what keeps all our internal organs inside and helps us be awesome at sports, well some of us.  Thanks for helping us walk upright and be at the top of the evolutionary food chain.  It’s not easy being green, but somebody’s gotta do it.