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Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the New Moon in Aries on April 11, 2021

Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the New Moon in Aries on April 11, 2021

Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the New Moon in Aries on April 11, 2021

Zebra Animal Spirit Guide

Photo by Successful4 on Pixabay

Meet Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla:
Your Animal Spirit Guides

At this New Moon in Aries

Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla want to share their important messages with you as your animal spirit guides this week!

Oh wow, what a whirlwind! Aries : The Ram, is bringing charging energy this week. He knows what he wants and will do anything to get it. I’m not an astrologer but what I’ve learned about this New Moon is that Pluto is squaring Venus (a square happens when two planets are 90° apart) on the day of the New Moon and Venus is also in Aries during this time. This is intense energy, folks!

What does it mean exactly? It not only means intensity, but also obsession and compulsion. It will help you push forward to work on something with all your might. Aries does what Aries sets out to do. Without a doubt!

Aries is the first sign in the Zodiac and not only is a New Moon all about new beginnings, a New Moon in Aries is a real fresh start and the added alignment of the planets in this sign will undoubtedly give you the strength, encouragement and willpower to start something new and be successful.

This whirlwind of energy is like a tornado that may not wreak complete havoc but will definitely stir things up and make an impact wherever it lands. 

This is the best time to Go For It and don’t look back!

Meet your own personal Animal Spirit Guides!

Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla as your Animal Spirit Guides

During the Full Moon in Libra two weeks ago, Leopard and Tiger were your animal spirit guides. This time while shuffling, I barely started and the Zebra flew out of the deck. I wanted to see if any more guides wanted to help and then Seagull and Gorilla presented themselves. Oh, what a ride this will be!

Who are your Animal Spirit Guides?

Zebra as your Animal Spirit Guide

Zebra Animal Spirit Guide

Card deck used: What’s your Spirit Animal? by Kelly Eckert. Illustration: Animal Spirit Design. Painting background: ‘Unless’, Jess Lohmann.

Zebras are only found throughout Africa and a small group of one subspecies, Burchell’s Zebra, was recorded to have made the longest known migration of any mammal in Africa. A total of 300 miles from the Chobe River in Namibia to the Nxai Pan, Botswana and back.

Zebras are social and hierarchical animals and enjoy resting their heads on each other’s necks to keep an eye out in both directions.

They love to roll around in the dust to get cooled off and rid themselves of parasites and dry, itchy skin, turning them a bit reddish from the savanna Earth.

Even though their stripes ward off more flies than with horses, their black stripes attract them more than the white areas. Zebras who’ve lost their tales in dominant male fights suffer more from bites than their counterparts.

Species: 3 (Plains, Grévy’s and Mountain)

Subspecies: 8 (1, Quagga, is extinct)

Indigenous to: Africa

Habitat: Woodlands, savannahs, grasslands, mountains, coastal hills, and more

Born free: Unlike their close relatives (horse, donkeys), zebras have never been domesticated.

Stripes tell all: Unique like our fingerprints, the 3 species are easily recognizable by their stripe pattern.

Dazed and confused: Their stripes have an important purpose: to ward off annoying and painful horse flies.


Conservation Efforts

Zebras are in danger! Only 3,000 Grevy’s Zebra are living in the wild and therefore, are listed in the Appendix I in CITES meaning, they are threatened with extinction and trade must be subject to particularly strict regulation. The most endangered species of plants and animals are listed under
Appendix I. This listing does not save them from illegal trade.

Zebras are killed for their beautiful skin, meat and trophies. They are also threatened with habitat loss due to expanded farming and increased domestic animal herding as well as civil unrest and war. Community conservation efforts are underway to help keep them alive and well.

Grevy’s Zebra Trust works with Samburu warriors, especially young men coming of age, to teach them about conservation, habitat and water management, rebuilding, education for the youth, etc. to sustainably preserve the zebra’s environment and existence.

Zebra Animal Spirit Guide

Original photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

What we can learn from Zebra

  • Discernment. Be cautious, be on the lookout and conscious of your moves.
  • Individuality within the herd. The stripes on a Zebra are like our fingerprints and even though there are hundreds of similar looking Marty’s in Madagascar, each Zebra is unique. While blending in provides you with safety, it also gives you the challenge of blending in too much and losing your Self in the herd. The lesson here is to keep your own identity and individuality. Appreciate your own uniqueness, even your flaws.
  • Perfect harmony of opposites. Humans with Zebra spirit have lots of friends, are highly sociable and loveable, yet reserved and quiet at the same time. Visible stripes of opposites.
  • Cutting through illusions. Zebras all look the same, you say? From a distance perhaps. This illusion is how they survive in a herd, blending together.
  • Freedom seeker. Unlike horses and donkeys, zebras are not domesticated and there’s a good reason for this. They can be unruly and fight to the death for their freedom. They have killed humans, not as many as humans have killed zebras, but the fact remains, they have a killer instinct when being threatened. It’s said that since both human and zebra species originated in Africa, they ‘knew’ us and our ways. Humans hunted zebras and therefore, zebra lost all trust! With Zebra energy, you value freedom and are encouraged to be true to your wild side. No need to be ‘broken’ or back down to appease someone. This will neither benefit you nor anyone else and could possibly end up causing more harm than good, especially to yourself.
  • Determination. Zebra energy brings with it a sense of adventure, youth, beauty and joy. As one of the many herbivores who migrate in search of food each year, they travel with wildebeests and many other animals together from the Serengeti to Africa (about 500 miles), moving clockwise from the southeast. If you need inspiration for the long haul to finish a project, then call on Zebra energy to give you this strength. Zebra is showing you to stick with it through the long haul, not matter how challenging the journey may be because at the end of the trip, you will get your reward. For Zebra, it’s food, for you, it may be abundance, or love. Working hard always precedes a reward.
  • Maintain balance. Zebra teaches you to maintain a balance in your life, even during crazy times. Yes, you should work hard, but rewards are extremely important, so don’t forget that.
  • Agility. With Zebra on your side, you will not need to be the strongest, biggest, fastest out there, your gift of agility overrides all of those features. This surefootedness and confidence will help you along your journey and aid you in avoiding pitfalls and dangers along the way as well as recognizing life-changing opportunities.
  • Creativity and Eccentricity. Zebra is a beautiful piece of art. Each of the three Zebra species have a different stripe pattern and therefore, easily recognizable. Tap into Zebra energy to create something extraordinary this week and whenever you want to feel creative.
  • Visionary. Zebras have excellent eyesight and, in the savanna, where there are many predators, they’re a good ally to warn you of possible danger. That’s why you often see Zebra and Wildebeest together because Wildebeest has poor eyesight and rely on Zebra for early warnings. Excellent eyesight has a setback though. Relying too much on one sense will keep you from paying attention to another sense. In this case, your intuition, your gut feeling or the intuition of others. See with all your senses. Call on Zebra spirit to help you cut through illusion and connect with your inner wisdom.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What is my intuition telling me about this particular situation?
  • What creative endeavor can I take on?
  • Does my self-confidence need a boost?
  • What is my truth? What makes me unique?
  • How can I accept this difficult period to be able to continue?

Final words from Zebra

With Zebra as your animal spirit guide during this New Moon in Aries, you have the perfect guide to help you create something creative, no matter if you start a short-term or long-term project. She will give you the determination and energy for the long haul.

Call upon Zebra energy to give you the confidence and endurance along your journey.

Who wants to personally guide you?

Seagull as your Animal Spirit Guide

Seagull Animal Spirit Guide

Card deck used: What’s your Spirit Animal? by Kelly Eckert. Illustration: Animal Spirit Design. Painting background: ‘Unless’, Jess Lohmann.

Gulls, commonly and mistakenly called seagulls, are sociable, resourceful, highly intelligent and monogamous animals. Among many other things. Protectors of their young and community, their complex communication skills are known to ward off harassing predators.

They have learned to live and thrive off living with humans. Not all bread crumbs land in their mouth though! They sometimes use those bread crumbs to bait goldfish which is a good thing because birds are healthier when they eat their own food, not human food. Their human connection isn’t always welcome as they often congregate to feast on the free abundant buffet offered at fisheries.

The waste of gulls and other seabirds (pelicans and penguins) offer vital nutrients of highly concentrated nitrogen and phosphorus for the marine ecosystem which is why scientists have valued seabird poop at $1 billion per year!

Species: 50

Indigenous to: Every continent, less common intropical areas

Habitat:Coastal regions and fresh water areas

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Existence on Earth: 30 – 33 million years

Learning ability: Gulls learn, remember and pass on behaviors such as stamping on the ground to imitate rain which motivates the worms to surface.

Flexibility: They’re better at walking on land than most seabirds.

Guano value: Estimated at $1 billion / year. 10% of coral reef fish stocks depend on seabird nutrients. For profit-driven humans,
this is a huge motivator to keep gulls and other seabirds safe and sound.


Conservation Efforts

Because gulls help maintain a healthy marine ecosystem from their own waste, it would be a major disadvantage to all life on Earth not to protect them.

And even though you may not view gulls as being an endangered species, or even threatened because all coastal areas seem to be flooded with them, they are in danger, sadly enough. They received endangered species protection in North America and Europe after their populations drastically decreased to dangerous levels.

The River-Dwelling Black-Billed Gull lives in New Zealand and, of all the 50 gull species, is one of the most endangered.

Because gulls can become a nuisance in residential and urban areas, some licensed governmental officials use culling practices, both lethal and non-lethal, to control their population as they deem necessary.

According to the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), the number of urban roof-nesting gulls, such as the Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are increasing while the population of the Herring Gulls, for instance, is plummeting, putting them on the IUCN ( International Union for Conservation of Nature ) Red List of Threatened Species which was founded in 1964 and provides the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.

Seagull Animal Spirit Guide

Original photo by Luís Cardoso on Unsplash

What we can learn from Seagull

  • Intelligence and problem solving. Seagull is highly intelligent and has the ability to learn new behaviors and pass them along to their young such as dropping mollusks on rocks so that they break open and are ready to eat, or following ploughs which upturn the earth, exposing many delicacies. Never stop learning! It’s only tragic when you don’t use or share what you learn.
  • Communication, persistence. The communication skills amongst seagulls are highly complex. They use a range of vocalizations and body movements. You know what a flock of seagulls sound like, right? And I don’t mean the band. They are LOUD! What are they trying to tell you? Or are they just hangry?
  • Versatility, adaptability. Being found on every continent on Earth, in urban as well as coastal areas, with humans or isolated from them, Seagull is a true symbol of versatility and adaptability. When you feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward, call on Seagull to give you the energy of being able to create the changes you need in your life to become successful and thrive.
  • Laughter, joy. Allow Seagull to nourish you with joy and laughter with her carefree attitude while having enough intelligence to come back down and use your communication skills to help solve problems that will help you move forward.
  • Perspective. Her graceful gliding above and beyond the horizon provides you with a new perspective and confidence to help you find freedom of mind and in doing so, release your fears and judgements while offering you alternative paths and creative solutions.
  • Freedom, Carefree Lifestyle, Lighthearted Altitude and Ungroundedness. She will also gift you with the sense of freedom to not be bogged down by rules which can also cause fear and keep you from progressing. Beware of Seagull energy when you have the urge to soar all day though. This will only cause you to fly around in circles and not want to come back down to Earth. You won’t be able to nourish your body or soul that way. Seagull needs air, water and earth in order to survive and thrive.
  • Resourcefulness. A Gull’s waste is used to keep valuable marine life intact. Gulls find food in human garbage cans. Seagull spirit is telling you to be resourceful, not wasteful and to find and appreciate your hidden treasure within you as it’s more valuable than you or anyone may think at first glance.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What new skill will benefit me when learned?
  • What rules can I break or bend to move forward more easily?
  • What is wasting my time?
  • What is my truth? What makes me unique?
  • What things can I reuse, recycle or repurpose?

Final words from Seagull

Working with Seagull energy will give you the freedom to put new ideas to fruition without wasting time or resources and being able to get your message across to be heard.

Call upon Seagull energy to aid you in communicating effectively and persistently to get what you want.

Find out who your animal spirit guides are!

Gorilla as your Animal Spirit Guide

Gorilla Animal Spirit Guide

Card deck used: What’s your Spirit Animal? by Kelly Eckert. Illustration: Animal Spirit Design. Painting background: ‘Unless’, Jess Lohmann.

Gorillas are the largest of all primates and although their size and strength can be intimidating, they are gentle and extremely compassionate animals.

When threatened, the leader, an experienced adult male Silverback, will protect his troop and either ward off or attack any intruders.

They rarely have the need to drink water since their hydration comes from succulent vegetation that holds morning dew.

Gorillas are highly emotional and intelligent beings. They feel grief, can laugh, develop strong family bonds, use tools and think about the past and future.

What they can’t do, unlike other apes and humans, is swim. Their body shape mainly keeps them on land and any large body of water or river will deter them.

Just like stripes on a Zebra, spots on a Leopard or prints on our fingers, no two noses on a gorilla are the same.

Species: 2 (Eastern and Western)

Subspecies: 4

Indigenous to: Central Africa

Habitat: Dense forests, lowland swamps

Lifespan: 35 – 40 years

Community Life: Gorillas are non-territorial and live in troops consisting of groups of 5 – 30 members lead by the one strong, experienced adult male (Silverback) who makes all decisions; when and where they travel to eat, take breaks and sleep.

Wanderlust: No troop stays in one place for long as they’re constantly in search of food.

Nest Builders: Adult gorillas gather leaves, twigs and branches to build day nests for a good night’s sleep.

DNA: Gorilla hands resemble human hands more so than other apes.


Conservation Efforts

All four Gorilla subspecies are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and on Appendix I of CITES.

Gorilla’s only natural predator is human who hunt them for bushmeat and cause considerable damage by depleting their territory from mining, deforestation, disease (Ebola) and war. Their reproduction rate is extremely slow, meaning, every gorilla lost takes ten years to ‘replace’.

The World Conservation Society is working together with the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group and other NGOs, national and local authorities to:

  • Develop action plans for all large ape species
  • Monitor populations
  • Help protect them from poachers
  • Implement educational programs for children and adults
  • Improve land use
  • Set up a surveillance network and laboratory in Brazzaville, the capital city of Republic of the Congo, to help combat Ebola
Gorilla Animal Spirit Guide

Original photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash

What we can learn from Gorilla

  • Conscious leadership. Gorilla is the true ‘King of the Jungle’, not Lion as Lion does not live in the jungle, but the savanna. A natural born leader, Gorilla notices the inner beauty of each individual, displays acts of kindness, patience and compassion and allows others to play while he protects. He is sharing his gift of nobility and inspires you, in times when you feel powerless, to hold your head up high, breathe in deep and stick out your chest and if it feels right, pound your fists to really feel his energy! You are a leader in your own right. Own it!
  • Sophisticated communication. Gorilla spirit knows that leading doesn’t mean hostility and as a strong communicator with the ability to learn 2,000 English words in sign language, he is teaching you to carry out your message in a gentle, fair, yet assertive way as this will inspire others to change more than aggression ever will, or common in our social media society today, with shaming and blaming. This approach inspires no one to follow, let alone listen. Beloved Dr. Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough didn’t achieve their respectful world leadership status from engaging in hostile confrontations with authorities. No, they lead with compassion and understanding as much as determination and firmness. Respectful in all ways. Gorilla sends you the valuable gift of conscious parenting and leadership.
  • Experience. Gorilla is a kindred spirit who thinks and makes us think. I’m not sure if there are many species who actually reflect on the past and think about the future in a way that doesn’t only mean getting food and carrying on your legacy via reproduction but to also be happy and thrive. He wants his troop to do just that which is why the huge silverback leader allows the babies to crawl all over him and pull his hair. He knows they just want to have fun and understands that happiness in a vulnerable and depleting environment is crucial for his community. This is his gift to his family and with this gift, comes loyalty, respect and love.
  • Wisdom. The wise Gorilla who’s been around for at least over 20 years understand what’s happening to the world today. They know how abundant life of Earth used to be and now, they fear the future for their children, just like we do. You can see this in their worrisome eyes and if they’re stuck in a zoo, you can easily sense their depression. They know what’s going on.
  • Just Aggression. That said, Gorilla will fight and use all his might and power when threatened by another Gorilla. He only protects when he needs to protect, but it is not in his nature to be aggressive. Sometimes, you need to fight for what’s right and the key is to know when to choose your battles. Sometimes just pounding on your chest will ward off those who want to claim your throne. Other times, you may need to battle it out to the end.
  • Arrogance. Gorilla loves attention and when he doesn’t get it, he can become egotistical. This is a message to remind you that you don’t have to always be in the limelight to make an impact. Just sitting there in your power is sometimes enough. So, let others have their day too.
  • Moving too much, not being able to settle down. Usually on a daily basis, the Silverback leads his troop to a new place to get well-nourished and rest. If there’s enough food, he will stay until the supply reaches its limit. Gorilla’s nomadic ways allow him and his family to survive but this may also be a sign to not always be on the move to slip away from your responsibilities. Know when it’s time to move. Staying just a little longer may prove more beneficial than moving right away. He reminds you to remain grounded even when moving. Focus on what’s important. Use Gorilla energy to solve difficult problems with your analytical mind.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What can I give others that will make them happy?
  • What is my message to the world and how can I communicate this with compassion?
  • How can you inspire others to follow me?
  • Do I need to move to another place or project in order to get what I need?

Final words from Gorilla

As I was writing this, Gorilla asked me to send humanity an important message: Do something, please! His message was clear as day. If anyone else knows what’s really going on, it’s our closest relatives, the large primates.

Mature gorillas know how life was 20+ years ago and they mourn the environment’s abundance and beauty. With all the destruction we humans have done on Earth and continue to do at such an exponential rate, they fear the future for their children, just like we do.

If you look deep into the eyes of a gorilla at a zoo, you see depression and frustration. If you look deep into the eyes of a wild gorilla — you may not have this chance, but you can still do it by watching videos and documentaries — you see fear and worry. I do anyway. I can look straight into the soul of Gorilla and feel his emotions. It’s painful and very sad.

A powerful guide when you need to slip into the role of a leader who wants to make a positive impact in this world, Gorilla has the experience, wisdom, patience, gentleness and assertiveness to get the job done with ease, pleasure and success.

He wishes with all his might that we will step up and save life on Earth because we must never forget; we are not above nature. We need plants and animals to survive on this planet. Mother Earth is resilient. Humans and many other species? Not so much.

Call upon Gorilla energy to help you lead with compassion and do what needs to be done for your community.

 

Make this most out of this New Moon in Aries

The new moon peaks on Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 10:32 pm in New York and on April 12th at 4:32 am in Paris and with it, gives you the boost of intense energy you may just need to create something new.

Leave behind any hidden fears, doubts or self-sabotage going on in your brain and just tap into the energy of Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla. Listen to their powerful messages.

Where there is compassionate leadership, there is much-needed change.

Learn more about your own Animal Spirit Guides!

Do you feel close to either Zebra, Seagull or Gorilla? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you an exciting new moon experience.

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

Leopard and Tiger: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the Full Moon in Libra on March 28, 2021

Leopard and Tiger: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the Full Moon in Libra on March 28, 2021

Leopard and Tiger: Your Animal Spirit Guides at the Full Moon in Libra on March 28, 2021

Tiger & Leopard: Animal Spirit Guide

Meet Leopard and Tiger: Your Animal Spirit Guides

At this Full Moon in Libra

Leopard and Tiger want to share their gifts and challenges as your animal spirit guides during this time! Why?

Spring has sprung! Or at least it’s trying to! This full moon in Libra is also known as the Worm Moon since the earth is warming, allowing the worms to soften and ‘worm’ their way to the surface while inviting the birds to feed after a long winter. A true sign of spring!

Spring is a sign for new beginnings and opportunities, birth, light, movement and creative endeavors.

Libra is ruled by Venus and is a sign of relationships, love and balance. This full moon will help us with our relationship struggles in a peaceful way without surrendering our feelings. We are guided to express what we feel to others in a respectful manner to enable understanding.

Where there is understanding, there is love.

Full moons represent closures and when in Libra, this could mean with someone you have a relationship with, privately or in your business. Either you are closing a past chapter and moving on or ending a relationship that no longer serves you. In a peaceful manner. This closure will help you grow and be able to open yourself up for the opportunities that are currently being shown to you.

So, it’s no surprise that your animal spirit guides, Leopard and Tiger, have a few important messages during this time is. Let’s explore this a little further.

Next up: Zebra, Seagull and Gorilla are your animal spirit guides during the New Moon in Aries on April 11, 2021.

Meet your own personal Animal Spirit Guides!

Leopard and Tiger as your Animal Spirit Guides

I never ‘pull’ cards, especially animal spirit cards because I feel they want to step forward to help us, so to allow them to show themselves, I shuffle until a card flies out of the deck. This time, two flipped over. Watch the video below to see how Leopard and Tiger showed up and how they want to help you.

Who are your Animal Spirit Guides?

Leopard as your Animal Spirit Guide

Leopard as your Animal Spirit Guide

Card deck used: What’s your Spirit Animal? by Kelly Eckert. Illustration: Animal Spirit Design. Painting background: ‘Unless’, Jess Lohmann.

Leopards are the smallest of the big cats and the most spread out and diverse. They are super fast and springy.

As solitary animals, they have their own territory and warn other leopards with their markings to stay away. Males and females only come together to mate. Females can give birth at any time and have 2-3 cubs at a time who stay with them for about two years.

They’re nocturnal, skilled climbers and like to rest in trees which is why I never saw any on my 3-week trip to Africa in 2016.

They are hunted for their fur and meat and for fear of killing farm animals. As human population grows, their territory declines.

The work of  Wildlife Act focuses on endangered and priority species including the Leopard, African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Rhino, Lion, Elephant and Vulture. They also offer volunteer programs.

IF you plan to volunteer in Africa, please, for the love of all animals on this Earth, read the first post in this list to warn volunteers of hidden animal cruelty so that you choose an ethical organization.

Scientific Name: Panthera pardus

Subspecies: Nine

Indigenous to: Sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India, China

Habitat: Grasslands, savannah, rainforests and snowy mountains

Speed & agility: They can run up to 58 km/h and leap up to 6 meters high

Conservation: Appendix I on CITES list = Endangered!

 What we can learn from Leopard

  • Finding peace with solidarity. During the COVID lockdown and the image of leopards resting in trees, the message to ‘hang in there’ gives us a little inspiration.
  • Live with ease and simplicity. Sleek, poise and casual, look at how Leopard walks, jumps and ‘hangs out’. Take things with stride and pride.
  • Take back your power. Leopard usually comes to you after tremendous suffering. She comes as a healer and counselor and when you think there’s no way out. When you feel you’ve hit rock bottom. She sends the message to look at your skills and appreciate them. And, to USE them. A Leopard can’t change her spots! They are hers! A leopard’s spots are unique, similar to our fingerprints. She is teaching you to show off your uniqueness and be proud! There is no more need to hide.
  • Respect and love yourself and others. With this newly felt pride, you can view yourself in a more loving way which will give you the ability to view others in a similar way. Leopard is a power guide during your spiritual transformation.
  • Protect what’s yours. Living alone may automatically give you a sense of protection and so use this to your advantage, however, there are warnings with this gift when abused, so read on…
  • High adaptability in various situations and surroundings. You are ready for any situation that comes your way. Acknowledge your fears, but don’t let them take the driver’s seat.
  • Balance speed and strength. Almost as fast as Cheetah, Leopard can help you cover a lot of territory in a short amount of time without burning out. They reserve enough energy for the destination – in their case, the kill. They know that sprinting is not sustainable for the long haul, so this is a lesson for you to make sure you have enough energy to finish a project, or possibly with this Full Moon in Libra, a relationship or a chapter of a relationship because toxic relationships are not sustainable.
  • Wise Competition. Leopard competes for food with Tiger, Hyena and Lion. Both Leopard and Tiger want to show up to help guide us during this full moon means for me that it’s also important to look for collaboration opportunities with your competition. Leopard protects what is hers, rightly so and that should never change. However, there is enough abundance to go around and since this Full Moon is much about relationships, I believe Leopard is saying to notice your competition and see where you can work together successfully to share the same goal. Especially if you’re a purpose-driven social entrepreneur, you’re on a mission and you’ll have more success if you work with others who have that same mission.
  • Being aware of Leopard’s challenges. If you’re too alone, beware of isolation paranoia (Gollum syndrome) as well as being too competitive and greedy, so during this full moon, seeking closure on those characteristics will open up new opportunities.

Final words from Leopard

With Leopard as your animal spirit guide now or in the future, you have a powerful teacher for personal transformation. Working with Leopard energy will help you raise your consciousness and you will surely feel yourself growing in unexpected ways.

You will learn to move along your spiritual path in a more confident and independent way, in your way, guided by your own magic.

Take control of your life and your path and you will be shown incredible opportunities.

Her question for you is: What lights up your life?

Call upon Leopard energy to open up opportunities.

 

Tiger as your Animal Spirit Guide

Tiger as your Animal Spirit Guide

Card deck used: What’s your Spirit Animal? by Kelly Eckert. Illustration: Animal Spirit Design. Painting background: ‘Unless’, Jess Lohmann.

Tiger is the largest cat species and one of the largest land predators.

They like water and are often found swimming.

Similar to Leopard and our fingerprints, their stripes only belong to them.

There are approx. 3,890 wild tigers left on Earth. 100 years ago, there were 100,000. All parts of the tiger are used for superstition and religious beliefs and traditions. They are thought to heal every type of disease and are use to be a pain killer or aphrodisiac, even a cure for laziness or prevent demon possession.

Thousands of Tigers are imprisoned and used for tourist attractions as well as sold on the black markets.

There are more tigers kept in captivity in Texas (2,000 – 5,000) than living in the wild! I’m still searching for an ethical tiger conservation organization and when I find one, I will add it here!

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris

Subspecies: Six after three subspecies were driven into extinction

Indigenous to: 13 countries in Asia and Far-east Russia

Habitat: Rainforests, mangrove swamps, evergreen forests, grasslands, savannahs, and rocky areas

Speed & nose leven: They can run up to 65 km/h and their roar can be heard as far as 3km

Conservation: Appendix I on CITES list = Endangered!

What we can learn from Tiger

  • Strength. The mighty Tiger is the largest of the felines and one of the largest land predators. He knows his strength and offers it to you when you feel weak, exhausted and ready to give up. His bursts of energy can give you the boost you need after a long struggle, such as to complete a long-term project or heal a toxic relationship.
  • Patience. Tiger will show you when the right time is to make your move. Similar to Alligator, during the hunt, Tiger remains still and only strikes when he can almost guarantee success. With this gift, he teaches you strategy and will frown upon procrastination when the path is clear and all the signs point to ‘GO!’
  • Willpower and adventure. Tiger gets what Tiger wants. With his ambition and sense of adventure, there is nothing that will get in his way. Proceed with this lesson with caution because even though you may be ready to take that leap, you must think of what’s at stake. Any selfish agendas may come with difficulties.
  • Power and Passion. An ally to Leopard, Tiger’s stripes are unique and so in combination, this is a huge message to take back your power and show the world who you really are. Tiger encourages you to follow your passion because this IS who you are and when you accept that and communicate it loudly and proudly, you will gain your power back.
  • See clearly. Tigers, as with most cats, can see in the dark, or rather, in spaces with little light. They are unable to see in complete darkness. With their sharpened sight, Tiger spirit helps you see the truth, see through obstacles and blocks that are stopping you from moving forward. With his patience, heightened senses and deep intuition, he helps you make better decisions faster and with confidence.
  • Blending in.Tigers see and want to be seen clearly, however, he is challenged with blending in to his environment. His identity and his stripes help camouflage him, which is good for the hunt, but not when he wants to mate. Also, with his vulnerability of becoming extinct, he is saying that he does not want to disappear completely.

Final words from Tiger

Working with Tiger energy will help you understand your raw feelings and be able to put these in perspective so that you can find the courage to work through difficult and emotional situations, now and in the future. He will also help you act fast when you need to avoid missing opportunities.

Call upon the Tiger when you feel like you are hiding or when you feel aggression towards a situation or someone.

His question for you is: In what aspect of your life do you need strength?

Call upon Tiger energy to help take back your power.

 

Enjoy this Full Moon in Libra

The full moon peaks on Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 2:48 pm in New York (8:48 pm in Paris) and on March 29th at 2:48 am in Hong Kong (5:48 am Sydney) and with it, exposes an extraordinary wishful dose of balance and harmony, especially in our relationships.

Libra is often seen as being ‘in balance’ when in reality, Libra seeks balance, so use the big cats’ heightened sense of sight to see those imbalances in your life and relationships and bring in Leopard energy to heal them and Tiger’s strength and courage to carry out those difficult conversations so that you can move forward with love and in peace with everyone around you. 

Where there is respectful communication and understanding, there is love.

Learn more about your own Animal Spirit Guides!

Do you feel close to Leopard or Tiger? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you a lovely full moon experience.

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

How Mister Rogers Helps Us Unite a Divided World

How Mister Rogers Helps Us Unite a Divided World

How Mister Rogers Helps Us Unite a Divided World

Love one another: Message from Mister Rogers

Well, hello there, dear Neighbor!

Uniting a divided world by Mister Rogers’ example

I was very lucky to have been born and raised in the United States. I say this for several reasons, but maybe not the reasons that first come to people’s minds. Nothing to do with the myth of living in a ‘free world’ or the ‘land of opportunities’.

No, one of the main reasons is that I grew up in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood. Like millions of other children and parents across the country. Seven million viewers tuned in each week from February 19, 1968 – August 31, 2001 to learn valuable lessons. Thirty-three years of him touching our lives in a miraculous way. I’m truly grateful for what he still teaches me.

His main intention for every show was to “strengthen a child’s sense of self-esteem“, providing me with a safe place from the hardships I personally faced as a child.

His important messages live on to help people of all ages deal with the struggles of life at The Fred Rogers Center and in film.

This past Sunday, I was transported back in time of good childhood memories while watching Tom Hanks portray him in the must-see film: ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood‘.

Mr. Nice Guy plays the King of Kindness. An obvious choice.

Since my non-US American friends have never heard of Mister Rogers, I felt the calling to introduce them to one of the most respectable and kind humans who walked on this Earth.

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

Fred McFeely Rogers, March 20, 1928 - February 27, 2003

Television host, writer, producer, musician, puppeteer and Presbyterian minister

What can we Learn from Mister Rogers?

Oh, a whole lot! Let’s unwrap the enormous gift he gave to us. Just being around him made everyone feel safe and understood.
Mister Rogers sends you these messages:

  • You are special, valued and accepted, just the way you are. You have an enormous uniqueness about you. And because we are human, nobody is perfect.
  • It’s also OK to have feelings. There are no ‘shoulds’ or ‘should nots’ when it comes to feelings. He encouraged kids to talk about their feelings so that they could manage them better because “Whatever is mentionable can be more manageable.” He also showed kids healthy ways to handle their feelings, such as playing the lower keys on the piano.
  • You can make a difference. Little things can also make a big impact. 
  • Be present and make each moment the most important moment in your life at that particular time. Whenever Fred Rogers was engaging with people, he made it a point to be fully engaged with them. His mind wasn’t racing on what happened earlier that day or what else he needed to do. His time was spent most wisely concentrating on the present and the company he was with.
  • Treat everyone around you with respect. Everyone is valued and has a voice, just like you. This philosophy was broadened to include animals. He became a vegetarian in the early 70s and often said: “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.” He also told the Vegetarian Times in a 1983 interview the reason why he didn’t eat meat: “Part of it has to do with the animals — it’s hard to eat something you’ve seen walking around.” Amen.
  • Make each day special. No matter what happens, it’s the little things that make your day wonderful.
  • Enjoy mealtime together to share experiences of the day with your family. This was most important for my parents as well. We were lucky to have a dad who, despite working in New York City, was still able to be home in time for dinner every single evening.
  • Keep your imagination alive. Mister Rogers gave us a sense of curiosity and wonder, important values that are needed now more than ever as children are becoming ‘adults’ too soon in our world today.
  • Be ready for change and new experiences. He helped us prepare for the unexpected by showing us that change is a normal part of growing up and life in general. What seem to be non-traumatic events for adults like getting a haircut or going to the dentist may not be so in the eyes of children.

    I’ll never forget bringing my 1 year old daughter with me to get my haircut. She cried when the hairdresser snipped the first piece of my hair off because (I believe anyway), she either thought it was painful or she felt grief for the first time. She loved it when I waved my hair over her face and she may have thought I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore. Hard to say. I comforted her during that visit and I still had enough hair to brush her face with, so future visits weren’t traumatic, but that moment sure made me wonder what goes on in their minds.

  • Heavy topics are a part of life. He introduced difficult subjects such as divorce and death, even assassination, and taught us how to deal with them better. Also that it’s ok when you just don’t understand something. I find it soothing to know that I don’t have to waste my time and energy anymore trying to understand certain topics that just don’t make any sense to my empathic mind. What’s more important is to understand that others don’t feel the same way and I have to accept that.
 

Important Message for Our Divided World

With his calm demeanor and talent of inspiring others on May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers was able to convince the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications to continue funding PBS (Public Broadcasting System) to provide children a platform for quality education such as his show. By the way, Sesame Street was and still is shown on PBS.

He advocated for the need for social and emotional education that only public television provided, saying that the “inner drama of childhood” is far more fascinating and important to unravel than the violence shown on public channels.

I don’t know about you, but I also was raised with an unintelligent hunter who didn’t know whether it was duck or rabbit season. And with a chaotic coyote blowing himself up every time he tried to kill a speedy bird. Of course I loved these shows too, but I never had the safe or understood feeling while watching them as I did watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The committee ended up funding PBS $22 million. I’ve just teared up again after watching his plea in front of the court. Let me know if you did too!

Fred Rogers is the kind of man who could bring peace to a riot just by talking to people and understanding human emotions. He is truly missed but his legacy lives on. Rest in Peace.

Learning from his example would help us all to unite our undivided world.

Do you also love animals like Mister Rogers?

Did you grow up with Mister Rogers too? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you enjoyable memories today.

Thank you for being my neighbor,

Sharing is Caring

Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Eleven Benefits of Meditation : Connect with Mother Earth (Gaia)

Benefits of meditation

Elevating to a Higher Consciousness with Meditation

Meditation on a regular basis is good for the mind, body and soul. There are many benefits of meditation. However, many humans still don’t do it. And I’ll be honest with you, I have to be very conscious about committing the time for it myself, even though I know its many benefits.

Since last year was a huge challenge for all humans on Earth and this year seems to be no different, we could all benefit from meditation so that we can bring a higher consciousness to the world.

The benefits of meditation:

  1. Reduces stress. Even just breathing will help you calm down when your emotions flare up. One known method of not reacting in an aggressive manner when you get triggered is to slowly and consciously breathe before speaking or acting.
  2. Boosts your immune system. Studies show that when we’re wired and stressed, our immune system is more susceptible to illness. Since meditation helps us reduce stress, it will also benefit our immune system.
  3. Enriches sleep. I don’t know about you, but when my brain is fried and going all over the place and I lie down to calm it down with a long meditation, I fall asleep and am able to have a good night’s sleep. That said, please don’t meditate while driving or handling dangerous machinery. Common sense clause.
  4. Improves self-confidence and acceptance. Did you know that the typical human has anywhere between 12,000-60,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are negative and 95% are repetitive? That’s a lot of doom and gloom! Source: TLEX.

    During meditation, we have the ability to curb our crazy thoughts during meditation. We can actually control the self-sabotage we constantly expose ourselves to every single day. Meditation teaches us to concentrate on our breathing, our set intention or the soft voice guiding us and when our minds drift off into one of those 12-60,000 thoughts, we learn to circle back to full concentration again.

  5. Improves brain stimuli. Meditation generally helps enhance your focus, memory and concentration. It can also help you to process information more efficiently.
  6. Relieves pain. If you suffer from pain, either chronic or just an acute headache, it’s time to meditate on a regular basis. This will give your mind such much-needed time to relax and when it does that, it heals, relieving you of pain. Please still visit your doctor if you suffer from pain.
  7. Reduces blood pressure. Because of its calming effect, regular meditation has been known to improve circulation, which in turn opens up blood vessels to help the blood flow more easily. Some people no longer have to take medicine because they’ve made meditation a daily habit. As with any medical illness, listen to your doctors if you have high blood pressure.
  8. Improves relationships. When we regularly meditate, we become less reactive to the things that trigger us because we’re becoming more conscious of our own behavior patterns. When we’re more conscious, we listen and learn more as opposed to reacting.
  9. Improves creativity. Ever have a writing block? Or not know what to draw or how to inspire your children to clean their rooms? Meditate. I often hear people say, ‘I’ll meditate on it’, meaning, they’ll meditate with a specific goal or intention in mind to see if the answer just pops in their brain during these quiet times. It’s why we often have incredibly creative ideas in the shower or while walking in nature. Our minds are clear of all those crazy thoughts, allowing for such ideas to easily flow in.
  10. Helps curb addiction. Substance abusers have had success with meditation to combat stress and improve their control over their addiction because it helps them become more conscious of how their addiction affects them and their loved ones.
  11. Helps you listen to your intuition. You know, that gut feeling you keep talking about? Regular meditation helps you connect with your inner soul and gives you the space to receive messages that you may not hear if you’re always on the go.

I’m sure there are more benefits of meditation, but these are enough to say YES to making it a daily habit.

Regularly meditating, even just for a short time every day, will help calm your mind and increase your emotional intelligence.

Benefits of Meditation
Benefits of Meditation

This is my meditation/yoga/reading room. I love this room, but you don’t need one to be able to meditate. You can lie on your bed or couch or sit in a chair, whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

 I’ve just learned the benefits of meditation and connected with Mother Earth and my inner soul with this guided meditation. 

Connect to Mother Earth (Gaia) with my guided meditation

Because there are so many benefits to meditation and I feel we need to help raise a higher consciousness to our world right now, I created this guided meditation below.

My intention with this was to help you and your loved ones connect with Mother Earth. To feel her embrace and her gratitude. And to help you find gratitude, another important pillar that helps us raise our consciousness.

Your kids can and should join in too! The earlier children learn how to meditate, the more they will reap the benefits, now and in the future. This is why schools are starting to add it to their curriculums.

Do you want more videos like this above?

Do you know of any more benefits of meditation? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family a relaxing and peaceful new year!

Namaste,
Sharing is Caring

Animal Heroes of 2020

Animal Heroes of 2020

Animal Heroes of 2020

Wolf

Photo: Jose Carlos Ichiro on Unsplash

Raise your Glasses to these Amazing Animal Heroes of 2020!

After a turbulent year full of uncertainties, shock, fear and loss, I’d like to share stories of hope and compassion by honoring the Animal Heroes of 2020!

If you want to see who made the cut last year, read my article on the Animal Heroes of 2019.

Who are animal heroes?

Humans who go out of their way to help the lives of non-human animals. Beloved souls who are neglected, used and abused to somehow make our lives better.

In my opinion, Covid-19 is WWIII. A war declared by the human animal species on Mother Nature who had no choice but to fight back.

As soon as we fully understand how human greed and our egos drive entire species into extinction, including our own, via climate change, deforestation, overfishing, fracking, overpopulation, etc., we will be able to survive and thrive as a species.

In order to secure our future on this planet, we have restore balance in nature, meaning, we have to change the way we live. The way we think. The way we produce and consume products. 

We have the power, knowledge and resources to make these changes, but we have to act now.

As overwhelming as that may seem, it really only starts with a mindset shift and personal drive. And we don’t have to change everything at once. We can take one step at a time and still be successful. 

With mindset, I mean leading the way with compassion, not our ego.

And it starts with showing compassion toward all living beings.

To see how it’s done, let’s take a look at everyday heroes who inspire others to respect all animals.

Animal Heroes of 2020:
Power to the people who care!

World Peace is a Choice

When we show compassion toward all animals, humans included, we’ll not only save our own species, we’ll create a kinder and healthier world because when we respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we are at peace with ourselves.

When we’re at peace with ourselves, we’re at peace with others.

And when we’re at peace with others, we will have world peace.

Power to the people who are compassionate.

Compassionate Voters and Leaders Paving the Path

The US election was absolutely insane and during that week of uncertainty, I was a hot mess! The outcome made it worthwhile though.

What also made my heart sing this election was that in the state of Colorado, west of the Rockies, residents voted for the reintroduction of grey wolves. There’s a lot of controversy with wolves, but when we understand them, we know that they are vital to a healthy forest ecosystem.

Thank you leading gov’t officials and all residents who voted for nature!

When the UK government toughened their law against animal abuse, including gross neglect toward farm animals, making this “one of the toughest sanctions for animal abuse in Europe, strengthening the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare,” all I could say again was, ‘Thank you!’

I’m still praying for all farm animals to live a long, healthy and happy life without ever having to visit a slaughterhouse. A vegan girl can dream.

Power to the compassionate people who create much-needed change.

“I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an ego-centric world view, the belief that we’re the center of the universe.

We fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something, to give something up, but human beings at our best are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”

~ Joaquin Phoenix, Best Actor Oscar Speech and Animal Hero of 2020 

Dog and Cat Heroes

Victoria Bryceson, founder of Miracle Mission works tirelessly to save thousands of sick, injured and disabled animals lead a happy life. Miracle Mission is a UK-based non-profit organization that rehabilitates and re-homes dogs in need, often with disabilities and also educates about neutering and spaying pets and street dogs and cats. Here she is with Ella, a champion heart melter, who’ve just won the title of ‘Best Rescue Dog’ in a local competition.

Ella’s Story

“In January 2018 I travelled to Egypt to visit various animal shelters to assess who and how Miracle’s Mission could help and where we could set up our neutering programmes. It was while visiting one of the shelters that I saw a dog called Ella in a terrible condition that would have severely worsened had she been left there. Ella was very cruelly thrown from a building 3 and a half years ago where she suffered from a broken leg, loss of another leg and a broken spinal cord and she was just left with no treatment to drag herself around for the next 3 years. There was no other option but to bring her back to the UK for rehabilitation. Ella pushed into my legs and wouldn’t let go of me when I went to cuddle her so it’s like she was asking me to take her with me.”

Nikhil Shirdhankar from Malad, Mumbai, is all about kindness and even though he has his hands full taking care of his 10 rescued dogs and 25 cats, he also makes sure 500 strays roaming the streets of Malad are also fed. Bless his heart! HIs main message: “Be a friend to them and the world will become a beautiful place.” How very true that is.

Anita recently wrote about how she and her fiancé adopted a cat and rescued and rehomed a kitten in the same week on her blog.

Saving Wildlife

Who says pigeons aren’t important? Not me which is why I’m happy to have read that @delhicious_body saved a pigeon from a few cats in the garden and even drove it to the emergency vet to get checked out. Now that’s compassion!

Thank you, Cher, who founded of Free the Wild, and Four Paws International who aided in moving Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, to a much better home in Cambodia to be well taken care of and be with his own kind. 

Meanwhile, Paula rescued three animals now living in her home and also saved a wild bird and abandoned dog this year.

And then there’s Joe Nutkins who rehomed six rescue chickens during lockdown and rescued Boots below, a four month old cockerel in October from the slaughterhouse. They are all now living their best lives with his main flock.

Meet Hettie Spaghetti below, a gorgeous hen who had a mutated respiratory infection in August which left her blind so she moved into Joe’s office indoors to be hand fed, given water. etc. She’s doing quite well and is enjoying her time indoors now.

Wildlife on the Path

COVID-19 also affected non-human animals, however in a more positive way. Let’s take a look at some observances during ‘Anthropause‘, a term coined by Matthias Loretto, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany, and his colleagues:

  • The China government has temporarily (NOT permanently = sad face) closed their wildlife markets and banned eating wildlife due to the pandemic since The World Health Organization determined that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, meaning it originated from a non-human animal. Source: World Wildlife Fund
  • Coyotes roamed the streets of San Francisco, wild goats headed out on the town in North Wales and dolphins frolicked along Istanbul’s shores. Not always a welcome sight if you just want to walk outside to grab the mail. Source: The Harvard Gazette
  • Shelter adoptions (mostly dogs) in the US have increased by 30 to 40%, but don’t be fooled, there are still many animals in need of good homes. And, because events were canceled all over the world, major local fundraising opportunities went down the drain, considerably decreasing their funding for medical treatment and care. Sources: USA Today announced, The Washington Post and Q13 Fox
  • Maine recorded 44% fewer roadkill victims hit and kill accidents on mountain lions in California dropped 58% and 21% for other wildlife. Source: Washington Post

Who can we thank for these developments? I’d say Mother Nature and one cute bat!

I’ve just read about the Animal Heroes of 2020. Power to the people who are compassionate!

Creatives speaking, singing and painting for the animals

Art, whether it’s photography, painting, writing, filmmaking, etc. is a powerful way to speak for those without a voice.

Joaquin Phoenix just won’t stop! Not only did he bring us to tears during his heartbreaking and inspiring Oscar winning speech, he’s mesmerizing us with his new film, Gunda, which he produced alongside director and like-minded friend, Victor Kossakovsky

Thorns and Lilies” by Art Noir, written and sung by the lovely Nadine Stelzer and composed by Jan Weber, takes us on a journey into the depths of nature and our soul. Just one of many adventures from the album “Poems of an Extinct Species” which will be released on January 29, 2021! Really looking forward to this one!

How did I meet Nadine? My dear business colleague/friend recommended her to me because I needed someone to copy edit my book in German: Lily Bowers und der ungebetene Gast. She did a brilliant job too, so if you ever need someone to copywrite or edit your creations in German, she’s your gal.

Much applause goes out to dear Allison Luci, an incredibly talented artist, with whom I connected on Instagram about two years ago or so. Her paintings are so very colorful, inspirational and inviting, I want them all on my walls! She not only paints on commission, but also from her heart for animal-rights causes to raise money for sanctuaries such as Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary in New York and Odd Man Inn in Washington.

Because of her passion, talent and incredibly engaged and generous community, she helped raise over $10,000 for animal sanctuaries this year alone! Wow! Thank you, Alli!

Meet Olive

Abbie, adopted mom of Minnow and Blossom, commissioned Allie to create a 12″ x 12″ oil painting of Olive, a rescued turkey with personality after winning the “Best Finish Line” in the Odd Man Inn’s No-K OddVenture this past Spring.

Abbie decided to generously auction off this beautiful painting and donate all the money to Odd Man Inn instead of keeping it!

Honestly, I don’t know if I would have been able to give this gem to someone else, but I sure do appreciate those kind souls who do!

Are you an animal hero?

Do you know any animals heroes? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year!

Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

Finding Peace, Hope and Joy During a Crisis

Finding Peace, Hope and Joy During a Crisis

Finding Peace, Hope and Joy During a Crisis

Finding Peace, Hope and Joy during a Crisis

Photo: Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

In Times Like These We’re Reminded of What Really Matters

For about a week now, I’ve been mulling over how to address this situation because it leaves me saddened and speechless.

Even if I’m used to writing about topics that makes me sad or “have no words” such as poaching, trophy hunting, bear bile extraction, shark finning, plastic pollution, etc. 

This is different though as it directly affects everyone on this planet.

We’re ALL  —  for the very first time  — in the same boat.

And so, we have to deal with this the best we can and try to keep our sanity.

Speaking of keep our sanity, our friends at Trip Outside put together a list of 10 really cool things you can do to stay sane and active while social distancing.

Lockdown Weirdness

Being on lockdown is just plain weird.

Weird to be forced to slow down.

I remember being forced to not work or be active during pregnancy which turned out to be one of the most peaceful times of my life. And guess what? My baby daughter couldn’t have been more calm and content during her first year of life.

It’s also weird to be forced to spend quality time with your family.

Why are these things weird?

Because they’re supposed to be normal but are often uncommon that it feels foreign when we’re exposed to them.

So, while I feel a bit saddened and speechless, I’m also trying to see the good things that will hopefully come out of it.

During a crisis, I concentrate on the things I’m grateful for: (in your tweet, list your own things)

For example, mine would be: My family & friends, nature, flora and fauna, a strong community, salt whirlpool baths, peanut butter, music, laughter, beer and pasta.

What are you grateful for? And … GO!

Hope for a Better World

The other day, while driving back from a fairly crowded grocery store, I saw a few couples holding hands while walking in the sunshine.

I watched people walking their dogs during unusual dog walking hours.

I’m hearing about people spontaneously meeting via video conference because social contact  — as opposed to social distancing  —  is so very important right now.

I’m reading about the creative and unbelievable help being offered, for instance:

  • Getting groceries or walking the dog for the elderly and vulnerable in isolation. Here’s a list of helpers and those in need.
  • LMVH, a fashion brand in France, is now making hand sanitizer in its perfume factories and plans to distribute it for free to French public authorities.
  • A man in a store offering half of his bag of toilet paper rolls to a woman in a line who didn’t get any.
  • Small service-based businesses offering free consultations to help struggling small businesses.

If you need help in your state in the US, here’s an extensive list. A few international links are located on the bottom of this .pdf too.

Not only that, I’m seeing more kindness, love and gratitude on social media.

Along with your occasional meme about toilet paper hamstering and rationing.

Hey, don’t laugh, I didn’t get any at the store! BUT, I got beer, so I’m good!

This gives me hope. Not necessarily the beer, but the fact that all of this reminds me of what I’m grateful for.

For my loved ones, much-needed downtime, nature and a strong community.

During any crisis, we realize the importance of these things. And reflect on how we can prevent a future crises. How?

By respecting Mother Nature and all she takes care of.

Bear with me, I’ll only stop saying that when I don’t need to anymore.

Perhaps when things ‘get back to normal’, we’ll be able to remember all of this and take a closer look at our lives and how we want to live it.

And how we want to leave it for future generations.

When in crisis mode, it’s important to appreciate those things that truly matter.

Slowing Down with a Willow

A few months ago, I entered  —  and didn’t win  —  an eco poetry contest from Plumwood Mountain, an Australian eco poetry journal.

The task was to write a poem from the point of view of a flora species, or flora in general, and so I chose a weeping willow to be my protagonist.

Because when I think of a willow tree, I automatically think of slowing down. Just watching their leaves flow in the wind helps us breathe deeper and slower, just like walking in the forest.

Full disclosure: I’m not a poet nor claim to know what I’m doing when it comes to poetry, but I can confidently say that it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever written.

When I wrote the poem, COVID-19 was unknown to most of us, but I feel it may help you find peace and calmness during this crisis.

Accompanied by taking walks in nature, spending quality time with your family and just enjoy being present.

Want to read my poem?

How are you? Can you find joy and hope in this situation? What are you grateful for? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family good health and no worries!

Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

Eco Poem | Weeping Willowed Souls

Eco Poem | Weeping Willowed Souls

Eco Poem | Weeping Willowed Souls

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: Yummymoon on Pixabay

Rising above the comforting dark earth, I take my first breath.
A blinding yellow light beams down on me, warming my core.
Open space all around. Loneliness greets me.
This is who I am now, unaware of what I’ll become.

Reaching high above everything that surrounds me, it feels good to stretch.
Above and below. Feeling alive, and connected.

Watching over the restless running in and out of my protection.
Ripping off my sensors. Cutting into my core.
Supporting the quiet ones who stay. Peaceful and kind.

Season after season.

Feeling their joy. And pain. Hearing their laughter. Sensing their desires.
Seeing their soul.
Space of speed and noise. Not lost, programmed.

And then you came.
A beam of light through the dark shadows of desperation.
Lying underneath me, grounded.
Deep blue eyes wide open, staring up at me.
Open old soul, full of love.

I see your world. I want it too.

You come back. Season after season.
Sharing your hopes and dreams.
Receiving my connection with nature with an innocent force.
Breathing in my world. Gifts that only few accept.

I know who I am now. And I know who you are.

All grown, I wrap myself around you and feel your sadness.
Yearning to go home. You do not belong here.
Feeling your sorrow and fear, I show you the warm familiar.

Look into the river below.
You are home now. You are safe. You are protected.

I watch you go, wondering if you believe me.
Beautiful, caring soul, full of love and desire.
Lies only come true when time is ready.
You know better.

Now is not my time. But soon.
As soon as you find your way home.

I know who I am now.

Sharing is Caring

Animal Heroes 2019

Animal Heroes 2019

Animal Heroes 2019

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: Anoir Chafik on Unsplash

For those about to rescue animals, I salute you!

It’s that time of the year again to celebrate the beautiful Animal Heroes of 2019!

I started this tradition last year when I honored the Animal Heroes of 2018.

What may only seem like compassion is really an act of heroism because it takes special souls who go out of their way to save an animal.

They’re everyday heroes who are our neighbors, colleagues, friends and family members. They’re me and you.

It’s these very Animal Heroes of 2019 who deserve respect and gratitude.

Our planet is on fire and our ecosystem is in danger!

As climate change is starting to affect us all, it’s catastrophic in the areas where our help and attention are most needed.

This year has been especially rough for wildlife in the Amazon rainforest and all over Australia.

Roughly 3 million plant and animal species live in the Amazon alone. That’s 1/10 of all animal species on this planet!

Australia is still burning with no relief of steady temperatures in the mid-upper 40’s C (115°-120°F) this week! Unbelievable.

While some humans lose their homes and everything in it — which is rough enough — thousands of plants and animals are dying and several species are heading toward extinction.

Some animals can cover a lot of ground and escape during the raging fires. Big fast cats like the jaguar, have the best chance.

Adult birds can also fly away.

And slow animals, like the sloth and koala, reptiles and insects haven’t got a chance and end up getting burned alive.

As of December 9th, an estimated 2,000 koalas have died. Already considered threatened and even functionally extinct on top of losing 1/3 of their habitat on the north coast, the koala is facing a mass extinction.

The burned areas are also useless for those animals who have survived. Sad thing, non-human animal refugees are treated with even more hostility from their own species than human refugees.

The future is not looking bright for wildlife these days and it’s up to humans to help save and protect them. Because we’re the only chance they have for survival.

Help seems so far away.

Or is it? One brave woman named Toni, went into the fires to save koalas.

Residents are coming together to help however they can.

Firefighters are risking their lives every single day to help save precious wildlife.

And many people are starting to eat less meat after finding out the truth about why the fires in the Amazon region were set in the first place: To clear more land for cattle. Brazil exports more beef than any other country, close to 20% of the global exports according to the USDA.

So, if you want to help, but aren’t physically there to be able to be active, you can donate to a wildlife rescue organization and eat consciously.

Every dollar spent and every vegan meal eaten helps.

Compassionate leadership and politicians who care

After an entire year of daily reports about climate change and hundreds of thousands of caring individuals taking it to the streets, it’s clear we need the help of our government officials to act responsibly and in our best interest.

Because we, the people, can’t save all life on Earth alone. Laws need to be set in place in order to be carbon neutral and curb the craziness.

Since the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid fell flat in its face this past Sunday, I realized our work has only just begun, even though it started 50 years ago.

I till have faith though because we have the power, influence, resources and money to take appropriate climate action.

Some administrations and politicians are trying real hard though. Despite all the resistance and death threats, so let’s honor them this year too!

Here’s a list of cities and officials working toward a better future.

Compassionate leadership is effective leadership. If you want to create change, vote for compassionate leaders.

“At the different stages of recognition, reflection, and redress, practicing compassion provides potentially world-saving opportunities which otherwise likely would not exist.”
~ Aberjhani

Helping the homeless

It’s getting colder in the Northern hemisphere which means a brutal time ahead for many homeless animals. Regardless of the weather, homeless life is horrible.

Well, not for dogs near this Ikea in Italy. Kudos to the Ikea employees who opened their doors to give stray dogs a choice of many sleeping opportunities. Beds of all colors, shapes and sizes. Some lucky dogs even found a new home as soon as the doors were open for customers.

Here are some more heroic acts of kindness:

When a poor artist turns old tires into beds for strays.

The Indiana Police Department allows residents to pay off their parking tickets by donating to the local cat shelter.

This US high school cross-country team takes shelter dogs on their morning runs.

Farm animals

As a vegan, I’m often asked this question: “If everyone were to turn vegan, what would happen to the existing farm animals?”

For one, this is a utopic scenario because there’s no chance that everyone will turn vegan. It’s just not going to happen. And that’s OK because we all want to eat in peace.

Secondly, IF all humans were vegan, there wouldn’t be an enormous number of farm animals to take care of because after not manually impregnating all these animals, balance in their numbers would be restored.

So, what to do with those who naturally reproduce? Many farm animals make great pets and some, like goats and sheep, can be used as natural gardeners.

And then there are the amazing empaths who’ve built farm sanctuaries to give rescued farm animals the best life ever until they naturally move on.

Running these farms takes a lot of determination, physical work, love and money. Sometimes, they offer visitation to receive the proper funding, sometimes they don’t because it causes their animals too much stress.

Either way, these farms need our financial support to help them pay for food and care, just like your local dog/cat animal shelter.

Deep Peace Trust, Australia

Signal Hill Sanctuary, Australia

Kuhaltersheim (cow nursing home) Hof Blutenland, Germany

Farm Sanctuary, USA

A list of other sanctuaries in the USA

Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary, South Africa

Cedar Arrow Farm Sanctuary, Canada

Retreat Animal Rescue, UK

For those about to save species, we salute you! It’s that time of the year again to celebrate the beautiful Animal Heroes of 2019 of this world! Everyday heroes full of compassion and bravery.

Rescued wildlife

Here are a few everyday heroes who see animals in need and nurse them back to help.

DIY Garden put together a thorough guide on how to handle wildlife in danger. A must read for all nature lovers, no matter what season it is.

Woman saves sick bird on street

Author Kristin Ward escorted a snapping turtle crossing the street to get to the local preserve.

Polina lets spiders be, helped a lost baby hare find its way back home and feeds the magpies while Heidi saves little lizards.

The owl whistler regularly saves owls. This year’s rescue was a fledgling and she’ll never forget Martin, a house Martin who fell from his nest.

@WriteMadam spends an awful lot of my time moving snails (and the odd slug) out of harm’s way when it’s wet outside. They litter the paths around here and are in danger of getting stood on or cycled over, which she can’t bear. I do this too!

Barn owl fledgling
Barn owl fledgling
Martin
House Martin
Nala and one snail I moved
House Martin

Life-changing experiences

Social entrepreneurs usually start their purpose-driven business because of something they’ve experienced or seen that they want to change.

Here are a few entrepreneurial animal heroes who have turned their lives around to start a business to help save those without a voice:

For Tom Bryant, founder of  thb Consulting, it was his work in the Borneo rainforest.

Glen Herud wants to make vital changes in the dairy industry.

Luke Jackson founded V-GON Creative, a graphic design business, to help ethical & plant-based businesses with their brand identity.

James Yurichuk’s compassion for animals inspired him to create a premium line of fur and down-free winter jackets.

And yes, I too have founded Ethical Brand Marketing to help save as many animals as humanly possible.

Do you know any other animals heroes? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family and peaceful and loving holiday season and start in the new year!

Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

How to plan for an eco-friendly holiday season

How to plan for an eco-friendly holiday season

How to plan for an eco-friendly holiday season

How to plan for an eco-friendly holiday season

Photo: @hamann, Unsplash

 ‘Tis the season to be frugal

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Are you thinking about planning an eco-friendly holiday season this year?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how you can shop consciously this holiday season and still be able to surprise your loved ones with gifts they’ll adore.

But being green/er doesn’t stop at gift giving.

Even though I’ve been learning how to live a more sustainable lifestyle for decades now, I never stop learning.

Each step we take toward living more sustainably will help create the world we want to live in.

Each step will help us survive on this planet.

The shocking news 

Did you know that 25% more waste is produced between Thanksgiving and the New Year in the United States? 

To make that seem more real: If every family would wrap 3 presents in reusable materials, we’d save enough paper waste to cover 45,000 football fields!

I don’t want to bombard you with more stats though, but just think of how much more energy we use to light our Christmas trees and decorations too.

After a year of hearing intense reports about climate change and plastic in oceans every day in the media, it’s 100% clear that we can’t produce any more waste or energy than we already are.

Instead, we have to drastically reduce our consumption.

And not just over the holidays, but all year round.

Are you ready for an eco-friendly holiday season?

First, let’s talk about Christmas trees

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a decorated tree in your house, am I right?

It’s a German holiday tradition that most every Christian on this planet participates in. Personally, I wouldn’t ‘feel’ Christmas without one.

But, I must admit, I’m now having a hard time with this process because I now question everything.

Should I or should I not put up a tree this year? We’re hosting this year. We have a 12 year old daughter. We love this tradition. And the smell. Yadi, yadi, ya…

Clearly, I do NOT want to give up this tradition while my daughter’s living in the house and probably not after she has a family of her own. I just can’t imagine Christmas without one. It just wouldn’t be the same. And I know I’m not alone.

As far as I know, there are fours ways to source Christmas trees listed in the order of their ecological impact. Number 1 being the most eco-friendly:

  1. Small trees with the root ball you can plant after use.
  2. Tree farm where you chop them down yourself.
  3. Already cut trees at various stands in front of your local stores.
  4. Plastic trees you can buy at retail stores or online.

1. Small trees to replant:

I love these small beauties because they’re cruelty-free and the most sustainable choice. However, this isn’t the easiest option, especially if you don’t have a place to replant them.

The coolest way is to either buy or even grow one and once it reaches a certain size, bring it in, decorate it and then plant it back. Kudos to anyone who does this!

If you’re thinking of going this route and you don’t have room in your garden to replant them, ask the seller if they take them back. You can ask to plant it in a neighbor’s or friend’s garden. Or in your local forest or city park. There are ways, it just takes a little more organization.

2. Tree farm:

Do you have a local organic tree farm that grows Christmas trees for this one reason?In these farms, they offer small to large trees you can cut yourself. A tree gets chopped down and in the spring, another gets planted in its place. This is what my family has been doing for a long time and there are always scraps of the classic Nordmann fir branches lying on the ground which I’m allowed to take and use for my advent candle decoration.

If you go this route, just remember to keep the tree bundled up outside for at least one day before bringing it into your warm house. And always put sugar in the water and keep it hydrated the entire time.

We spend around 60-70 EUR for a 3 meter Nordmann fir from our neighboring forest.

3. Already cut trees:

These remind me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree or parrots in cages who pick their feathers because they don’t get enough attention. I feel bad for these trees because they’ve been chopped down who knows when and who knows from where and often end up losing their needles right after you put them into your warm house.

Also, like cut flowers, not all find good homes and that to me is such a waste and makes me so sad.

They’re the cheaper alternative to tree farms  and they’re easy to get making it the most common choice.

The danger is that you’ll probably never really know where these trees came from. Did the seller sneak into a forest or tree farm and illegally chop them all down over the course of a few evenings? Probably not, but once I saw this shocking news about cone poaching, I figured anything’s possible.

Same with everything, if you’re on a sustainable journey and want to make this world a better place, find out how you stuff was made and sourced and only buy what you feel is right. Vote with your wallet.

4. Plastic trees:

I know these have a purpose and many people like them, but I am just not one of them. Never have been, never will be.

First of all, plastic.

These trees are large and just not biodegradable so they end up in overflowing landfills. Sure, they last for several years, maybe even 2 decades, but then what?

If you already have one, go ahead and use it. But please  for the love of all things beautiful on this planet  never buy one new. Thank you for listening.

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If you use the 5 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Refuse, you will enjoy an eco-friendly holiday season.

Using the 5 Rs: Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Rot | Refuse

How can you easily plan an eco-friendly holiday season and still have a jolly ‘ole time?

By implementing the 5Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, Refuse.

Below are just suggestions to inspire your creativity.

Please be kind to yourself if you can’t do everything though. This is not a competition nor a blaming or shaming match.

Each step counts.

Click or tap on each category below to learn more about each of them and if you have any feedback or anything else to add, please comment below because like I wrote above, I never stop learning.

REDUCE
If there’s one thing we need to realize is that we don’t need any more stuff.

Besides, material things do not make us happy. Our excessive consumerism over the past hundred or so years has only added to our sorrow and ungratefulness.

What does make us happy? Relationships, memories, experiences, LOVE. So, when you want to make your loved ones happy this year, think of how you can make enhance your relationships, make memories, share experiences and spread love instead of gifting stuff.

Here are a few more tips to plan an eco-friendly holiday season:

  • Reduce the amount of material-based gifts. In my last article on how to shop consciously this holiday season I provided links to and ideas about non-material gifts.
  • Do you REALLY need more holiday decorations or ugly Christmas sweaters? Probably not. If you can, use what you have and remember, less is more.
  • Reduce the use of non-LED and non-rechargeable batteries. 
  • Do you have to wrap up your whole house with lights this year? There’s nothing stopping you from saying: ‘OK I’m taking a break.’ and be done with it. You’ll be surprised as to how much time you can spend relaxing on the couch cuddling with your family instead.
  • Instead of cards, donate to the charity of your choice and inform your family and friends either in person when you visit them or on the phone or digitally.
  • To reduce digital volume and energy, you can design a web page with your family holiday greetings, image and charity (“in lieu of cards” style) and send the link via email or text with no image attachments. Great Aunt Betty may snicker, but once you explain it to her on the phone, I’m sure she’ll understand.
REUSE

Here are a few creative ways to wrap your gifts this year that don’t use environmentally-unfriendly decorated wrapping paper. And some ideas for others ways to reuse holiday items.

  • Old clothes, scarves, blankets, sheets, fabric scraps, etc. Learn how to wrap material squares from FabRap
  • New dish towels or head bandanas which adds an ‘extra’ gift
  • Newspaper and use strips of old clothes instead of tape to bind. Remember, newspaper bleeds…
  • Any packaging you receive from others or from your online purchases (tissue paper, gift bags, cardboard boxes). Additional tip: IF you’re getting too much packaging, please contact the manufacturer and kindly ask them to reduce their packaging. The more requests they get, the more they’ll be willing to change.
  • Wallpaper scraps, old maps, sheet music, paper bags, tissue paper, etc.
  • Old Christmas/greetings cards for name tags
  • Gift shop at thrift stores or garage sales instead of buying new
  • Organize a community gift swap event: What’s someone’s trash is another person’s treasure
  • Reuse tinsel. Tinsel is pretty wasteful so I’ll never buy it again. I don’t remember when I last bought tinsel. Maybe 10 years ago? I’ve been using the same tinsel over and over again, but I have one rule, that I put it on the tree and take it off because 1) my husband bunches and 2) he would just throw it back in the bags. I certainly can’t have that! I place each piece carefully on the branches and take each one off and bind them together so that I can reuse them. Waste of my time? Not really. It’s like weeding and is very meditative.
RECYCLE
Recycling isn’t an option anymore, it’s an obligation.

Here are a few tips on how to recycle over the holidays:

  • If you have a live Christmas tree without the roots, you can shred it to mulch your garden. Don’t forget to breathe in through your nose and say ‘ahhhhhhh’.
  • Some gift wrap is recyclable, but most isn’t, so I would still strongly suggest to never buy it again and instead use up what you have and look at the gift wrapping tips above.
  • Many times, traveling causes a lot of waste because there are no separate containers for each piece of trash group in hotels. You can choose to stay in green hotels who do recycle, but unfortunately, most don’t. And sometimes, you don’t know how your family recycles. When I visit someone, that’s one of the first things I ask to make sure I’m ‘doing it correctly’. If your traveling for a longer period of time, you can bring a couple of bags that you can reuse over and over again and separate your trash that way. Fun? Not really. But, you know why you’re doing it so thank you for being considerate.
  • Christmas lights and batteries have to be properly disposed. Please contact your local authorities to find out how.
ROT
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30% of food is wasted globally which contributes to 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

“If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.” Source: Washington Post

 These tips will help you reduce your own food waste impact over the holidays and beyond:

  • Buy and cook what you need when you need it. You can have leftovers but if you find eating leftovers for the 4th day in a row boring, then don’t make so much. Your fridge also never needs to be stuffed. If you plan your meals, this is totally manageable.
  • Fill your plate with your head, not your stomach, especially at all you can eat buffets. Take smaller portions and walk one more time to the buffet rather than piling it all on in one sitting. Take what you can eat and leave the rest.
  • Reduce your meat consumption. Not only is that more healthier for your body and the environment due to less methane being emitted from cow farts, you’re reducing bone and fat waste.
  • Speaking of fat waste. How gross was it when I was a child to have to pour all that fat into a can so that I can scrape it out once it hardened. IF you have pan fat for some reason and can reuse it to make another meal, then please do that. I’m sorry, I have to stop thinking about this or else I’m gonna puke. 
  • Support local restaurants and initiatives that are active in reducing food waste by giving back to the poorer communities.
  • Learn about your vegetables. Did you know that there are a gazillion healthy recipes for avocado pits? That the broccoli stem is so very yummy either raw or cooked? Or that you have a bunch of healthy benefits from all parts of your dandelions growing in the spring and summer? Even the roots? There’s usually uses for all parts of vegetables.
  • Please be careful with giving your dog your scraps though as seasoned food is not healthy for them. Grains are also not good for them on a regular basis. Feeding ducks bread is also not healthy for them. There are also toxins in certain foods that they shouldn’t be either either.
  • Compost. We never throw out food in our household. We don’t put food scraps on our compost piles in the garden either because we live out in the country and don’t want to invite rats. The only thing we put in our compost from our kitchen is used coffee powder and the biodegradable filters because this is like icing on the cake for compost. Instead, our food waste, what little we have, goes in our organic trash which has its own can and gets picked up with our garden waste and sent to a huge composting facility.
REFUSE
This must be the toughest thing for humans. It’s against our nature to refuse a gift from anyone. How do you refuse to receive a gift? How do you get out of your own mindset of wanting gifts?

Here are a few tips:

  • Express your no-gift wish compassionately to your loved ones early on. Many families have a no-gift policy for the adults and only concentrate on the children in the family which is great.
  • If you have a family that insists on gifting, you can say that you’d prefer to go to a concert or a movie with them or be invited to dinner instead of receiving a material gift. OR a bottle of wine would also be fine.
  • You can offer to only exchange handmade items, but if you’re like me or my husband, this has got to be the most stressful thing. Except this year, I finally learned how to make some of my own products which would make really nice gifts!
  • If you’re unable to refuse gifts for whatever reason, try to set up a gift list for you or your children of your favorite eco store. If your store doesn’t offer this service online, make your own gift list here.
  • Here’s a really good year-round resource for appropriate baby shower gifts and how much to spend. These gifts don’t always have to be physical items. I love the idea of gifting the parents-to-be a date night incl. babysitting service.

If your loved ones know you well and understand the reasons why you don’t want more stuff and especially no stuff that destroys our environment, they will respect you. It may take a few years, but eventually, they will. I’m speaking from experience. 🙂

What’s your plan for an eco-friendly holiday season? Please comment below and let’s talk!
Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

For the Love of Nature, Please Shop Consciously this Holiday Season

For the Love of Nature, Please Shop Consciously this Holiday Season

For the Love of Nature, Please Shop Consciously this Holiday Season

Mass extinction is near. Koalas need our help

Photo: @geralt, pixabay

Want to really surprise your loved ones?

‘Tis the season to be mindful

If you’d like to shop consciously this holiday season and not disappoint your loved ones, you’re in the right place!

But before I start, let’s talk about why I’m writing this article.

The biggest shopping days of the year are approaching: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to blackfriday.com, the highest recorded amount at $6 billion was spent on Cyber Monday in 2018.

On Black Friday, it was $4.8 billion and even on Thanksgiving when people could be spending quality time with their families, sales were at $3.4 billion.

That’s a lot of stuff being bought! Just on those three days! And only in the states!

The holiday spend in 2018 in the US was forecast at $719.17 billion!

And get this: According to Optoro, nearly $70 billion worth of holiday purchases were returned in 2014. I couldn’t find their stats on returns in 2018, but I guarantee they were similar.

Newsweek goes on to explain that the Daily Mail reported that 42% of women returned holiday gifts from their husbands, 17% planned to donate a gift, 13% planned to regift one item and 10% just throw their ‘bad gift’ away!

Send a gift away to landfill? Oh, NO!!!

And what about the quiet folks who put a smile on their faces and pack that unwanted gift in the basement never to see the light of day again? I sadly admit, I’ve done that more than once in my lifetime.

Not all gifts find the right homes.

Who needs all this stuff anyway? 

Anything that’s produced causes some kind of damage to people, animals and/or our environment.

But let’s face it, we still need stuff. We can’t walk around naked.

We need clothes, electronics, age-appropriate toys, household items, etc.

We just don’t live in a society where we can ‘live’ without all these products.

We actually could, but do we even know how to? Do we honestly want to live like that?

The answer is ‘not really’. We love our luxurious lives. And that’s OK.

We don’t have to change that much though.

What we can do is reduce our negative impact and still make a difference. 

Because every step counts.

And just think of the surprise effect when you gift something truly memorable and ethically-made.

Are you ready to shop consciously this holiday season?

Buycott your way through the holidays

There are companies who produce items in an ethical way.

Products that support local communities in your hometown or in less abundant countries.

Products that are recycled and upcycled and use more sustainable materials.

Companies that also give back to support causes that you care about.

This holiday season, we all have the power and ability to support these ethical brands.

Purpose-driven brands that have a story to tell and a mission to accomplish.

I’ll never forget my mom’s last Christmas in 2015 before she passed away. She sent my daughter and I a beautiful fairtrade scarf from Global Girlfriend.

Everytime I wear this scarf — which is a lot — I get enormous compliments which make me smile. And think of my mom.

Everytime I wear earrings that my sister or a friend handmade with love just for me, I feel the most positive energy.

Because the holiday season isn’t about gifting stuff. It’s about love.

How can you share the gift of love? Does it always have to be a product?

No. I’ve been gifting experiences for decades.

In the form of concerts, vacations, day and weekend trips, trips to the spa, tickets to special events, dinners, etc.

That’s how we can shop consciously this holiday season.

Voting with your wallet helps create a better world.

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The holiday season is not about gifting products. It’s about love. Please be mindful and think before you buy.

Brands That Rock

Earlier this month, I posted a ‘Call for Ethical Brands’ tweet for my marketing business that gained a lot of traction so that I can give you some inspiration. I already knew most of the brands, but was able to get to learn about even more which is great!

The following categorized list is only a fraction of the incredible social enterprises out there doing something good in this world.

What I love most about these brands is that they actually do a Snoopy Dance after each sale which is something the huge companies or Amazon will never even think about doing.

So, let’s support them instead.

Click or tap on each category below to learn more about these amazing brands!

For the love of all things beautiful, please support ethical brands.

HELPING OTHERS

Instead of sending cards or gifts, why not donate to a charity you know your loved ones would appreciate?

You know your loved ones better than I do though, so I thought it’d be useless to list a bunch of charities here.

If, however, you want some help in this department, I can certainly guide you in the right direction.

Just contact me and tell me what kind of change you’d like to help create in this world and I’ll help you find the perfect charity partner, how about that?

ECO TRAVEL
  • Earth Changers: Visit one of the most nature-immersed ecolodge experiences in the world in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Or experience the out-of-this-world Galapagos away from the tourist crowds
  • At Safari With Us, our specialty is creating once-in-a-lifetime Safaris and journeys throughout Southern Africa! From roughing it in a tent with your backpack to luxury accommodations. For instance, you can join us on a fantastic 3 Day Wildlife Kruger Manyeleti Safari and before you fly back home, take a day tour to Johannesburg and Soweto.
  • #OptOutside is a movement to encourage spending time in nature instead of the mall or on your couch shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Because you can shop any day, so why not spend it in nature?
BOOKS / MAGAZINES
  • Free Eco Literature: These bestselling eco lit authors have teamed up to offer a delightful selection of new books that inspire a deep ecology philosophy. Available until December 20.
  • Adventure She magazine aims to empower, educate & entertain predominantly women through sharing empowering, educating & entertaining stories. It’s online only, so we’re not responsible for chopping down trees and makes it easier to help women worldwide.
  • Free ebooks for kids: There’s nothing like the giving the gift of reading to your younger loved ones. Available until December 16.
  • Free Sci Fi / Fantasy ebooks: These amazing books are available for free from Dec 1 – 31.
COACHING / CONSULTING / MINDFULNESS
  • Jess offers Burnout Rescue Support sessions & cellular memory release sessions that help you heal & unravel any unhealthy saboteurs, ego patterns or behaviors that might be leading you into burnout, struggle or strife in your life. For your loved one who’s on a verge of burning out, you can sign up for a complimentary Burnout Rescue Toolkit OR a 60-minute Discovery consultation.
  • Sea Soul Blessings: Mindfulness tools inspired by the sea. Giving back to the ocean with every purchase.
  • Ethical Brand Marketing: For your entrepreneurial friends and family members who need some help with their marketing, you can book a consultation call with me. The first 30 minutes is free!
LEARNING (ONLINE COURSES)
  • Love Map Astrology was borne to answer some of life’s biggest questions around love and life purpose. The Love Map Individual Session is a one-of-a-kind experience, an intuitive reading of your astrological blueprint based on the questions you have about your life–past, present and future.
  • Oakley Fine Art provides a service to aspiring artists with out the travel. Gift your loved one — or yourself — the green alternative to learning with an introductory price offer of $47 USD.
FUN THINGS FOR KIDS
  • @nudge_games: an enviro-friendly board game made from 100% recyclable materials including biodegradable counters.
  • Teddo Play: 100% designed and made in the UK. Our intellectual play-based learning cards grow with the child, are the best quality ever (words of our customers :)) and all paper used is FSC certified, EMAS verified and have the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and OHSAS 18001 accred.
HOUSEHOLD GIFTS
  • We are Ethiqana and our heart beats for all that is ethical, is sustainable and feels logical. See a wide range of Organic Wooden Toys & Games, Home Furnishings & Accessories, Statement Jewellery, Handmade Greeting Cards & more. With every sale, you’ll not only help our artisan heroes but also help bring positive social change in the wider world through our partnership with B1G1. Please use code PXM1920 to receive 20% OFF across the range. Min purchase £20.
  • Check out ethically made Christmas decorations and plastic free Christmas packaging options on Boho Homes London.
  • Norfolk Natural Living creates natural, sustainable home and garment care products that clean your belongings without harming the planet.
  • A Circle Back: a multibrand marketplace of brands which give back in someway. Ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly & social impact brands. Gifts that give back.
  • Hunnie produces sustainable reusable beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic sandwich bags and cling wrap. They’re perfect as stocking fillers and secret Santas.
  • The Weekly Shop: plastic free shop which offers a curation of zero waste products for the kitchen, bathrooms and on the go. All brands in stock carefully vetted.
  • From Trash to Treasure: Turn your old bottles into refillable soap dispensers. “Save Soap and Save the Planet”.
  • Reco Shop: Reusable and sustainable alternatives to single-use products.
  • Give Back Goods carries eco-friendly, sustainable, fair trade and cause-based gifts, home goods and accessories for the whole family. Every purchase creates a positive impact on our Planet! Get 15% off $60 or more with code “GiveBack” November 22 – December 2nd. Or sign up now and get 10% off your order!
  • Savannah Willow was founded by an international development professional and ethically sources really gorgeous products that all have a background story, that give back to the community as well as the artisan and all made with natural or recycled materials.
PET SUPPLIES
  • Lamina Animal: Luxurious vegan plastic-free ethical pet supplies, handmade in the UK from ethically sourced and sustainable certified organic materials. Plus, there’s the 10% discount code ETHICALHOUR10 for the virtual high street for ethical hour for the whole month of November.
GIFT WRAPPING
  • FabRap: Reusable, sustainable Giving. Changing the way we give with each organic and sustainably produced gift wrap.
BODY CARE & BEAUTY
  • well&belle curates the very best in independent green beauty. We do the research so that you can feel good and enjoy using products that are effective and safe for the whole family.
JEWELRY
CLOTHES / BEDDING
  • Where does it come from?: We love to have people buy our kind clothes that tell tales. We’ve also just opened our Christmas shop to help people by wrapping and posting their gifts for them!
  • Baby Peppers: Specialising in sustainable bedding textiles for infants and invested in making social change on a global scale.
  • At Rozenbroek, we are not doing a sale but instead are planting a tree at our East Yorkshire, solar powered factory for every purchase made on Black Friday.
  • Critically Endangered Socks are ethically made with organic cotton and support the world’s most endangered animals. I personally love my socks that save species!
  • Boy wonder is a premium boyswear brand with ethics and sustainability at its heart
  • Doc Cotton: 100% ethically sourced organic cotton. Bespoke fashion. Handmade in Peckham, London.
  • EBYAK: a sustainable menswear brand. Specialising in modern and contemporary 100% organic, GOTs approved mens sustainable streetwear.
  • BoxHuman is the first all-in-one empowerment platform – BoxHuman and its own unisex sustainable fashion to “empower from inside-out”. We’re GOTs approved, certified 100% organic and use an ethically accredited factory.
  • TattyMoo offers the code ECOCENTRIC to receive 25% off the entire store. They also still have free XR (Extinction Rebellion) patches and the custom rework package is still live!
FURNITURE
  • Nafisi Studio: Bespoke sculpture and art furniture by husband and wife duo.
LINGERIE / SWIMWEAR
  • Deadin and Blue: Sleek, sculpting & sustainable swimwear. Made responsibly in London from ocean waste, shipped in recyclable packaging.
  • Colie Co : ethically produced, sustainable lingerie. 20% off entire collection from 29/11 to 2/12 inclusive.
FEMININE HYGIENE

You may be wondering why this category is in here. While it may be uncommon to gift a loved one a feminine hygiene product, who said there are any rules? You’re a unique person and are allowed to give the gift of protection and confidence.

  • Lux Store: 100% biodegradable, sustainable plastic free period products.
  • FemmyCycle is a menstrual cup from the makers of FemCap. The only reusable menstrual cup invented by a doctor, the revolutionary design features a patented no-spill foldable rim for less mess, a ring for easy removal and increased comfort, and up to 12 hours of leak free protection.

That’s not all though – there are more brands!

Our friends at Ethical Hour honestly can’t do more work in the area of inspiring people to shop consciously.

Every year, Sian  their founder puts together a campaign to highlight social entrepreneurs and their ethically-made products to support on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Visit their #ShopEthicalInstead initiative to learn more about these other brands.

Together, we can help do less damage to our environment.

Do you support other ethical brands?

How do you feel about the commercialism on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Please comment below and let’s talk!
Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

Please Stop the Mass Extinction of Species

Please Stop the Mass Extinction of Species

Please Stop the Mass Extinction of Species

Mass extinction is near. Koalas need our help

Photo: @gillesrollandmonnet, unsplash

We are Responsible for Animals!

Raise your hand if you think that koalas are adorable.

Did you hear about the mass extinction of almost 700 koalas in Australia due to overpopulation in the beginning of September? Devastating, isn’t it?

The reason for killing them was because they wouldn’t have survived.

I understand the fact that it’s difficult to witness ill and weak animals desperately trying to feed themselves. I get that and physically feel their pain and hunger.

But, I don’t believe that all those who were killed would not have survived with proper care.

It’s just easier and cheaper to kill than it is to prevent such a situation or to care for the weak.

But that’s our job as humans.
That’s what makes us special.

 Mass Extinction is Near

According to the Australian Koala Foundation, Koalas are now considered functionally extinct. Although there are a supposed 800,000 left in Australia, as soon as their numbers dip to a certain point, there’s no turning back as they are being driven into extinction.

Functionally Extinct could mean one of three things:

  1. Any species whose population has declined so much that it no longer plays a significant role in their ecosystem. In the case of the koala, they eat upper leaves in the top branches and then poop which produces more trees, keeping balance in a eucalyptus forest. Koalas are nutrient recyclers.
  2. A species whose population is no longer viable. Female koalas produce one offspring at a time and up to six in a lifetime. Koalas are very sensitive animals – just look at them – and when they’re stressed, they may not mate. They’re not as ‘lazy’ as sloths, but they are a species who saves as much energy as possible and mating takes energy, even if it’s only a 2 minute process. Sexual diseases such as Chlamydia also affect fertility rates. And get this, they don’t have the reproduction drive as other animals. Interesting. Koalas are nonchalantly sensitive.
  3. In smaller groups, they can suffer from inbreeding which threatens their future. We’re already seeing this happen in urban areas and through genetic studies, along the Koala Coast near Brisbane. Koalas are desperate.

Although they have no natural predators, they have humans who engage in deforestation. Climate change and drought are horribly affecting their population as well. So, yeah, they need our help in order to survive.

UPDATE January 8, 2020: According to this article, koalas are luckily NOT functionally extinct, but they are still not thriving, especially now after 3 months of fires. A new analysis will have to be made once the fires stop and things get ‘back to normal’ but that will take a couple of years. The information above about their reproduction and sensitivity is still accurate though, which is why I’m leaving it in this article.

 

 Taking Responsibility

Other animal species care for the weak too, but we have the means and more opportunities than they do which makes it our responsibility.

After hearing the news, I knew I could help, even if only a little bit. 

As a member of B1G1, I support various projects that help reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Since joining in December 2018, I’ve funded many projects to help reach all 17 goals, but I concentrate more on #13: Climate action, #14: Life below water and #15: Life on land because I feel we have to get these three reached.

If we fail at this, we won’t be around anymore.
We’ll be looking at a mass extinction of the human species.

Also, I’m passionate about all animals and have built my life and businesses on trying to help save and protect them.

SO, I went into the B1G1 portal, searched for their koala projects and these two below popped up.

It may not sound like much, but this is a collective initiative, so it’s not just my giving back action that helps them. It’s the action of many others as well.

And rest assured, I will be back to help feed more koalas in the future so that this culling never happens again because …

… Killing is not conservation.

Trying to stop mass extinction: Koalas projects on B1G1.
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As opposed to non-human animals, we have the knowledge, means and opportunities to help save and protect other species and our environment. This is what makes wildlife conservation and climate action our responsibility.

Creating a kinder world

When we believe we are at the top of anything, be it food chain or what have you, we‘re in big trouble.

When we nurture a diverse ecosystem and truly respect all living beings, we become more peaceful, abundant, happy and less stressed.

When we respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we‘re no longer feeding our ego and enabling a ‚me, myself and I‘ society, we‘re acting on a higher level of consciousness.

In that moment, we‘re at peace with ourselves and others.

We’ll be able to work together to make the lives of everyone better, including animals. There‘s enough room, money, food and shelter for all of us, we just have to distribute it better.

But, we also have to figure out the overpopulation crisis of our own species before it‘s too late.

We can‘t do this if we believe that we have the right to continue destroying things like rainforests, oceans, entire species, etc. We have to find real solutions!

Genocide and ecocide are not solutions!

How You Can Help

If you feel compelled — and I hope you do — to help save species like the koala, it doesn’t take much time or money and you can do it right now on your desktop or phone.

The koalas I fed above are taken care of by the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, established in 2002 by Steve and Terri Irwin. You can donate to their organization.

And you can donate $5 to become an Earth Protector to help to make ecocide illegal.

Ecocide is the mass damage or destruction of natural living systems.

Without laws that protect our environment from destructive industry practices and dirty supply chains, we will drive many species into extinction. Including our own.

Also, you can vote with your wallet.

There are many smaller brands who are producing products in an ethical way.

So, when you need a new shirt, pair of shoes, bottle of gin or socks, please let me know and I’ll send you links of brands who are doing something good in this world. An easy search on ecosia.org will also work.

Every step counts!

Thank you for Your Contribution

Did you know that just by signing up to receive my emails, you help save lives. When you subscribe, I fund a day of rabies vaccination administration to street dogs in Nepal.

Or if you write a positive review of Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest, I fund a literacy program for a girl in India.

B1G1 Project
B1G1 Project

How do you feel about us driving species into mass extinction? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

Our planet is on fire! Are we all doomed or can we save ourselves?

Our planet is on fire! Are we all doomed or can we save ourselves?

Our planet is on fire! Are we all doomed or can we save ourselves?

How to speak for the animals

Photo: @anneliesephillips, unsplash

Today is World Environment Day!

But then again, everyday is.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a bit anxious about our current situation.

I don’t think we’ll all die tomorrow, but if we continue going about our business like we’ve been doing all our lives, our world will look extremely different in 20 years.

And not in a good way!

I don’t want to dwell on the severity of the situation. I’d rather paint the picture of hope for a better future.

Because there IS hope.

 Air Pollution

This year’s theme for World Environment Day is air pollution because it’s SO important and yet many people don’t really know much about it. Me included. I had no idea about some alarming stats until just recently.

According the the UN,  “Air pollution is the single biggest environmental health risk, causing roughly 7 million deaths annually.” YIKES!

Black carbon, methane, ozone, and airborne particles produced by industrial operations and the burning of diesel, coal, kerosene or biomass are the cause of about 1/3 of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer and 1/4 of heart attack deaths.

Not only that, but these toxins in our air also cause global warming, food insecurity, natural disasters, etc.

Air pollution is to be taken seriously.

If you just make small changes in your daily routine, you can help reduce air pollution and save many lives. Every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in.

What changes do you want to make?

Although you can’t directly control what damaging industries or certain politicians do, you can control what you consume, do throughout your day and who you support.

Specifically, but not limited to, what you eat, wear and clean your body and home with. How you travel, use your gadgets and run your machines that ease your life. What companies and politicians you support.

How sustainably you live our life is your own personal choice.

Every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in.

Saving the world is overwhelming!

Do you feel anxiety or cluelessness about how to tackle this problem?

I know I did when I started.

Because most people don’t know how to save the world which is one reason behind the psychology of the Notre Dame fire resulting in billions of dollars of donations within 24 hours.

For one, it’s a quick fix to a simple problem. A building burns and needs to be rebuilt. Easy peasy.

But saving the planet is anything but easy or quick. It takes expertise and deliberate action and people in disagreement about the ‘how’ part of the solution.

You are not alone.

No one human being can tackle this monster alone. But collectively – if we all act for the better good of all – we can curb climate change and create a better future for our children and future generations.

If you’re wondering how to live more sustainably, I first want to thank you! Just making that conscious decision to make changes in your life deserves a lot of praise because change isn’t easy for everyone which is why we’re in this situation in the first place. That and greed.

And just to give you hope. Now that I have a strategy, I feel a whole lot better and am able to make more of a positive impact. 

Thank you for wanting to help!

Cha, cha, cha, changes

Here’s how I tackled the problem.

Click on each of the four sections below.

Pick your passion.

In order to be truly committed to implement changes in your daily routine, you have to want to do it. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because you’re super passionate about it.

If you look at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you’ll notice each of the 17 goals has an important piece of the puzzle to help create a better world for all life.

As an ethical marketing strategist and founder of Ethical Brand Marketing, I’m an advocate for niching down your target market so that you can speak to one person (or group of people) at a time. In a similar fashion, I suggest you choose 1-3 SDGs that you’re most passionate about and feel you can make the most difference.

If you do that, you’ll reduce the overwhelm and be able to move step-by-step which will be less exhausting and more manageable.

For me, as an animal and nature-lover, I concentrate more on SDGs 13 (Climate action)  14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land) because I feel that if we don’t reach these goals, our own existence as a species is in jeopardy. 

Not that I think clean water, education or food aren’t important. They’re super important, but I can’t tackle all these problems at once. One at a time and so I concentrate more on the ones that have to do with our own survival.

Do your research.

Once you pick your passion, research about what steps to take to help you reach your goals. Read more about the SDGs you chose here and search a few keywords in ecosia.org. Once you’ve gathered enough information to satisfy your knowledge hunger, move to the next step: Plan out actionable steps to take.

Plan out actionable steps to take.

Here, you can map out the steps you want to take. Let’s say you picked SDG 15 because you also love animals and want to save species. You could write out things like:

  • Contact your local beekeeping club and learn how you can get involved.
  • Support a charity that buys land in the Borneo rainforest to stop bulldozers from paving the way for palm oil production.
  • Read labels and don’t buy products that harm life on Earth, e.g. those with palm oil in it.
  • Go out in nature. By just observing the beauty, listening to the sounds and breathing the clean air, you’ll remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
  • Research and book a volunteering trip to help save species from poaching or other wildlife crimes.
  • Get involved in a tree planting activity organized by your local community or donate to a tree-planting organization. Trees clean up our air, so we need more of them.
  • Eat less meat. I understand that not everyone wants to become a vegan, BUT, if you just eat less meat, your body will thank you (it really is healthier) and you’ll reduce the demand of killing them for food. Our environment will also thank you because less methane gas will be produced by cow burps (and farts, but the burps are worse as far as methane gas production is concerned).
  • Join a local bird watching club or animal protection organization. I’ve just found out there’s a club just a few blocks away from me that protects bats and owls and builds insect hotels! Of course I’m getting involved!
  • Join the #FridaysForFuture / #ParentsForFuture or Extinction Rebellion movement in your area if you want to take peaceful action to the streets and reach the gov’t.
  • If you haven’t already, read Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest and write a review to help spread the message that kids have the power and influence to make a difference in this world. In the back of the book, I wrote a few easy steps if your children want to help save laboratory animals. Buying cruelty-free products is one of them.
  • Call your local representatives and talk to them about their opinions and actions against climate change and deforestation or whatever your local area needs.
  • Buy from ethical brands who trace their every step of the supply chain to give you the confidence that what you consume has not harmed any plant or animal, human included. Also, most ethical brands have a give back strategy, so look for those who support plant and animal-saving organizations.

I could go on forever, but I won’t. This gives you an idea of how to break it down so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore. Some of these tasks are easy, e.g. read labels and some involve your time, e.g. join a club or volunteer program, but I’ll guarantee that if you get involved and the atmosphere and people running the club or organization fit your style and personality, it will change your life.

That’s what you want, right?

Spread awareness.

Since you know many people, either on social media or in person, inspire others to join you. They’ll have their own agenda and may or may not want to do the exact same things as you, but like I wrote above, we need this diversity to be able to reach all 17 goals.

Can you help save our environment?

Of course you can. And together, we will!

If everyone just starts to make small – or big – changes in their daily lives, we can create the world we want to live in.

Every human is called upon to act now. 

Every step helps.

Do you want to continue talking about nature?

How do/did you celebrate World Environment Day? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring