Animal Cruelty Isn’t Cool: Three Rules to Live By
I’ve seen too many videos on the internet of people kicking puppies; too many stories about pets being neglected; and way too many stories of exotic animals being exploited so that people can hoard (and/or eat) parts of their bodies. Guys, enough is enough.
Maybe this makes me a hippie, but screw it: I don’t think that the life of an animal is any less precious than my own. Just like us, animals deserve to be cared for, loved, and protected. They are not our toys. They were not put on this planet to serve our needs. They are living creatures with rights, beauty, and dignity.
Here are my Three Rules to Live By for animal lovers:
1. If you adopt a pet, care for it. Adopting an animal is a big deal: you are responsible for the happiness and well-being of another living thing. Basically, don’t adopt something and treat it like garbage, okay? Is that so much to ask?
2. Do not support groups that are responsible for animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is widespread in our global culture. Between animal testing, poaching, and industrial habitat destruction, animals have been dealt a pretty crappy hand. Boycott companies that conduct needless animal testing; don’t purchase exotic animal goods; and don’t buy products that have had a hand in deforestation (I’m looking at you, palm oil). If you don’t condone what they’re doing, don’t give them your money. End of story.
3. Stand up. Let’s be real for a sec: animal lovers are often misrepresented as idealistic tree-hugging hippies. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t harm any animal ever. I hate mosquitoes and I’m an omnivore just like the rest of us. But animal cruelty has become a “necessary evil” in the modern world and a huge black spot on our global culture. We can absolutely learn to live without it, but the way things are will never change unless we all stand up together. Make your voice heard: encourage others to take a stand as well. Be more than a bystander.
You have more of a voice than you think you do. Use it.
Three Things You Should NEVER Ask a Nature-Nut
Okay so typically us self-proclaimed nature-enthusiasts are a peaceful bunch. Not a lot gets us riled up. But there are some things you say that make us want to punch you right in the face.
I hear these kinds of things almost every day. They’re really common. But what makes us nature freaks so mad is that these things they say are flat-out wrong. WRONG! Somehow, these eco-blasphemies have spread like wildfire, perpetuated generation after generation. So it may seem a little nit-picky to you, but do yourself a favor: when you’re around a nature lover like myself, DO NOT say any of the following three things:
1. “If global warming is real, why was this past winter so cold?” Let’s talk about the Greenhouse Effect for a hot second. Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are not just heating things up: the overall climate of the planet is being altered (that’s why we prefer the term “climate change”), leading to more dramatic, and often deadly weather patterns. This can include stronger hurricanes, abnormally hot summers, and bitter, frosty winters.
2. “Is that snake poisonous?” I’m gonna stop you right there. When’s the last time you ate a snake? Because that’s the only way you can be harmed by something that’s poisonous. Most people use the words “poisonous” and “venomous” interchangeably, but they mean two entirely different things. In order for something to be poisonous it has to have poison, which is a substance that can cause damage if it is ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Venom must be injected directly, via fangs. Just think: if you bite it and you die, it’s poisonous; if it bites you and you die, it’s venomous. Come on, people!
3. “If I’m out in the woods and I see X-animal, should I kill it?” NO. No no no no no. Why is that even a question? When you’re out in the wilderness and you spot an animal, you are in their home; and last time I checked, it wasn’t permissible to go in someone’s home and kill them on sight. However, we as humans have this mentality that we own everything, and that when we spot an animal in the wild, they are encroaching on our territory. Animals typically do not attack unless you give them a reason; so unless you are threatening it, stealing its babies, or you look like a giant cheeseburger, you should just leave it alone. Is that so hard??
There are many more of these infuriating questions floating around, and I’ll be the first to admit that they are super-duper-annoying. But instead of being snooty about it, we can help stop the spread of these silly questions and common misconceptions through environmental education. After all, Earth is our home; and we ought to know a thing or two about it.
Your Parents Are Stealing From You— And You Don’t Even Know It
Today is Overshoot Day: but what does that mean?
Say you wanted to start saving for college. You save a few quarters at a time. Now let’s pretend that your parents are big-spenders who really don’t give a crap about your college education and don’t mind stealing from your jar when their year’s-worth of money has run dry.
Well kids, that’s exactly what’s happening: except your “parents” are your parents’ entire generation; their “money” is the amount of natural resources that the Earth produces each year; and your “jar” is the pool of natural resources that is meant to sustain future generations. Overshoot Day is the first day of the year in which the generation ahead of us has started to stick their fingers into our generation’s pool of natural resources, after using their entire sustainable supply of natural resources for the year… in this case, four and a half months early.
If this doesn’t make you absolutely, positively, punch-a-freaking-wall angry, it should. And just to set the record straight, I’m not saying that your parents are selfish, resource-eating slobs: the lifestyle they live developed slowly over time. I’m just here to say it needs to stop. Like, now. Here are three things you can do to help break this chain and start living in a sustainable way:
1. Keep tossing in those quarters. Our generation grew up with the Three R’s and we’re generally pretty good about putting those R’s to good use. Recycling, carpooling, and turning off your lights help impact our world way more than you would think. So keep doing the little things, and encourage your loved ones to do so as well.
2. Heck, toss in some bills. Want to make an even bigger difference? Get directly involved. Volunteer with ISF or other organizations that help protect Earth’s natural resources and explore methods of alternative renewable energy. Pursue careers that aim to either help solve the problem or educate the public about the issue. The opportunities are endless, and you can make a huge difference. Click here to learn more about ISF’s volunteer opportunities.
3. Call them out. Your parents are being selfish, okay? There, I said it. No, but really: the generation “in charge” is being irresponsible with Earth’s natural resources: they aren’t thinking about how it will affect us when we inherit their resource-debt, or how their actions might help to expedite climate change. Our generation needs to stand up and call them out on being unsustainable, before it’s too late. Send letters to your representatives, spread the word on social media, or boycott products you know to be environmentally irresponsible. Make a statement. Let them know we care.
As young people, we forget how much power we have over our world. We can do so much more than idly standing by, watching our planet go to ruin. Stand up now.
Tips To Help The Envitonment As A College Student
As summer comes to an end and move in begins for college, many question how they can help the environment. By doing such simple things students can help the environment by doing that much work.
1. Stop reusing plastic bags, instead buy a reusable bag. Only 3% or plastic bags are recycled each year.
2. Unplug your electronics when they are not being used. Such as cell phone and laptop chargers.
3. Have a reusable coffee cup to bring to your own coffee shop, or use it when you make your own coffee.
4. Use both sides of a piece of paper.
5. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
6. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth.
7. Try and print double sided.
8. Take shorter showers.
9. Have a box in your room just for items that can be recycled.
10. Recycle your batteries to reduce 179,000 tons that end up in landfills each year.
This can not only help you go green but your campus as well!
For more tips on how to help the environment you can go to
International Homeless Animals’ Day!
August 16 is also knows as International Homeless Animals Day! Thinking that there are animals out there with no one to love and look after them is so heartbreaking. The 17th of August also is National Homeless Animals Day! Knowing that these two days occur for the entire globe, everyone should have a good heart! Thanking everyone who took homless animals off the street and gave them love and a family are heros to those animals! From candlelight vigils, adopt-a-thons, and speeches given, this day wants to leave a mark on everyone!
To learn more info about International as well as National Homeless Animals Day check out these websites!
Happy World Elephant Day! Four Ways to Save Elephants
Today we celebrate the largest land-dwelling mammal on the planet: the elephant. This beautiful and majestic species is in deep trouble —each year, 30,000-38,000 elephants are brutally slaughtered for their tusks: a number which is slowly rising due to an increase in ivory demand. The elephant is now listed as a vulnerable species, with only around 410,000-650,000 left in the wild. Here are four ways to help save these gentle giants:
1. Do not support the ivory trade. Even though new ivory trade is banned, the selling/trading of antique ivory is legal, and it signals to poachers that ivory-lust is still alive and well. Let them know that we’re not interested anymore by not buying, selling, or wearing ivory products.
2. Support elephant conservation efforts. Volunteer with conservation groups, boycott zoos or circuses with inhumane elephant-rearing conditions, or even “adopt” an elephant and help fund conservation.
3. Buy fair-trade coffee and FSC-certified timber products. Elephant habitat loss is a huge factor in population decline, and plantations growing coffee and timber products are often the culprits. Purchase products that have not had a hand in destroying natural elephant habitat, and refuse to support their carelessness.
4. Spread the word. Tell your friends and family about the plight of the elephant. Urge your loved ones to help stop the ivory trade by refusing to purchase, sell, or wear ivory. Post photos and information about elephant poaching and habitat loss on social media to get others to join the cause. Let’s not be silent bystanders any longer— we each have the power to change the world for the better, and this is a great place to start.
It’s not too late to save this remarkable species. Let’s save them together.
World Elephant Day!
Tomorrow, August 12 is World Elephant Day! World Elephant Day was launched on August 12, 2012 to bring attention to the elephants in need in Africa and Asia. One of the biggest focuses of the day is ivory trade. With a ban on ivory trade issued in 1989, elephants are still being killed for it. 2013 came and brought the highest number of ivory confiscated in the last 25 years. Street value of a tusk is about $15,000 (USD) but in the illegal market in China, a single tusk can go any where from $100,000-200,000. These amazing animals should not have to be killed for someone to make money off of them! That is why we have to raise our voices and come together to protect these beautiful animals!
Global ISF Hug!
Grab your friends, brothers, sisters, parents, and animals and celebrate all your hard work!
Whether you took part in a twitter storm, donated, or spread the word about ISF, you helped make the ISF Sanctuary dream come true! Our voices are a sacred vessel for change that need to be used wisely. We can continue to spread the word about this amazing project, and the impossible will be made possible!
Congratulations to the entire ISF family from ISF College! :-)
- Jess (@J_Zava)