NGO Spotlight-Let Kids Be Kids

Speak for those without a voice!

Along with “advocating for those that are sick, homeless, displaced or looking for assistance with making their lives slightly better” Let Kids Be Kids uses their voice to support animals who cannot speak. Michael Barrett Miller, Co-Founder of Let Kids Be Kids writes about a cause he is passionate about!

Support “Endangered Species” across the globe! 

Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. financially supports, volunteers, and advocates to protect endangered and threatened species across the globe. We were very involved with the passage of Washington State Initiative 1401, which passed with a greater than 70% margin in every county. It is now a crime in Washington to sell or trade elephant ivory, shark fins, parts of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, sharks, rays, and pangolins.

Our involvement with organizations like the Woodland Park Zoo, Audubon, Earthwatch, Save the Elephants, and others in the United States, Australia, and various countries around the world allow us to advocate for animal protection and animal rights at different venues. We stress conservation, preservation, and education in an attempt to build empathy for our fellow creatures, who are often in dire situations. Depending on the geographical location, the Gray Wolf and Arctic Fox are considered threatened or endangered. The Lowland Gorilla is severely endangered with the realistic potential of ceasing to exist in the wild.

screenshot-2017-01-24-19-00-20Another way we promote empathy for endangered species is through the photographs and videos that we distribute on many social media sites, articles, and blog posts. By June I will have completed a collection of photographs that will be included in a book entitled “Friends.” This will be our fourth book on the work of Let Kids Be Kids, Inc., “Advocacy for those Seeking a Voice” as described on our website.

We are extremely thankful for the wonderful work many people do to ensure these amazing animals are allowed to continue to share the planet with us.

Support Let Kids Be Kids! 

NGO Spotlight: Osa Conservation

 

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Have you ever been to Costa Rica? You might know this tiny country in Central America by its breathtaking forests and its abundant and varied wildlife. In 2015, these natural wonders attracted over 2.6 million tourists! However, Costa Rica will not continue to be the beautiful attraction that it is today without conscious, driven organizations like Osa Conservation, who are striving to protect these delicate ecosystems.

Founded in 2003, Osa Conservation aims to conserve and restore the biological diversity of the Osa Peninsula. Located in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, this location has been deemed by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth.” In this small area of land, there are various species of birds, mammals, plants, trees and insects, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Osa Conservation’s goal is not only to protect such diversity but also those who directly benefit from this ecosystem. For example, the people in the area are dependent upon clean air, drinking water, food, jobs, cultural resources, and climate to survive. If any part of the peninsula were to disappear, this could lead to disaster for local inhabitants.

Here are three volunteer opportunities on our site that can help Osa Conservation reach their goals!

  1. Volunteer to help restore the forest ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula – participate in reforestation efforts from planting seeds to analyzing success rates
  2. Protect Costa Rican sea turtles – patrolling the beaches and moving vulnerable nests to Osa Conservation’s hatchery drastically increases the survival rate of this vulnerable species
  3. Help research jaguars and other big cats  – by studying these important animals, Osa Conservation is better able to protect their homes now and in the future.

 

Laugh 'Til You're Green

By Cheryl Mahoney

 

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I love it when I find a site with cool suggestions or resources for how to help a good cause, and I love it even more when I find one that will make me laugh while educating me.  Even better if it’s a site focusing on environmental issues, a cause I’m especially interested in.

 

All that being said, I’m sure you can imagine how much I like DoTheGreenThing.  First – catchy name.  Second – how often do you find a group using weird tentacly monsters to promote a green lifestyle?  (You know that now you have to go to the site to see the tentacly monsters.)

DoTheGreenThing offers seven ways to reduce your carbon impact, things like unplugging appliances, refusing to purchase the latest, unnecessary items, and being “all-consuming” with what you have.  I’ll admit, most of these ideas I’ve seen before, but they’re presented here in a dynamic, exciting way.  Really.  You actually can be dynamic while talking about unplugging a lamp!  DoTheGreenThing has fun videos about each idea.  These don’t feel like public service announcements–they’re more like mini-movies, and they’re funny movies too.  My favorite is “Ninjin – The Way of the Vegetable Assassin” which is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s about someone assassinating vegetables–but only if they’re being eaten out of season.

You can also join and share a story about doing the green thing, adding your story to the 46,500 stories from 200 countries that have been shared.  That’s an impressive amount of green.

Check out DoTheGreenThing.com for ways to be green, and to have a laugh while you’re doing it.  (And while you’re at it, you can join Climate Reality Action Fund, if you’d like to get emails from Al Gore.)

NGO Spotlight: Kickstart International

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Have you traveled to Africa? When we hear this word, most of us think of the elephants and the giraffes of the savannah, the peaks of Kilimanjaro, or the beaches of Cote d’Ivoire. These amazing sights make it easy to lose track of the small-scale farmers that make up 80% of those living in poverty. These families often find that hard work is not enough to combat low rainfall and water shortages. How do you make use of the water you have? And how do you create sustainability? Kickstart International brings irrigation tools and techniques to sub-saharan Africa to rejuvenate these farmlands.

Kickstart International (Kickstart) began when founders Dr. Martin Fisher and Nick Moon started to question traditional techniques in addressing poverty. They wanted to combine new technology that would address the problem with marketplace sustainability. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of products that were made exclusively for poor, rural African farmers. These tools would increase the crop output, resulting in a more sustainable income for the farmers. However, these tools were not handouts – Fisher and Martin were determined to sell low-cost, high-quality irrigation pumps at an affordable price so that families and communities could raise themselves out of poverty.

For over 15 years, Kickstart has provided over 1 million people the opportunity to feed, clothe, and educate themselves while still having some money left over to save for the future. In total, they have sold over 287, 435 pumps. Kickstart is currently working in 16 countries in Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, and South Sudan. The organization focuses on these four areas: increasing incomes, enabling food security, empowering women, and increasing resilience to climate change.

The Time Is Now. Click Here to Watch Kickstart’s Video about Innovation and Action.

 

If you would like to learn more about Kickstart International’s innovation, you can check out their page on the UniversalGiving website! 

Environmental Injustices Surrounding Bottled Water

By Caity Varian       

Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water and a thousand more people throw one of these bottles away, adding up to more than thirty billion bottles purchased every year and resulting in tens of billions of dollars in profits for the beverage industry. Water was first sold for emergency storm supply purposes in grocery stores in the United States and is now being marketed and sold all over the world by multinational corporations. Public water supplies are increasingly being pressured by beverage companies to privatize their services. The emphasis on profit in the bottled water industry has exacerbated existing inequalities on local, national and global scales.

In the United States, the beverage industry has capitalized on public fear of tap water, marketing bottled water as a healthy alternative and a safe solution. The imagery and rhetoric employed in bottled water marketing and advertising has worked to construct the consumption of bottled water as the solution to the global water crisis, hindering any sort of political or collective action towards improving the quality of municipal water sources and the quality of freshwater more generally.

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Companies such as a Nestle, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo extract water and harness municipal water sources, damaging these sources for local communities and future generations. If the bottled water industry continues to grow and thrive, aquifers and groundwater sources will become depleted and only those that can afford to do so will be able to purchase clean drinking water. Bottled water costs 240-100,000 times more per gallon compared to tap water. If the bottled water industry continues to thrive, municipal sources will become more and more scarce and expensive, making clean drinking water more expensive and less accessible.

Bottled water does have an important role to play during emergencies when municipal water systems are temporarily disrupted and in some major cities and countries of the world, bottled water may be the only available source of safe drinking water. However, the perception of bottled water as a status symbol in the United States or as the main source of clean drinking water for the American people needs to be dismantled.

Resistance to the bottled water industry must be addressed at the level of both production and consumption. A “take back the tap” campaign needs to be employed to promote a cultural shift away from the consumption of bottled water. Creating awareness about environmental injustices that persist within the bottled water industry and establishing transparency within the industry will be crucial. Environmental Justice activists must work to persuade consumers to avoid bottled water whenever possible and to pressure public institutions and local governments to stop buying it. In terms of production, local communities need to actively oppose and protest specific instances of spring water extraction by the beverage industry, advocating for the preservation of municipal water sources. We need to think about drinking water as a cultural resource, a political resource, and as an economic resource, and deeply consider the implications of all of these perspectives.