Your goal is to become a resource on earth and animal issues for the media. You can start by letting them know that you exist and by cultivating contacts. You don’t have to be an expert on every issue, but you should be open to learning about issues when they come up in the news. You want your local media to think of you when anything involving the environment or animals is in the news and to know that they can come to you for a timely comment or information.
If your group is just starting out, you’ll need to develop some identifying literature. Even if you intend to use literature from larger groups, you need to have at least one brochure, fact sheet or flyer that identifies your organization and describes its purpose and goals. You will also need some letterhead stationery. These materials are invaluable when working with reporters, who are always interested in the local angle.
CREATE A MEDIA LIST
Create a media list and organize it into the following categories: Wire services; Local print media; Local radio; Local TV. Record the name and title of each contact person (you may have more than one contact person for each organization), the name of his or her publication or station, and his or her address, telephone number, and e-mail address. For print media, get the names of the news editor (also called the city editor, news director, or assignment editor), the features editor, and the person responsible for the community calendar or bulletin board.
Organize media information according to whether the publication is daily, weekly, monthly or web-based. Find out the publications’ deadlines and make a list of your local TV news programs’ broadcast times. This will help you plan your demonstrations and actions so that they will best fit into the TV stations’ schedules and will prevent you from calling stations about an upcoming event while they are busy preparing to go on the air.
Try to keep profiles of your media contacts, with comments on whether they are sympathetic or hostile to certain issues and whether they have covered earth and animal-related issues in the past. It’s also a good idea to date your notes so that you’ll know when you contacted them last, what you contacted them about, and how they reacted.
Once you’ve created your media list, send a brief letter to each contact explaining the purpose of your group and offering information on issues. Include your group’s identifying fact sheet or brochure. This alone is probably not enough to get the media to contact you (usually you have to become known in the community), but it is a start.
WRITING A NEWS RELEASE
News releases—short announcements about newsworthy events—are sent to newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations to interest them in doing stories. Because news directors receive hundreds of releases every day, yours must look professional and present the facts quickly, or it will never be read.
Keep it short; one page is best. Write a concise, catchy headline that summarizes the story. It should be written in the style of a newspaper headline, using active verbs. Use the “inverted pyramid” style to write the release. Put the most important facts in the first paragraph and supporting information in descending order so that the least important information is last. The first paragraph should answer the “five W’s”: who, what, where, when, and why. Underline the text that gives the location, time and date of the event. The final paragraph should describe your group and reinforce your message with a quotation from your spokesperson.
Never editorialize. Use quotations to express opinions. Quotations should be attributed to a specific individual, such as the appointed spokesperson for your upcoming event, not just your group.
Proofread the release carefully for grammar and spelling. Ask someone else to read it and to give an objective opinion. If you have the time, set it aside and look it over again the next morning. Eliminate redundancy, use short words and phrases, and simplify complex ideas. Make it dramatic and attention-getting, but be prepared to substantiate everything that you say. Double-check the facts. It is virtually impossible to correct a release once it has gone out. But if you do make a mistake—especially in the time or location of an event—call those who received the release as soon as possible.
The time you give the media should be the ideal time for them to see your event. If your event starts at 11 am, you may wish to tell the media that it’s a little later so that they don’t arrive to see activists who are still figuring out where to stand or are simply chatting.
Use white, regular-weight, letter-sized (8.5-by-11-inch) paper. Include your group’s name, address, and website (if you have one) in your letterhead. Type “NEWS RELEASE” at the top of the first page. Always refer to releases as “news releases,” not “press releases.” The same goes for “news conference” versus “press conference.” Type the date in the upper-lefthand corner. Type “For Immediate Release” above the date. Be sure to give the contact’s full name. Be certain that the contact is always available at the phone number listed on the release, and include both daytime and evening numbers if necessary.
Center the headline, type it in all capital letters, and place it about 2 inches from the heading above it to provide space for editors’ notes. Directly below the headline, type the subhead. The subhead, which should be centered and underlined, gives a bit more detail about the event but, like the headline, is still short and catchy. Begin the body of the release below the subhead and about a third of the way down the page. Leave wide margins for reporters’ and editors’ notes.
Don’t use zeroes for times (“11 am,” not “11:00″) or letters after numbered dates (“August 22,” not “August 22nd”). Never continue on the back of a page. Instead, end the first page with a complete paragraph and type the word “more” centered at the bottom. At the end of the release, center and type “-30-,” “###,” or “Ends.”
A media kit is a packet of information given to reporters who come to your demonstration, event or news conference. It helps to get your message across and makes you look professional. A media kit can include a news release, a facts heet, photographs, background information on or a history of the issue, copies of relevant documents and background on your organization. Package the kit in a two-pocket folder (found in any office supply store) and put a label on the cover with your group’s name and the words “Media Kit.” If you have a photograph, you can put it on the cover, but it is not essential.
SERVICING A NEWS RELEASE
Before deciding how and when to deliver your release, establish what you want to accomplish. Do you want something printed or broadcast before the event, or do you want the media to attend and cover the event? Generally, it’s better to get coverage of events such as film showings, meetings, and fundraisers before they occur. In such cases, you should send releases at least three weeks in advance to the “community calendar” or “bulletin board” sections of your local paper. If, on the other hand, you’re organizing a picket or demonstration, you’ll want news coverage of the event itself. In this case, fax and/or e-mail your news release one day before the event.
Regardless of what type of event you’re planning, keep in mind that reporters need an interesting angle. When you make a media call or send out a news release, be sure that it is for something newsworthy. Remember, the media don’t like to feel “used” to promote a cause. Reporters want what they’re writing to be legitimate news, not propaganda. If your information or event isn’t newsworthy, don’t contact the media because you’ll only anger them and waste their time.
Use interesting visuals in your demonstrations. Tie your demonstration in with current events, such as an upcoming holiday or a popular current news story. Focus on local aspects. In addition to sending a news release, call the news desk to inform them. Do not read your entire news release to them; just inform them of the event, date, location and times.
When you send a news release to more than one person in an organization, let each person know who else is receiving it. Nothing infuriates an editor more than working on a story and then finding out that someone else at the paper is doing the same story for another section.
After the demonstration, assign volunteers to gather the coverage. At least two people should record television coverage and check the newspapers for stories and photos. These clips can be sent out with your next news release to show that what you’re doing is newsworthy.
If a newspaper covers your event but the news wires (Associated Press, Reuters) don’t, call the wires to let them know that they can pick up the story from the paper. If your event is of national interest, call the national television news desks in New York to let them know that they can pick up footage from the local affiliate.
Reporters work against deadlines. If you call editors or reporters when they are rushing to meet a deadline, you won’t get your story in the news, and you may alienate them as well. The best time to call contacts at a morning paper is between 9:30 and 10 am. As it gets later, the staff will be more pressed for time. Call contacts at an evening paper in the late afternoon when the paper has just gone out.
It is best to call radio or TV reporters as early in the day as possible—between 8 and 9 am—if you’re trying to get on an evening broadcast. Don’t call after 1 or 2 pm for a 5 pm story; the staff is rushing to edit the news that they already have. As a general rule, talk to the media as far before deadlines as possible, then follow up on the day of the event.
Develop and maintain professional relationships with the media in your community by being courteous and responsible. Return calls promptly—remember those deadlines! Be enthusiastic, cooperative, friendly, and truthful. If you make a mistake, admit it promptly. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I can find out.” Then do so.
WORKING WITH WIRE SERVICES
Wire services are news-gathering agencies that sell stories to newspapers and radio stations around the country. They should be your first points of contact for delivering a news release or making media calls. If you can interest the wire services, your story will be sent to all the subscribing media in your area or even across the nation. The biggest wire services are the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters. Many of the nation’s largest papers—The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times—also have news services, which means that if you interest them in your story, it may be sent nationwide as well.
Getting a story “on the wire” is a valuable accomplishment. It is worth the great deal of effort that goes into developing good relations with wire service reporters. Many TV, radio and print assignment editors answer calls asking for coverage by saying, “We’ll see what comes in over the wire.”
To find out which wire service bureaus are in your area, look in the telephone book or call your local newspaper office. Any reporter can tell you where the nearest bureau is. If the newspaper is a member of the AP, it also submits stories to the AP.
Send the bureau manager a letter describing your organization, and supply the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your best contact people. Offer to supply information or the local angle on earth and animal issues.
The daybook is a listing of scheduled events for the day. Each evening and morning, AP and United Press International (UPI) send the daybook to their members. Assignment editors use this list to decide how to assign reporters and camera crews. Always send two news releases to the wire services—one for the daybook and one for the assignment editor. Call both the daybook editor and the assignment editor to follow up. To get listed in the daybook, send your news release about a week before the event. If that’s not possible, you may still be able to get listed by calling the information in to the daybook editor.
You might also be able to get a photograph of your event on the wire. If you’ve just had a demonstration, e-mail your pictures along with your news release.
Call your closest radio bureaus. Be prepared to do an interview on the spot if they are interested. They’ll tape it for later use.
WRITING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
You can get great exposure for earth and animal issues by writing letters to the editors of newspapers or magazines. Make it a point to read local papers and magazines for articles that provide fuel for letters to the editor.
A spokesperson, not necessarily the group leader, should be appointed for each event. Members of your group need to be prepared to answer media questions with a brief sentence and then direct further questions to the spokesperson, who will be prepared with media kits and all the facts. This helps prevent the media from interviewing an inarticulate or unprepared person. Your group must decide ahead of time what the spokesperson should and should not say. The spokesperson should be well dressed. Though you must appoint a spokesperson, everyone at the event should be familiar with the topic because reporters will often want a second comment from others involved.
Never speak “off the record”; everything is on the record. Also, watch out for jokes, which can create misunderstandings. Don’t get bullied into a simple “yes” or “no” answer to a complex question. Give the facts that are necessary to address the issue.
Study the professionals on national interview shows. Develop a few good phrases and examples that will catch a reporter’s ear, and rehearse them. No one becomes an expert overnight. The key is to practice, practice, practice!
State important points clearly and briefly. It’s helpful if you understand what media professionals consider newsworthy. The following are primary characteristics of newsworthy stories:
Timeliness: The media are interested in what’s happening today, not yesterday.
Proximity: The closer the event is to the media’s target audience, the more likely it will be considered news.
Prominence: You may get more media attention by getting well-known people involved.
Conflict: The media love covering opposing factions.
Novelty: If you’re doing something for the first time, the media are more likely to respond; they get tired of the same old thing.
Importance: The more people who will be affected or interested, the more likely you are to receive media coverage of an event.
Your information or event does not have to meet all these criteria, but it should meet most of them.
RADIO & TV TALK SHOW INTERVIEWS
You can reach thousands of people through talk shows. Call in to make comments when earth and animal related subjects are discussed and during “open phone” segments. It’s even better if someone from your group can be a talk show guest.
If your group is expecting a visit from someone with a particular area of expertise, try to get the person on a talk show. Or try to get yourself on one. Contact television and radio stations several weeks in advance. Send a letter to the show’s director describing your credentials or those of your speaker as well as possible discussion topics and reasons why they would interest the audience. As with a news release, be sure to provide your telephone number. Prepare a list of people whom your speaker would feel comfortable debating in case the show wants to present both sides.
Once you are booked on a show, listen to it or watch it so that you’ll know what style and format to expect. To prepare, do the following:
Study the issue.
Practice being interviewed. Tape yourself with a recorder or video camera.
Anticipate difficult questions and plan your answers.
Memorize good quotations, anecdotes and facts.
Have a friend ask you hard questions in a hostile, aggressive way so that you can be prepared for a difficult interview.
Decide on the five main points that you want to make during the show. Memorize a fact or an example for each one.
Try to make your five points, even if the interviewer doesn’t ask the “right” questions. Don’t feel limited by the questions. You can answer them and still talk about your points. Practice saying, “The real question here is …” or, “That relates to a larger issue, which is ….”
If you’re doing a TV show, be careful about how you dress. Wear plain, solid colors rather than patterns, but avoid solid black, white and red. Green and blue film especially well. Smile, and don’t fidget or touch your face or hair.
Try to make your point in eight seconds or less. TV news shows look for “sound bites”—statements that can be plugged into a 60-second story. If you take 45 or 60 seconds to make your point, your spot won’t be aired, so use short sentences.
Speak slowly and carefully (but not too slowly!), and think before answering the question.
Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want edited out and aired separately. The reporter may interview you for five minutes but air only eight seconds of it. Don’t worry about repeating yourself: It just increases the chances that what you want to be heard actually will be.
If the reporter is hostile, don’t get flustered, raise your voice or get shrill. Stay calm and concentrate on making your five points. Remember, the reporter is not your real audience.
Talk directly to the interviewer, not to the audience or camera. If you steal side glances at the camera, you’ll look nervous or shifty.
Holding a news conference is a good way to fall flat on your face … unless you have a really important story. Hold a news conference only when the following criteria are met:
The media can get more from it than they could from photographs and news releases.
You have important or newsworthy people available to present your story.
Experts will be available to answer questions.
The story involves something that has to be seen to be understood.
The media are inundating you with telephone calls, and rumors must be dispelled.
Use the following format when holding a news conference:
Hold the news conference in a location that is convenient for media professionals, such as in a downtown hotel, and provide light refreshments. The best time to have a news conference is 10 or 11 am.
Start promptly with a concise statement from your spokesperson.
Have media kits ready and explain the material to the media.
Call on the expert to read a short statement.
End the news conference on time. It should not last more than 30 or 40 minutes. Reporters will ask further questions if they wish to do so.
If possible, issue invitations one to two weeks ahead of time by sending a “media alert.” Explain the details of the news conference and what will be addressed. If you are holding the news conference right away, alert the media by telephone. Call the wire services to get it on the daybook.
Be careful to allow only media professionals, not members of the general public, to enter the room. Assign someone to check media IDs at the door. Courteously refuse entry to all others. Hand media kits and news releases out as soon as reporters arrive. If a major statement is being made, you may want to issue the news release after the statement. After the news conference, follow up with media inquiries as quickly as possible. Make every effort to accommodate requests for personal interviews. Deliver news releases and media kits to media professionals who were invited but did not attend. Tell radio stations that your spokesperson is available for telephone interviews.
Along with the bald eagle, the bison perhaps best symbolizes the spirit of American wilderness. While many people are aware that both animals teetered on the brink of extinction in the past due to human encroachment, few realize that wild bison continue to be the victims of a calculated, annual slaughter in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
During the mid to late 1800s, government agents orchestrated one of the most aggressive and wanton animal massacres in history, killing bison indiscriminately in an attempt to subjugate Native Americans. With the addition of market hunters and settlers killing bison for profit and for fun, America's wild bison herds were reduced from an estimated 60 million to perhaps as few as 100.
With the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 and the National Park Service in 1916, the 25 bison remaining in the Park finally were afforded some protection. Initially, management policies allowed for the active manipulation of populations by culling what was perceived as "surplus" animals. But eventually, the management strategy evolved to an approach which permitted natural regulation to occur, for the most part letting nature take its course rather than relying on human intervention.
This was good news for the bison, but sadly their fortune was short lived. Since the mid 1980s, more than 3,000 bison have been massacred under the supervision of government officials bowing to the pressures of the livestock industry and its cohorts.
WHY ARE BISON BEING KILLED?
In 1917, officials discovered that some Yellowstone bison were infected with Brucella abortus, the bacteria which causes the disease brucellosis in domestic cattle. In cattle, the disease produces spontaneous abortions, but bison do not appear to be similarly affected. In fact, over the past 80 years in the entire Greater Yellowstone Area, there have been only four documented bison abortions, which may or may not have been caused by the bacteria.
Over the past decade, bison have been emigrating from the Park over its northern and western boundaries into the state of Montana during winter months. Because of several mild winters, and the National Park Service's continued grooming of snowmobile trails which makes it easier for bison to exit the Park, more and more bison have been stepping hoof over Park boundaries.
The livestock industry and federal and state livestock agencies contend that bison can transmit the Brucella abortus bacteria to cattle under natural conditions. In reality, there has never been a documented case of this occurring. Despite this fact, they continue to wage a war against Yellowstone bison.
HOW THE BACTERIA IS TRANSMITTED
The primary route of transmission is direct contact of susceptible animals with infected reproductive products, such as fetuses and afterbirth, or with contaminated feed. Given that bison abortions are extremely rare, the risk is remote at best. Bull bison and calves pose virtually no threat of transmitting the bacteria -- because males and juveniles obviously do not give birth or have abortions -- yet shockingly hundreds have been killed. Of the blood and tissue samples taken from 218 of the bison slaughtered during the winter of 1991-92, not a single bison was infectious at the time of death.
In the event a bison abortion were to occur, the bacteria is sensitive to sunlight and heat, and in all likelihood, would die quickly outside the body, although it is possible for it to remain viable for longer periods of time if frozen. Nevertheless, in nature, aborted fetuses are consumed either by the bison themselves or by scavengers almost immediately. In addition, abortions probably would happen during January through June, a period of time which cattle are not permitted on public lands and do not come into contact with wild bison.
CATTLE PERMITTED ON PUBLIC LANDS
The U.S. Forest Service issues grazing permits on lands adjoining Yellowstone National Park, generally for the months of June through October. Cattle grazing is even allowed in Grand Teton National Park. The interests of wildlife, and not cattle, should take precedence on public lands. The grazing allotments should be either closed or modified to minimize any contact between bison and cattle. Also, mandatory vaccination of domestic calves against brucellosis within the counties surrounding the Park could further reduce the risk, if any risk exits at all, of infection. Currently, vaccinations are not mandatory in Montana or Wyoming.
AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR BISON BEING KILLED
With increased bison migrations into Montana, the Montana Legislature listed bison as a game animal in 1985, giving the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks authority to initiate a public hunt. During the winter of 1988-89, sport hunters shot 570 bison at point-blank range. Due to national media coverage, this cruel fiasco generated outrage across the country. Shortly thereafter, the Legislature decided to no longer issue bison permits to sport hunters, although state officials retained the right to implement lethal control.
Today, control has been vested in the Montana Department of Livestock, an agency which views bison as nothing more than brucellosis-infected pests who must be controlled to maintain Montana's brucellosis-free status. With the cooperative services of Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and National Park Service officials, government officials continue to gun down hundreds of bison each year. During the winter of 1996-97 alone, nearly 1,100 bison were killed.
Much of the hysteria derives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agency responsible for brucellosis eradication in domestic livestock. APHIS, without legal authority, has threatened to revoke the brucellosis-free status of both Montana and Wyoming if measures aren't taken to eliminate Brucella abortus in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Brucellosis-free status permits cattle producers to market their cattle without being subject to disease testing requirements. Recently, Wyoming capitulated to these threats by establishing a bison sport hunt outside the eastern boundaries of Yellowstone National Park where a small number of bison occasionally exit.
The APHIS brucellosis eradication program launched in the 1930s was intended to apply only to domestic livestock, but it appears that APHIS and other industry interests will not be satisfied until the Brucella abortus organism is eliminated in all domestic animals and wildlife.
OTHER WILD ANIMALS POSE A RISK
In addition to bison, elk can also be infected with the bacteria and can carry the disease. With more than 90,000 elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area, the likelihood of eliminating the bacteria using available technologies is virtually nonexistent. Moreover, if all infected bison were destroyed, exposure to elk would result in reinfection in the remainder.
This is particularly a problem in Wyoming where over 23,000 elk congregate on artificial feedgrounds, creating prime conditions for bacteria transmission. In fact, bison from Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone, have discovered the "free meals" being provided on the National Elk Refuge each winter in the Jackson Hole area. It is speculated that this herd of bison contracted the bacteria from elk on the feedground.
State officials rarely admit that elk may also carry the disease. Elk, of course, are a prime money maker for Montana and Wyoming state officials, who encourage propagation of elk herds so they can profit from the sale of sport hunting licenses.
Ironically, bison are being targeted allegedly to protect the livestock industry, but the general consensus among scientists is that cattle probably introduced the bacteria into the Yellowstone bison herd shortly before 1917. Victims then and victims now.
Despite ever shrinking green space, the animals that share the Earth with us are trying to survive. Our homes, offices and shopping centers were developed on what was once forest and fields. Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, possums, skunks, raccoons, ground hogs and deer are not the invaders. We are. Please remember this when these displaced animals forage for food on your property or try to find places to bear and rear their young.
With education and raised awareness, more and more people are choosing the enlightened and compassionate way to protect their homes and gardens from unwanted animal visitors. There are many humane alternatives to killing. Simple commonsense and prevention are the best forms of animal control.
Raccoons and possum are attracted by garbage. Keep all leftover food inside until the night before trash pick-up. Seal organic garbage in plastic bags (a good way to reuse sandwich or storage bags) and refrigerate or, better yet, freeze it. The less your garbage smells, the less likely it will attract an animal. Use trashcans, with locking lids, where allowed. Otherwise, use heavy-duty, tightly tied trash bags.
With so few places left to burrow or nest, raccoons, possums, skunks and ground hogs will look for safe haven wherever they can find it. They will seek out the weak spots around your home. Neglect invites these animals. A well maintained home does not.
Install lattice under porches and decks to block animals from nesting. Another option is stainless steel screening that can be sunk into the ground around the inhabited area. A one-way gate is installed that allows the animal to leave, but will not allow it to return. Only install this form of prevention when there are no babies in the nest.
Keep your garage or shed door tightly closed and repair broken boards at the bottom of cracks in the foundation.
Seal all openings under the roofline and cap your chimney. Do not do this if an animal has already entered. Wait until the animal has left to look for food. And be certain that there are no babies left behind. Do not use mothballs or ammonia to flush the animal out. You will kill the babies. A radio tuned to a talk show will sometimes disturb the mother enough to cause her to move out with her babies.
Your garden, whether it is a flower garden or you grow vegetables, will tempt any animal that forages for vegetation. There are a variety of repellants commercially available that claim to keep animals away. These range in cost and effectiveness. And there are recipes for homemade, foul smelling deterrents all over the Internet. The same commercial products used to repel cats and dogs often deter raccoons.
Another option is a mechanical device. Motion-activated sprinklers can be purchased that shoot a stream of water at an intruder, like a remote squirt gun. Loud or annoying sounds can also be set to go off like a security alarm, whenever movement is detected.
Polypropylene netting is sold to cover plants and keep deer and rabbits from eating them, but this netting can put other wildlife at risk. Small birds, toads and other animals could become trapped in the mesh. The netting is also very difficult to work with and expensive in large quantities.
By far the most effective “critter control” is fencing. A low voltage, electrified fence can be effective for all animals, but this option can be expensive. Chicken wire has served the purpose for years. A picket fence may be charming, but deer can jump those of average height. Decorative metal fencing looks good and should keep out all but the most intrepid deer. A low-tech method is simply a nylon string, stretched across your garden perimeter, chest-high. A deer will back off when it feels the tension.
Deer can be the most destructive of all the animals that come into your garden to forage. In addition to the measures above, you could simply plant as many deer resistant plants as possible. The following is a list of plants that deer will “rarely” damage or “seldom severely” damage. Ask your nursery expert or search online. You can find photos of beautiful plants that won’t tempt the creatures in your garden.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.
Benefits of Recycling
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.
Steps to Recycling Materials
Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.
Step 1: Collection and Processing
There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs. After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand.
Step 2: Manufacturing
More and more of today's products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include the following:
- Newspapers and paper towels
- Aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers
- Steel cans
- Plastic laundry detergent bottles
Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.
Step 3: Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials
You help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for the following:
- Products that can be easily recycled
- Products that contain recycled content
Below are some of the terms used:
Recycled-content product - The product was manufactured with recycled materials either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. The label will sometimes include how much of the content was from recycled materials.
Post-consumer content - Very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.
Recyclable product - Products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community, so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.
Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following:
In 1971, more letters poured into Congress over the threat to our nation’s wild horses than over any issue in U.S. history, except for the Vietnam War. And so Congress unanimously passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, declaring that “wild horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) were appointed to implement the Act. Most herd areas are under BLM jurisdiction.
Fast-forward thirty years: in 2001, after decades of failed herd management policies, the BLM obtained a 50% increase in annual budget to $29 million for implementation of an aggressive removal campaign; in 2004, the 1971 Act was surreptitiously amended, without so much as a hearing or opportunity for public review, opening the door to the sale of thousands of wild horses to slaughter for human consumption abroad.
Injuries, abortions, trauma and death are the common results of wild horse round-ups (or “gathers,” to use a placating euphemism). Horses seen galloping during a round-up are terrified wild animals chased by helicopter and running for their lives. It has been documented that, long after they have been adopted out, BLM-captured horses will still react in terror to a helicopter flying overhead.
As wild horses are driven into holding pens, closely-knit family bands are broken up; foals may be separated from their mothers, trampled, or sometimes, too exhausted to keep up with the herd, left behind to fend for themselves out on the range; stallions, suddenly crammed in close quarters, will fight. At the holding site, BLM makes “liberal” use of its euthanasia policy: horses with physical defects such as club-feet are euthanized, including adults that had managed to thrive for years in the wild.
ABUSE, NEGLECT & SECRECY
BLM routinely turns a blind eye on abuse by its two main round-up contractors. To quote an eye-witness to the 2006 Sulphur round-up in Utah: “In all my life I have never seen such blatant abuse and neglect and just plain lack of compassion for horses, or animals in general for that matter.” It is not uncommon for contractors to drag a listless body into the round-up pen to collect their fee, as they get paid per horse, dead or alive.
Round-ups are often conducted in secrecy, with heavy police presence to keep the public at bay. Once in a while, BLM and its contractors will invite the public and the media to a carefully staged capture, where a few horses are trotted into a pen. Members of the public are positioned at the holding pens, usually during the first few days of a round-up, so they are generally witnessing the horses coming in from areas closest to the round-up site. As days go by, the further out the wranglers go, the more challenging for the horses who are run in large numbers over much longer distances.
THE REAL REASON
The current situation is the result of a long history of failed policies, land allocation issues, and an intricate money trail. The BLM and the USFS, among others, are responsible for managing the nation’s public lands and are foremost the managers of wild horses and burros. Their responsibilities also include issuing public land grazing permits to cattle ranchers. These grazing permits cover limited areas of public land that are available for lease. So, for every wild horse removed from a grazing permit allotment, a fee-paying cow gets to take its place, and a public land rancher gets the benefit of public land forage at bargain rates. This is the number one reason wild horses are removed from public lands.
PLAYING WITH NUMBERS
The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act mandated that wild horses be managed at their then-current population level, officially estimated by the BLM at 17,000 (three years later, BLM’s first census found over 42,000 horses). To the horses' detriment, both sides agreed to allow the government to manage wild horse populations at that “official” 1971 level. Eleven years later, a study by the National Academy of Sciences found BLM’s 1971 estimate to have been “undoubtedly low to an unknown, but perhaps substantial, degree,” given subsequent census results and taking into account the horses' growth rate and the number of horses since removed. But the damage had already been done; management levels had been etched in stone, and processes for removal of "excess" horses were well in place.
The fact is that the 1982 National Academy of Sciences report and two General Accounting Office reports have countered key points in BLM's premise for its current herd reduction campaign. These government-sanctioned documents concluded that: (i) horses reproduce at a much slower rate than BLM asserts, (ii) wild horse forage use remains a small fraction of cattle forage use on public ranges, (iii) “despite congressional direction, BLM did not base its removal of wild horses from federal rangeland on how many horses ranges could support,” and (iv) “BLM was making its removal decisions on the basis of an interest in reaching perceived historic population levels, or the recommendations of advisor groups largely composed of livestock permittees.”
From over 2 million in the 1800s, America’s wild horse population has dwindled to fewer than 33,000. There are now more wild horses in government holding pens than remain in the wild, with many of the remaining herds managed at population levels that do not guarantee their long-term survival. Still, the round-ups continue.
Over the past forty years, federal law enacted by the people on behalf of their wild horses has been ignored. No strategic plan to keep viable herds of wild horses on public lands was ever developed.
While there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help the environment, no other lifestyle decision can compare with the positive environmental impacts of veganism.
Veganism is a compassionate lifestyle of daily decisions that reject the exploitation and harm of animals. Vegans do not consume food that is derived from animal sources, do not purchase products made from animal sources, do not use services in which animals are harmed, and do not involve themselves in activities that cause intentional harm or exploitation of living beings. Vegans attempt, as much as possible, to live their lives free from all forms of animal exploitation. It is a humane, responsible and healthy choice.
And not only does veganism help animals, it helps the planet – in a big way. Becoming a vegan is the single, most effective action you can take to help the environment. Adopting a compassionate lifestyle can have a profound impact not only on you and your family, but also on the planet. Our fragile environment benefits immensely by your vegan choices.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. It is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry. Factory farms are a primary driver of topsoil erosion, rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss and ocean dead zones. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and causes immense animal suffering.
It takes 12 times as much land, 13 times more fuel and 15 times more water to make a pound of animal protein than to make a pound of plant protein. Adopting a vegan diet saves 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, 45 pounds of grain, 1,100 gallons of water, 30 square feet of forest land, and one animal every day!
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF VEGANISM
Vegans save more than farm animals. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, habitat destruction and wildlife culling. Each year the USDA kills millions of wild animals.
Vegans help save aquatic animals and ecosystems. Commercial fishing methods often clear the ocean floor of all life and destroy coral reefs. Thousands of dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other “bycatch” animals are killed each year. Fish farms release antibiotics, feces, parasites, and non-native fish into aquatic ecosystems, and farmed fish are often fed massive amounts of wild-caught fish.
Vegans reduce the adverse impact of climate change. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry combined. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Methane (CH4) emissions have over 20 times the global warming potential of CO2.
Vegans reduce the destruction of forests. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. Up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture. One of the main crops grown in the rainforest is soybeans used specifically for animal feed. Plant-based diets require 20 times less land than animal-based diets.
Vegans reduce pollution caused by animal breeding, animal processing and food processing. Deforestation for animal grazing and feed crops is estimated to emit 2.4 billion tons of CO2 each year. Burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizers for animal agriculture may emit 41 million metric tons of CO2 each year. Animal agriculture contributes to air pollution by releasing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methane and ammonia.
Agriculture animals produce many times more excrement than does human population – a staggering 500 million tons of manure each year in the US alone. There are no animal sewage processing plants; most of the sewage is stored in waste “lagoons” or sprayed into the air.
To prevent disease in crowded, filthy conditions and to promote faster growth, farm animals are fed numerous antibiotics. Around 75 percent of these antibiotics end up undigested. These antibiotics can contaminate crops and waterways through urine and manure, and can ultimately be ingested by humans.
Vegans save and protect precious water resources. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of all fresh water pollution, the leading cause of ocean dead zones, and the leading cause of Great Barrier Reef die-off. Bacteria and viruses can be carried by runoff and contaminate groundwater. Runoff is one of the leading causes of pollution in rivers and lakes.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 55% of US water consumption. It takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk, and more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. 1 pound of tofu requires only 244 gallons of water to produce. Every vegan saves approximately 219,000 gallons of water every year.
Veganism feeds more people and could end world hunger. Animal agriculture contributes to world hunger. Livestock consumes up to 50% of all grains produced each year. 45% of the earth's entire ice free land is used for animal agriculture.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF VEGANISM
While going vegan helps us help nature, nature rewards our efforts with a bounty of health benefits. You can reduce the risk of many diseases by modifying your diet habits and becoming a vegan.
A plant based diet reduces the risk of cancer as carcinogens and other harmful chemicals are used in growing, processing and storing animal based food products.
Vegans have less risk of heart disease and high blood pressure as most plant foods do not add bad cholesterol to your body and clog your blood vessels. Animal foods saturated with excessively high amounts of fat and other enzymes have an adverse impact on the natural body processes.
Veganism can help prevent the onset of diabetes as most plant based foods tone up the glucose handling mechanism of your body, adding strength and boosting the natural metabolic process without the harmful enzymes and secretions you normally get with animal based foods.
Vegans have less chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis as plant based foods do not create toxins in your body during their natural metabolism.
A vegan lifestyle helps animals, the environment and you. By opting for plant based foods and products, you are choosing compassion, health and responsible living. And choosing to go vegan really could save the world.
You can make a big difference for ocean conservation and species preservation. There are many easy lifestyle changes that can aid in the effort of saving our oceans and the animals that inhabit them.
Give Power To Your Vote
Sound ocean policy depends on the election of proper public officials. Do your homework and decide wisely before casting your vote. Don’t forfeit your right to vote; on the contrary, remain politically active even after Election Day. Contact your representative and voice your questions and concerns. Be active.
Collect Litter And Garbage Near Beaches
A large percentage of the plastic garbage polluting the oceans begins as litter on a beach. Enjoy your day at the beach without engaging in activities that will destroy our oceans. Properly dispose of your trash, pickup litter that other people carelessly left behind, and participate in beach clean-up initiatives.
Consume Less Energy
Carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel burning contributes to the acidification of our oceans. A grave danger from this phenomenon is the demise of coral reefs worldwide because the water’s lower pH dissolves their calcium framework. There are several easy ways in which you can decrease your energy consumption. Use public transportation, ride a bicycle, or even walk. Purchase home appliances that are highly efficient. Turn off devices that you aren’t using. Adjust your home temperature a bit higher during summertime, and a bit lower in wintertime. Opt for eco-friendly light bulbs in your home.
Use Reusable Plastic Products
Marine habitats are compromised by the presence of plastic remnants in the ocean, which are also to blame for the direct deaths of many marine creatures. Various creatures of the sea such as sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals mistakenly take floating plastic objects for food, leading to their death due to choking or starvation from blocked digestive systems. You can help cut down that unnecessary loss of life by using reusable water bottles and grocery bags made from cloth.
Global fisheries are very close to the point of collapse. According to FAO, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 75 percent of fisheries worldwide are now fully or over-exploited, or severely depleted. Animals are on the edge of extinction due to corporate greed and over-consumption. Don't participate in their destruction.
Properly Dispose Of Hazardous Materials
Many harmful and toxic materials, such as motor oil, end up in aquatic ecosystems because people don’t follow sound disposal practices. The result is water pollution and further degradation of oceanic health. It is important to follow environmentally friendly practices when disposing of hazardous materials.
Minimize The Use Of Fertilizers
The use of fertilizers in agriculture and gardening usually results in excess material reaching the ocean. This can cause “dead zones”, which are areas depleted of oxygen in the water. Because all aquatic life depends on oxygen to live, fish and shrimp included, they can only abandon the area to survive. So, minimize your use of fertilizer, or eliminate it altogether.
Buy Products That Are Ocean-Friendly
Don’t use products that have been made using unsustainable methods that harm the oceans. Such products include cosmetics that contain shark-derived squalene, or jewelry made with sea-life parts such as corals or sea-turtle shells. These products are destructive and eliminate whole ecosystems.
Inform people of the situation of the oceans of the world and the need for action. Share the message and actively participate in conversation.
The single most effective way of helping the oceans is to adopt a vegan diet. Animal farming is the number one cause of water consumption and pollution. It has a higher greenhouse effect on the atmosphere than fossil fuel consumption. The farming industry is the principle cause of dead zones in the oceans. Overexploitation of fisheries leads to the extinction of entire species. Unsustainable fishing methods destroy marine habitats and ecosystems. By opting to consume exclusively plant-based food, you aid in the rescue of our oceans, while easing animal suffering at the same time.
Outer beauty is a reflection of our health. When healthy and well-nourished our skin glows, our hair is silky and our eyes are bright. Ironically, most “beauty” products are anything but healthy. Often laced with dozens of chemicals, conventional bath and beauty products are destructive to the planet's health as well as our own. Fortunately, simple and effective alternatives are waiting to be discovered in your kitchen cupboards. In fact, just three ingredients from your kitchen can make most of the products you use in your bathroom – oil, baking soda and vinegar. They are truly so healthy you can eat them. If you can't eat your bath and beauty products, you shouldn't be using them on your body.
Natural Alternatives For Shampoo
Baking soda is very effective at cleaning hair. Simply dissolve the baking soda in some water and apply it to your hair, then rinse thoroughly. For dry hair, apply a bit of oil such as olive or coconut oil. For frizzy hair, use less baking soda or rinse it sooner. For greasy hair, add a little lemon or lime juice. For itchy scalp, add essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, or rosemary.
Natural Alternatives For Hair Conditioner
Coconut oil offers exceptional hydration and can be used before or after shampooing. For thin, lightweight, or oily hair, apply before showering. For curly, thick, or dry hair, apply after showering. Apple cider vinegar is also one of the best alternatives to commercial conditioner. It smoothes your cuticles, leaving your hair softer and easier to detangle. Simply mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. Apple cider vinegar has low pH, so it can dry some hair types – mix a little oil with it.
Natural Alternatives For Body Wash And Soap
Baking soda is an amazing body cleanser. Just mix a little baking soda with water. To moisturize your skin, add a little coconut oil. For some added fragrance, add some essential oil. Peppermint oil can stimulate and lift your mood, camomile or lavender oils promote relaxation, and ylang ylang and geranium oils help your overall feeling of well-being. 1 cup of Castile liquid soap (vegetable oils) mixed with 6 drops of essential oil also makes a great body wash.
Natural Alternatives For Bath Salts
Mix 3 cups of Epsom salt, 2 cups of sea salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Add essential oils for scent. Jasmine, lavender, and cedar create a calming bath. Citrus scents like orange, grapefruit, lemon and tangerine are used for clarity and joy.
Natural Alternatives For Bath Milk
Mix 1 1/2 cups powdered soy milk and 1/2 cup Epsom salts together. Add a few drops of essential oil if desired.
Natural Alternatives For Bubble Bath
Mix 1 cup of liquid castile soap, 2/3 cup of liquid vegetable glycerin, 1/4 cup of water, and a few drops of essential oil together. Add to bath.
Natural Alternatives For Body Scrub
Mix 2 cups of brown sugar with 1 cup of coconut or olive oil. Add essential oil for fragrance if you like. For a softer alternative, substitute all or part of the sugar for oats.
Natural Alternatives For Hair Gel
Coconut oil makes an excellent, all natural alternative to hair gel...and it conditions your hair. Note: a little goes a long way.
Natural Alternatives For Deodorant And Antiperspirant
Conventional antiperspirant and deodorant put aluminum in your body and prevent perspiration – the body’s natural way of eliminating toxins. Baking soda is an incredibly effective natural deodorant. Mixing it with equal parts coconut oil is even better. Coconut oil is antibacterial and anti fungal, so it prevents odors very well.
Natural Alternatives For Lotion
Skin is the largest organ in the body, and chemicals from conventional lotions are absorbed through the skin and stored in fat. A much safer lotion alternative is pure organic coconut oil. Coconut oil helps dry skin, wrinkles, and additional skin issues. It is naturally antibacterial, so it does not create breakouts. Coconut oil can be combined with other oils, herbs and essential oils to create a variety of solutions for different skin types.
Natural Alternatives For Toothpaste
Virtually all conventional toothpastes contain dangerous fluoride – a toxic byproduct of the aluminum industry. Fluoride has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer and thyroid disease. Steer clear of fluoride toothpaste. Instead, brush your teeth with baking soda. You can add peppermint or other essential oils for better taste and fresher breath.
Natural Alternatives For Lip Balm
Use coconut oil in place of lip balm. It works well, and it's quite tasty.
Natural Alternatives For Facial Toner
Apple cider vinegar diluted with water makes a fantastic facial toner. Use a teaspoon of vinegar per half cup of water. Don't worry, the vinegar scent fades as soon as it dries. A few drops of essential oil will improve the scent. Apple cider vinegar brightens, tightens and freshens skin. It solves dry skin and breakout problems.
Natural Alternatives For Facial Cleanser
Make a face wash by adding a little baking soda to coconut oil.
Natural Alternatives For Mascara Remover
Olive oil or coconut oil work well at removing mascara and eye makeup, including waterproof makeup. Use one or the other, or combine the two. These oils also moisturize the eyes and help remove or prevent wrinkles.
Natural Alternatives For Hair Spray
Juice a lemon and mix with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Keep the mixture stored in the refrigerator. A cup of boiling water mixed with 1 to 4 teaspoons of sugar also creates an effective hair spray. Pour the mixture into a mister bottle. Apply as many times as needed, allowing it to dry in between applications. For a natural beach waves look, substitute sugar for salt.
Natural Alternatives For Teeth Whiteners
A healthy diet is most effective in keeping teeth white, and pure baking soda applied with a toothbrush is also effective. You can also rub fresh strawberries on your gums or mix mashed strawberries with baking soda and keep in your mouth tray for about 30 minutes one time a week.
Natural Alternatives For Cuticle Care
Scrub dry, cracked cuticles with a paste made from equal parts baking soda and warm water. It exfoliates dead skin cells and soften hands.
Natural Alternatives For Acne Solution
Mix baking soda with a little bit of water. Apply to the acne until dry.
Natural Alternatives For Foot Soak
Eliminate foot odor and fungus by soaking your feet in a solution of warm water and half a cup of baking soda. Add essential oil if you like.
Natural Alternatives For Aftershave
Apply a little coconut oil after shaving to soothe your skin.
Captive hunting operations—also referred to as "shooting preserves," "canned hunts," or "game ranches"—are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill exotic and native animals trapped within enclosures. Some facilities have even allowed their clients to kill animals remotely via the Internet.
The animals killed in captive hunts may come from private breeders, animal dealers, circuses or even zoos. These animals are frequently hand-raised and bottle-fed, so they have lost their natural fear of people. In many facilities, the animals expect to be fed at regular times by familiar people—a setup that guarantees a kill for trophy hunters.
Endangered species are even available at captive hunts. Several species of threatened and endangered animals are regularly advertised at captive hunting ranches. For example, the International Union for the Conservations of Nature and Natural Resources lists the scimitar-horned oryx and Pere David's deer as extinct in the wild; the Dama gazelle and the addax as critically endangered; the Arabian oryx and markhor as endangered; the blackbuck and bongo as near threatened; and the Nubian ibex, aoudad, barasingha, mouflon, yak and European bison as vulnerable.
Although the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects animals listed as endangered or threatened, captive hunt enthusiasts exploit loopholes in federal law that allow captive-bred wildlife to be killed if permitted by state law. This creates a market for endangered species’ trophies, and can encourage illegal poaching of the animals in their native habitat. Issuing permits to shoot endangered species on these ranches contradicts the basic purposes of the ESA, which is to conserve endangered and threatened wildlife – not kill them.
Semi-tame animals make easy targets, so captive hunt operators can offer their customers a guarantee of "no kill, no pay." The animals are guaranteed something as well—that there will be no escape.
Due to the high population densities on captive hunts, risk of disease transmission increases, posing a threat to animals inside and outside the fences. And it is doubtful that those involved in the captive hunting business provide acceptable veterinary care for their animals. Diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis—which can also infect farm animals and other wildlife—have been diagnosed in captive wildlife. Michigan battled an outbreak of tuberculosis among deer a few years ago due to baiting, which encourages animals to congregate in small areas. Chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease that infects deer, elk, and moose, is another serious concern. CWD has been reported in 19 states; in 11 of these states CWD was present in captive wildlife populations. In 2011, new cases of CWD have been reported in South Dakota, Illinois, West Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Although there must legally be fencing around captive hunts, animals often can and sometimes do escape from these facilities. Since 2007, there have been 48 instances of elk escaping from captive facilities in Iowa alone. In Wisconsin, captive facilities reported 437 escapes from 2004 to 2007. The interstate transport of animals for breeding purposes increases the possibility of spreading these diseases even further. Once present, CWD becomes increasingly difficult to control, and attempts to halt the disease can cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Through escaped animals, fence-line transmission, or environmental contamination, game farms and captive hunting ranches are putting our wild herds at grave risk.
Captive hunting is a lucrative and expanding industry. It is estimated that more than 1,000 captive mammal hunting operations are operating in at least two dozen states. Several factors feed into that expansion: The overbreeding of captive exotic animals, the desire by some hunters with plenty of cash for a quick and easy kill, and the incentive to bag exotic mammals provided by Safari Club International's "Introduced Trophy Game Animals of North America" trophy hunting achievement award.
Do all hunters support captive hunting? No. As hunter and noted author Ted Kerasote puts it, "'Canned hunting' is a misnomer. More accurately defined as 'shooting animals in small enclosures,' the activity has nothing to do with the motives that inform authentic hunting: procuring healthy, organic food; participating in the timeless cycles of birth, death, and nurturing; honoring the lives that support us; and reconnecting with wildness. No matter where one stands on hunting—vehemently opposed to it or seeing it as yet another way to live sustainably on earth—one ought to decry shooting animals behind fences."
"Fair chase"—a concept central to the philosophy of many in the hunting community—doesn't exist in captive hunts. The self-described ethical hunting community (including groups like Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young, and the Izaak Walton League) is becoming increasingly vocal in its opposition to canned hunting.
As reviled as captive hunting is by non-hunters and hunters alike, no federal law bans the practice, and only about half of the states have policies that ban or restrict canned hunts. The regulations implementing the federal Animal Welfare Act do not apply to game preserves, hunting preserves, and captive hunts. Although the Endangered Species Act protects animals listed as endangered or threatened, the Fish and Wildlife Service does not prohibit private ownership of these animals and even allows captive hunting of endangered species.
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.
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.
Animals and plants are being driven to extinction at unprecedented rates by animal agriculture. Animal farming has affected the environment and wildlife in detrimental ways. Our demand for meat has led to the loss of large numbers of animals, caused massive water and land pollution, and has been a major contributor to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
With world population coming close to 10 billion by 2050, it is predicted that meat production, which has already tripled in the last 30 years, will double by 2050. Livestock farming has already taken up about 25% of the Earth’s land area, with 70% of farmlands used for rearing animals. Each passing minute lands about the size of seven football fields are cleared for the use of livestock production.
Every day an alarming number of plants and animals are lost to extinction. Researchers agree we are undergoing massive life extinction, the first mass extinction as a result of human explosive growth and voracious eating habits. Meat production has now become the biggest threat to animal life, as well as the ecosystem.
The animals used to meet our dietary demands account for 20% of the entire animal population. In the United States alone, animals raised for food are at about 10 billion; equivalent to 32 animals per person every year. On a per capita basis, Americans are the largest consumer of meat. A single individual consumes 203 pounds every year. And the unsustainable American diet is spreading globally.
If all Americans cut out meat from their meals for just one night, the emissions saved would equal the emissions that 40 million cars give off in a year. If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 30%, the greenhouse gas reduction would be equivalent to driving a car over 2,700 miles, and 340,667 gallons of water would be saved each year – per person.
Throughout the world, animal species like deer, elk and pronghorn are killed in huge numbers just to make room for providing more grazing land for cattle. Environmentally critical animals like beavers and prairie dogs are also killed in huge numbers because livestock managers consider them disruptive.
Public lands and funds are being hijacked. Over 175 endangered species are being threatened by livestock farming on American public lands alone, where livestock grazing is promoted and protected. 270 million acres of United States lands have been set aside for raising livestock on federal property. 80% of arable lands in the U.S. are already used for rearing of animals and farming. This is almost equivalent to the total land mass of the lower 48 states.
Over half of the grains grown in the country are used for feeding livestock, while more than 50% of water is used for livestock production. Government agencies, such as Wildlife Services, kill millions of animals each year to provide more grazing land for cows and animals raised on ranches.
“Predator control” programs, which are meant to provide protection to the livestock industry, have only succeeded in driving predator species into extinction. The livestock industry has become an obstacle to efforts of recovering endangered species. As the demand for meat continues to rise, livestock managers are increasing their production. Predators that are left with no other choice but to prey on livestock are killed.
Meat production has contributed immensely to raising the temperatures of the planet, which has in turn led to drought and food shortage. Research has shown that meat production has contributed up to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. In the United States for instance, meat production has been responsible for 20% of the total methane produced by the country.
Livestock is responsible for 500 million tons of manure produced every year. These pollutants find their way into water bodies. Farm pollutants contaminate underground water, wetlands, rivers, lakes and oceans. A massive amount of antibiotics and pesticides used in the production of meat also pollutes the planet.
Cattle grazing wreaks havoc to vegetation and destroys the soil. Excessive grazing has destroyed many forests, caused erosion and stream sedimentation, and destroyed countless habitats.
Livestock grazing is one of the biggest threats to endangered species, affecting 14% of endangered animals and 33% of plants. Livestock grazing has wiped out large numbers of wildlife. Wildlife occupying public lands are the most threatened. Despite the huge amount of money it costs to graze livestock, governments still continue to sponsor it. Activities like vegetation destruction ruins the habitat and disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem. In the end, endangered species are displaced because their homes have been taken away from them.
If you care about helping wildlife and protecting the planet, the most effective action you can take is to reduce or eliminate the amount of meat you consume. A plant based diet will go a long way in sustaining the ecosystem.
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!
Making smarter food choices at the grocery store helps the planet and it animals and is important for a healthier diet. Avoiding processed foods and factory farmed products dramatically reduces your contribution to environmental destruction and animal exploitation, while improving your health.
Follow these tips to make smart and healthy food choices:
Shopping for Fruits & Vegetables:
- Choose a variety of fruits and veggies for a colorful plate!
- Buy fresh, organic fruits and veggies.
- Can’t buy fresh? Try frozen! Frozen vegetables are picked at the height of freshness, and the freezing process locks in their nutrients.
- Buying canned? Go for organic fruit in 100% fruit juice, and low sodium, organic veggies.
Try This: Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh, seasonal produce.
Shopping for Grains:
- When shopping for breads, cereals, and pastas, choose options that list one of the following as the first ingredient: brown rice, whole oats, whole rye, or whole wheat.
- Limit or eliminate refined grains like white bread, white rice, and “plain” pasta.
- Buy organic whenever possible.
- Try to get all the grains in your shopping cart to be whole grains.
Try This: Try a whole grain you’ve never tried before—like brown rice or quinoa. Then mix it up by tossing in some fresh, colorful veggies and herbs.
Shopping for Non-Dairy:
- Choose soy, rice, almond, coconut or hemp milk.
- Buy vegan cheese or go without. Most recipes that call for cheese can be made without it or the cheese can be substituted.
- When buying “no fat” products, watch out for added sugars, which might mean more calories, and worse calories, than you think.
- Flavored non-dairy milk and beverages may also contain added sugars, which may mean more calories, and worse calories, than you think.
Are you determined to help the earth and animals by starting a nonprofit organization? To start a nonprofit you'll need a unique idea that distinguishes your group from similar organizations, a carefully-drafted plan of action, and the passion to keep working toward your goals even when times get tough.
CHOOSE YOUR CAUSE
What animals or ecosystems will benefit from your nonprofit, and in what way are you planning on helping them? This question may seem obvious, but it's worth taking the time to consider it deeply. Start out on the right foot by having a strong purpose and goals that are distinct from those of other nonprofits in your community. Your nonprofit should work for the common good with a specific purpose in mind. For example, your purpose could be to create a cleaner environment for the people and wildlife in your community by establishing programs to clean up the rivers and streams. It's important that the purpose of your organization doesn't overlap too much with the work being done by other organizations. If a similar program has already been established by someone else, you may be able to better accomplish your goals by collaborating with an existing nonprofit. You should also keep in mind that there are millions of nonprofits and limited grant and donor funds to go around, so you'll need to establish yourself as filling a niche that isn't being filled by anyone else.
WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT
Once you have a purpose in mind, craft a clear, timeless, decisive mission statement that will serve as your guide during the entire process of creating your nonprofit and executing your goals. Your mission statement will be a way of clarifying your purpose for yourself as well as advertising your organization to the rest of the world. Keep it broad if you're dreaming big. You may not know exactly where your nonprofit journey will take you; like all organizations, yours will have to react to the changing times and the needs of animals and the environment. Write something more specific if you have a concrete plan in mind. If you're starting a nonprofit to fill a need that's immediately apparent in your community, you might want to write a more focused statement.
CHOOSE A NAME
Come up with a name. Pick out a name that is easy to remember, interesting and gives a clear picture of what your organization is all about. It's also important that your name be unique, since it's illegal to incorporate under a name that is already in use. Contact your state's Secretary of State's office to find out whether the name has already been taken. If it has, you'll need to come up with something else. Don't use a name that's too long or wordy. It will be more difficult for people to remember. Try to choose a name that isn't too mysterious and isn't too similar to another nonprofit's name. You want to state your mission clearly so that people understand your mission and can connect with you easily. When you settle on a name that no one else has, reserve it with the Secretary of State's office.
PICK A LEGAL STRUCTURE
Decide what legal structure your nonprofit will have. Nonprofit organizations fall into different legal categories. The category you choose will determine what sort of actions your organization may perform, how you can get funding, whether your organization has to pay taxes, and whether those who donate to your organization will receive tax exemptions. Nonprofits with 501(C)(3) status do nonpartisan work for the public good, and are exempt from paying taxes. Examples include churches, groups that work to educate the public on animal issues, many environmental organizations, groups working to end animal cruelty and countless other organizations working on issues that benefit the community as a whole by helping in specific ways. Nonprofits with 501 (C) (4) status also work for the common good, but they commonly focus on partisan political issues and may back a specific party or candidate. Money spent on political activities is taxable. These are the most popular classifications for nonprofits, but there are many others. Look into further specific nonprofit classifications that may be appropriate for the type of organization you want to start.
Write and file articles of incorporation. These are official statements that include your organization's name, purpose and a mission statement. They protect the director and board from legal liabilities, placing the liability to the organization instead. Your state's Attorney General's office or Secretary of State's office has the specific information you need to file articles of incorporation in your state. At this point it is often a good idea to hire an attorney to help you write the articles of incorporation correctly and make sure they are filed according to your state's laws. Once your articles of incorporation are filed (with a filing fee), you'll receive a Certificate of Incorporation from your state. At that point you will need to follow your state laws to keep your papers updated in the years to come.
Draft corporate bylaws. These serve as a rule book of sorts for your organization, and must be written according to state law. Again, it is advisable to have an attorney help you draft the bylaws to make sure they're written correctly. The bylaws may be amended as your organization changes over the years. The document should cover the following material:
Membership. Write whether your organization will have members, requirements of membership, whether member meetings will held, and what role the members will play.
Board of directors. Write how many people you'll elect to the board, what election process will be used, when meetings will be held, how long the terms will last, what constitutes grounds for removal, what responsibilities board members have, etc.
Fiscal management. Write out the details of the responsibilities of financial officers, compensation, dues, etc.
FORM A BOARD
Form a Board of Directors and have a meeting to vote on the bylaws. Making sure to follow your state laws, identify people who will help you accomplish your goals as an organization to serve on your Board of Directors. These should be qualified people who support your goals and are willing to come to meetings and take their role seriously. Once you've selected board members (usually between 3 and 7), hold a meeting to vote on the bylaws. Select a diverse group of people with a range of perspectives to keep your organization strong.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
Determine where your organization will get its primary funding and how the money will be used to pursue the goals you have laid out. Make a budget for various programs, events and activities you intend to fund. Include employee compensation as part of your budget. Take grants, donations, state and federal contracts, and other types of funding into account when you create your business plan. Having a solid business plan and budget is mandatory when you apply for tax-exempt status, so it's best to have an attorney look it over to make sure it contains all the necessary information.
APPLY FOR A FEDERAL EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
All nonprofits must get an employer identification number (EIN), also referred to as the federal ID number, which is used to identify the organization for tax purposes. Apply using your corporate name.
OBTAIN TAX-EXEMPT STATUS
Determine which forms you need to fill out to apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status. Not all organizations are eligible for the same exemptions, so consult with your attorney to determine which forms to fill out and what additional information you'll need to submit. You'll be expected to send in your financial plan and budget as well as a filing fee.
HIRE A TEAM
Like any organization, the success or failure of a nonprofit is determined by the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who fill important roles. Do a thorough hiring search to find the best candidates for the particular jobs that need to be done for your organization to run smoothly. Having a smart, dedicated bookkeeper is essential; find someone who will keep your finances on track and be up front when problems arise. Find a determined development director to take charge of your fundraising efforts. In the early stages, you might not have the funds to actually hire employees. You'll probably find yourself doing the work of 3 or 4 people, but you can enlist volunteers, interns and part-time employees to help your organization get on its feet.
GET TO KNOW THE LEADERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
To become a respected resource in your community, it's important to get to know the movers and shakers who can advocate your work and potentially help you get funding to stay afloat. Participate in community events. Go to Town Hall meetings, show up at rallies put on by other nonprofits, attend benefits and fundraisers, and generally be visible at the important meetings in your community. Form coalitions with other nonprofits. Partnering with community leaders to put on events is an excellent way to make your presence known and do great work all at once.
MARKET YOUR ORGANIZATION
Create a good website, have an active Facebook and Twitter account, advertise in local newspapers, put up signs around town, and generally go all out to promote your organization. If you're doing important work, people will want to hear about it and find a way to get involved...so the more you get the word out, the better. Try to get media attention. Local reporters are always looking for an interesting new story to cover. Email or call the newspaper or news station in your area to let them know about an event you're putting on. If you want to spread awareness about a certain issue (and promote your organization at the same time), write an editorial for the newspaper or call the local radio station to pitch yourself for an interview. Send out email blasts to members and people who signed up for your email list. Keep people informed about events, ways to help out, and important issues relevant to your cause. This is also a chance to ask people to donate to your organization.
Find ways to raise money. Much of the work of a nonprofit lies in meticulously documenting your goals and your progress toward them, then presenting this information to potential donors or in the form of grant applications in hopes that people will offer financial support. The energy you bring to fundraising and grant writing will pay off in spades, so don't shirk in this area. Hire a grant writer (or ask a talented volunteer) to research and apply for as many grants as possible. Seek out grants that are geared toward the type of work your organization does. Have fundraising events. While they take a lot of work, fundraising events can help establish your organization as a community leader. Host a documentary screening, a benefit concert, a bingo night, a breakfast, a river cleanup day, or other fun community events to raise money.
KEEP YOUR GOALS IN SIGHT
Remember your mission statement, and let the passion that inspired you to start a nonprofit continue to guide you as you make decisions concerning hiring, fundraising, forming coalitions and all of the other issues that will cross your path as director of an organization. Making steady progress toward your goals is fulfilling on a personal level, but it's also absolutely necessary for the health of your organization.
Many people enjoy walking as a recreation, and it is one of the best forms of exercise. One of the many benefits of walking is the time spent enjoying nature. Spending time outside is important for the body, mind and soul.
Get outside and enjoy nearby parks, green spaces, nature preserves and communities...all while improving your health.
Regular, brisk exercise of any kind can improve confidence, stamina, energy, weight control, life expectancy and reduce stress. It can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, bowel cancer and osteoporosis.
Scientific studies have also shown that walking, besides its physical benefits, is also beneficial for the mind, improving memory skills, learning ability, concentration and abstract reasoning, as well as reducing stress and lifting spirits.
Sustained walking sessions for a minimum period of thirty to sixty minutes a day, five days a week, reduce health risks and have various overall health benefits, such as reducing the chances of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Life expectancy is also increased even for individuals suffering from obesity or high blood pressure.
Walking also improves bone health, especially strengthening the hip bone. It lowers the more harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while raising the more useful good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Studies have found that walking may also help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.
An essential part of any movement for social change is the effort to create new legislation. You don’t need to be an expert on law or politics to lobby your elected officials, but you do need to know how to communicate with them effectively.
The first step is to find out who they are. Next, get to know as many legislators as you can. Don’t wait until you or your group want to introduce a bill or to lobby your legislator to vote one way or the other on an issue. Lay the foundation before you start a legislative campaign. Attend “town meetings” where legislators meet with voters to answer questions. Write to thank them for taking specific positions that you support.
Arrange to meet with them, even if it’s on an issue that you don’t feel strongly about. The important thing is to establish a rapport. It’s also very helpful to get to know elected officials’ aides, who are often much more accessible than the legislators themselves and can often provide you with good “inside” information.
Legislators prefer to be contacted by the following means (in order of preference): Individualized letters by mail; Phone calls; Individualized letters by fax; Individual e-mails; Form letters and e-mails. Be sure to provide your name, address and phone number on the envelope, in the letter, and in all e-mail messages and make sure you are able to articulate the issue should you get your elected official or an aide on the phone.
In your correspondence with elected officials, discuss only one issue at a time. Keep it short; one-page letters are best, and two pages is the maximum. The more personal the correspondence appears, the more seriously it will be taken. State the purpose of your letter or e-mail in the first paragraph. Support your argument with facts, not emotions. Don’t assume that the legislator knows all about the issue. Provide background information. Identify the bill or ordinance by title and number. Be polite and positive. Never threaten; today’s opponent could be tomorrow’s ally on another issue. Clearly state what you want him or her to do. Don’t be self-righteous about being a “citizen” or a “taxpayer”; your readers will assume that you are both.
When addressing the letter and envelope, be sure to use the proper form for the address and salutation. On the envelope and inside address, refer to any legislator as “The Honorable.” The salutation for state or federal representatives is “Mr.” or “Ms.” The salutation for state or federal senators is “Senator.”
When writing to U.S. senators, use the following format and address:
The Honorable [first and last name]
Washington, DC 20510
When writing to U.S. representatives, use the following format and address:
The Honorable [first and last name]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS
When meeting with elected officials, make an appointment well in advance. Go by yourself or, at most, with one other person. f you are going with a group of people, decide on a spokesperson ahead of time.
Dress conservatively and professionally. Know about the legislator and his or her voting record; compliment him or her on past achievements. Be friendly and positive.
Don’t turn down a chance to meet with a legislative aide; go to the meeting and behave as if you were meeting with the elected official.
Know the title and bill number of the legislation that you want to discuss. Provide one-page fact sheets to give background information.
Don’t speak as a member of a national organization. Know your facts. Don’t become emotional. Don’t waste the legislator’s time; make your points briefly and clearly, and then thank him or her and leave promptly.
Remember that how you communicate is as important as what you communicate. People who care about the earth and animals are often stereotyped as too emotional. We can change that image by doing our homework, staying calm and polite, and keeping our statements concise.
The hippopotamus outweighs all the many fresh water semi-aquatic mammals that inhabit our rivers, lakes and streams. After elephants and the white rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal on Earth. Its hide alone can weigh half a ton.
The ancient Egyptians both feared and revered the hippopotamus. The word hippopotamus comes from the Greek for "river horse" and the hippo, once indigenous to Egypt, flourished there, grazing along the fertile banks of the Nile River and swimming in its muddy waters. Hippos may seem slow and lumbering, but they can be ferocious, deadly killers. These prolific animals multiplied until the river was thick with them. They destroyed crops, up ended fishing boats and killed the men as they fell into the river. The ancient kings found sport in great hippopotamus hunts that would thin out the herds. Hunts became bloody battles between man and beast. The hippo is no longer found in Egypt. They were wiped out of that country in modern times because of the crop damage they caused, but the hippo still thrives in other parts of Africa.
Hippopotamus are of the Order Artiodactyla: Even-toed ungulates. On land, the enormous weight of a hippo is distributed evenly and is adequately supported by the four webbed toes on each of its feet. These animals are grayish in color with thick skin that is virtually hairless. The hippo has no sweat or sebaceous glands and must rely on the water to keep cool. A hippo’s hide has the unusual property of secreting a viscous red fluid that protects it from the sun. This specialized excretion may also be a healing agent.
Female hippopotamus bear a single young and will give birth either on land or in shallow water. The mother helps the newborn to the surface of the water. In time, she will teach her baby to swim. Newborns can be seen in the river, resting on their mothers' backs. At birth, a baby hippo will weigh from 55 to 120 pounds. The mother must protect it from crocodiles in the water and lions on land. She must also ward off male hippos. Males do not bother baby hippos when on land, but they will attack them in the water.
Adult hippos can stay under water for up to six minutes. A young hippo can only stay submerged for about half a minute. In order to suckle under water, the baby must take a deep breath, close its nostrils and ears and then wrap its tongue tightly around the teat to suck. This instinctive behavior is the same when the baby suckles on land. Baby hippos start to eat grass at 3 weeks, but will continue to nurse until they are about one year old.
Hippos are usually found in groups of just over a dozen, presided over by a territorial bull. They have flexible social systems defined by food and water conditions and hierarchy. Periods of drought will force them to congregate in large numbers around a limited water supply. This overcrowding disrupts the system and under these conditions, there will be higher levels of aggression. Fights for dominance will be brutal with loud and frequent vocalization. Hippos can bear the scars of old, deep wounds sustained in such battles. A hippo establishes status and marks territory by spreading its excrement with its flat, paddle-like tail.
Hippos move surprisingly well, climbing adeptly up steep riverbanks to grazing areas. They spend the heat of the day in the water, leaving it to graze at night. Apparently creatures of habit, they enter and exit the water at the same spot. They will graze four to five hours, usually covering one or two miles. The amount of grass consumed is relatively modest for animals their size. A hippo’s appetite is in proportion to its sedentary life.
Despite the fact that ditches and low fences can easily deter them from encroaching on cultivated areas, hippopotamus are slaughtered by the hundreds each year. These "controlled management" schemes are put forth less for crop protection than for the meat they yield. The fat and ivory tusks of the hippo are also of value to humans, as is the hippo’s grazing land. The hippos’ range was once from the Nile delta to the Cape, but the mighty river horse is now mostly confined to protected areas.
Most of us will never see a hippopotamus. But as we know more about them, we may learn to value them and their place in the larger ecosystem we all share.
Each year, orcas leap through the air for a handful of fish, and dolphins are ridden by human performers as if they were water skis. Employees at marine parks like to tell audiences that the animals wouldn't perform if they weren't happy. You can even see how content the dolphins are--just look at the permanent smiles on their faces, right? But what most visitors to marine parks don't realize is that hidden behind the dolphin's "smile" is an industry built on suffering.
FAMILIES TORN APART
Killer whales, or orcas, are members of the dolphin family. They are also the largest animals held in captivity. In the wild, orcas stay with their mothers for life. Family groups, or "pods," consist of a mother, her adult sons and daughters, and the offspring of her daughters. Each member of the pod communicates in a "dialect" specific to that pod. Dolphins swim together in family pods of three to 10 individuals or tribes of hundreds. Imagine, then, the trauma inflicted on these social animals when they are ripped from their families and put in the strange, artificial world of a marine park.
Capturing even one wild orca or dolphin disrupts the entire pod. To obtain a female dolphin of breeding age, for example, boats are used to chase the pod to shallow waters. The dolphins are surrounded with nets that are gradually closed and lifted into the boats. Unwanted dolphins are thrown back. Some die from the shock of their experience. Others slowly succumb to pneumonia caused by water entering their lungs through their blowholes. Pregnant females may spontaneously abort babies.
Orcas and dolphins who survive this ordeal become frantic upon seeing their captured companions and may even try to save them. When Namu, a wild orca captured off the coast of Canada, was towed to the Seattle Public Aquarium in a steel cage, a group of wild orcas followed for miles.
ADAPTING TO AN ALIEN WORLD
In the wild, orcas and dolphins may swim up to 100 miles a day. But captured dolphins are confined to tanks as small as 24 feet by 24 feet wide and 6 feet deep. Wild orcas and dolphins can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time, and they typically spend only 10 to 20 percent of their time at the water's surface. But because the tanks in marine parks are so shallow, captive orcas and dolphins spend more than half of their time at the surface. Experts believe this may account for the collapsed dorsal fins seen on the majority of captive orcas.
Dolphins navigate by echolocation. They bounce sonar waves off other objects to determine shape, density, distance, and location. In tanks, the reverberations from their own sonar bouncing off walls drives some dolphins insane. Jean-Michel Cousteau believes that for captive dolphins, "their world becomes a maze of meaningless reverberations."
Tanks are kept clean with chlorine, copper sulfate, and other harsh chemicals that irritate dolphins' eyes, causing many to swim with their eyes closed. Former dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the television show "Flipper," believes excessive chlorine has caused some dolphins to go blind. The United States Department of Agriculture closed Florida's Ocean World after determining that over-chlorinated water was causing dolphins' skin to peel off.
Newly captured dolphins and orcas are also forced to learn tricks. Former trainers say that withholding food and isolating animals who refuse to perform are two common training methods. According to Ric O'Barry, "positive reward" training is a euphemism for food deprivation. Marine parks may withhold up to 60 percent of food before shows so that the animals will be "sharp" for performances. Former dolphin trainer Doug Cartlidge maintains that highly social dolphins are punished by being isolated from other animals: "You put them in a pen and ignore them. It's like psychological torture." It's little wonder, then, that captive orcas and dolphins are, as O'Barry says, "so stressed-out you wouldn't believe it." The stress is so great that some commit suicide. Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel, vowed never to capture marine mammals again after witnessing one captured dolphin kill himself by deliberately crashing into the side of his tank again and again.
If life for captive orcas and dolphins is as tranquil as marine parks would have us believe, the animals should live longer than their wild counterparts. After all, captive marine mammals are not subject to predators and ocean pollution. But captivity is a death sentence for orcas and dolphins.
In the wild, dolphins can live to be 25 to 50 years old. Male orcas live between 50 and 60 years, females between 80 and 90 years. But orcas at Sea World and other marine parks rarely survive more than 10 years in captivity. More than half of all dolphins die within the first two years of captivity; the remaining dolphins live an average of only six years. One Canadian research team found that captivity shortens an orca's life by as much as 43 years, and a dolphin's life by up to 15 years.
Sea World, which owns most of the captive orcas and dolphins in the United States, has one of the worst histories of caring for its animals. After Sea World purchased and closed Marineland, a Southern California competitor, it shipped the Marineland animals to various Sea World facilities. Within a year, 12 of them--5 dolphins, 5 sea lions, and 2 seals--were dead. The following year, Orky, a Marineland orca said to be the "world's most famous killer whale," also died. Because of such high mortality rates and because captive breeding programs have been highly unsuccessful, marine parks continue to capture orcas and dolphins from the wild.
Captive animals are not the only victims of these "circuses of the sea." Sea World patrons were stunned when two orcas repeatedly dragged trainer Jonathan Smith to the bottom of their tank, in an apparent attempt to drown him. Trainer Keltie Lee Byrne was killed by three Sea Land orcas after she fell into the water with them.
Marine parks have shown no more interest in conserving marine mammals' natural habitats than they have in educating audiences. In fact, the industry has actively lobbied to keep small cetaceans, such as orcas and dolphins, outside the jurisdiction of the International Whaling Commission (even though this would help protect these animals in the wild) because they don't want to risk not being able to capture additional animals in the future.
TURNING THE TIDE
Increasingly, people around the world are recognizing that dolphins, orcas, and other cetaceans do not belong in captivity. Canada no longer allows beluga whales to be captured and exported. In Brazil, it is illegal to use marine mammals for entertainment. In England, consumer boycotts have forced all the marine parks to close. Israel has prohibited the importation of dolphins for use in marine parks, South Carolina has banned all exhibits of whales and dolphins, and other states are currently working on legislation to prohibit the capture or restrict the display of marine mammals.
Richard Donner, coproducer of the film "Free Willy," has joined a growing number of people in calling for an end to the marine mammal trade. Says Donner, "Removal of these majestic mammals from the wild for commercial purposes is obscene....These horrendous captures absolutely must become a thing of the past."
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Boycott all forms of animal entertainment.
Contact your local, state and federal officials and encourage them to ban marine mammal parks.
Switching to a vegan lifestyle is accompanied with so many benefits (environmental, animal compassion, healthier living) that the real question you should ask is, “Why not?” By switching to a vegan lifestyle, you will see your health drastically improve, your negative environmental impact will diminish, and you will help save millions of animals worldwide.
Veganism And Health
There is clear and overwhelming medical evidence that the incidence of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes is much less among vegans; obesity as well. Vegans are usually in better physical condition; their food has far lower levels of pesticides; and their immune systems work much better.
The largest epidemiological study to date, commonly referred to as “The China study”, showed that people who consume meat and animal products in quantities similar to those in a typical American diet are 17 times more likely to die from heart disease, and 5 times more likely to suffer from breast cancer, than those whose animal-derived protein comprises less than 5 percent of their total diet.
The concentration of pesticides in meat is 14 times higher than plant foods, because these chemicals accumulate as they progress through the food chain, and they are fat-soluble. Six years after the banning of dieldrin, a pesticide, the USDA confiscated and destroyed 2,000,000 packages of frozen turkey products with high dieldrin concentrations. In 1974, in tests run by the FDA, dieldrin was discovered in 85 percent of all dairy products and in 99.5 percent of the country’s human population.
According to the EPA, vegetarian mothers produce breast milk that has much lower pesticide concentrations than the average American.
In a study published in the NEJM, it was reported that the highest contamination level of vegetarians was lower than the lowest contamination level of non-vegetarians. Mean contamination in vegetarians was only 1 to 2 percent as much as the national average.
Veganism And The Environment
Veganism is a choice that has more positive impact on energy, land, water, ecosystems and wildlife than any other. This is due to livestock consuming several times more grain than their meat output. What’s more, harvesting and transportation of animal-derived products requires huge amounts of energy, and massive quantities of water for the animals and the crops they are fed – not to mention the disturbing amount of pesticides used.
If all countries around the world adopted American diet habits, fossil fuel reserves would be depleted in just eleven years. Plant foods with the worst energy efficiency are ten times more efficient than the most efficient meat food. If we went vegetarian as a nation, our oil imports would be reduced by 60 percent.
More than 50 percent of the nation’s water consumption goes to water the crops that feed livestock. You need 100 times more water for meat production. One day’s food in the typical American diet requires 4,000 gallons of water. Conversely, vegetarian food needs 1,200 gallons, and vegan food just 300 gallons. When you eat the typical American diet, just to grow enough food for three days you need to use as much water as you need to shower every day for the whole year.
Livestock in America produces 20 times more waste than humans, a jaw-dropping 250 thousand pounds per second. The waste produced by a large feedlot rivals that of a large city – and feedlots don't have sewage systems. This results in animal waste ending up in lakes and rivers, increasing their pollution of phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, and microorganisms, thereby depleting oxygen and killing animal and plant life. The meat industry produces 300 percent more harmful organic waste than all the other industries in the country combined.
To produce food for the average American diet, 10 times more land is needed compared to a vegetarian one. 20 thousand pounds of potatoes vs. only 165 pounds of beef can come out of an acre of land. In the United States alone, in order to support our meat-based diet, 260 million acres of forest have been turned over to agriculture, accounting for more than one acre per person. Forests are destroyed at a rate of 1 acre every 5 seconds. Seven acres of forest are turned into grazing or crop fields for animal feeding for every acre cleared for urban development.
Almost 85 percent of all lost topsoil is directly related to livestock farming. According to the USDA, topsoil loss has caused crop productivity to drop by as much as 70 percent. Almost 500 years are required for the formation of one inch of topsoil under natural conditions. Conversely, vegan diets demand less than 5 percent of the topsoil needed for meat-based diets.
Moral Benefits Of Veganism
Animal suffering is nobody’s objective, but we often forget that it’s inevitable when we eat them. The one most effective action an individual can perform to ease the suffering of animals is to simply remove them from your diet.
We kill approximately 8 billion animals every year to produce food in the U.S. alone, which accounts for more than the planet’s entire human population. It is estimated that around 24 animals die every year for one American to feed on them. To make things worse, modern agriculture has been raising animals in small confinement facilities, far removed from the traditional image of the beautiful-looking pasture – a method called factory farming.
Most factory farmed animals are raised in tiny cages with no room to move. They are deprived of exercise so that all of their bodies' energy goes toward producing flesh, eggs, or milk for human consumption. Massive amounts of potent drugs are fed to the animals to stop them from becoming sick due to their filthy living conditions, and to boost their production faster than their natural development would dictate. When chickens and cows become less productive in eggs and milk, they are killed and turned into low-quality meat (pet food and fast food).
Cattle raised for beef are usually born in one state, fattened in another, and slaughtered in yet another. They are fed an unnatural diet of high-bulk grains and other "fillers" (including sawdust). They are castrated, de-horned, and branded without anesthetics. During transportation, cattle are crowded into metal trucks where they suffer from fear, injury, temperature extremes, and lack of food, water, and veterinary care. Calves raised for veal are taken from their mothers only a few days after birth, chained in stalls only 22 inches wide with slatted floors that cause severe leg and joint pain. They are fed a milk substitute laced with hormones but deprived of iron: anemia keeps their flesh pale and tender but makes the calves very weak. When they are slaughtered at the age of about 16 weeks, they are often too sick or crippled to walk. One out of every 10 calves dies in confinement.
Ninety percent of all pigs are closely confined at some point in their lives, and 70 percent are kept constantly confined. Sows are kept pregnant or nursing constantly and are squeezed into narrow metal "iron maiden" stalls, unable to turn around. Although pigs are naturally peaceful and social animals, they resort to cannibalism and tailbiting when packed into crowded pens and develop neurotic behaviors when kept isolated and confined. They often contract dysentery, cholera, trichinosis, and other diseases fostered by factory farming.
Chickens are divided into two groups: layers and broilers. Five to six laying hens are kept in a 14-inch-square mesh cage, and cages are often stacked in many tiers. Conveyor belts bring in food and water and carry away eggs and excrement. Because the hens are severely crowded, they are kept in semi-darkness and their beaks are cut off with hot irons (without anesthetics) to keep them from pecking each other to death from stress. The wire mesh of the cages rubs their feathers off, chafes their skin, and cripples their feet. Approximately 20 percent of the hens raised under these conditions die of stress or disease. At the age of one to two years, their overworked bodies decline in egg production and they are slaughtered (chickens would normally live 15-20 years).
More than six billion "broiler" chickens are raised in sheds each year. Lighting is manipulated to keep the birds eating as often as possible, and they are killed after only nine weeks. Despite the heavy use of pesticides and antibiotics, up to 60 percent of chickens sold at the supermarket are infected with live salmonella bacteria.
Farm animals are sentient beings that experience all the same emotions we do. They deserve our respect and compassion. The easiest and most effective way to reduce the cruelty inflicted on farm animals is to become vegan.