Living In Harmony With Wildlife
22 May, 2023
We cause our wild animal neighbors far more trouble than they do us, as each day we invade thousands of acres of their territories and destroy their homes. Here are some ways to live in harmony with them.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Cap your chimney. When birds sit atop chimneys for warmth they can inhale toxic fumes, and if the chimney is uncapped they can fall in and die. Because we have destroyed so many den trees, many raccoons nest in chimneys. If you hear mouse-like squeals from above your fireplace damper, chances are they're coming from baby raccoons. Don't light a fire--you'll burn them alive. Just close the damper securely and do nothing until the babies grow older and the family leaves. When you're absolutely sure everyone's out, have your chimney professionally capped--raccoons can quickly get through amateur cappings. Also, a mother raccoon or squirrel will literally tear apart your roof if you cap one of her young inside your chimney.
If for some reason you must evict a raccoon family before they leave on their own, put a radio tuned to loud talk or rock music in the fireplace and hang a mechanic's trouble light down the chimney. (Animals like their homes dark and quiet.) Leave these in place for a few days, to give mom time to find a new home and move her children. You might also hang a thick rope down the chimney, secured at the top, in case your tenant is not a raccoon and can't climb up the slippery flue. If the animal still cannot get out, call your conservation department for the name of a state-licensed wildlife relocator. Don't entrust animals' lives to anyone else, especially "pest removal services," no matter what they tell you.
You can also use the light-radio-patience technique to evict animals from under the porch or in the attic. (Mothballs may also work in enclosed places like attics, although one family of raccoons painstakingly moved an entire box of mothballs outside, one by one.) Remember, when sealing up an animal's home, nocturnal animals, like opossums, mice, and raccoons, will be outside at night, while others, like squirrels, lizards, and birds, will be outside in the daytime.
If an animal has a nest of young in an unused part of your house and is doing no harm, don't evict them. Wait a few weeks or so, until the young are better able to cope. We owe displaced wildlife all the help we can give them.
Wild bird or bat in your house? If possible, wait until dark, then open a window and put a light outside it. Turn out all house lights. The bird should fly out to the light.
Uncovered window wells, pools, and ponds trap many animals, from salamanders to muskrats to kittens. To help them climb out, lean escape planks of rough lumber (to allow for footholds) from the bottom to the top of each uncovered window well, and place rocks in the shallow ends of ponds and pools to give animals who fall in a way to climb out. Also, a stick in the birdbath gives drowning insects a leg up.
Relocating animals by trapping them with a humane trap is often unsatisfactory; animals may travel far to get back home. Also, you may be separating an animal from loved ones and food and water sources. It is far better and easier to use one of the above methods to encourage animals to relocate themselves.
Bats consume more than 1,000 mosquitoes in an evening, so many people encourage them to settle in their yards by building bat houses. Contrary to myth, bats won't get tangled in your hair, and chances of their being rabid are miniscule. If one comes into your home, turn off all lights and open doors and windows. Bats are very sensitive to air currents. If the bat still doesn't leave, catch him or her very gently in a large jar or net. Always wear gloves if you attempt to handle a bat, and release him or her carefully outdoors. Then find and plug the entrance hole.
Leave moles alone. They are rarely numerous, and they help aerate lawns. They also eat the white grubs that damage grass and flowers.
Gophers can be more numerous, but they, too, do a valuable service by aerating and mixing the soil and should usually be left alone.
Snakes are timid, and most are harmless. They control rodent populations and should be left alone. To keep snakes away from the house, stack wood or junk piles far from it, as snakes prefer this type of cover. Your library can tell you how to identify any poisonous snakes in your area; however, the vast majority are nonpoisonous.
People unintentionally raise snake and rat populations by leaving companion animal food on the ground or keeping bird feeders. It is far better to plant bushes that will give birds a variety of seeds and berries than to keep a bird feeder.
Denying mice and rats access to food in your home will do the most to discourage them from taking up residence there. Do not leave dog and cat food out for long periods of time. Store dry foods such as rice and flour in glass, metal, or ceramic containers rather than paper or plastic bags. Seal small openings in your home.
If you must trap an occasional rodent, use a humane live trap made for this purpose. If the trap is made of plastic, make sure it has air holes and check it often.
Be careful not to spill antifreeze which is highly toxic to animals, who like its sweet taste. Better, shop for Sierra antifreeze, which is non-toxic and biodegradable.
GARBAGE DUMP DANGERS
Many animals die tragically when they push their faces into discarded food containers to lick them clean and get their heads stuck inside. Recycle cans and jars. Rinse out each tin can, put the cover inside so no tongue will get sliced, and crush the open end of the can as flat as possible. Cut open one side of empty cardboard cup-like containers; inverted-pyramid yogurt cups have caused many squirrels' deaths. Also, cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds. Choose paper bags at the grocery store, and use only biodegradable or photodegradable food storage bags.
Be sure any garbage cans under trees are covered--baby opossums and others can fall in and not be able to climb out. If animals are tipping over your can, store it in a garage or make a wooden garbage can rack. Garbage can lids with clasps sometimes foil the animals. One homeowner solved the strewn garbage problem by placing a small bag of "goodies" beside his garbage can each night. Satisfied, the midnight raider left the garbage alone.
Dumpsters can be deadly--cats, raccoons, opossums and other animals climb into them and cannot climb out because of the slippery sides. Every dumpster should have a vertical branch in it so animals can escape. (Ask your local park district to put branches in park dumpsters.)
ORPHANED & SICK ANIMALS
Wild youngsters are appealing, but never try to make one your pet. It's unfair; they need to be with others of their kind. If you tame one, when the time comes for release, the animal will not know how to forage for food or be safe in the woods. Tame released animals normally follow the first humans they see, who often think, "Rabies!" and kill them. If you find a youngster who appears orphaned, wait quietly at a distance for a while to be certain the parents are nowhere nearby. If they are not, take the little one to a professional wildlife rehabilitation center for care and eventual release into a protected wild area. An injured bird can be carried easily in a brown paper bag, loosely clothes-pinned at the top.
On very hot days, some animals come out of hiding. Foxes have been known to stretch out on patios. Normally nocturnal adult animals seen in daytime should be observed--if they run from you, chances are they are healthy. If sick, they may be lethargic, walk slowly, or stagger. Distemper is more often the culprit than rabies. (Distemper is not contagious to humans.) Call a wildlife expert.
Get names and telephone numbers of wildlife rehabilitators from your local humane society or park authority; keep them in your home and car at all times in case of an emergency.
CREATE A BACKYARD HABITAT
Don't use pesticides on your yard and leave part of it natural (unmanicured). Dead wood is ecological gold--more than 150 species of birds and animals can live in dead trees and logs and feed off the insects there. The U.S. Forestry Department says saving dead wood is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit. Top off, rather than chop down, dead trees 12 inches or more in diameter. Save fat dead logs. Leave plenty of bushes for wildlife cover. Keep a birdbath filled with water, and a pan for small mammals, and use heating elements in them in the winter.
Save The Earth At Home
22 May, 2023
There are many things you can at home to help protect and preserve the planet. Here are some easy eco-friendly tips for making your home more environmentally friendly.
- Insulate your home
- Buy energy efficient appliances
- Caulk and weather-strip
- Install storm windows
- Wear warm clothing and turn down your thermostat
- Close off unused areas in your home
- Buy low wattage or compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Turn off lights that don't need to be on
- Use cold water instead of hot
- Use small ovens or stove-top cooking methods instead of your oven
- Don't burn wood during periods of high pollution
- Convert your fireplace to natural gas logs
- Don't let your fire smolder
- Use hard, dry wood when you do burn
- Buy a new, low polluting wood stove
- Put your fire completely out before you go to bed
- Clean your chimney
- Set your refrigerator to 38 degrees, no colder
- Insulate your water heater
- Substitute lemon oil or beeswax for wood cleaners, polishes and waxes
- Recycle aluminum and glass
- Recycle newspapers
- Reuse glass containers
- Buy a house plant
- Plant a tree
- Plant evergreen trees on the north side of your house
- Plant deciduous trees on the south
- Do all ironing at one time
- Snuggle with a friend and turn down the thermostat
- Run dishwashers only when fully loaded
- Run clothes washers only when fully loaded, but don't overload
- Hang your laundry to dry
- Clean the lint screen on your dryer
- Take quick showers instead of baths
- Install water-efficient showerheads and faucets
- Turn down your water heater to 121 degrees
- Start a recycling program in your neighborhood
- Defrost your freezer
- Buy recycled paper
- Cook with quick-heating, copper-bottom pans to conserve energy
- Teach your children about these ideas
- Use your microwave instead of the oven
- Limit or eliminate using disposable items
- Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store
- Reuse your paper and plastic bags
- Write companies urging them to use paper rather than plastics
- Request paper instead of styrofoam whenever possible
- Use water-based paints whenever possible
- Buy products that will last
- Don't buy fire extinguishers containing halon
Shop For Vegan & Eco-Friendly Clothes
21 May, 2023
Vegan clothes consist of clothing and shoes that are constructed without using animal products. By choosing vegan clothing, you ensure that no animals suffered or died to produce them. You also help protect the environment and wildlife from the devastating effects of animal agriculture. Although there are specialty stores that only sell vegan clothing lines, it is possible to buy vegan apparel from any retail shop. To do so, you need to know how to distinguish the vegan and non-vegan items and materials described in clothing labels.
Choose fake or faux fur in place of authentic fur. Pelts and fur are non-vegan since they are the skins and fur taken from animals trapped or raised specifically for that purpose; minks, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas, lynxes, dogs, and many more. Search the clothing label for faux fur, acrylic, polyester, or mod-acrylic.
Purchase imitation-leather in place of real, authentic leather or suede. Leather is non-vegan because it comes from animal hides and skin. Look at the clothing labels to discover alternative clothing that resembles leather, such as synthetic leather, pleather, man-made leather, imitation-leather, and waxed-cotton. Apparel that is made from leather-like materials are typically much cheaper than authentic leather or suede products.
Avoid fabric or apparel that is silk-made. Silk worms may produce silk naturally, however, in order to get the silk producers boil them alive. Go for materials that resemble and imitate silk instead, like nylon, polyester, rayon, silk-cotton tree and ceiba tree filaments, milkweed seed-pod fibers, and the wood pulp-made fabric called tencel.
Avoid buying clothes made with down feathers. These are non-vegan products because they are either plucked from living animals, or animals are killed specifically for this reason. Consult the clothing labels to discover down substitutes, like synthetic down, polyester fill, hypo-allergenic synthetic down, and down-alternative.
Finally, stop buying any type of woolen fabric or clothing. Wool comes from sheep, goats, rabbits and camels who are exploited for their hair. Particular products made from wool that you should avoid include cashmere, angora, mohair, pashmina, shearling, and camel hair. Opt for alternative wool materials instead, such as cotton flannel, polyester fleece, orlon, acrylic, synthetic fleece, synthetic wool, or any other wool fabric characterized as "synthetic." There are synthetically made products that are just as good as wool. Some man-made products exist that rival wool in terms of thickness, providing warmth, and can pull away moisture from the skin. Recycled plastic bottles are typically used to make these products, which you can usually find in outdoors clothing featured in specialty stores.
Taking It A Step Further
Avoiding clothing made from animal-derived products helps to save animals and reduce animal cruelty, but truly ethical clothing decisions also factors in environmental concerns. Clothing choices that contribute to environmental damage affects wildlife in detrimental ways. When shopping for animal-friendly clothes, also consider eco-friendly alternatives.
You can easily make vegan and environmentally friendly clothing choices by choosing clothes made from natural, plant-based materials. You can opt-out of buying faux animal clothing products. Do you really need that faux leather jacket, fake fur coat and imitation silk shirt? There are lots of alternatives that are just as stylish, while not hurting animals or their ecosystems.
Over 25 percent of the planet’s pesticides can be attributed to conventional cotton production. Organic cotton production does not use chemicals. Choose organic cotton clothing made with natural dyes or colored cotton.
Bamboo clothing is all the rage, and for good reason. Bamboo is a fast growing, highly renewable grass usually grown without chemicals. It breathes well, is biodegradable and has natural antibacterial properties. Avoid “bamboo-based rayon” which involves toxic chemicals in its processing.
Hemp is fast growing and highly sustainable like bamboo. It needs little or no pesticides or fertilizers, and it does not deplete soil nutrients.
Recycled polyester is created from cast-off polyester fabric and soda bottles. It's carbon footprint is an impressive 75 percent lower than virgin polyester.
Soy Silk & Soy Cashmere
Soy cashmere and soy silk are created from soy protein fibers left over from soybean food processing. Look for clothing that is not made from genetically engineered soy.
Tencel is created from natural cellulose wood pulp. It is fully biodegradable and is made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood pulp and less-toxic chemicals.
Clothing production in general has a big environmental impact. It uses a lot of land, energy, water – and often chemicals. Purchasing quality made products, and wearing them for as long as possible, is one of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of clothing. You can also purchase used clothing and repair damaged clothes to extend their use. Above all else, don't get caught up in the trap of “trendy styles” and “Fast Fashion” that promotes clothing as being disposable. With a ridiculous 52 “micro-seasons” per year, and new trends coming out every week, it's impossible to keep up anyway. Don't try. Be responsible and help the Earth and its animals – don't buy animal-derived clothing and do buy clothes that are as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Shop For The Planet
20 May, 2023
BUY PRODUCTS IN THE LARGEST SIZE YOU CAN USE; AVOID EXCESS PACKAGING
- Buy cereal in a large box instead of in individual serving sizes.
- Buy juice in concentrates and use reusable containers instead of single serving packages.
- Save money by buying bottled water in a large plastic jug instead of six packs of 16 ounce bottles.
- Reuse plastic water bottles.
- Buy large packages of sugar and flour.
- Avoid the small boxes of raisins and buy the same amount in the 24 ounce box.
BUY REUSABLE AND LONG LASTING ITEMS
- Use rechargeable batteries in toys, flashlights, radios. You can save $200 a year by using rechargeable batteries instead of disposables in one CD player used two hours a day.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposables diapers. You'll save $600 per child by using a laundry diaper service instead of disposable diapers.
- Use a real camera instead of disposable ones. If you take 24 pictures each month you will save $144 each year.
- Many families spend over $260 each year on paper towels and napkins. Switch to cloth napkins, sponges, and cloth towels or wipes.
- Use washable plates, cups, and silverware for parties and picnics instead of disposable products.
- Use an electric razor or hand razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors.
- Buy high quality/long life tires. They cost less per mile traveled and reduce the problem of disposing of used tires.
- Use a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee and eliminate a Styrofoam or plastic cup every day.
- Bring bags to the market, either cloth ones or your old paper and plastic ones. Many markets will credit your bill for using your own bags. When buying only a few items, don't take a bag.
- Clean and service your appliances, computers, tools, and cars so that they will enjoy even longer lives. And, before you replace them, check to see if they are repairable.
- Consider sharing equipment that is used infrequently such as hedge clippers, pruners, fruit pickers, or chain saws.
Hold A Public Meeting
19 May, 2023
If you've tabled enough to build up an e-mail list or social media following of 100 or more people, you may want to hold a public meeting. There are several good reasons to hold a meeting: to form a local group, to show an animal or environmental film, or to have a speaker urge people to take action on a particular issue. Be sure you're clear about the purpose of your meeting, as this affects how you plan it.
SETTING THE DATE
If you are inviting a speaker, first call and find out when he or she is available. If you intend to show a film or video, find out when you can get it and what equipment you'll need to show it. These factors will determine the date of your meeting. Before you finalize the date, call the parks and recreation department, chamber of commerce and area schools to make sure your meeting doesn't conflict with any major sporting events or local community gatherings. Give yourself at least six weeks to get ready.
FINDING THE RIGHT SPOT
Most cities have rooms or auditoriums in libraries, community centers or government office buildings that local groups can use free of charge. Try calling the "facilities management" office of the city or county government, or the mayor's office. Universities have excellent facilities, including auditoriums, that students and faculty members can often use free of charge.
Send in any required permit applications as early as possible. It could take several weeks to get an application approved, especially if it has to be submitted to a monthly town council meeting. If you are denied a permit, politely ask exactly why, then try to enlist a lawyer to call and appeal the denial. If you can't find lawyers who will volunteer their services, call the nearest office of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). They may be able to help.
If you can't find a government or library room, try renting a room from a church, the YMCA, an event center or a school. In any case, go and see the room first. It's better to have a room that's a little too small. A crowded room will make the meeting seem more successful than a large, half-empty room.
PUBLICIZING THE EVENT
Once you've got the date, place, topic and speaker chosen, you're ready to publicize your meeting. Here are some ways to do it:
- Distribute and post flyers.
- Create social media event pages.
- E-mail details to the people on your contact list.
- Make a public service announcement over the radio or on TV.
- Get a newspaper listing in the "event" or "calendar" section.
- Send a news release to local newspapers.
Most radio stations feature a community bulletin board to air free announcements of local events (called public service announcements or PSAs). You'll have to call each station to find out its policy and time limit (usually 20 seconds) for these announcements; they sometimes require a typewritten or e-mail notice up to a month in advance. Local TV stations are also worth checking for free announcements.
Newspapers often offer free services to publicize community group events. Try both the established publications and the small, local papers. Once again, you may need to send a written or e-mail notice a few weeks ahead of time.
Get others involved to help post flyers, make some telephone calls, spread the word on social media or help you set up the meeting.
If your speaker is willing, try to schedule talk shows or newspaper interviews while he or she is in town.
CONDUCTING THE MEETING
Most of us are nervous on the day we're doing something special or new. While you may not be able to avoid being anxious, you can eliminate some worry (and maybe avert some misery) if you are well prepared.
- A few days before the meeting: Call your speaker to confirm the date and time he or she is expected. Find out how the speaker would like to be introduced, and take a few minutes to write and practice the introduction. Confirm your room rental. Make sure your equipment is reserved and that you have adequate extension cords to hook up the equipment.
- The day of your meeting: Arrive at the room at least an hour ahead of time. Set up the equipment you'll be using and make sure it works. Lay out literature on a table in the back of the room, and arrange chairs near the front of the room.
- As people arrive: Be at the door to greet people. Circulate a signup sheet, but remove it when the meeting is ready to start.
- Introduce the speaker to start the meeting and thank him or her at the end of the meeting. Ask people if they've added their names to the signup sheet, and thank them for coming to your meeting. Urge them to get involved. Give them something specific to do: write a letter, make a telephone call, share your social media pages, or hand out leaflets. Always end on an upbeat note.
- A few days later, send a short thank-you to your speaker; you may want to invite him or her again.
- Send a follow-up message suggesting specific actions to people who attended the meeting, and be sure to add any new contacts to your mailing list. Post photos and videos of the event on public media.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
18 May, 2023
Reducing waste does not mean you have to reduce what you buy, it means shopping with the environment in mind. Consider the environmental impact of each product before you buy it. Make a list of what you need before you go shopping; this will reduce impulse buying. Buy in bulk. It is cheaper and eliminates small containers and excess packaging, which accounts for 50 percent of our domestic trash. You have bought your laundry soap like this for years. Think about what else you can buy in bulk!
Avoid buying throwaways that can't be recycled. For instance, carry a camera but if you need to use a disposable camera make sure that it can be recycled when you get the film developed. Some companies that make one-time use cameras reuse and recycle up to 90 percent of the parts of their cameras when consumers send them in for developing. Installing low-flow shower heads and faucets can save a family of four 280 gallons of water per month. Seldom used items, such as appliances and party supplies, often collect dust, rust and take up valuable storage space. Consider renting or borrowing them the next time they're needed. Remember, every time you make a purchase you cast your vote to protect the environment.
Learning to reuse is easy, and after a little practice it will become second nature. Here are some great ways to reuse our precious resources. Reuse shopping bags or buy canvas bags and use them when you shop. Buy durable high quality goods for a longer life outside the landfill. Although durable goods may cost a little more at first, they will save you money and help save the environment in the long run.
Before throwing anything away, think about how each item can be reused. Be sure to use both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it. Donate clothing, furniture and appliances to charity. Hospitals and nursing homes often accept old magazines and schools reuse many items in their art and theater classes. Almost all glass, plastic and metal containers can be reused for storage in the kitchen or the garage. Think before you toss.
If you want to reduce and reuse at the same time, take a two liter pop bottle and fill it with water. Add a few stones to weigh it down, place it in the tank of your toilet, and you will have reused a pop bottle and reduced two liters of water every time you flush.
Reducing is the best way to protect the environment. However, if you can't reduce something, reuse it, and if you can't reuse it, recycle it. Recycling means collecting, processing, marketing, and ultimately using materials that were once discarded. For example, this morning's newspaper can be recycled into insulation, packing material, wrapping paper and more newspaper. Plastic pop and milk jugs are recycled into lumber that is used for making durable playground equipment and park benches.
Many different materials can be recycled. Among these are aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, plastics, tin cans, steel cans, brass, copper, car batteries, computer paper, office paper, corugated cardboard, motor oil, scrap iron and steel and tires.
Separate aluminum, steel and tin cans from other metals. If you aren't sure whether a can is aluminum or steel, check with a magnet. A magnet will stick to steel and tin but will not stick to aluminum. Wipe or lightly rinse all cans and make sure they are dry before recycling them. Prepare newspapers by folding them into brown paper bags or bundle with string into one foot stacks. Prepare glass by rinsing and removing metal or plastic rims and lids. Sort by color: brown, green and clear. Prepare plastics by rinsing and separating by numbers. If plastic is recyclable, it will have a number on the bottom of the container. Break down corrugated cardboard boxes. Separate office paper into white, colored and glossy stacks. Be careful to remove sticky tabs and paper clips. Motor oil should be collected in no larger than five gallon containers and be free of contaminants. Tires are accepted from individuals no more than five per year.
Plan A Campaign
18 May, 2023
A campaign requires a great deal of commitment, planning and organization. While it's possible to do this alone, the support of others is very desirable. In either case, it's important to establish an identity as a group. Once you get going, others will join you. You, however, must expect to lead the way.
Your first step is to thoroughly research your opponents. What arguments will they use to defend their position? What do you hope to achieve?
Decide exactly what your demands are: What do you want your target to do? What is the minimum you'll accept? Are your goals realistic?
If you've got a good target, start developing your strategy. Begin by designing a timetable for your campaign. Then establish short-range goals. Short-range goals keep momentum going and bring you closer to your target.
Prepare for countercharges. What claims will your opponents make to defend their actions? How will you refute them?
Decide whose support you really need to win; don't just say "the public." Which part of the public? Which groups or individuals in particular?
Consider how to reach them. Whose support can you count on from the beginning? How will you work with those people? And analyze how you will win over or neutralize supporters of the opposition.
CHOOSING YOUR STRATEGY
You may be able to accomplish your goals with a low-level effort, such as a letter-writing campaign or a series of leafletting and tabling activities - not all campaigns require demonstrations, boycotts or rallies. If you start out with a bang, you must be able to sustain it.
Take the time to consider what's going to make your campaign a success. The more planning time you give yourself, the better chance you have of winning your cause.
Here are some general strategies to follow:
- Try to communicate with your opponent. Write to the head of the company or organization, politely state your grievance and ask for action.
- Give them time to respond, but set a deadline so they don't keep you dangling forever. It's always possible that your opponent is unaware of abuses, and there may be room to negotiate a change. Regardless, if you don't go to the source first, your credibility will be impaired.
- Document your communications. Keep copies of letters and a written record of telephone calls.
- Before you go public, try to get some expert opinions to back you up. Such statements lend credibility to your campaign and make it easier to convince both the public and government officials. Approach scientists, veterinarians, doctors, or anyone else who has the experience and credentials to be considered an expert on the issue. Inform them of the situation and ask them to give you a written statement criticizing your target and recommending alternatives.
- Produce some basic campaign literature first: a fact sheet, a background/history sheet, an alternatives sheet, a page of expert opinions, and a short leaflet that lists your demands and tells people what they can do to help. These provide essential factual information for the public and the media.
- Arrange a meeting with the mayor's office and/or the specific regulatory office related to the issue. Clarify the facts about the issue and the changes you are proposing and try to get their support.
- Write letters to local government officials, congressional representatives, and the head of the organization you are targeting. State the problem, your demands or alternatives, and specify what you want the official to do.
- Arrange to meet personally with as many elected officials as possible. Try to enlist their support.
- Write to news editors of local papers and to related trade journals to try to interest them in doing a story on the issue.
- Educate your community. Setup tables and hand out leaflets to publicize the issue. Run an advertisement in the newspaper if your budget allows. Create a website and/or social media pages.
- Try to get support from other national and local groups. Contact civic associations, the League of Women Voters, Rotary Clubs, and political clubs and ask for their support.
- Give your opponent a second chance to negotiate with you. This may also be the time to issue an ultimatum if negotiations are unsuccessful.
- When you escalate to a new level, don't abandon your original activities. Public education should be a constant effort, complementing all your other tactics.
- Escalation means finding ways to exert more pressure, such as picketing, holding a candlelight vigil, organizing a march, encouraging a boycott or holding a rally.
17 May, 2023
You've recently learned about animal issues. Or you're concerned about endangered species. Or you've been concerned about the environment for many years and have decided it's time to educate society about the issues. You may be timid or think you do not speak well in public. Perhaps you've never been involved in an activist group and you do not know the first thing about them. You may feel that you are all alone. But as an individual you can educate hundreds of people in your community and affect their often unwittingly exploitative attitudes and lifestyles.
Earth and animal activists are people who see the need for change and devote their time to doing something about it. They are driven by passion and a vision for a better future for animals and the environment. Whatever your reason for wanting to become an earth and animal activist, you have the ability to do so no matter your age, your means or your background. It's people like you, people who believe they have the power to make a difference, who end up bringing remarkable change for the planet and its animals.
Perhaps there are no animal or environmental groups in your area. But there is one animal advocate/environmentalist person—you. Anyone can be an earth and animal activist. It does not take any special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about animals to want to help them.
Earth and animal activists are passionate enough to believe they can make change happen if they work hard enough to find a solution. While many people might become stalled when faced with the question, "How much good can one individual do?", activists believe that one dedicated and persistent person can make a difference for the earth and its animals.
Practice earth and animal activism at home, at work and in your community. Making a difference for the earth and animals can be as easy as posting messages on Facebook and blogs and participating in conversations relevant to your passion. Use your particular talents to bring positive changes for the planet and its animals.
- Write to producers and networks of television programs in which animals are abused or ridiculed.
- Write to thank producers and publishers for animal-friendly messages in print and on television.
- Write letters to companies that conduct animal experiments.
- Write letters to companies that use real wild and exotic animals in their commercials.
- Write letters to the editor on earth and animal issues.
- Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper that allows ads for fur, circuses or rodeos.
- Write and call legislators to ask them to support animal-friendly legislation and thank them for past support.
- Call the sponsors of upcoming entertainment events that use animals and ask them not to sponsor animal entertainment.
- Encourage radio and television talk shows to discuss animal issues.
- Record a pro animal/environment message on your voice mail.
- Include a flyer or fact sheet with every bill you pay.
- Ask your child’s teacher to stop keeping animals in the classroom.
- Ask your child's school to stop requiring students to dissect animals.
- Offer to walk a tethered neighbor dog and provide the dog with food, fresh water and toys.
- Turn your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary.
- Deal with wildlife problems humanely.
- I.D. your companion animals and encourage others to do the same.
- Prepare disaster kits for your companion animals.
- Post flyers and fact sheets on work bulletin boards.
- Donate to organizations that legitimately help animals and the environment. Expose greenwash organizations to coworkers so they can make more informed decisions regarding their donations.
- Encourage coworkers to donate to organizations that do not test on animals.
- Make cruelty-free and environmentally responsible investments.
- Buy cruelty-free and green supplies for your office.
- Use a coffee mug with a pro animal or pro earth message at work.
- Take vegan dishes to office parties.
- Encourage your workplace to implement dog-friendly policies.
- Hold a volunteer work party to write letters, help out at an animal shelter, or make banners or signs for a demonstration.
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
- Donate pro earth and animal books to your local library.
- Setup a library display with a poster, flyers and appropriate books.
- Donate pro earth and animal DVDs to your local video rental store.
- Wear clothes and buttons with earth and animal statements.
- Post and distribute WAF flyers and fact sheets around your town.
- Setup an information table in a busy area of town to distribute flyers and fact sheets.
- Offer to show videos and host seminars.
- Take vegan meals to community functions and share the recipes.
- Show your hairdresser products that aren’t tested on animals.
- Encourage local pet stores to stop selling animals and to work with local animal groups to offer adoptions instead.
- Organize a low cost spay and neuter event in your community.
- Work to get local universities and schools to stop requiring dissection and to add vegan options to their menu.
- Help feral cats in your neighborhood with Trap-Neuter-Return.
- Ask for vegan options at local restaurants and grocery stores.
- Suggest an earth or animal themed book for your next book club meeting.
- Work to engage your place of worship with animal and environmental issues.
- Register to vote.
- Determine which elected officials represent you at local, state and federal levels.
- Encourage local officials to find long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to conflicts with wildlife.
- Attend town meetings to urge officials to support animal and environmental issues.
- Work for the passage of local ordinances in your community.
- Engage kids and teens with humane education activities and lesson plans.
- Learn what animal and environmental legislation is now pending in Congress, and contact your federal and state legislators.
- Organize a demonstration to help the earth and animals - holding posters and passing out flyers.
- Promote earth and animal issues on cable-access television.
- Speak at your club or church about earth and animal issues.
- Host an earth and animal dinner party.
- Teach a college or community education course on earth and animal issues.
- Speak, or sponsor a speaker, at local schools, universities and civic clubs.
- Find a local wildlife rescuer to help stop cruel trapping and killing of animals in your community.
- Find free advertising space in your town for earth and animal issues.
- Organize a litter cleanup in your town.
- Follow World Animal Foundation on social media. Help spread the word about animal issues by sharing our posts, links and photos.
- Include a link to WorldAnimalFoundation.org in your e-mail signature.
- Add a link to WorldAnimalFoundation.org to your website, blog or social networking page.
- Sign online earth and animal petitions.
- Place earth and animal banners on your blog or website.
- Host a fundraising party at home to raise donations for WAF.
- Host a fundraising event in your community to raise donations for WAF.
- Make a personal annual or monthly donation to WAF.
- Donate a percentage of your online sales to WAF.
- Donate a percentage of your business profits to WAF.
- Make a memorial gift in honor of a friend or companion animal.
- Include WAF as a beneficiary in your will.
- Adopt an animal from a local animal shelter or rescue group.
- Purchase eco-friendly and cruelty-free cosmetics, clothing and household products.
- Provide for your animals’ future in case you can’t care for them.
- Wear pro earth and pro animal t-shirts.
- Display a bumper sticker on your car.
- Display earth and animal stickers and magnets on yourself and your stuff.
- Reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet.
- Boycott animal entertainment.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Shop and dine locally.
Go Green: Over 100 Uses For Baking Soda
16 May, 2023
Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, can be used as a natural, non-toxic alternative for many cleaning and bath products. Drastically reduce your consumption, eliminate your use of toxic products, and save a lot of money with simple baking soda solutions.
Using baking soda for bath and beauty needs, cleaning, deodorizing and other eco-friendly uses is easy. For solutions, stir together about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of baking soda with 1 quart of water until dissolved. For pastes, stir together three parts of baking soda with one part water. For sprinkling, simply store baking soda in a jar or bottle with a shaker-type cap.
Baking Soda In The Bath
- Shampoo: Use baking soda as a shampoo, rinse, then use apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.
- Spa Bath: Add baking soda or bath salts to your bath.
- Toothpaste: Dip your wet toothbrush into baking soda to brush your teeth, whiten your teeth and freshen your breath.
- Teeth Whitener: Create a paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Rub paste on your teeth once a week, let sit for five minutes, then rinse.
- Deodorant: Lightly pat baking soda under your arms.
- Mouthwash: Add one teaspoon of baking soda to a small glass of water.
- Exfoliant: Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to use as an exfoliant to gently remove dead skin cells. Rub in a circular motion, then rinse.
- Insect Bites: Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply to skin.
- Clean Combs And Brushes: Remove oil build-up by soaking combs and brushes in a glass of warm water mixed with one teaspoon of baking soda. Rinse and let dry.
- Oral Appliances: Clean retainers and dentures with two teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water.
Body Uses For Baking Soda
- Hand Softener: Mix baking soda with warm water and rub on your hands to clean and soften.
- Rash: Use two tablespoons of baking soda in bathwater to relieve rash.
- Antacid: Use baking soda to relieve heartburn, stomach upset and acid indigestion by drinking half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with half a cup of water.
- Canker Sores: Used as a mouthwash to relieve canker sore pain.
- Windburns: Moisten baking soda with water and apply.
- Feet: Soak your feet in a warm bowl of water with three tablespoons of baking soda.
- Sunburn: Apply a paste of baking soda mixed with water.
- Bee Stings: Create a poultice of baking soda mixed with water.
- Measles And Chicken Pox: Relieve general skin irritations such as measles and chicken pox by adding baking soda to your bath.
- Itchy Skin Relief: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste – then rub it on your skin.
- Splinters: Splinters come out naturally after a few days of soaking in baking soda twice a day.
Health Benefits Of Baking Soda
- Ulcers: Baking soda neutralizes stomach acid and is beneficial for ulcers. Add a pinch of baking soda to your drinking water.
- Cancer Prevention: Eating baking soda can offer nutritional and immune support for people with cancer. Add a little baking soda to your drinking water. Baking soda increases the pH of acidic tumors without affecting the pH balance of healthy blood and tissues. A pH imbalance causes unhealthy organisms to flourish, damaging tissues and organs and compromising immune systems.
- Exercise Enhancer: Mix a pinch of baking soda in your drinking water before workouts. Baking soda absorbs lactic acid in muscles during vigorous workouts, prolonging fatigue and enhancing athletic performance.
- Kidney Function: Low-functioning kidneys have difficulty removing acid from the body. Baking soda buffers acids and maintains balanced pH levels in your body.
Bathroom Cleaning With Baking Soda
- Soft Scrub: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to scrub bathtubs, showers, tiles and sinks – then rinse and wipe dry.
- Vinyl Shower Curtains: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp brush to scrub shower curtains, rinse and allow to dry.
- Toilet Cleaning: Add one cup of baking soda to the toilet and scrub.
- Clogged Drains: Unclog your drain with one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar.
- Laundry Uses For Baking Soda
- Laundry Detergent: Use half to 1 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle to get clothes clean and smelling fresh naturally.
- Laundry Detergent Boost: Add half a cup of baking soda to detergent to get clothes brighter.
- Pre-Soak: For heavy odor and dirt issues, use baking soda as a pre-soak. Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda in warm water. Fill the washer or sink with water and add the dissolved baking soda and clothes to soak overnight before washing.
- Fabric Softner: Add half a cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle to balance pH levels and suspend detergent or mineral deposits in the water that make clothing feel stiff.
- Iron Cleaner: Remove built-up starch and scorch deposits from irons with a mix of baking soda and water, then wipe the plate with white vinegar.
- Cloth Diapers: Add half a cup of baking soda to 8 cups of water to soak cloth diapers.
Kitchen Cleaning With Baking Soda
- Floors: Mix half a cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse clean.
- Microwave: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge or cloth to clean inside of microwaves and remove odors.
- Cookware: Shake baking soda onto pots and pans, add hot water and soak for 15 minutes before washing.
- Oven: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom surface of your oven and spray with water. Allow to sit overnight, then scrub and rinse.
- Cookware Oil And Grease: Add a heaping scoop of baking soda to your regular dish soap to help cut oil and grease.
- Dishwashers: Deodorize and cleanse your dishwasher by adding baking soda to the wash cycle.
- Dishcloths: Sweeten sour dishcloths with baking soda.
- Cutting Boards: Sprinkle baking soda on cutting boards, scrub and rinse.
- Drains: Unclog your sink with one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar.
- Polish Silver: Mix baking soda and water to create a paste and rub onto silver with a clean cloth, then rinse and dry.
- Stainless Steel And Chrome: Rub with a moist cloth and dry baking soda. Rinse and dry.
- Fridge And Freezer: Clean with baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth, then rinse.
- Food And Beverage Containers: Wash food and beverage containers with baking soda and water.
- Melted Plastic Bread Bags: Use baking soda to remove melted plastic from bread bags by dampening a cloth and creating a mild abrasive with baking soda.
- Counters: Clean with baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge.
- Thermos Bottles: Wash out with baking soda and water.
- Coffee Pots: Clean glass or stainless steel coffee pots (but not aluminum) with 3 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with one quart of water.
- Coffee Makers: Run coffee maker through its cycle with a baking soda solution, then rinse.
- Garbage Disposals: Eliminate odors by slowly pour baking soda down the drain while running warm water.
Outdoor Uses For Baking Soda
- Barbecue Grills: Sprinkle baking soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off.
- Garage Floors: Sprinkle baking soda on greasy garage floors. Allow to stand, then scrub and rinse.
- Repel Rain From Windshields: Apply gobs of baking soda to a dampened cloth and wipe windows.
- Patio Furniture: Sprinkle baking soda under chair cushions to freshen patio furniture.
- Weeds: Sprinkle baking soda between the cracks of your walkway to keep weeds away.
- Cars: Mix baking soda with warm water on a soft cloth, brush or sponge to clean off dirt and bugs.
- Garbage Cans: Wash garbage cans with baking soda and water.
- Hands: Remove odors from hands by wetting hands and rubbing them hard with baking soda, then rinse.
Cleaning With Baking Soda
- Furniture: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and rub furniture lightly. Wipe off with a dry cloth.
- Surfaces: Clean and remove stains from marble, formica and plastic surfaces by scouring with a paste of baking soda and water.
- Batteries: Create a baking soda paste and apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion off batteries. Use caution as batteries contain acids. Disconnect battery terminal before cleaning, and to prevent corrosion wipe on petroleum jelly.
- Oil And Grease Stains: Sprinkle baking soda on oil and grease and scrub with a wet brush.
- Crayon Marks On Walls: Add baking soda to a wet cloth to remove crayon marks on walls.
Deodorizing With Baking Soda
- Air Freshener: Add one tablespoon of baking soda to water and a little essential oil.
- Refrigerator: Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
- Rugs And Carpeting. Sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpet, wait 15 minutes or overnight, and vacuum.
- Garbage Cans: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of garbage cans.
- Sports Gear: Sprinkle baking soda into gym, sport and golf bags.
- Closets: Place an open box of baking soda in closets. To ward off moths, add a few drops of lavender oil.
- Toilets Odors: Add one cup of baking soda to the toilet and allow to sit an hour before flushing.
- Stuffed Animals: Clean stuffed toys by sprinkling them with baking soda; brush off after 15 minutes.
- Fireplaces: Reduce soot odor by cleaning the ashes out of your fireplace and placing a bowl of baking soda inside.
- Vacuum Cleaners: By vacuuming baking soda into the vacuum cleaner, you deodorize the vacuum.
- Shoes: Shake baking soda into shoes.
Baking Soda Companion Animals Uses
- Dry Bath: Sprinkle baking soda on dry fur, brush it in then brush it out. Keep away from eyes.
- Wet Bath: Bathe your dog with a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let it soak into fur for a few minutes. Thoroughly rinse, then apply apple cider vinegar to condition fur – 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of warm water – allowing to sit for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then dry. Keep both solutions away from eyes.
- Accidents: Clean up companion animal "accidents" by scrubbing the area with club soda, then allow the area to dry. Sprinkle baking soda on the area and let stand for a while, then vacuum up.
- Teeth And Gums: Brush your companion animal's teeth by dipping a damp, soft brush in baking soda and brushing gently.
- Animal Bedding: Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto pet bedding, allow to sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming.
- Animal Carpet Odors: Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let dry, then vacuum.
- Litter Box Odor: Layer the bottom of the box with baking soda, add litter on top.
- Litter Box Cleaning: Empty old litter and pour in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Let stand for 15 minutes, then scrub, pour out and dry.
- Cage And Crate: Scrub with a solution of baking soda dissolved in warm water. Rinse and dry.
- Dishes: Scrub dog and cat bowls with baking soda and water.
- Toys: Dissolve baking soda in warm water to wash pet toys. Rinse well and dry.
- Blankets And Towels. Add half a cup of baking soda to the wash.
- Skunk Odors: Combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of grease cutting dish detergent. Wash your animal with the solution.
- Bee Stings: Remove stinger from animal if needed, then apply a baking soda paste.
- Nail Bleeding: If you cut your animal's nails too close and draw blood, dip the nail in baking soda and apply pressure.
- Bad Breath: Mix half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray your animal’s mouth regularly.
Food Uses For Baking Soda
- Produce: Scrub produce with baking soda under water to remove pesticides and residue.
- Baking: Baking soda, as its name implies, can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods. It causes dough to rise.
- Beans And Bloating. Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in water while soaking dry beans to reduce bloating.
- Tea: Add a pinch of baking soda to a gallon of freshly brewed tea to remove bitterness and cloudiness.
- Lunch Boxes: Place a spill-proof box of baking soda in a lunch box between uses to absorb odors.
- Ants: Mix equal parts baking soda and salt and sprinkle in areas where ants are entering your home.
Babies And Kids Uses For Baking Soda
- Baby Bottles: Clean baby bottles with baking soda and hot water.
- Cloth Diapers: Dissolve half a cup of baking soda in two quarts of warm water and soak diapers thoroughly before washing.
- Diaper Rash: Add two tablespoons of baking soda to your baby's bath water to help relieve diaper rash.
- Play Clay: Combine 1 1/4 cups of water, two cups of baking soda and one cup of cornstarch.
- Baby Spit Ups: Moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled clothing.
- Baby Pools: Add baking soda to the bottom of a mildewed baby pool, then hose it down.
More Baking Soda Uses
- Cut Flowers: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a vase of flowers to expand their life.
- Fill Wall Holes. Mix baking soda with white toothpaste to fill holes in a plastered wall.
- Small Fires: Toss baking soda at the base of the fire to help put a fire out.
- Ashtrays: Remove odors from ashtrays with baking soda and water. Sprinkle dry baking soda in ashtrays to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.
- Canvas Bags: Use dry baking soda with a brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
Eat Vegetables To Save The Earth & Animals
15 May, 2023
A plant-based diet is the most dramatic lifestyle change you can make to help save the planet and its animals. It also provides a wealth of health benefits. People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
- Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, and/or cholesterol.)
- Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
- Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
- Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
- Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
- Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
Tips To Help You Eat Vegetables
- Buy fresh vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking.
- Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of salad greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes. Buy packages of veggies such as baby carrots or celery sticks for quick snacks.
- Use a microwave to quickly “zap” vegetables. White or sweet potatoes can be baked quickly this way.
- Vary your veggie choices to keep meals interesting.
- Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.
For The Best Nutritional Value
- Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
- Sauces or seasonings can add calories, saturated fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare the calories and % Daily Value for saturated fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.
- Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake. Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.
- Buy canned vegetables labeled "reduced sodium," "low sodium," or "no salt added." If you want to add a little salt it will likely be less than the amount in the regular canned product.
- Plan meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup.
- Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.
- Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
- Shred carrots or zucchini into casseroles, quick breads, and muffins.
- Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce.
- Order a vegan pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.
- Use pureed, cooked vegetables such as potatoes to thicken soups and gravies. These add flavor, nutrients, and texture.
- Grill vegetable kabobs. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
Make Vegetables More Appealing
- Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat, low-sugar salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower.
- Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in-season vegetables for variety through the year.
- Include beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes and salads.
- Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices.
- Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider red or green pepper strips, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.
Vegetable Tips For Children
- Set a good example for children by eating vegetables with meals and as snacks.
- Let children decide on the dinner vegetables or what goes into salads.
- Depending on their age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up vegetables.
- Allow children to pick a new vegetable to try while shopping.
- Use cut-up vegetables as part of afternoon snacks.
- Children often prefer foods served separately. So, rather than mixed vegetables try serving two vegetables separately.
Keep It Safe
- Rinse vegetables before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel after rinsing.
- Buy organic vegetables whenever possible.
Organize A Protest
14 May, 2023
When you just can't stay silent on a particular earth and animal issue, expressing your views through civil protest is a positive way to make a difference. Gathering with other people to collectively speak out against animal and environmental wrongdoing is a fundamental right and a powerful way to bring about change.
ORGANIZING A PROTEST
Protests can function as a way to spread awareness about an issue or put pressure on those in power to make a specific change. What do you hope to accomplish with your protest? Figure out who the audience of your protest will be and plan your strategy from there. You're more likely to get the outcome you want if you take time to set a goal for achieving it. For example, let's say you want to stage a protest against a local factory farm as a way to spread awareness about how animals are treated there so people will stop buying their products. In this case your audience is the public. You may have a more specific goal, like trying to stop bully breed legislation in your town. In this case the aim of the protest might be to put pressure on the local government. In some cases your goal might be quite large in scale and can be used as a tool to show political leaders that their constituents want a change in policy.
CHOOSE A LOCATION
Find a location that is practical, symbolic or convenient - or all three. The location you choose should be the one that helps you reach your target audience so that the protest is as effective as possible. This could be the sidewalk in front of a business, a public street corner, the courthouse, the capitol building, or a park that has historically been used for protests in your city. Just remember that in order for the protest to be legal, the site you choose must be public.
CHOOSE A TIME
Protest at a time when you'll be able to gather the largest crowd and have the greatest impact on your audience. For example, if you're protesting a certain company's business practices you'll want to stage the protest when the CEO is present, which will probably be during business hours. On the other hand, if the goal of your protest is to gather as many people as possible, you might want to protest on a weekend when more people will be available to come.
APPLY FOR PERMITS
Get the necessary permits. Check with your city officials about whether you need to get a permit to protest in the location you choose. Each city has its own laws regarding how many people can protest and where they can gather. Do your homework and get the permits you need so that your protest won't get disbanded before it can gain any traction. In some cases the permit will set limits on how many people can gather, how much noise you can make, and where protesters can move about. If you disagree with the terms, you can contact an attorney to help you try to get them altered. Some cities don't require protest permits. If you're expecting a large crowd to come to the protest, you should alert the police department anyway. If they know what to expect they can help with crowd control and there will be less chance of conflict occurring.
PLAN AN AGENDA
Plan the sequence of events. What actions will best help you achieve your goal? It's important to have an agenda in mind for what will happen once everyone is gathered for the protest. Do some research on other effective protests and come up with a game plan that will help you target your goal. Here are a few ideas:
- Have community leaders introduce the protest and make speeches on the issue at hand.
- Have an emcee who can lead protest chants and songs, and have bands play protest music.
- Plan a march from one location to another. This is a classic form of protesting that helps bring widespread attention to a cause.
- Implement performance art to help get your point across.
- Screen an informative video or documentary on the subject you're protesting.
- Consider having a sit-in or sleep-in occupying a space until your demands are met.
PUBLICIZE THE EVENT
Take this important step to make sure your protest gets as much attention as possible. The aim isn't just to encourage people to show up for the protest, but to capture that attention of the media, too. Pull out all the stops to spread the word starting a few weeks before the protest. Post details about the protest on all your social media channels. Make flyers about the protest and put them up around town. Target college campuses and other places where people likely to be interested in protesting your issue congregate. Call local newspapers and radio stations and ask them to publish information about the protest and promote it on the air.
PREPARE TO PROTEST
Make posters, flyers, visual aids or pamphlets to help spread your message and communicate your concerns to others. During the protest, you can give out information on what you're protesting to interested parties. You might want to put the name of the group with which you're affiliated on your protest materials. That way, people who are new to the issue will know who to contact to find out more. Consider coming up with a catchy slogan for the materials, something people can easily memorize and communicate to others.
Dress appropriately for the occasion. Dress for comfort - you might be standing or walking for several hours. Wear comfortable shoes.
Bring emergency supplies. Bring a backpack with a few supplies you might need. Bottled water and food are good to have on hand if the protest is going to last a long time. In addition to these staples, pack a copy of the protest permit, your identification card and a first aid kit.
Understand that protests are unpredictable. No matter what you're protesting, there will be people who strongly disagree with your point of view. You may even encounter a separate group of protesters protesting the opposite side of the issue. At larger protests, police may be present to control the crowd and make sure things don't get too out of hand. With all these different forces butting heads, be prepared for unpredictable things to happen.
Know how to interact with police. Make sure you know your rights as a protester and are familiar with how to deal with police in case you get stopped by an officer. If you stick to the terms outlined in the protest permit, you shouldn't encounter problems, but you never know what could happen. Do your best to follow the instructions given by the police. If you believe your free speech rights are being threatened, call an attorney. If a police officer asks if he or she can search you, you have the right to decline until a warrant is presented.
Decide how far you want to go. If you're considering civil disobedience as part of your protest strategy, think carefully before taking action. Civil disobedience can be a courageous, nonviolent strategy for driving a point home, but it comes with serious consequences, like getting arrested. It's important to know what you're getting into before you choose to break the law in the name of your cause.
DURING THE PROTEST
Know your facts. Be prepared to answer questions from passers-by. You'll look very silly if you can't answer questions about your own protest. Make sure everything you say is the complete truth. You shouldn't have to skew the truth for what you're protesting.
Don't force your cause. Realize that not everyone is interested in what you are protesting. Don't force people to listen if you are having a quiet, informative protest. People don't listen if they don't want to listen. Basically, if a person says "no", say "thank you anyways". Avoid lengthy debates, discussions, and arguments during your protest. These can escalate into conflict, and also tend to distract you away from the focus of your protest. Instead, offer visitors a pamphlet and perhaps a way to contact you for follow-up discussion.
Be respectful at all times. A protest can be a very effective way to exercise free speech, make your voice heard and bring about change. However, being disrespectful to those against whom you're protesting can undermine your group's reputation and hurt the cause. Your arguments won't be taken as seriously if disrespectful actions are taken. Avoid yelling insults at people who disagree with you, vandalizing public or private property and resorting to violence of any kind.
AFTER THE PROTEST
Gauge the effectiveness of your protest. When all is said and done, reflect back on the protest and decide what worked and what didn't. Think about whether you reached your goal, and whether a different approach would be more effective the next time around. No matter what, be proud that you stayed true to your beliefs and exercised your right to be heard. Even if your protest didn't bring about the change you want to see, speaking up about your cause is a step in the right direction. It's unlikely that a single protest is going to change the circumstances. You'll probably need to have follow-up protests and will also need to approach the issue from other angles as well. You could start a letter-writing campaign, lead a boycott, write a blog to voice your opinions, and take other actions to spread awareness and accomplish your goals. Don't give up!
Stop Rattlesnake Roundups
13 May, 2023
Rattlesnake roundups take place from January through July in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Georgia. Roundups started as a misguided attempt to rid areas of rattlesnakes, but they have evolved into commercial events that promote animal cruelty and environmentally damaging behavior. Thousands of rattlesnakes are captured and slaughtered, or mistreated in competitive events that violate the basic principles of wildlife management and humane treatment of animals.
No other wild animal in the United States is as extensively exploited and traded without regulation or oversight as the rattlesnake. Several species could become extinct just as we are beginning to understand their ecological importance. Rattlesnakes are important to their ecosystems. They prey on rodents, keeping the populations naturally in check so that the rodents do not cause crop damage or spread disease. Rattlesnakes are also important prey for raptors and other animals. Four species commonly found in roundups are the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the western diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, and the western or prairie rattlesnake.
The timber rattlesnake is listed as endangered or threatened in several states, but no federal or international laws currently protect this species. The western diamondback rattlesnake, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and the western or prairie rattlesnake are not protected anywhere in their ranges, nor are they protected by any federal or international laws. We must act now to save remaining rattlesnake populations and gather the knowledge necessary for developing long-term conservation strategies.
Most rattlesnakes in roundups are driven out of their dens with gasoline, then stored without water or food in unhygienic conditions, and crammed tightly into containers for transport to and display at roundup events. Many snakes arrive at these events starved, dehydrated, or crushed to death. Those who survive may be used in public demonstrations and daredevil acts. The rattlesnakes are eventually decapitated, a cruel and inefficient method of slaughter for reptiles.
Rattlesnake collection methods are highly destructive to the habitats of rattlesnakes and other burrow dwellers such as gopher tortoises, indigo snakes, box turtles, coachwhip snakes, pine snakes, southern toads, and gopher frogs, along with burrowing owls, raccoons, opossums, and at least 32 species of invertebrates. The most popular collection method is to spray gasoline or other toxic chemicals into rattlesnake dens and resting places, which can render a burrow uninhabitable for years. Once introduced into the soil, gasoline could contaminate groundwater—the primary water source for many rural communities—thus poisoning wildlife, livestock and humans.
Roundups pose other threats to human health, too. Contrary to claims of organizers, roundups increase the number of snake-bite incidents in the host communities. This is due to collection activities and competitive events that bring humans with little or no experience into direct contact with rattlesnakes. The bites that result must be treated with antivenin, thereby depleting the local supply of antivenin available to treat bites that are genuinely accidental and unavoidable.
Another hazard is the snake meat sold at roundups for human consumption. Rattlesnakes at roundups are typically killed under unhygienic conditions, and their meat, often improperly prepared, may be contaminated with Salmonella or other bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the handling of live snakes can also spread Salmonella. The CDC recommends that people most at risk—including children under five and people with weakened immune systems—avoid all contact with snakes and any items they’ve touched, including clothing. For others, the CDC advises that contact with reptiles in public settings should be limited to designated animal contact areas where there are adequate hand-washing facilities and no food or drink is allowed. It instructs all individuals to wash their hands thoroughly after touching a snake, though it warns that hand washing alone may not be enough to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Unfortunately, at most rattlesnake roundups, proper hand washing facilities are sparse, even though the snakes are sometimes handled by small children.
Organizers often attempt to legitimize roundups by claiming that they provide a supply of venom for antivenin, but their venom collection methods may not meet the strict guidelines for antivenin production required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rather than add to the nation's supply of antivenin, roundups deplete it by encouraging behavior that leads to snake bites.
Many rattlesnake handlers and roundup organizers attempt to influence public perceptions about snakes with negative misinformation such as false bite statistics. Rattlesnake handlers typically promote their acts as "safety talks" or other sorts of public education. What the public actually sees, however, are demonstrations of extremely unsafe practices, which audience members may try later on their own. Permanent disfigurement or even death could result.
Roundups are a liability to the communities and corporations that sponsor them, as well as to the nonprofit organizations that benefit from them. Hosting communities, sponsoring corporations, and charities that accept proceeds from roundups unwittingly lend these cruel and ecologically unsound events undue credibility. Communities place themselves at financial risk because they may have to cover the cost of medical care for uninsured visitors who may be bitten; they may also face lawsuits or increased criminal activity as unintended outcomes of hosting roundups.
6 May, 2023
Increasingly today, corporations and apartment complex owners are planting lawns only in the areas around their buildings. They are leaving the outer areas of their property woodsy and natural, with tall grasses, wildflowers, evergreens, hedgerows, and bushes to provide cover and homes to wildlife. Homeowners can follow these examples on a smaller scale within their own yards.
Plant a mix of shrubs, trees, and flowers that will provide nuts, berries, seeds, and nectar to creatures throughout the year, and that will attract birds, nature's best insect controllers. Foster hollies, for instance, provide winter berries, for food, winter foliage for cover, and places to raise young. A butterfly bush (buddleia davidji) is irresistible to butterflies. Your local garden supply company is a good source of information.
Rocks and leaf and brush piles also provide cover and places to raise young.
A pond with shallow ends for birds makes a good water supply. You might want to locate it so you can watch the wildlife activity from a window throughout the year.
A window-box planter containing marigolds, zinnias, or red salvia can attract hummingbirds and butterflies to a sunny window. Hummingbirds are attracted to almost anything red.
DEAD WOOD FOR NEW LIFE
For birds and small mammals, snags (dead trees) and stumps are ecological gold. More than 150 species of creatures nest in them and feed on their insect tenants. Included are nuthatches, woodpeckers, squirrels, raccoons, bluebirds, owls, chickadees, wood ducks, and wrens.
Saving snags and stumps is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit and solving the dilemma of pesticide resistance.
Top off--don't chop down--snags 12 inches or more in diameter and away from the house. The thicker the better. Remember to check for nests and dens first. Big dead logs and underbrush away from the house are also desirable. Mosquitoes will disappear from your yard as elegant, snag-nesting swallows, swifts, and purple martins sweep through the air.
Huge great-granddaddy den trees can be homes for peregrine falcons, barn owls, and ivory-billed woodpeckers.
6 May, 2023
Turn thermostats down to 68 degrees or below - reduce settings to 55 degrees before going to sleep or when away for the day (for each 1 degree, you'll save up to 5% on your heating costs). Turn off non-essential lights and appliances. Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens during peak demand hours from 5 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. Buy Energy Star appliances, products and lights.
Turn thermostats down to 68 degrees or below - reduce settings to 55 degrees at the end of the day (for each 1 degree, you'll save up to 5% on your heating costs). Turn off all unnecessary lights, especially in unused offices and conference rooms and turn down remaining lighting levels where possible. Set computers, monitors, printers, copiers and other business equipment to their energy saving feature, and turn them off at the end of the day. Minimize energy usage during peak demand hours from 5 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. Buy Energy Star appliances, products, and lights.
KIDS & TEACHERS TIPS
Choose an energy monitor for your classroom every week who will make sure that energy is being used properly. Hold a ribbon up to the edges of windows and doors - if it blows, you've found a leak. When you leave the room, turn off the light.
HEATING & COOLING TIPS
Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer. Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes. Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional. Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators. Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 1 hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job. During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain. Close any unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house, such as in a corner, and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone. However, do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your house with a heat pump, do not close the vents-closing the vents could harm the heat pump. Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. Look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The national minimums are 78% AFUE and 10 SEER. Look for the ENERGY STAR® labels. ENERGY STAR® is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient appliances and products.
Check your ducts for air leaks. First look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes. If you use duct tape to repair and seal your ducts, look for tape with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo to avoid tape that degrades, cracks, and loses its bond with age. Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder. If both the ducts and the basement walls are uninsulated, consider insulating both. If your basement has been converted to a living area, install both supply and return registers in the basement rooms. Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture buildup. Get a professional to help you insulate and repair all ducts
HEAT PUMP TIPS
Do not set back the heat pump's thermostat manually if it causes the electric resistance heating to come on. This type of heating, which is often used as a backup to the heat pump, is more expensive. Clean or change filters once a month or as needed, and maintain the system according to manufacturer's instructions.
Keep all south-facing glass clean. Make sure that objects do not block the sunlight shining on concrete slab floors or heat-absorbing walls. Consider using insulating curtains to reduce excessive heat loss from large windows at night.
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly-approximately 1 inch-and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50 and 55 degrees F. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the house.
Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use. Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Consider factors such as your climate, building design, and budget when selecting insulation R-value for your home. Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral ceilings and on exterior walls. Ventilation plays a large role in providing moisture control and reducing summer cooling bills. Attic vents can be installed along the entire ceiling cavity to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the attic, helping to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient. Recessed light fixtures can be a major source of heat loss, but you need to be careful how close you place insulation next to a fixture unless it is marked. "I.C."-designed for direct insulation contact. Check your local building codes for recommendations. As specified on the product packaging, follow the product instructions on installation and wear the proper protective gear
First, test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping. Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls. Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic. Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane windows. Storm windows as much as double the R-value of single-pane windows and they can help reduce drafts, water condensation, and frost formation. As a less costly and less permanent alternative, you can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes-24 hours a day! For new construction, reduce exterior wall leaks by either installing house wrap or taping the joints of exterior sheathing.
WATER HEATING TIPS
Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period. Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Insulate your gas or oil hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help. Install nonaerating low-flow faucets and showerheads. Buy a new water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Although most water heaters last 10 to 15 years, it's best to start shopping for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs. Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 115 degrees F provides comfortable hot water for most uses. Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer's advice. If you heat with electricity and live in a warm and sunny climate, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house. Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15 to 25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
COLD-CLIMATE WINDOW TIPS
Install exterior or interior storm windows; storm windows can reduce your heat loss through the windows by 25% to 50%. Storm windows should have weatherstripping at all moveable joints; be made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints. Low-e storm windows save even more energy. Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary. Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing. Close your curtains and shades at night; open them during the day. Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to maximize solar gain.
WARM-CLIMATE WINDOW TIPS
Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day. Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows. Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.
When you're shopping for new windows, look for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label; it means the window's performance is certified. Remember, the lower the U-value, the better the insulation. In colder climates, a U-value of 0.35 or below is recommended. These windows have at least double glazing and low-e coating. In warm climates, where summertime heat gain is the main concern, look for windows with double glazing and spectrally selective coatings that reduce heat gain. Select windows with air leakage ratings of 0.3 cubic feet per minute or less. In temperate climates with both heating and cooling seasons, select windows with both low U-values and low solar heat gain coefficiency (SHGC) to maximize energy benefits. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels.
Trees that lose their leaves in the fall (i.e., deciduous) are the most effective at reducing heating and cooling energy costs. When selectively placed around a house, they provide excellent protection from the summer sun but permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house. The height, growth rate, branch spread, and shape are all factors to consider in choosing a tree. Vines provide shading and cooling. Grown on trellises, vines can shade windows or the whole side of a house. Deflect winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your house; deflect summer winds by planting on the south and west sides of your house.
INDOOR LIGHTING TIPS
Turn off the lights in any room you're not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on. Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets. Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary. Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage, and laundry areas. Consider using 4-watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS
These compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and provide the same lighting. Use CFLs in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger CFLs. When shopping for new light fixtures, consider buying dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts that use pin-based replacement bulbs. For spot lighting, consider CFLs with reflectors. The lamps range in wattage from 13-watt to 32-watt and provide a very directed light using a reflector and lens system. Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight. If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and can produce more light (lumens) than the halogen torchieres.
OUTDOOR LIGHTING TIPS
Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a timer so they will turn off during the day. Turn off decorative outdoor gas lamps; just eight gas lamps burning year round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter. Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold-weather ballast.
Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer's recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature. Scrape, don't rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food. Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded. Don't use the "rinse hold" on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it. Let your dishes air dry; if you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.
Look for a refrigerator with automatic moisture control. Models with this feature have been engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior without the addition of a heater. This is not the same thing as an "anti-sweat" heater. Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume 5% to 10% more energy than models without this feature. Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37 to 40 degrees F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0 degrees F. To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours. Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch. Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing. Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder. Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.
Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it never reaches the faucet. If you need to purchase a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves gas-because a pilot light is not burning continuously. In gas appliances, look for blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. Consult your manufacturer or your local utility. Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy. Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and it uses less energy. Match the size of the pan to the heating element. If you cook with electricity, turn the stovetop burners off several minutes before the allotted cooking time. The heating element will stay hot long enough to finish the cooking without using more electricity. The same principle applies to oven cooking. Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven. Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They can save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.
Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents when ever possible. Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting. Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes. Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it. Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer. Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels.
Plant Only Once Veggies
5 May, 2023
Many gardeners grow perennial plants and flowers, enjoying their ornamental beauty year after year. But did you know there are a variety of perennial vegetables that can also be planted once and enjoyed for years to come? They are also among the healthiest veggies and are an inexpensive, one-time purchase.
Easy-to-grow perennial vegetables offer a healthy food source that comes back year after year. Here are 10 perennial veggies:
- Scarlet Runner Beans: Scarlet runner beans are grown as ornamentals and are also edible as green beans and dried beans. The flowers are edible too, when cooked.
- Sea Kale: Sea Kale is ornamental and the shoots, young leaves and flowers are edible.
- Sorrel: Sorrel is an herb with tart, lemon-flavored leaves used in salads, soups, and sauces.
- Jerusalem Artichoke: Jerusalem artichoke underground tubers can be eaten raw or cooked like potatoes.
- Groundnut: Groundnut is a 6-foot vine with high-protein tubers that taste like nuttyflavored potatoes.
- Bunching or Egyptian Onions: These onions continue to produce new onions even after being harvested.
- Ostrich Fern: Ostrich ferns are ornamental and delicious.
- Ramps or Wild Leeks: Ramps are an onion with edible leaves and bulbs.
- Daylilies: Daylilies are primarily grown as ornamentals, and are common in the wild, but the flowers are also delicious in salads or battered and fried.
- Good King Henry: Good King Henry is a European spinach with tasty shoots, leaves and flowers.
Grow Your Own Medicinal Plants
4 May, 2023
Plants have been the main source of substances for pharmaceutical use for millennia. The majority of medicines have a natural origin before they are fortified with synthetic substances by the pharmaceutical industry. You can avoid the intermediary process and produce your own pharmaceutical plants in your own backyard. Fresh herbs are cheap, can be grown easily, can help with a wide array of symptoms, and cause relatively fewer adverse effects than drugs. Avoid running to your pharmacist whenever you have a minor ailment; go to your garden instead. Populate your pharmaceutical garden with the following potent medicinal plants.
Basil may be a common element of Italian food, but it also has great medicinal properties. This fantastic herb can help transform both you and your garden. It is very rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for good vision, cell development, and immune health. Basil oil is rich in a compound named eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can comfort painful bones and joints just like over-the-counter ibuprofen. What’s more, it exhibits potent antibacterial properties and is effective even against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family, which explains its beautiful aroma. It has been traditionally used for hundreds of years as a sleeping and anti-anxiety remedy, to facilitate digestion, and to treat cold sores and lesions. It has been scientifically proven that lemon balm helps fight herpes lesions around the lips and the genitals. Eugenol, which is also present in lemon balm, has antibacterial properties and is also used in dentistry, as a topical agent for cavities. You can use dried leaves of lemon balm to decorate your salads, or to make hot tea.
Marigolds are yellow and orange flowers that are common in gardens and backyards. They are rich in antioxidant substances that scavenge free radicals, extremely reactive particles that can damage cells and genetic material and cause cancer. Research has shown that lutein, a substance with antioxidant properties that is present in marigold extract, has tumor-fighting properties. What’s more, marigolds fight inflammation, making them useful in the treatment of burns, scrapes, and irritated skin. Finally, they are useful in fighting pests, as insects are paralyzed within seconds after consuming it.
Sage is a native Mediterranean plant that can grow anywhere in the world, notorious for its multi-color appearance, with its purple, blue, pink and white flowers and leaves. With strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, sage strengthens the immune system and is particularly helpful against fungal infections. It is also traditionally known as a treatment for indigestion, mental issues, and muscular spasms. Moreover, it has been successfully used to treat hot flashes and menstrual cramps in women. There is some evidence that sage extract may positively affect cognition, making it a good candidate for an Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Finally, the plant itself adds a beautiful touch to any garden and can also be used as a potent additive to any cuisine.
Comfrey, as its name suggest, is comforting in numerous ways. Its drooping flowers and bristly hairs are its distinctive characteristic. It was widely used in Ancient Greece to treat open wounds and broken bones, a use that continues to this day. These claims have been vindicated by science. The main ingredient of this herb is allantoin, a compound with moisturizing properties – hence its use in several products for the skin. It has been scientifically proven that comfrey is useful against ulcers, dermatitis, and swollen ankles. However, caution should be exercised, as comfrey also contains minute concentrations of alkaloids that have cancer-causing properties. This is why it is often recommended only to use comfrey externally.
Thyme is a member of Thymus, a genus indigenous to Asia and Europe. It has been typically used as a decoration element, while bees make honey from its pollen. Thyme exhibits strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Research has shown that thyme can be valuable in antimicrobial resistance, and is more effective in treating acne than many prescription topical preparations. It is also used to ease gastrointestinal and respiratory issues, arthritis and sore throat. In general, it is a great addition to your garden, and can also be used as a flavor-enhancing herb in your kitchen.
Echinacea is a famous herb, known for its use by Native Americans as a means of treating wounds and fighting off infections. Because it is resilient to drought, Echinacea can be cultivated very easily. During mid-summer, it blossoms into a gorgeous coneflower. Today it is widely used to shorten the course of common colds and infections of the sinuses. Also, many herbalists use it to treat bee stings, migraines, and urinary tract infections. During the summer, you can make Echinacea ice tea.
Nettle has been used for centuries to treat gout, arthritis, insect bites, allergies and infections of the urinary system. What’s more, nettle has a great taste and valuable cleansing properties with many uses in the kitchen. You can recognize it by its stinging hairs. Although they sting anything they touch, they surprisingly sooth already irritated skin.
Greek mythology holds Achilles, the legendary warrior king, used yarrow for the treatment of open battle wounds. Yarrow is easy to cultivate and has an effect on almost every bodily function, with the liver, spleen, kidneys and bladder among others. Exhibiting potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, this panacea has a marvelous effect on a wealth of conditions, ranging from open wounds to indigestion. It has been successfully used to treat fever, rashes, and hypertension. In addition, its alkaloids can soothe menstruation pain as well. Collect yarrow from your garden to treat minor ailments and also fortify your soups, salads, and stir-fries.
Chinese yam is a vine with great fame surrounding its medicinal properties. It has been used in the past for the treatment of diarrhea and sore throat, and also for controlling blood glucose and to counter weight gain. It has potent stomach and spleen-strengthening properties. Rich in vitamin B6, it shields against heart disease by removing homocysteine from circulation, an amino-acid that can harm the walls of veins and arteries. You can even eat this cinnamon-scented herb raw.
Gardens can be so much more than a pleasing sight; they can provide food, pharmaceutical herbs, and life. If you grow your own pharmaceutical herbs, you can save money and improve your well-being.
Stop Bear Baiting
3 May, 2023
Hiding in a tree or behind a blind, hunters lie in wait. They are waiting for the bears to take the bait—usually a large pile of food or a 55-gallon drum stuffed with food. Bears can feed at this free trough for days before taking a bullet, while others, deemed unworthy of hanging in someone's trophy room, can dine for the entire bear-hunting season.
Having learned to find food where humans have been, they may become "problem bears" who wander into back yards and upend garbage cans looking for an easy meal.
Hunters claim that the fundamental principle of hunting is "fair chase," but there is nothing fair about bear baiting. In fact, there is not even a chase. An animal is lured to an area and shot while she is eating. The federal government bans the baiting of migratory birds because it's unfair. Most states ban the baiting of deer and elk and other big game for the same reason. There's no logical reason to allow such an unfair practice to persist in bear hunting.
The hunters typically take the head and hide as trophies and, in rare instances, even pack out the meat, which usually turns out to be less food than they had brought in with them.
The U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service all publish materials telling the public not to feed bears. The Forest Service, for instance, puts out materials that warn "A fed bear is a dead bear," "Do Not Feed Bears!" and "Bears Are Dangerous!"
Bear baiting is banned in some states that allow bear hunting.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact your state wildlife agency. If bear baiting is legal in your state, express your outrage to state officials and to your governor.
Write letters to the editor of newspapers in your state and contact the media to investigate.
Submit an Op-Ed to your local newspaper.
Attend state wildlife agency meetings and demand that steps be taken to prohibit bear baiting.
Contact your state legislators and ask them to introduce legislation to ban this practice.
End Internet Hunting
2 May, 2023
Internet hunting—also called remote controlled hunting—utilizes Internet technology to allow a computer user to hunt large game and exotic animals from their own home. The controversial practice originated in San Antonio, Texas, with the launching of the website Live-Shot.com, which allowed hunters to shoot animals with the click of a mouse for a fee. Computer users aimed and fired a weapon that was mounted on a mechanized tripod at a remote location—usually a game ranch where exotic animals were kept penned and shot at close range.
The customer signed up through the website and paid a user fee and deposit for the animal he or she wished to kill. The animal was lured to a feeding station within range of the mounted rifle. At one facility, the animals were fed at the same time and place each day by people to whom they had become accustomed. When the animal approached the appointed place at the appointed time, the desktop hunter used the computer mouse to line up the crosshairs and fire the rifle. A single click of the mouse shot the animal. Trophy mounts were prepared at the ranch and shipped to the customer.
An Internet hunting session usually cost more than $1,500. The final cost depended on the species and size of the animal killed and the cost of mounting the trophy.
This practice bared no resemblance to traditional hunting. Even pro-hunting groups denounced Internet hunting because it violated the ideals of a "fair chase." Kelly Hobbs of the National Rifle Association stated, "The NRA has always maintained that fair chase, being in the field with your firearm or bow, is an important element of hunting tradition. Sitting at your desk in front of your computer, clicking at a mouse, has nothing to do with hunting." Even Safari Club International, a group dedicated to hunting large and exotic trophy animals, agreed that Internet hunting "...doesn't meet any fair chase criteria."
John Lockwood, the founder of Live-Shot.com, claimed the operation was intended to provide disabled individuals with the opportunity to hunt, but the Texas legislature did not buy it and promptly outlawed Internet hunting in state. The website was removed.
Internet hunting has now been banned in 40 states. This proactive measure has so far curbed the practice, but the interstate and international nature of the worldwide Web necessitates federal legislation. Laws in the states where it is still permitted are also needed to put a permanent end to the travesty of Internet hunting.
Glue Traps Are Inhumane
1 May, 2023
Glue traps are often used to catch mice, rats, sparrows and other small birds, and is thought by some to be a more humane method of catching small animals that are seen as pests. Glue traps, however, are an extremely cruel method of catching animals. If people understood the degree of cruelty associated with the use of glue traps, they would want no part of them.
A 1983 test that evaluated the effectiveness of glue traps found that trapped mice struggling to free themselves would pull out their own hair, exposing bare, raw areas of skin. The mice broke or even bit off their own legs, and the glue caused their eyes to become badly irritated and scarred. After three to five hours in the glue traps, the mice defecated and urinated heavily because of their severe stress and fear, and quickly became covered with their own excrement. Animals whose faces become stuck in the glue slowly suffocate, and all trapped animals are subject to starvation and dehydration. It takes anywhere from three to five days for the mouse to finally die. This is nothing less than torture.
If traps are needed to remove mice or rats, humane box-type traps are available from humane societies and hardware stores. These traps are a box-like plastic or cage-like metal with a spring-release trap door at one end that closes behind the animal once he or she enters the trap. The trap can then be taken outdoors where the animal can be released. Live, humane rodent traps are widely available, and have the added benefit of being reusable, while glue traps are not. The labor involved in using these is comparable to glue traps, as someone will always have to pick up the trap and discard it, or in the case of a humane trap, release the mouse outdoors.
You can then take measures to prevent mice from re-entering the building, as they surely will over time. Patch all holes larger than 1/4" in diameter, seal cracks in the walls and floor, and close gaps around plumbing, doors, windows. This should help to prevent the need to deal with the problem of removing mice again. If you need to do so in the future, you will have the humane traps at your disposal.
It is important to remember that though small and removed from our day-to-day world, mice and other small animals are mammals, with nervous systems and perceptions of pain that are similar to humans. There is no evidence that mice suffer any less than we do.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Use only humane traps. Seal all holes in your home to prevent infestation. Educate others on the issue and ask local retailers to carry humane traps and not glue traps.
12 Steps To Become An Animal Advocate
1 May, 2023
An animal advocate is one who fights for animals to have the right to exist without the fear of being mistreated, exploited or exterminated. The welfare of animals is foremost in the mind of a genuine animal activist. Activists work to ensure that animals receive proper care, treatment and respect, and endeavor to create awareness among the public about animal exploitation and abuse issues. Animal advocates can be individuals, volunteers of an organization, or paid employees of an organization.
1. Determine Your Strengths
A good way to become an animal activist is to make a list of your strengths. Everyone is endowed with some skills; it makes sense to chose those skills that are conducive to animal rights activism. Your personal strengths can be used to make a big impact for animals.
2. Choose Your Cause
Find out as much as you can about animals and the various issues affecting them. This could include habitat destruction, deforestation, animal agriculture, urban development, illegal trafficking, neglect and various forms of animal exploitation and abuse. It is advisable to choose just one or two areas to focus on. Trying to pursue too many causes can prove diversionary and quickly burn you out.
3. Know Your Subject
Your ability to convince people is greatly affected by the amount of knowledge you possess about the subject. Watching documentaries, searching the web, reading books, and perusing articles will help you gain knowledge on your chosen issues. It also helps to compile a data bank which can lend strength to your arguments when you present facts to potential enthusiasts or donors.
4. Get Connected
Individual effort is indeed a good way to advocate animal protection and preservation. But activism is more effective when you connect with other people who also feel passionately about the subject. Meet-ups with like-minded people in your locality, or attending workshops or seminars, are productive ways to stay connected with fellow activists and potential activists. Join online groups associated with your cause.
To make headway in animal advocacy, nothing is more constructive than volunteer work. Take part in activities of organizations that espouse similar causes as yours. Getting in touch with local chapters of humane societies, SPCAs, or wildlife rehabilitation centers is a good place to start.
6. Plant A Seed
To circulate your passion for animal advocacy go on-line. The web offers instant communication to large numbers of people - not just locally, but worldwide. Construct a blog or a website, or create social media pages. Make people feel your passion for the subject. Create well-written articles on sensitive issues, or post recent news topics on the subject. This will create awareness among those who may not have been previously aware of the issue.
Most of the people you speak to about animal issues are clear about what they feel. Listen to their viewpoint and find common ground. Determine what your target audience feels about the subject and offer a little additional information to make them think more deeply about the subject.
8. Power Of The Pen
Letter and email writing can be powerful tools in promoting your cause. Write to authourities and companies at local and national levels about animal issues. Many of the addresses of such agencies, institutions and corporations can be found on the web. You can also write letters to the editor(s) of your local newspaper(s).
9. Raise Funds
Organize fund-raising activities for your cause. Dinner events, bake sales and marathons can attract hundreds of participants. Proceeds from such activities can be used for your own group, or can be donated to organizations that support your goals.
10. Be Prepared
Make sure to carry brochures, pamphlets or business cards with you wherever you go. There are numerous opportunities throughout the day to distribute educational and promotional materials that draw attention to your cause.
11. Get Noticed, Get Vocal
Getting visible is the name of the game. Catchy animal photographs and posters displayed at local events will draw people to your table or booth. Circulate literature about your activities via brochures and business cards carrying URLs of your website, blog or social media page. Arrange for lecture appointments at schools, colleges and universities. Make your presence known to local authorities and regulators. Post messages and videos on your site and social media outlets to gain wider dissemination of information on the issues you stand for.
12. Practice, Practice, Practice
Animal advocacy is like any other skill: the more you practice, the better you’ll become. Hone your skills.