Endangered livestock: Heritage Breeds Week

You may not think much about it, but there are endangered breeds of livestock. More than 1,400 of them worldwide. And it’s time to start protecting them.

That’s what  International Heritage Breeds Week is all about.  After all,  agriculture has dramatically changed over the past century in many parts of the world and is still rapidly evolving in favor of speed and efficiency.

Livestock domestication began around 12,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. For most of recorded history agriculture took place small-scale, and at the local level, but over the past century, the same efficiencies used in many other industries have been applied in farming to produce more food, in less time, at lower prices. This consolidation has led to the abandonment and extinction of at least 7% of the currently documented 8,774 breeds worldwide, with an additional 17% now at risk of extinction. The current extinction rate is higher than it has ever been, with at least 99 breeds having become extinct since the year 2000. That results in less genetically diverse livestock, which can lead to vulnerabilities in agriculture.

Our project, Piggy Bank is focusing on creating an open access agriculture with heritage pigs.

Take a look:

And consider a donation during  International Heritage Breeds Week.

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

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The Queen song aside, now is a great time to start riding your bike to work or school, especially since this week is Bike to Work Week.

Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever.

Then there is the issue of the carbon footprint.  The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

That’s where our project Menlo Spark comes in. They have been working with the community in Menlo Park to develop a special bike path for commuters. Check out what else they are doing at http://menlospark.org/

Meet the mother of the environmental movement

This Mother’s Day weekend, T4CI would like to introduce you to the woman considered by most the mother of the environmental movement: Rachel Carson.

Carson was the first woman to take and pass the civil service exam for federal employment. And in 1936 she began working for Bureau of Fisheries as a biologist. She wrote several books on the environment and in 1952 left the Bureau to pursue a full-time writing career.

Her environmental writings inspired the nation to look at environmental problems seriously. Her  book Silent Spring, published in 1962, provoked a national reexamination — and ban — of the use of DDT,  a pesticide shown to cause and that its agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds.

In it, she said:

“In nature nothing exists alone.”

Carson’s writings were attacked by chemical manufacturers who painted her as an alarmist and even attempted to dismiss her findings because she was a woman. But Carson also had powerful advocates, among them President John F. Kennedy, who established a presidential committee to investigate pesticides.

Learn more about this amazing woman, below:

 

Eat What You Want Day? #EatLocal

May 11 is “Eat What You Want Day”.  It was established to allow people to let go of their dieting lifestyle for just one day.

That’s nice, but let’s take it a step further.

What if you choose a cheeseburger to indulge in on this day?

Do you know the impact of that one cheeseburger? Take a look.

Depending on where you get your “Eat What You Want Day”  cheeseburger, it could be hurting the environment.  So instead, choose to indulge by eating local food sources.

And celebrate the day by sharing your awesome food choices with photos and the hashtag: #eatlocal.

Attention Development Professionals: ready for a change? Join T4CI!

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T4CI has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years (~$18-$20M annual revenue) and seek a savvy and experienced senior development professional to join our downtown Oakland team. This is a newly created position and we are poised to hire immediately.

The Senior Advisor, Fundraising/Development will be a multi-faceted leader with well-rounded generalist skills in nonprofit fundraising and development. Although we seek a seasoned and experienced development generalist, this position is somewhat unique as it does not entail routinely raising funds to support the Trust for Conservation Innovation directly, and thus it is not titled with the traditional “development director” moniker.

As an in-house coach, advisor, and thought partner, the Senior Advisor’s primary function will be to provide ongoing advisory support, coaching and training to the approximately 50 nonprofit programs in our portfolio. This position will be an ideal fit for a leader who has held both senior in-house roles and who has also served nonprofit clients via a consulting/professional services role.

If you are seeking the best of both worlds in one position, check out the details here: http://www.T4CI.org/about/pdf/T4CI-FundraisingAdvisor582017.pdf

Are you all wet? Take our wetlands quiz.

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Like our own kidneys that help purify our blood, wetlands are the ‘kidneys’ of our landscape. They remove excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to improve downstream water quality and the overall health of the waters throughout the world. They also protect against flooding, provide recreational opportunities and serve as important habitat for many wildlife species.

During American Wetlands Month, we wanted to see how well you know this vital environmental resource. Take our quiz to find out.

Wetlands Quiz

How much do you know about our wetlands?

Happy Audubon Day

April 26th is the anniversary of the birth of John James Audubon (1785), an American ornithologist (one that studies birds), naturalist, and painter.  He conducted his first scientific studies from his father’s Pennsylvania estate. After trying and failing in several different types of business ventures, he concentrated on drawing and studying birds, and began traveling around the country to pursue this work.

His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.

He is remembered as one of the most important naturalists of his era, and his respect and concern for the natural world clearly marks him as one of the forefathers of the modern conservationism and environmentalism movements. In 1886, the first bird-preservation society, the National Audubon Society, was named in his honor. Countless wildlife sanctuaries, parks, streets and towns also bear his name and honor his legacy.

And here at T4CI, we think this quote from Audubon has the deepest meaning:

 

Education is part of what we do!

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This week is National Environmental Education Week. Held each spring around the time of Earth Day, National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) promotes the understanding and protection of the natural world by actively engaging K-12 students and educators, and people of all ages in an inspired week of environmental learning and service.

At T4CI, our projects take education very seriously as part of their mission.   Here’s a sample of what some have been up to:

Building Codes Assistance Project:  We are educating/inspiring architects and engineers in 22 cities on how to incorporate solar photovoltaics into their building plan projects, to increase use of solar energy and reduce demand for fossil fuels.

Sane Energy Project:  One of our campaigns is WinWindNY. We have secured a commitment from our Governor to purchase offshore wind off the coast of NYC. Our work right now is to let the public know offshore wind is going to happen and how they can participate in the process in its development.

SOUL:  We’re hosting a 10-hour educational series about the urban forest and its potential to mitigate decrease flooding, subsidence, air, water and soil pollution, the urban heat island effect, and improve community health.

Would you like to help our projects education the world? Please consider a donation to one of our projects at: http://t4ci.org/sponsored/

 

Earth Day? For T4CI projects, it’s “Earth Always”.

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Founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, Earth Day is now a globally celebrated holiday. The brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson and inspired by the anti-war protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was originally aimed at creating a mass environmental movement. It began as a “national teach-in on the environment” and was held on April 22 to maximize the number of students that could be reached on university campuses.  By raising public awareness of air and water pollution, Nelson hoped to bring environmental causes into the national spotlight.

And although it’s decades later, there’s still so much to be done. That’s why our projects are on the front lines stimulating change everyday. Here’s just a sample of the plans for Earth Day 2017:

Menlo Spark: We’re celebrating the first anniversary of the Menlo Green Challenge with some exciting contests to help people Park take climate actions, compete with their neighbors to see who can be greenest, and save money.

Sane Energy Project:  On Earth Day, we will be active with all of our volunteers with art windmills, storytelling in the public square with a giant storybook. We’ll be encouraging the public to participate in letter writing, calls, hearings and community meetings.

SOUL:  We’re partnering with The Port of New Orleans on Friday, April 21 for an Earth Day event to clean the storm drains of debris and trash removal. We will plant native water-loving trees at this site in the fall. On Saturday, April 22, SOUL is hosting a maintenance day at the Rosa H. Keller Library’s rain garden. Volunteers will weed, remove invasive species, plant native Irises and mulch.

Would you like to take action to help? Please consider a donation to one of our projects at: http://t4ci.org/sponsored/