Join people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all! Visit World Oceans Day’s website to find an event in your area to connect you to saving the sea. Or set off on your own to make a difference; 5 Ways You Can Protect the Ocean, written by Brad Nahill, Co-Founder of SEE Turtles, can get you started Want more ways to help? Check out our post on ways you can protect the ocean while on your next beach visit.
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most successful environmental laws in U.S. history. Friday, May 17, 2013 is the 8th annual Endangered Species Day – a day to spread awareness of species at-risk and to share success stories of species that have recovered. Join us in raising awareness!
- Attend an Endangered Specie Day event. Find one here!
- Spread the word on social media. Mention @savespecies in a tweet to help Endangered Species Coalition gain supporters (be sure to hashtag #ESDay). Or share a wildlife message with your Facebook friends (include @Endangered Species Coalition in your post so they can see your support).
- Learn about conservation efforts in your state! U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s interactive map can help you discover which species are being protected in your area.
- Use Endangered Species Coalition’s 10 Things You Can Do list to make simple changes that can have a big impact on species conservation.
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. Here are some ways to connect and participate:
The History of Earth Day| Get a quick overview of the how and why behind Earth Day with this short WatchMojo video.
Some Endangered Species Chocolate Bars (like the Wolf, Bat, and Panther) already have a Halloween vibe about them…featuring creatures that prowl in the night. But other flavors (think Otter, Chimp, Sea Turtle) aren’t exactly the type of treat you’d give to a friend on Halloween…UNLESS you gave it a costume! Here are two simple ways to dress up your chocolate bars for Halloween.
THE BAT BAR
- Black construction paper
- 3oz. Endangered Species Chocolate Bar
- Goggly eyes (or draw your own!)
Cut your black construction paper in a bat shape using this template (or freehand it if using a chocolate bar that is a different size).
Lightly glue chocolate bar into the center of the bat shape.
Affix googly eyes to the head of the bat with glue.
Finally, fold the wings in over the chocolate bar and spot glue them into place.
Mummified Chocolate Bar
Now that you’ve mastered the Bat Wrap, give this mummy chocolate bar costume a try! Instructions can be found at The Idea Room, a great place to get all sorts of fun, crafty inspiration!
Helpful Mummy Tip: cut crepe paper in half lengthwise to make a skinnier “bandage” – makes it much easier to wrap around the chocolate bar.
5 Ways That You Can Help Protect the Ocean
World Ocean Day is June 8th and what better way to celebrate than by helping to protect the ocean and the creatures that call it home? Most of the news we hear these days about the ocean is bad; giant islands of trash, sharks being killed for their fins, and more. But there is still hope to save the oceans and everyone can help no matter how far you live from a coast.
1. USE LESS PLASTIC
Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch out north of Hawaii; not many people know that all five of the world’s oceans have currents (called “gyres”) that collect plastic waste. This waste endangers sea turtles, birds, seals, and other wildlife.
How to help: First, avoid plastic whenever possible. You can support local bans on plastic bags (congratulations, Los Angeles)) and take the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Pledge to refuse disposable plastic. You can also volunteer in the International Coastal Cleanup and help keep trash out of the oceans.
2. EAT LESS FISH OR MORE SUSTAINABLE FISH
Many of the world’s major fish stocks are overfished and collapsing. This is more than a food issue; these fish make the marine food web survive and many coastal communities depend on the industry. The good news is that there are alternatives for those who don’t want to completely give up seafood.
How to help: First, avoid the most damaging seafood such as shrimp. In some places, fishermen catch up to 10 lbs. of other fish and animals for every pound of shrimp. Also, print out a Seafood Watch Guide or download their smart phone app that tells you which fish are being caught sustainably and which ones can have high levels of toxins.
3. USE YOUR VOICE (OR YOUR EMAIL)
There are many opportunities to speak up for ocean conservation. For example, you can participate in the Sea Turtle Restoration Project’s campaign to enforce the use of turtle excluder devises on shrimp boats in Louisiana by emailing your Senator. You can also speak up for a strong National Ocean Policy here.
4. VOLUNTEER WITH A SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROJECT
Ever wanted to see what the life of a marine biologist is like? Our SEE Turtles project helps connect volunteers with sea turtle conservation programs in Latin America at no charge. Patrol a turtle nesting beach, helping measure and tag sea turtles and move their eggs to a protected hatchery. Volunteers pay from $15-50 per day for food and lodging, which is a critical source of income for many small projects.
5. TAKE AN OCEAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TOUR
SEEtheWILD is the world’s first non-profit wildlife conservation travel project and our website promotes tours where you can get up close to ocean wildlife including sea turtles, sharks, and whales. Every trip benefits conservation programs through donations, education, and volunteer opportunities.
BONUS ACTION: SHARE A BLUE MARBLE
The Blue Marbles Project is a simple experiment in showing gratitude for the ocean. Millions of these marbles are passing around the planet, from hand to hand. The premise is simple, give a marble to someone doing good things for the ocean. Pick up some marbles here and share the stories of the people you give them to on Facebook.
- Brad Nahill
Guest blogger, Brad Nahill is Director & Co-Founder of SEEtheWILD, a wildlife conservation travel project. He launched SEE Turtles, a sea turtle conservation travel project with Dr. Wallace J. Nichols that has generated more than $300,000 in support for community-based turtle conservation projects in Latin America.
The Endangered Species Act is one of the most successful environmental laws in U.S. history and is America’s primary tool for protecting biodiversity. Its purpose is to prevent the extinction of our most at-risk plants and animals, increase their numbers, and restore them to a full recovery. Currently, the Act protects more than 1,900 species.
STRENGHT OF THE ACT
Very few species have gone extinct once granted protection under the Act.
The longer a species is listed under the Act, the more likely it is to be recovering.
Species with “critical habitat” designation under the Act are twice as likely to recover than those without this designation.
Bald Eagle – increased from 416 to 9,789 pairs between 1963 and 2006
Whooping Crane – increased from 54 to 513 birds between 1967 and 2006
Kirtland’s Warbler – increased from 210 to 1,415 pairs between 1981 and 2005
Peregrine Falcon – increased from 324 to 1,700 pairs between 1975 and 2000
Gray Whale - increased from 13,000 to 26,635 whales between 1968 and 1998
Grizzly Bear – increased from 224 to 500+ bears between 1975 and 2005
Source: Center for Biological Diversity
May 18th is Endangered Species Day. What endangered species are you most passionate about saving?
We just wrapped up an Earth Day sweepstakes on Facebook, Win a Feel Good Moment, where we offered a chance to win $1000 for the non-profit of the winner’s choice. Choosing an eco-charity to support is a difficult one – there are so many great ones out there! We know this firsthand. To fulfill our 10% GiveBack Promise, we scour stacks of applications and dig deep into each organization. Here are shortcuts we’ve learned along the way to help you narrow down your choices and match up with the perfect conservation org:
1. PINPOINT YOUR CAUSE. Whether you’re interested in wildlife preservation, land conservation or climate change, there are resources to help you find an environmental org that supports your interests. Spend some time with a search engine to get a sense of the organizations out there that share your environmental concerns.
2. CHECK THEIR PERFORMANCE. Once you have a handful of organizations that speak to your eco concerns, Charity Navigator (for larger charities) and Better Business Bureau Giving Alliance (for local giving) are great places to dig deeper. These sites offer free tools to evaluate the financials, accountability and transparency of non-profits. With a few simple clicks, you’ll know which charities are trustworthy.
3. GET TO KNOW THEM, THEN JOIN THEM. Now that you’ve honed in on groups that mesh with your ideals, visit their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You’ll quickly gain an understanding of the scope of their work and involvement with their members. A good match will make you feel good, excited and involved in making an impact.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a charity to support? Comment below and share your experiences.
Halloween is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about costumes! Instead of buying, consider a more eek-o-minded approach. Saturday, October 8th is National Costume Swap Day™ – a planet friendly way to get kids recycling in the funniest way possible – trading (reusing) princess gowns, witch’s hats and superhero capes!
Costume swaps or making your own costumes from materials you have on hand means less resources, less packaging and less waste. Wrap your mind around this fact: swapping (aka reusing) just half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons! It also means you can be original and decide exactly what you want to be for Halloween. Imagine trying to find a tornado costume at a big box store!
DIY Tornado Costume
- black t-shirt and pants
- masking tape
- assorted small tornado victims (leaves, toy tractor, barnyard animal figures)
Wrap masking tape up one pant leg (crinkle tape a bit for authentic tornado texture!). Repeat with t-shirt, wrapping tape in a spiral up to neck. Tie assorted toys and figures to short bits of fishing line. Tie fishing lined tornado victims to random spots on t-shirt and pants. Muss up child’s hair and brush a bit of dusty brown eyeshadow across face to complete the transformation!
Swaps can be as simple as getting together with a few neighbors or as large as a citywide event; check Costume Swap’s site to find local swaps you can attend. No matter the size of your event, a costume swap is the perfect way to save the resources it takes to create new costumes. Plus, trading costumes saves you money! Check out this incredibly cute video; twin brothers, Tristin and Tyler, show you how it’s done.
Find more ways to green up your holiday at Green Halloween®.
Better late than never
My mind is continously wrapped around chocolate and species conservation. It’s my job and I love it. And you’d THINK that I’d be totally keyed in to all the conservation-minded holidays out there – but they always sneak up on me. Usually, I become aware of these obscure observances the day after the fact. Like World Water Day (March 22) and International Migratory Bird Day (May 14). And wouldn’t you know it – World Turtle Day was May 23rd. I’ve given up too many good writing ideas for fear of being untimely. Watch me now as I bravely and belatedly post about World Turtle Day!
Soft spot for hard-shelled creatures
Turtles and tortoises have been around for more than 200 million years. They obviously are creatures that are meant to stand the test of time. However, over the past 20 years, almost 50% of all turtle species have been listed as threatened. And six out of seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered. Since learning these deporable facts, I aim to seek out ways to help.
SEE Turtles saves sea turtles
Combining conservation tourism and volunteerism, SEE Turtles works in Costa Rica, Baja California Sur and Trinidad – vital nessting habitats for endangered sea turtles – to support community-based turtle protection efforts.
You can get involved in a small, meaningful way by purchasing Endangered Species Chocolate’s Save the Sea Turtle Gift Pack. Or you can go big and plan an adventure vacation with SEE Turtles and have a hands on sea turtle saving experience!
Be aware of baby turtles
The U.S. Humane Society urges people to beware of fairs, carnivals, flea markets and pet shops that sell baby turtles. In 1975, FDA’s Public Health and Services Act banned the sale/distribution of turtles less than four inches in length. Despite the ban, baby turtles continue to be sold – an illegal practice that is destructive to both turtles and humans. A practice I recently witnessed at a tourist shop while on a beach getaway weekend. You can bet when I return to the beach this month, I am going to be asking the store owner some hard questions and reporting them. Click here to learn how to report these types of violations to the FDA.
Many turtle species are declining due to the pet trade. Children often lose interest in pet animals obtained on impulse and parents may not be prepared to care for a turtle who can live for decades and grow to be a foot long. Turtles need proper light and temperature, a water filtration system and room to grow. Countless pet turtles die from being kept in inadequate conditions.
Humans, especially young children, are also put at risk by close contact with pet turtles. A major Salmonella outbreak in 2007 that sickened 107 people (mostly children) in 37 states was attributed to pet turtles.
World Turtle Day
May is a busy time for turtles (yes, yes…I know it is now JUNE!). Many have recently emerged from winter hibernation and are beginning their search for mates and nesting areas. May 23rd was designated World Turtle Day in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue. The day is used to highlight the threats to turtles’ survival and educate about what we can do to protect these quiet creatures. Just like this post, caring and spreading the word is better late than never.
Share your turtle stories! Join me in celebrating a belated World Turtle Day by commenting below.
Mark your calendar. Friday, May 20th marks the 6th year of national Endangered Species Day. This day presents an opportunity to really focus on the importance of protecting plant and animal life. From the downright adorable to the wonderfully weird, each species has a place and purpose on our planet. Thousands of plant and animal species across the world are endangered and on the brink of extinction. Over the years, the Endangered Species Act has provided a much needed helping hand to our natural neighbors.
America enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973, one of dozens of U.S. environmental laws that were passed in the 1970s. The Act was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction – to protect and nurture populations back to full health. It is not a perfect law but it has been hugely successful to many species on the brink. Critical habitats are given a fighting chance under the Act too. Millions of acres of ancient forests, wild beaches, open meadows and sparkling rivers – treasured places that would have otherwise been long since logged out, paved over or built up had it not been for the Endangered Species Act.
Put endangered species and conservation groups in the forefront of your mind this month. Extinction is forever. Protecting our world’s disappearing wildlife and open spaces is a responsibility that needs our focus, compassion and action.
Which endangered species speaks to your heart the most? Let us know by sharing the species you are most passionate about my commenting below.