Celebrating the elephant

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We recently shared the story about how the Singita Grumeti Fund is working to train dogs in their anti-poaching and conservation efforts.  So who are these dogs protecting?

The Tanzania area’s elephant population, for one.

The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict are just some of the threats to both African (less than 400,000 worldwide) and Asian (less than 40,000 worldwide) elephants.

Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world, including the Singita Grumeti Fund.

And it’s working. The project has seen a fourfold increase in their elephant population. That’s why on World Elephant Day – and everyday, you should consider supporting the Singita Grumeti Fund.

 

It’s just peachy!

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August is National Peach Month and we couldn’t be more excited.

That’s because our project, Piggy Bank, is celebrating the fuzzy stone fruit and the farmers across the nation who work so hard on August 13 with its first PeachFest in downtown Atlanta.

The festival, hosted by FlatironCity,  highlights Georgia’s diverse agriculture, through cooking demonstrations and tastings, contests and barbecue.

“This has been a difficult year for our peach farmers,” says Brady Lowe, project director of Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making for heritage breed pigs, many of which are endangered. “Yet, it’s the ideal time to celebrate how important these farmers are to local and national agriculture, especially during National Peach Month. We’re looking forward to making PeachFest a recurring destination event filled with exciting competitions.”

Top Georgian farmers, chefs, distillers, and brewers will collaborate to give the state’s finest agricultural products flavor and form in this urban setting, including three distinct competitions:

  • The Peach Beer Tasting and Judging, which will select the best peach beer in the land.
  • The Breckenridge Bourbon Peach Punch, which features local barmasters to mix a signature peach cocktail for bragging rights.
  • The Gumcreek Farms Peach Grind, featuring local chefs inventing a peach-pork sausage.

Other events include a benefit silent auction, local chef demonstrations, local wine tastings, and music from the Packway Handle Band.  To purchase tickets, visit ​www.peachfest.org​.

 

 

 

Got me working like a dog… oh, I am a dog.

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We know you work hard.  But do you work like a dog?

One of our projects, the Singita Grumeti Fund, is working to have man’s best friend to become the best friend to animals that are often poached for ivory or just game shooting.

The project currently has an effective law enforcement presence throughout the Tanzanian reserve and it has helped increase the population of animals including elephants, black rhinos and lions.

Now they are amplifying their impact by developing a dog detection unit to stay one step ahead of poachers. These highly skilled sniffer dogs will catch poachers before they have succeeded in killing wildlife, shifting to proactive law enforcement and saving the lives of many endangered animals.

During Work Like a Dog Day, won’t you consider helping support Singita Grumeti Fund’s work by making a donation today?

Photo credit: Singita Grumeti Fund

Simplify your life! And help the environment

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The first week in August is Simplify Your Life Week.  And although many may think simplifying means items of convenience, such as pre-packaged foods and disposable items, including paper plates, diapers and plastic utensils, there are some wonderful ways to simplify your life without hurting the planet.

  • Eat more natural, locally created foods.  Studies show our average meal has traveled several thousand miles to arrive on your plate. Not only is this at a massive cost to the environment, but your food will probably have lost a lot of its nutrients in transit for up to several weeks before you eat it. A good way to start doing this is by grocery shopping just the perimeter of the store where the fresh food is, while looking for locally-sourced items. In addition, you’ll be eating healthier, and supporting local farmers.
  • Understand you don’t need everything.  Clutter fills more than our shelves and closets – it permeates our lives. We work hard to be able to afford things, many of which require care, cleaning, storing, insuring, protecting….and the media and the merchants are constantly offering us the next “must have.”  The cost of consumer goods goes beyond the price tag. Environmental costs come from resource extraction, manufacturing, shipping and waste management.
  • Choose online shopping (even for groceries). Buying goods online can be an environmentally friendly and time-saving way to shop. Think about it: a delivery truck is making multiple stops on a route.  That reduces the carbon footprint.
  • Consider outsourcing. As the world becomes smaller, and technology improves, hiring others who may live on the other side of the world is increasingly going to be the norm AND it can actually save us a lot of time and money. From an environmental point of view – outsourcing and remote working reduces the carbon footprint of commuting, and additional office space. From a personal standpoint – it saves you money, and hassle.

Some things that are supposed to make our lives simpler may actually just make it more complicated and intricate.  Take a look at how you can make a difference to the environment while adding more simplicity to your life.

Orange you glad it’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

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As farmers markets begin to bustle and produce stands pop-up along the roadside, celebrating National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month presents a fresh and delectable invitation for a summer meal. Whether from a stand, you picked-it-yourself at a local farm, grew it in your backyard, or had a friendly neighbor knock on your door, ‘lettuce’ take a bite of all that is yummy.

Much of our work at T4CI lends itself to healthy, fresh produce that focuses on sustainability. One of our projects, The Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative, for example, is working to get fresh fruits and veggies in religious communities and their food pantries.  And the central T4CI team in Oakland is always up to anything fresh and edible.

Here are the office favorite fruits and vegetables:

  • Ty: Mango and Chickpeas
  • Stephen: Mango and Sweet Potato
  • Carolyn: Opal Apples and Broccoli
  • Tenzin:  Apples and Spinach
  • Jessica: Blueberries and Broccolini
  • Laura: Grapefruit and Celery
  • Kvetka: Apples and Peas
  • Kristin:  Cherries and Brussels Sprouts
  • Shannon:  Avocados and Jicama

We’re hungry for more, so please share your favorite fruits and veggies with us in the comment section.

It’s too darn hot.

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If you have been keeping up with Northern California’s weather, you know we’ve been in a heatwave lately, and it is expected to last for several more days. This heat is cause for concern, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a food security and health perspective.

The massive winter storms which coated towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after years of drought  is now melting too fast. That means waterways could flood and damage the vital crops in the Central Valley.  Find out more about this through our project, Maven’s Notebook.

The heat can be dangerous in other ways too. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Get wet. Hang a wet sheet over a window, which is what the rangers do at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.
  • Block sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Eat cold. Although barbecue is ubiquitous with  warmer temperatures, it works against you on hotter days.  When it’s too hot to cook, consider cold soups or rely on electrical appliances instead of those cooking methods that generate more heat.
  • Swig it. Staying hydrated is important. You can think beyond water to other foods that will keep you in the cool, including watermelon, peaches, celery, and cucumbers.

The outdoors awaits

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Over the course of more than 150 years, a once-radical idea has evolved into a cohesive United States national parks system, with a sometimes conflicting two part-mission: to make the parks accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.

North and south, east and west, they stretch from the edges of our maps to the hearts of our cities, covering nearly one-third of the country. This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month.

June is a special time to celebrate America’s great outdoors and all the benefits it brings, including annual economic impact of $650 billion nationwide. That’s why June has been named Great Outdoors Month.

Whether camping, fishing, rock climbing, or playing in a neighborhood park, nature offers each of us the opportunity to get active, explore, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends.  It’s also a time great to uphold our nation’s legacy of conserving our lands for future generations.

So as you enjoy the great outdoors, think also about how you can better support it.

The answer is blowing in the wind

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What’s the answer to clean energy?

It’s swirling around you.  It’s wind.

Wind power has become a major driver for a sustainable energy future.

Last year, $112.5 billion was invested in wind power globally, and the industry now employs 1.2 million people making it one of the fastest growing industrial segments in the world.

Wind power is already a low-cost option for new power capacity in rapidly increasing number of markets. In 2016, unsubsidized new renewable power was cheaper than fossil fuels in over 30 countries, and by 2025 that will be the case in most countries around the world.

On Global Wind Day,  we salute our project, Sane Energy, working to create sustainable energy sources and changing the use of fossil fuel. Consider a donation today.

Our Oceans; Our Future

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It’s time to look at our future. It’s time to look at our oceans.

The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate. They are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income and serve as the backbone of international trade.

Unfortunately, human pressures, including over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

June 8 is World Oceans Day, an annual celebration of the planet’s oceans and recognized by the United Nations each year. This day is also a call for ocean conservation action throughout the year.   Take a look:

Many of our projects work with our oceans and the ecosystems that support them.  Take a look here and support one (or more) today!

 

On World Environment Day, Innovation Trumps Politics

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A message from Laura Deaton, executive director at Trust for Conservation Innovation:

June 5th is World Environment Day. Today is a new beginning, or it least it can be.

When the President of the United States decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement last week, there was a palpable sense of disappointment among our programs and their partners, who together strive 24/7/365 to protect and foster a healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable world. The Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries including the US, includes country-specific pledges to cut the greenhouse gas emissions which drive global warming, a key contributor to climate change. With this move, China is now poised to step into the void left by the President’s surrender of the US’s role as the global leader in climate change policy, putting the US in the same league as Syria and Nicaragua, the only other countries not participating in the agreement.

Marking a break with decades of bipartisan support for globally-focused US foreign policy, President Trump justified this action by claiming that withdrawing from the Agreement would remove “the draconian financial and economic burdens” imposed by the agreement.  Yet, the latest polls suggest that the President is out of step with the majority of Americans across all party lines. For example, a recent poll by Yale University found that 7 in 10 registered voters (69%) think the US should take part in the agreement compared with only 13% who say the US should not.

In the face of this disconnect, a groundswell of interwoven US-based support for the Agreement is building momentum.  As of today, the Governors of California, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Puerto Rico have boldly come forward and refused to back down from America’s commitments. Nearly 200 mayors from rural and urban areas throughout the country have also vowed to reduce emissions and adopt clean energy technology.

June 5th is World Environment Day.  President Trump may have walked away from the Paris Agreement, but that’s all the more reason for us to shine an even brighter light on innovation, on advocacy, and on the power of communities to create change. Our voices matter.  Our work is making a difference. It’s time to amplify and magnify the impact that we have every day.  Now, more than ever, it’s our opportunity to be a beacon of innovation whose light shines every day on the plethora of opportunities we still have to preserve and protect this planet and its inhabitants for future generations.