got produce?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

2012-05-07 - Garden - 0008

A baby pepper, just planted!
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As you’re planning and planting your garden this year – tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini as far as the eye can see – please consider including an extra row or two (or three or four!) so that you can donate the excess to a local food pantry. Ample Harvest is a free service that connects gardeners with local charities in need of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs – you know, all the good stuff that any self-respecting vegan gardener might already be planting in her plot.

Here’s how it works:

The Idea

While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 40 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens – often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Opportunity

Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically economically challenged as well as those now impacted by the economic downturn have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.

These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.

At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.

The Vision

AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community.

The Mission

AmpleHarvest.org diminishes hunger in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden. There are no costs to the food pantries or the gardeners for use of AmpleHarvest.org.

The Message

A number of America’s problem could be diminished or even solved if everyone valued our resources, especially fresh food, as the treasure it really is. Our message to America is:

No Food Left Behind

While this doesn’t solve the problem of food access – not by a long shot – growing and donating fresh vegan foods is a small step that you can take to help alleviate hunger in your own community. As Ample Harvest explains, locally sourced foods are also beneficial for the environment: unlike processed foods, fresh foods donated by the community don’t travel as far, don’t require excess packaging – and can even be grown organically, if that’s your thing.

(More below the fold…)

Heartwarming Video Alert: Heroic Tortoise Saves Friend

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Via the Huffington Post, which led with the following commentary:

When it comes down it, we all want to be like this tortoise. The kind of person that goes around saving lives and doing good deeds just for the hell of it. But the unfortunate reality is that we can’t all be heroes. And that’s what this tortoise is.

Oh, my darling grasshopper! Of course you can be a hero – every day! You can start by going vegan; vegans spare the lives of about 100 nonhuman animals every year.

And that’s just on your plate! Look around, open your eyes, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do good deeds. Yesterday, for example, I saved six worms – who would have otherwise died of dehydration on my patio, after the recent rain evaporated – simply by relocating them ten feet to a nearby dirt-filled planter.

Six worms may not seem like much, but I’m sure it meant the world to them. And it took me all of three minutes.

(In case you can’t view the 99-second video, here’s the rundown: as one tortoise lays struggling on his back, a second tortoise comes to his aid; she pushes and “head-butts” the side of his shell until he’s flipped back upright. The two then proceed to walk away from the videographer together, the second tortoise following the first, as if to ensure that he really is alright after the harrowing incident.)

The Animal Experience (On the Peaceful Prairie Signature Billboard Campaign)

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Peaceful Prairie - Signature Billboards

Eight of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary’s sixty-two Signature Billboards, all from the “We Know Our Victims Well” series. Clockwise from the top left:
They long to live as much as we do.
(A single white duck gazes into the camera.)
They long to be loved as much as we do.
(Hen and rooster Libbie and Louie find refuge in one another’s touch.)
They face life together like we do.
(A pair of ducks wander through the snow.)
They love their children as much as we do.
(An adult llama and his child smile together.)
They need their mothers as much as we do.
(A cow nuzzles his mother.)
They protect their children as fiercely as we do.
(A cow and her calf stare defiantly ahead.)
They raise families like we do.
(A duck family – complete with five youngsters – strolls along in harmony.)
They fall in love like we do.
(One cow licks another with obvious affection.)
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A few weeks ago, the always-awesome Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary unveiled a new campaign to aid activists in combating speciesism – and all the oppressions it sanctions – specifically that directed towards “food” animals. With its Signature Billboards, Peaceful Prairie gives faces, individualities, life stories, and emotions to the many animals we call “food” – cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, lambs, goats and fishes:

They speak for themselves…

We don’t always have the opportunity to raise awareness of the animals’ plight during daily email correspondence but now, with Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary’s latest campaign, we’ve made it easy and effective for anyone to learn how their actions can save the lives of other animals, lives that matter to them as much our lives matter to us.

The graphics – each of which pictures one or more nonhuman animals, as well as a brief but powerful statement about her life experiences, relationships with/to other nonhumans, and/or personhood – are organized around four main themes:

  • We Know Our Victims Well;
  • 55 Billion Reasons to Live Vegan;
  • Humane Farming, An Oxymoron; and
  • Subjects of a Life

Designed for use as email signatures, you can also display these graphics on your blog or website, or share them on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

As a participant in the first two annual Blog Action Days (environment and poverty), I received an invite to participate in today’s Summer of Social Good simultaneous blog post project. At 12 PM EDT, the following post – “10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media” – will go live across 300 or so blogs. (Naturally, I’m wee bit late!)

While the authors encourage each blogger to edit the post to better reflect her blog’s focus, I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance to remix it, not as fully as I would have liked, anyhow. I have included a few notes here and there, though, in brackets for clarity.

Besides, with a little bit of creativity of reinterpretation, each of the ten tips can easily be applied to animal advocacy efforts!

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This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

summerofsocialgoodnew

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

[If daily blogging sounds like too much of a hassle, you can also volunteer to guest post at a larger group blog. If you have a certain area of expertise – say, managing feral cat populations – offer to share your knowledge in a series of narrowly focused posts.

Whether you author your own blog or not, consider joining the community as a regular reader and commenter. Many of the larger blogs have active and thriving readerships, taking discussions to the next level. If you regularly read non-AR blogs, this can be an excellent opportunity to inject your animal activism into other areas of your life. For example, don’t be afraid to call out a blogger you otherwise respect for engaging in speciesism. – Kelly]

(More below the fold…)

Dogs Deserve Better Holiday Activism Tip: Trick or Treat for DDB!

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

In the latest Dogs Deserve Better newsletter, PR Liason Dawn Ashby offers this special Halloween fundraising tip:

Trick or Treat for DDB!

If you and your children will be out “trick or treating” this year, have the kids create a donation box or bucket for Dogs Deserve Better. When knocking on doors ask the homeowner if he/she would like to donate to help dogs as you hold up the bucket and hand them a brochure.

Whoever raises the most money and sends it in will be the lucky recipient of a “Puddles Pak” for their own “Puddle’s Party”! Whether you knock on doors, have a party at school, visit relatives, have an alternative to trick or treating party at church, it’s a fun way to raise money and get brochures into the hands of people. Or just create your own donation bucket and ask the local gas station or convenience store if you can place it on the counter through the month of October.

If you are interested, please email kim [at] dogsdeservebetter.org and tell her how many brochures you will need along with your address. When donations are raised, send them to

DDB,
PO Box 23,
Tipton, PA 16684

with the amount raised and a picture/letter.

Now my mind is reeling with ideas I can put a costume on my dogs and take them “trick or treating” for donations! Be inventive and help raise money for the dogs.

Of course, this is also a great strategy to raise money for your favorite animal advocacy organization: dress up your dog or cat in her evening best (important note: only if she is amenable, and only if) to solicit donations for a local animal shelter or rescue group, or go full Halloween and dress her up as “farmed animal” in order to raise money for a farm animal sanctuary such as Farm Sanctuary or Woodstock FAS. Get creative – who can resist a cute mutt, hmmmm?

If you’ll be the one handing out candy this Hallow’s Eve, here’s another idea: order some vegetarian starter kits or recipe booklets to hand out to trick-or-treaters with your (vegan) Halloween candy. That way, the little ones are happy, and you get to distribute some free swag – from the comfort of your own home, even. Win/win!

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Tagged:

Everyday Activism / Truth in Advertising

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Animals Australia - Recipe, 1

I’m been a bad, busy blogger lately, and for that I apologize. Between the DNC, the RNC, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the hovering hurricane Gustav (and Hannah and Ike and Josephine), and the seemingly neverending rise in police repression and brutality, I am burnt. out. So I went on a bit of a staycation last week, and took in some local sights that I’ve been wanting to for awhile (staycation photos galore!).

Anyway, I thought I’d share this awesome ad campaign from Animals Australia. The series depicts photos of “mouth-watering” (*gag*) meat dishes along with their recipes. Instead of twelve ounces of pork and a cup of red wine vinegar, however, AA’s recipes call for gestation crates and animal cruelty.

I love the juxtaposition of beautiful gourmet food photography and graphic descriptions of factory farming practices. At first glance, the layout looks as though it might be straight out of a meat-worshipping cookbook a la Anthony Bourdain. But once the reader leans in closer, wham! Truth in advertising, baby. Genius.

As an added bonus, the ads are perfect for some stealth activism. Simply print out a few (hundred?) copies and insert them in the animal-unfriendly cookbooks in your local Barnes & Noble store. Or, heck, a friend or relative’s own cookbook collection, if you want to be doubly snarky.

The rest of the series is after the jump. (Click through to each pic’s Flickr page to read the full text.)

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: Conversion by Vegan Chocolate

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

2007-02-19 - Vegan V-Day - 0008

vegan chocolate…drool

Good thing my mother doesn’t read my blog, otherwise she’d find out that she’s getting some yummy vegan peanut butter-filled chocolates for Mother’s Day. She loves Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but you know, they’re tainted by the suffering of dairy cows. So instead of spending my money on useless baubles and knickknacks she’ll never use, or on non-vegan foods that run contrary to my own personal ethics, I’m going to spring for some gourmet vegan candy. Not only can I sleep easy, knowing that my Mother’s Day gift is helping to support an ethical company, but my gift will also go a long way towards showing my mother how good vegan foods can be.

Of course, you need not limit this idea to Mother’s Day. A vegan food item, given to a non-vegan friend or family member, can help counteract the stereotype that all vegan food is made of broccoli or granola and tastes like dirt. It can be anything: chocolate, candy, baked goods, jerky, ice cream. If the commercial items are too pricey for your budget, make your own dessert and hand deliver it! (I found a mouthwatering vegan peanut butter cup recipe on vegfamily.com – maybe a certain libertarian douchebag would like this make this for my birthday, hmmm?)

PETA is even giving away a vegan chocolate assortment for Mother’s Day – you can enter the drawing here.

Some of my favorite vegan companies are listed in the sidebar, under “Veg*n Vendors (Online)”. If you’ve got a link you’d like to see up there, leave it in the comments!

(Photo: Valentine’s Day gift box from Rose City Chocolatier – thnx, Shane!)

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Everyday Activism: Viral Backdoor Action (i gives it to u)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

funny dog pictures

awwwwwwwz, lookit teh dawgy, iz sooooo cuuuute!

The Cuteness. Must. Fight. It.

Ahem.

As silly as LOLDoggeh is, he (she?) comes bearing an important message today: think outside the box, veg*ns!

In this vein, tonight’s Everyday Activism tip is a fun one that I picked up from Mark Hawthorne’s Striking at the Roots. It’s so simple and so cute that I was really quite surprised that I’d never thought of it.

Here’s Mark:

Many activists create a special signature at the end of their emails, appended automatically each time they hit the send button, asking readers to take a specific action for animals or including a link to a video.

Thanks to email, digital media has the ability to go viral. Viral marketing is word of mouth for the twenty-first century, but rather than telling one person at a time, you can spread the word (or photo or video or Web link) to thousands of people, all over the world. The emails with the most viral potential are those you can’t wait to share with your friends – the “you’ve got to see this” email that can take on a life of its own. […]

You can create your own viral email with an animal-rights angle. Site like http://www.cuteoverload.com feature countless images and video clips of animals. Pick any of them […] and blast it out with a brief note explaining that this is just one example of the sentience of animals, and direct readers to a link with more information.”

People love the fuzzy wuzzies, and that goes double for fuzzy wuzzies spouting lolspeak. Sites such as Cute Overload not only post pics of super-cute animals, they also often encourage readers to pay the cuteness forward. Many have a built-in email function, wherein readers can email the pic to their friends, along with a brief message. So find a cute photo, attach a relevant animal rights message or link, and get viral! This can be anything: a link to a news story, fact sheet, video, or website; a personal message; an eloquent animal rights quote – you get the idea. If you’ve got extra time to burn, search around for a photo with an explicitly animal rights message – you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

For example, I posted this photo a few weeks back (the lolz, we needs ’em):

funny pictures

It’s just crying out for a link to http://www.torturedbytyson.com or http://www.goveg.com/ui_chickens.asp, dontcha think?

If you’d like to give it a try, here are some of my daily fixes:

http://icanhascheezburger.com

http://ihasahotdog.com

http://www.stuffonmycat.com

http://www.cuteoverload.com

http://lolcats.com is another popular one, but they don’t seem to have an email option (oh noes!). http://www.macrocats.com, on the other paw, allows for email but doesn’t have a field for personal messages.

Got a favorite site? Share your lolz in the comments!

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Everyday Activism: Get Craig Veg!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

UPDATE, 5 minutes later:

Doh! My post was flagged and deleted. Methinks it sounded “too commercial”. Guess I’ll try again tomorrow. By the by, here’s their moderation policy and TOS. It’s kind of iffy re: links to free starter kits, but I bet we can find a way around it. Leave a note in the comments if you find a format that makes it past the Craigslist censors!

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So as y’all know, I’m currently reading Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism. Well, that’s only half true – I finished it yesterday, and should have a review up soon. ‘Twas a great book, so if you were already kinda sorta thinking about maybe buying a copy, go ahead and do it already. You won’t regret it.

Even your uber-geeky blogger found some shiny new ideas for activism on the internets. Enter Craigslist – and today’s Everyday Activism post. (A category which, by the way, I plan to stop neglecting from this point forward. Pinky swear!)

The short of it: log on to Craigslist (you’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one) and post an ad for a FREE VEG STARTER KIT, with a link to any one of the dozens of animal org’s that offer them.

The long of it, from Striking at the Roots:

Leafleting in Cyberspace

Activist Nora Kramer suggests posting an ad for a “Free Vegetarian Starter Guide” on Craigslist.org:

1. Go to http://www.craigslist.org

2. Click on your (or any) city on the right-hand side.

3. Click on the section titled “free” in the “for sale” section.

4. Click on the links titled “post” (in the upper right-hand corner).

5. Type out and submit your message explaining where they can get a Free Vegetarian Starter Guide, using as a link http://www.veganoutreach.org/starterpack/free-vsp.html or a similar veggie guide link from PETA, Mercy for Animals, etc.

6. Click “post” and follow the final directions, then repeat once a week, as the posts get removed.

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: More Veg*n Food, Please!

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

And while we’re at it, I’d like an Invisible Pink Unicorn, too!

OK, so I’ve been slacking on these “Everyday Activism” posts. Big time. Which is sad, because I’m brimming with them. Plus, they’re generally really simple, easy actions that you diy in no time. Not to mention…people have packed books full of these tips!

So, my tip for today: write/call/email/otherwise harass (but politely) food companies, and ask them to provide more veg*n options. This can be a general request, for example, to Kraft Foods, requesting that they make more veg*n food choices available overall. However, my feeling is that it would be better still to target a specific brand. Think of a veg*n product that you enjoy, but that might be the only veg*n item in that line. Or perhaps a mostly-veg*n line that, despite the manufacturer’s overall animal- or eco-friendly stance, still includes a few non-veg*n items. Write the manufacturer and lay out your case.

For example, I sent the following email to Near East. Love their couscous; wish there were more flavors I could actually eat.

I used to enjoy your Tomato Lentil CousCous immensely. I went through a case of the stuff every few weeks when I lived in New York, but was unable to find it once relocated to the Midwest. So I was delighted to see the Tomato Lentil CousCous in a Whole Foods store last month! However, I transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism a few years ago, and was shocked when I read the label – just in case! – and found that the Tomato Lentil contains honey, an animal product.

Please, please consider using substitutes when possible to make your vegetarian items 100% vegan. It’s so disappointing for new vegans to find that their favorite products are off-limits. Going vegan when possible will help to widen your customer base AND foster loyalty with those customers who are limited by various dietary restrictions. I will continue to enjoy your vegan items, such your Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil CousCous, but would greatly appreciate it if you would consider making more of your vegetarian items all-vegan.

Thanks for reading!

It’s usually all about the money, so stress how much they can expand their customer base by making omni items vegetarian, or vegetarian items vegan. Throw in some stats if you’re feeling math-y. Tell them that you used to love their products before you went veg, and miss them terribly. And so do all your veg*n comrades! If only they’d ditch the whey…

And if the company isn’t all about the money, but also professes to care about animals or the environment, appeal to their ideals: explain why an eco-conscious company can’t, in good faith, sell products laced with factory-farmed eggs. (And cage free eggs are no better.) If you’re especially offended by their non-veg wares, threaten a boycott (but only if you mean it!). Unlike the Kraft Foods conglomerate, a smaller, tree-hugging company might actually care about losing your business – doubly so since you’re more likely to fall in their target demographic.

Got an almost-veg*n vendor who needs a good talking to? Leave the details in the comments. Maybe we can get a letter-writing campaign going!

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UCS: Your turn to question the candidates

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Union of Concerned Scientists Action Network – action [at] ucsusa.org
Date: Nov 13, 2007 1:42 PM
Subject: Your turn to question the candidates

Over the next year, presidential candidates will be crisscrossing the country to try to gain your support. But how will you know where they stand on the issues that are most important to you? As president, will they protect our health, safety, and environment? You won;t know unless you ask.

The 2008 presidential election provides a great opportunity to ask the candidates questions about global warming, nuclear weapons, censorship of government science–anything that you’re concerned about. This is your chance to educate and engage the candidates and other voters on the issues you care about most!

There are many ways to express your views. You can attend candidate events, advocate for policy solutions to be included in the party platforms, ask convention delegates or other local elected officials to communicate your views to the candidates, let candidate staff and volunteers know your views when they contact you, or you can write letters to your local paper.

Entering the dialogue is easier than you think. Click any of the links below to access the online resources we have developed to
help you along the way.

(More below the fold…)

WWF: Carve a Pumpkin for Conservation

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Too cute!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: World Wildlife Fund – ecomments [at] wwfus.org
Date: Oct 1, 2007 1:30 PM
Subject: WWF: Carve a Pumpkin for Conservation

Carve a Pumpkin for Conservation
Going Wild With Pumpkins

Photo via Johnny Huh

This Halloween, show your support for conservation by displaying pumpkins carved with WWF nature-themed stencils!

Want a jack-o-lantern this Halloween that all your neighbors will be talking about? These WWF nature-themed stencils make it easy and fun for the whole family to carve a great pumpkin… and creatively show your support of conservation! You can also win a prize for your creation by entering the Going Wild With Pumpkins photo challenge from Snapfish by HP if you visit www.snapfish.com: http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/R?i=V3DKfX24ff6OJBm6OJDfvQ..

It’s fun and easy to participate!

1. Download your favorite WWF Wild Pumpkin stencils from the HP Activity Center.

2. Carve wild pumpkins with your friends and family.

3. Shoot digital photos of your favorite wild pumpkin display.

4. Upload your photos to Snapfish and share with the world.

5. Vote on Snapfish for your favorite Wild Pumpkin photo and compete for a chance to win 100 different prizes.

Get Stencils

Upload Photos

Learn more about Going Wild With Pumpkins, check out WWF’s 10 Green Halloween Tips and discover the ways that WWF is working to save wild animals and wild places.

*****************************

World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th St. NW
Washington, DC 20037-1193
http://www.worldwildlife.org/index.cfm

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DawnWatch: Delightful two line letter in Los Angeles Times 3/25/07

Monday, March 26th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mar 26, 2007 4:21 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Delightful two line letter in Los Angeles Times 3/25/07

Because I try not to swamp people with mail, I rarely forward animal friendly letters to the editor that I have come across. Please know, however, that it is well worth writing — animal friendly letters are generally published in response to alerts. I find it particularly gratifying when I see animal friendly letters published in response to articles about which I have sent out or seen alerts. Lately I have been overwhelmed with other projects (particularly with a book to be published by Harper Collins early next year, which I look forward to sharing more about later) and have not been able to cover everything I would have liked. How wonderful to know that compassionate people everywhere are keeping their own eyes on their local media and responding on behalf of the animals.

Occasionally I see a letter that I just have to share. Last Sunday, the Los Angeles Time published a lovely piece in which Roseanne Barr shared her interest in making the world a better place. You’ll find the article it on line here. In response to that article, yesterday’s, March 25, Los Angeles Times carried the following letter:

Praising the Barr
Pg. E2

WOW. Roseanne is beautiful in and out [“It’s Not Just Lip Service,” March 18]. Now if only she were vegetarian!

RACHEL ROSENTHAL

Thank you Rachel, for exemplifying how easy it is to write an animal friendly letter. With two lines, which probably took her sixty seconds to send, she has responded to an article that did not appear to have animal relevance, and reminded Los Angeles that kindness to animals is part of the picture of compassion. I forward her letter in the hope that she will inspire animal advocates to take a moment to respond to the media whenever possible. Legislators look to the letters pages as barometers of public opinion. And readers seeing animal friendly letters are reminded that animal issues are increasingly relevant to mainstream conversations about social issues.

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: DIY Purell

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

According to Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States and M.D. (and author of Bird Flu, which I recently reviewed here), people are, shall we say, quite lax when it comes to washing their hands. Given that handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect against infectious diseases such as Ebola and – yes! – avian influenza, findings such as these

Ninety-five percent say they wash their hands after using a public toilet, yet the American Society for Microbiology published a survey of almost 8,000 people across five U.S. cities and found the true number to be only about two-thirds. Chicago topped the list at 83%; in New York City, the actual number fell to less than half.

are a wee bit problematic.

The experts say that:

Proper hand washing, according to the director of clinical microbiology at Mount Sinai, involves lathering with plenty of soap for 20 to 30 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the “alphabet song” three times at a fast tempo), rinsing, and then repeating for another 20 to 30 seconds. CDC guidelines are similar, with additional reminders to wash between fingers and under the nails, and to soap into the creases around knuckles.

and:

At a minimum, experts advise, hands should be washed after every cough, every sneeze, and every time we shake hands with anyone. These simple recommendations may decrease the number of colds we get every year, the number of work days we miss, and the number of days we are laid up in bed. During a pandemic, they may even save your life.

As a true-green enviro, that strikes me as a crazy amount of water to be running through every day.

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: Idle Not

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Today’s everyday activism idea comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists’ January ’07 edition of Greentips, “Idling Gets You Nowhere”. In two words: idling, bad!

But I’ll let them explain:

Would you drive a car that gets zero miles to the gallon? Of course not. Yet that is your mileage whenever your engine idles. Idling wastes money and fuel, contributes to air pollution, and generates carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. Some states even have laws limiting the amount of time cars can idle (see the related links).[…]

Unfortunately, many people believe that idling is necessary or even beneficial—a false perception that has carried over from the 1970s and 1980s, when engines needed time to warm up (especially in colder temperatures). Fuel-injection vehicles, which have been the norm since the mid-1980s, can be restarted frequently without engine damage and need no more than 30 seconds to warm up even on winter days.

In fact, idling longer than that could actually damage your engine in the long term. Because an idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature‚ the fuel does not completely combust, leaving residues in the engine that can contaminate engine oil and make spark plugs dirty. Excessive idling also allows water to condense in the vehicle’s exhaust, contributing to corrosion of the exhaust system.

No matter what time of year, minimize your idling with the following tips:

* When first starting your car, idle for no more than 30 seconds.

* Except when sitting in traffic, turn your engine off if you must wait in your car for more than 30 seconds. You can still operate the radio and windows without the engine running.

* When the time comes to buy a new car, consider a hybrid. Hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles switch off the engine and use battery power for accessories when the car is not moving, effectively eliminating idling. Visit the UCS Hybrid Center website for more information on these fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles.

There ya go.

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Everyday Activism: The Call of the Vanishing Wild

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Getcher free endangered wildlife ringtones here!

Errr, wait. That sounded a bit too giddy, especially since we’re talking about endangered wildlife here. Let’s try this again.

Via the Center for Biological Diversity, download a free endangered wildlife ringtone. Personalize your cell phone, and when friends and strangers inquire about your wild taste, use the opportunity to educate ’em about the plight of the Blue-throated Macaw or the importance of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Since now is as good a time as any, consider this the first in an ongoing series of “everyday activism” posts. “Everyday activism” = quick, simple, non-taxing actions y’all can take when out and about to advance animal-friendly and green causes. In this case, downloading an endangered species ringtone will take you all of 30 seconds – but will provide you countless opportunities to introduce the issue to those you encounter throughout the day. I was going to begin with a post about getting more AR literature into your public library, but – *shrug* – the ringtones thing is good too!

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