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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

How to Speak FOR the Animals

How to Speak FOR the Animals

How to Speak FOR the Animals

How to speak for the animals

Photo: @leafydragon, unsplash

Watch your Language

Because everyone’s listening

I must admit, I don’t always practice what I preach, especially when I open my mouth.

I’m a born and raised New Yorker with lots of hot blood flowing through my veins. I’ve moved a little along the East coast a bit and since 1995, have been living in Germany where it’s encouraged to talk about politics and tell someone what you honestly think whether they asked to hear it or not.

If I’ve learned anything from being around different cultures in my almost half-century life, it’s to remain as respectful as humanly possible even if a fire’s brewing inside because it’s the only way that people will listen.

I wrote about respectful communication in January because in this day and age of trolling on social media and with the political situations causing splits in many countries, we can sure use all the reminders we can get.

 

What does this have to do with animals?

Well, just recently US President Trump called the MS-13 gang ‘animals’ and he’s used that term for ‘illegal’ immigrants too. That’s about as political as I’m going to get right now. This post is NOT about this president or any groups of humans. But, just to make it clear where I stand, humans are not illegal and there are no borders.

What this post is about is his use of the term ‘animal’.

Humans are animals. That’s a fact and I, for one, am happy to be one, so thank you, Mr. President, for telling the truth.

Problem is, he didn’t mean it like that.
He meant to insult this group by referring to them as ‘barbaric’.

Wait a minute, what species is he calling barbaric? Every single non-human animal species.

Say what? Now this only insults the non-human animals!

The ones who mind their own business.

But it’s the human race who’s ‘barbaric’ because we take full advantage of destroying things for our own benefit.

Many humans are trying to change things and for that, I’m grateful.

That’s also why I’m publishing the digital version of Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest on April 26: World Day for Laboratory Animals because I want to show the younger generation how important it is to respect nature and all animals, humans included. 

As soon as we’re mindful about how we talk about animals, can we start to speak FOR the animals.

How to Be Mindful

Being careful about the words you use and how you talk and write about animals may not seem that important, but this small shift makes a difference in the unconscious minds of others.

Since animals are living beings, not a material objects, I don’t refer to any animal as an ‘it’ but rather a he or she.

I use the word family when talking about wolves, not a pack. Not to humanize them, but that’s how they see themselves, living in a tight knit family where each member has an important job, something humans can relate to more than a pack anyway.

I was also looking for a new phrase for “kill two birds with one stone” and then Sabine Harnau, owner of From Scratch, retweeted this post below to me from peta and since we both agree, scones are not healthy for birds, I now say “Feed two birds with one banana” when I multitask.

Or ten birds, depending on the size of the birds and banana as one banana is very filling.

And I’ll “teach a vegan to farm”, never a man to fish.

The comments on this thread in Twitter are atrocious and unfortunately, that’s common with PETA’s posts because haters are gonna hate.

But not you as you are enlightened and respectful and for that, I’m truly grateful.

animal language

Respect All Animals

„As parents, we have the moral responsibility to keep the spirit of our children alive, healthy and happy. As humans, this extends to animals. Breaking the spirit of animals goes against all laws of nature and the universe.“

 

Do you want to read Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest?

 

Can you think of any other phrases to reformulate? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

International #FridaysForFuture Demo: The Day the Students Spoke

Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019

Making an Impact!

The younger generation have a strong voice!

Whoever attended the #FridaysForFuture demo this past Friday will probably agree that it was incredible!

Hundreds of thousands of concerned students, parents and teachers around the world gathered to talk about our future on this beloved Earth.

Greta Thunberg, the initiator of this movement is not only leading the way to force the government to finally crack down and make some necessary changes so that we can survive as a species, she was just nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

 

Climate Change is Real

Scientists agree that our planet is resilient so we won’t get the opportunity to completely ruin our planet. Whew, right?

The only thing we will accomplish is to ruin our chances to exist on this planet.

We‘re actually leading the way toward our own extinction. Until stricter laws and regulations are written and enforced and we humans become more mindful with our own consumption, we‘ll just continue to speed up this process.

Which is why millions are now taking their worry and anger to the streets.

The younger generation is scared because we‘re not leaving them much hope.

And I don’t blame them.

So, my daughter and I decided to join them on the streets!

 

Breaking the Law

When the demos started in February, two students came into my daughter’s classroom to talk about it. They were trying to inspire students to participate, but also warned them of the consequences.

In Germany, school is mandatory and the school district sent out an official statement saying that if students attend the demo, they’ll receive an F for each class missed that day. My daughter will get 6 Fs for March 15, 2019, and it will show up on her report card.

And I‘ll attach a photo of her at the demo to her report card.

That said, she‘s an excellent 6th grade student and I don’t believe this will affect her overall grades this semester.

So as soon as I found out about the international demo this past Friday, I called the school and talked to her teacher so that it was very clear my daughter’s attending the demo. I explained that we both understood she will get these Fs on her report card.

Later that evening, I received an email from her teacher explaining that the director mentioned there may be further consequences if we follow through.

I, as the parent, am responsible for my daughter’s actions and may receive a fine to pay or I may have to do some type of community service. I have no idea, but I wrote back thanking her for this additional information but that I’m ready to be held responsible and she’s ready to get those Fs because climate change is important for us.

I also sent her teacher an image of the poster my daughter drew and the speech she prepared and that I‘ll be the last person to take this experience away from her.

Her teacher is very nice btw and understands our position but also has to do her job according to the school district rules and regulations.

 

The Next Morning

Leandra polished her speech and read it out loud a few times. I could tell she was nervous, but also very curious and excited.

Little did she know how this one day will shape the rest of her life.

I knew it though.

We arrived at the Rathaus (City Hall) in Dortmund, Germany right on time and tried so desperately to hear the speakers, but there were too many people and the microphone wasn‘t loud enough.

So we heard what we could and yoohoo’d when others did.

The atmosphere was alive and the chants were abound: „Wir sind hier, wir sind laut, weil man uns die Zukunft klaut!“ The translation in English isn‘t as good because it doesn‘t rhyme. „We are here, we are loud because you’re stealing our future!“

My daughter then asked nervously, „Mom, should I go up there and speak?“

I said some encouraging words, but it was crowded, we could barely hear the speakers and it was a little overwhelming to her, so she didn‘t want to do it.

She folded the piece of paper of her speech and put it in her pocket.

I gave her some more words of encouragement because I wanted to motivate her and not give her the feeling I‘d be disappointed if she didn‘t. Because I wasn‘t.

She was there, she was loud and I was proud of her with or without her speech.

Entire classes from supportive schools viewed this as an opportunity to teach their students more about climate change and give them a lesson from the School of Life.

Who was there 

We saw more students than anyone else, but there were also parents and teachers there. 

We saw entire classes from supporting schools who viewed this as an opportunity to teach their students about climate change.

And groups that have formed over the past couple of weeks such as Parents for Future!

Of course there were students who apparently were only there to get out of school and smoke, but they were in the minority.

And outshined by students I overheard talking about these world issues. Discussing them with intelligence and action-oriented mindfulness.

By the young artist who used chalk to draw a whale who died from eating too much plastic.

And the young poet who read her beautiful words about Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life, the primal Mother Earth goddess in Greek mythology.

And the many who spoke on stage.

And the hundreds who cheered them on.

 

Then We Took to the Streets

After about an hour, we started marching along the Wall, the main road that circles the city center in many German cities.

Business owners stopped and watched us from inside the comfort of their warm, dry store. It had been raining for the past two weeks and Friday gave us no relief either. But that’s OK, we were dressed appropriately.

This part of the demo was the most fun because we were moving. It felt different and we met some nice like-minded people along the way!

After arriving at the big church an hour later, we listened again. The acoustics were a little better, but still, we didn‘t hear a lot.

Then we marched back to the Rathaus.

Only about 500 people were left at that point. They mostly scattered after the stop at the church which was OK because we were finally able to hear the speakers.

There is no Planet B

Speaking and Taking Action

Leandra's sign at the Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019
Leandra on Stage at the Fridays for Future Demo in Dortmund on March 15, 2019

Since the crowd was now more manageable, my daughter asked me again, „Mom, should I speak now?“

And that was that, she knew the time was right and it was now or never

So, I escorted her on stage to stand in a short line of others who wanted to speak from their hearts.

Isabelle got up there and talked about joinjulianne.org, a 20 member group of young activists who are suing the US government for their continuous use of fossil fuels. So of course, I spoke to her as I don’t meet many Americans in Dortmund at demonstrations.

And soon enough, my daughter was on stage:
„Hi, my name is Leandra and I‘m 12 yrs. old…“

She didn‘t want me to publish her whole speech, but a photo was allowed.

She talked about not only that we have to change too, but also gave a few suggestions of how to do this in addition to where the gov‘t needs to step up.

She did it! Her first speech ever. Making her the youngest speaker in Dortmund that day. On such an important issue and event!

 

The School of Life

This was an experience of a lifetime for my daughter and many other students. Not only is this experience invaluable, during the entire demo, she was alive, motivated and thinking about ways to reduce her own carbon footprint by suggesting to ride the bus to ballet instead of having me driving her.

She even used the word impact!

I’m often very proud of her and so standing up there on stage was the cake.

But the fact that she’s still talking about how to help is the icing which is so much sweeter!

That Friday, on March 15, 2019, she attended the School of Life which will be a super exhilarating and positive memory forever.

Power to the People.

 

My Favorite Sign

Massentierhaltung überwinden! = Get rid of industrial farming! 

 

Want to help protect our environment?

 

Were you also at a demo? Either with Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion or another group? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Respectful Communication Makes the World Go Round

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: @MK817, pixabay

Happy New Year!

On Setting Intentions

What a year it’s going to be! I don’t know about you, but my intentions for this year are very clear: Have more fun with my family and work, connect with more like-minders and make more of an impact by saving as many animals as I can.

For that, I’ve defined a few objectives: Publish Lily Bowers and The Uninvited Guest, create an online course for my business to help ethical brands with their marketing strategy, start working on a book on how to create an ethical marketing strategy, give back to more animal and nature conservation efforts, take a voluntary trip to an animal rescue sanctuary in Africa, sponsor and judge the Be The Change Awards in London in the Brands That Give Back category, present my topic of how to market for animals and nature in an online ethical marketing summit, etc.

That’s just a few things on the business side, I also have many plans with my friends and family and money pit house! We still have to decide on where to go on vacation, organize a few day and long weekend trips, get the photovoltaic unit installed this month and finally get the basement finished as we want a huge family game room and I’m tired of looking at concrete floors and abandoned spider webs! Yes, I’d rather see the web dwellers than what they leave behind!

What about you?

 

My Vision

My intentions and objectives defined above are not just random things I want to do. They all align with my vision of living in a peaceful and respectful world.

I envision a world of healthy choices and opportunities for all animals, humans included. One with no more child labor, sweatshops, animal abuse and testing, pesticides, GMOs and harmful chemicals on the foods, clothes, meds and products we consume. And a world without poverty and war.

Do I believe in fairy dust? Absolutely!

But I also believe in the power of people and the changes we can create together!

 

What Kind of a Message Do You Want To Send?

If you have a similar vision, let me ask you, how are you trying to make it come true?

When I reflected on last year and planned this new year, I thought about how I can help create a kinder world. One way is to collaborate with like-minded people because I can’t carry this burden on my shoulders alone and neither can you. We have to work together.

I also thought of how to communicate my message because where there is understanding, there is love.

And that’s where things can go wrong. Seriously wrong because communication is key. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to watch my language! I’m not talking about swearing. I’m talking about respectful communication.

 

How to Create the World You Want to Live In

Being the emotional empath that I am, I can get into heavy conversations because it breaks my heart when harm is done to innocent animals, human included.

With the political split in my native US and in Europe where I now live, it’s challenging for me to stay calm because I feel those in power and those who support them want something else which breaks my heart even more.

Since I was taught to speak up and tell my truth, I tripped a few times and had to learn the hard way how to speak without upsetting others. It’s still a work in progress.

I was called a Nazi because I live in Germany, I was told I had no voice in the US election because I’m an expat and was unfriended by a close relative and a few not so close FB friends because I don’t agree with the current US administration.

Thing is, I’m not patriotic because I’ve been here for 23 years and my heart and soul belong to the Earth and Universe and loved ones, not to any government. Of course I pay my taxes, in both countries, but I feel no ‘allegiance’ to a flag and this seriously upsets some Americans.

And, I’m a vegan which upsets some people, too. More on that below.

Fact is: Every human has their own values and views and that’s a good thing, because with our differences, we have the power to help create the respectful diverse world we want to live in together.

But, we can only create this world if we respect each other at all times, even those who think differently.

To educate is to tell others about a particular topic. To inspire is to show others how an idea or action can enrich their lives. Let us inspire.

How Inspiration Creates Change

 I cannot write a blog post about respectful communication without thanking my dear friend, Friderike Hirsch-Wright, for turning me on to Marshall Rosenberg. If you have 3 hours to spare, please listen to one of his seminars on non-violent communication. This quote of his that sticks in my mind is “Enemy images are the main reason conflicts don’t get resolved.”

Sometimes we have a hard time looking past our differences and only see our ‘right’ from their ‘wrong’. This can turn into a nasty argument where no one wins.

But this isn’t a game. This is life. And we all want a better world for ourselves and future generations. We just have different ideas of what that world looks like and how to achieve this but if we all want to thrive in a diverse, free and peaceful world, remaining tolerant and respectful is vital. And I still believe it’s OK to get angry and vent, as long as it’s not a personal attack.

How can we create a kinder world?

——

To educate is to tell others about a particular topic.
To inspire is to show others how an idea or action can enrich their lives.

Let us inspire.

 

Angry Vegans vs. Guilty Omnivores

As an example, I want to talk about veganism because it’s a very personal topic that seems to attract violent communication and honestly, I’m sick of politics so don’t want to used that as an example again.

Short background: I wasn’t born a vegan. I was forced to eat bone dry chicken and wash it down with lukewarm powdered milk because we couldn’t afford real milk, let alone quality beef, so our homemade burgers contained many bone chips which made me gag.
This seed was planted: Meat + Milk = Gross!

Another seed was planted: My parents taught me to respect animals and nature. I spent a lot of time in the woods in our backyard on Long Island in New York. We often went camping and my mom rescued, cared for and released many wild animals.

These seeds were nurtured and turned me into a pesche vegetarian in 1992, a vegetarian in 2012 and vegan in 2016. It took me a LONG time to turn vegan. All I can say is cheese.


Veganism: oh, how this topic triggers!

Many times when I eat with others, I get asked why I’m a vegan. I give a simple answer: Because I don’t want to support the cruelty in the food industry.

That’s my answer. Plain and simple and understood, but wow, it triggers and I think I know why.

When I say that above, the tone of the rest of the conversation depends on who I’m talking to and how they feel about the treatment of farm animals. It’s not about me, it’s about them.

And that’s why I wrote ‘Guilty Omnivores’ above – having a double meaning: 1) I’ve read many comments from (angry) vegans who blame/point fingers and demonize non-vegans for supporting animal cruelty, perhaps forgetting that they weren’t born a vegan and had to go through some kind of a journey to become one themselves and 2) many non-vegans react defensively around this topic, even when they bring it up.

 Because let’s be honest, no one in their right mind wants this cruelty. After I answer the why question, some tell me why they aren’t vegan which makes me wonder. You only make excuses if you feel a little guilty, right?

I’ve been there. I felt guilty for eating fish and cheese and made excuses as to why I ate it. Silly really because I don’t need any excuses as to why someone eats what they eat and I certainly didn’t need to make excuses to myself. I realized I either need to be OK with fish or not and I chose not. And I tell people that I have no judgement, it’s just the one thing I can control, what goes in and on my body and I don’t want any harm done in the process.

And hey, I love my omnivore family and friends! Are they evil? NO! Was I evil when I wasn’t a vegan? NO!

And do I believe if everyone turned vegan, our planet would be saved? NO. Just as little as I believe controlling guns will sole-handedly solve the shooting situation in the US. There are MANY things that need change in order to save our environment, it’s not just about what we eat. It all starts with out mindset about respecting all life.

It’s sad though because I see a lot of aggression about veganism on social media and my heart bleeds when angry vegans yell about murdering, saying it’s the ONLY way to live as much as when omnivores comment on vegan-related posts with animated gifs of someone slowly cutting roast beef.

Why?

“Spread Hummus, Not Hate”

~ Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum

Respectful Communication in Progress

What we need more of is respectful communication, like this and this! Two incidents when a farmer and slaughterhouse owner released their animals with animal rights activists after they sat down and talked to each other. After they found common ground. And understood each other. This is success and we need more of it.

Vegans are a rare breed and all we want is to save as many animals as possible.

This compassion does not make us holier than thou – or weird. We just want to eat in peace.
Eating meat does not make omnivores evil – or murderers. They just want to eat in peace.

This is where we need to agree.

My heart would sing if we discontinue viewing animal cruelty as normal, so that we can start working towards creating a kinder world.

If we all respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we would be at peace with ourselves. If we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with others. When that happens, we would have world peace. I firmly believe that.

We’re far from world peace, but we can start taking the steps by communicating respectfully with each other and find a better solution so that the industries will start to improve conditions.

For the love of all living beings:
All opinions matter and we need to speak with respect to create change.

Inspire ’em with kindness.

It works.

So, what’s it gonna be: Spread hummus or spread hummus with guacamole?

 

Do you also have a heart for animals?

 

Have you had some difficult conversations about your values, political views or what you eat? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and love,

Sharing is Caring
Animal Heroes of 2018

Animal Heroes of 2018

Animal Heroes of 2018

Be an Animal Hero

Photo: @birdiesnapdragon, pixabay

To all Animal Rescuers out there, I salute you!

The end of the year is a good time for reflection and looking forward to the year coming up.When I look back, I not only think about my own impact and how I can improve in the coming year, I also remember and honor fearless and amazing heroes who’ve saved the lives of animals.Looking forward, I’m seeing all animals, human included, thrive. I’m seeing brands that give back and doing something good in this world shine. The future looks bright because we’re working together out of love and compassion!This post is solely dedicated to the changemakers who show unconditional love and respect for all living beings and our planet.And, I’ve got a couple of special announcements at the end that will help you shine!
 

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Where to start! There were so many animal heroes this year and I know for a fact that I didn’t list them all, so please, if you know of other animal heroes, let me know in the comments below.There’s no better resource for animal love stories than The Dodo, so I’ll start there!
 

Boys and their Best Friends

Happy Dog
This young boy is amazing! At just 4 years old, Roman started to help find homes for dogs in shelters. He’s saved over 1,000 dogs and is still counting! You rock, Roman!And this pumped up savior, Lee Asher, is also inspiring and yes, insane – I love it! Stop life, get an RV and find homes for these fun pups!
 

Shelter Life isn’t always Hard Knock!

Oliver was hanged, but luckily had enough loving people to help him through his trauma and is now a happy pup at one of the 4 shelters in Tanzania. Only 4 shelters in an entire country???

Ever wonder what life is like at a shelter? Especially as an older dog who apparently no one wants to adopt? Nonsense, says this senior dog hospice; heaven on Earth for these sweet canines.

And wow, talk about fun at this no-kill, free run stray dog paradise in Costa Rica! Squeeeeeee!

There’s no place like home. For all animals, human included.

The Bee and Butterfly Heroes

Bees especially are so very important for our own survival that I couldn’t have an animal hero post without mentioning saving them. And life without butterflies would just be sad, very sad.
This video of one lucky and grateful bee went viral this year. I truly love Fiona Presly’s compassion. The fact that she noticed this little bee had no wings is amazing in itself, but to also build a haven for it to thrive proves that stopping to smell the roses has its advantages and there is faith in humanity.My friend, Sian Conway from the renowned Ethical Hour, wrote me about her experience of getting a text from her boyfriend and running outside – in her pjs – to try to save a bee! She wrapped it up in a kitchen towel soaked in sugar water and laid her in the sun and 20 mins later, she was moving her legs! She couldn’t get full strength to fly though, so it was probably her time to say goodbye. But last year, Sian did the same thing with another bee who gained her strength enough to fly away! YAY!Not only that, Sian planted 16 trees on her #PlantATree day and invested in 5 @standfortrees projects!And thank you, Barbara Lewison, aka my sister, who saved 7 Monarch butterflies in their 2nd stage of metamorphasis, the caterpillar stage. It all started when she saw a Monarch butterfly feeding off and laying eggs on a Milkweed plant in her garden. After losing 10 large caterpillars to predators and 1 chrysalis to fly infestation, she decided to take action! She brought 7 caterpillars inside her home to provide them sanctuary during their transformation. Monarchs are in danger because Milkweed is the only plant they eat and with the increased use of pesticides and drought conditions, Milkweed is currently a threatened plant which has led to decreased Monarch populations over the past decade.
Bees
Monarch Butterfly Rescue
monarch free
 

Farm Animals

As a vegan, I can’t help but cry when I see farm animals being saved. Get your tissues ready!Farm Sanctuary for the disabledHow this Vegan Farm Sanctuary was bornThe moment when 35 rescued farm animals turned into 70 at Broken Shovels Farm and how the community came together to offer help and support.Trying to understand animal body language
Riding on the Power of Others by Ren Hurst
I read a book earlier this year that really makes you think: Riding on the Power of Others* by Ren Hurst (*affiliate link). She describes her long and painful journey of being a high roller in the horse industry to turning vegan and owning a sanctuary where no horse will ever be ridden again. To truly respect them on a level that is unheard of in today’s society is not only transformational but also deserves my utmost respect because the pain she must have gone through to completely stop doing something she loved most in this world – riding – is immense. But she is now free of that pain. And so are her horses.

To those about to save animals, I salute you! Animal heroes rock! Let’s honor the love and compassion of these beautiful souls who actively saved animals this year.

The Bravehearted

Here are short snippets of animal heroes both human and non-human, interspecies and all in the family. Which rescue is your favorite?Getting a little help from your friendsAdrenalin kicking in to save a dangerout bearSaving the Whale WitchDogs save lives all the time
 

Natural Disaster Rescues

Oh my, this year was rough on many living beings. Here are just a few examples of heroic actions during the aftermath of a natural disaster.Hurricane FlorenceHurricane FlorenceMudslide and flooding in IndiaCalifornia firesHurricane Michael
 

Just a Few Brands that Give Back

A special thanks goes out to those brands with a serious mission to save animals by bringing their talents to conscious consumers and supporting organizations that protect/rescue and care for animals in need.Critically Endangered Socks designs sustainably-made comfy cozy feet huggers and give 20% of their total sale price to 4 charity partners around the world.Elephant Gin and Ivory Ella both have a BIG mission to save the largest land mammal who is severaly threathened from poaching and habitat loss. Honestly, there’s nothing more surreal than seeing elephant families in the wild and I’ll never forget my trip to South Africa and Botswana in 2016. I’m ready to go back!And who wouldn’t enjoy a quality fairtrade and organic cup of java knowing that you’re giving rescue dogs a good home? At Grounds & Hounds, they turn passion into action!At Pet Plus, you’re in good hands as a pet owner and every time a new PetPlus member signs up, they’ll donate a FREE membership to a Best Friends adopted animal. Best Friends is America’s largest animal sanctuary.
 

Buy1Give1

Speaking of Giving Back

My mission for Ethical Brand Marketing is to help save animals and our environment by working with brands in a strategic and ethical way so that they can master their marketing and thrive in this marketplace.After donating to a couple of larger organizations, I felt I wanted to really know where my money went and as soon as Sian Conway from Ethical Hour (my bee-saving and ethical marketing friend above) gifted me a day of watermelon-eating fun for chickens at Edgar’s Mission, a rescue sanctuary for farm animals in Australia via B1G1 (Buy1GIVE1), I thought, this is IT!B1G1 makes giving back easy and transparent and since I’m all over easy and transparency, I became a proud member today and won’t have to wonder where my money actually goes. And I no longer have to spend much time finding ethical non-profit organizations that I can really trust because B1G1 does the proofing work for me.If you’re interested in becoming a member, too, talk to me so that I can send you a personal invite which will give you $11 of giving back credit and let the giving back begin!
 

Be The Change Awards 2019

Giving Back has Never Been More Important

And because giving back is a perfect way to help save animals, humans included, and our planet, I’ve just now become a proud sponsor of the Be The Change Awards for the category of BRANDS THAT GIVE BACK!This event will be held on April 26, 2019 and organized by Sian (yeah, she’s everywhere!), from Ethical Hour and Jo Salter, owner of Where Does It Come From?Not only that, I’m also on the judging panel! I’m SO excited to be a part of this ceremony because it’s people like you who are moving mountains and it’s a great honor for me to celebrate you!
Be The Change Awards 2019
The first ever Be The Change Awards in 2019 will bring together ethical and sustainable brands across a range of sectors that have a powerful impact story to tell.Entries are open now until 31st January 2019. It’s FREE to enter so check it out today to try to walk home with an award in April!
 

Are you an animal-loving business owner, too?

 
This year is ending with a powerful and harmless BANG! I’d love to hear the impact you’re making in your business, so please comment below and let’s talk! In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season with your family! I’m looking forward to seeing you in the new year!
Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring
When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

When Nature Cries Out for Help | A German Forest Love Story

Brown coal excavation area which destroyed most of the Hambach Forest in Germany

Photo: KitzD66, pixabay

A Small Triumph for Nature-Lovers

The Oldest German Forest in Danger

Hambach Forest, aka. Bürgewald, is Germany’s oldest forest. It’s 12,000 years old, but unfortunately, it’s owned by RWE, a utility monger who’s been slowly but surely tearing it apart to excavate brown coal for decades. There’s only about 10% of the original forest left. 10%.

Well now, RWE wants to dig up 50% of that 10% starting next week! Germany’s been in an uproar over this the past few weeks, maybe you’ve heard about it.

Steffen M., a blogger, journalist and forest friend, died trying to walk from one treehouse to another via a man-made bridge that collapsed because the police wouldn’t let him and others document the situation from the ground, so they had to seek refuge in the trees. That was on September 19th. May his soul rest in peace.

Yesterday, the Münster court put a stop to the destruction – for now anyway. The main reason was to save the Bechstein’s bat, a near-threatened bat species.

And the court in Aachen uplifted their demonstration ban for today, so 20k people are expected to protest today! UPDATE: There were around 50,000 people there on Saturday!!!

 

Mystical German Forests

When you think of Germany, does its magical forests come to mind?

Think of the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm set in German forests.

Rheinhardswald is located along the fairy tale route right next to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s also where Lily Bowers lives.

And of course the famous Black Forest, known for its mystery and beauty. And yummy cake.

The fall forest colors are amazing in Germany, too. Incredibly amazing! My birthday is next week and I’ve always, in all the 23 years of living here, enjoyed a lovely Indian Summer birthday in a country where grey skies are the norm.

So, yeah, Germany is well-known for its magical forests and I enjoy getting my #forestfix every day with my labrador. I’m not the only one. It’s been proven that spending time in a forest will improve your health.

Unfortunately, German forests are in danger of being destroyed little by little.

Rheinhardswald is in danger of being partially ripped up to make room for wind turbines – which btw are also not very sustainable. Not only because we rip apart forests for those, but those huge turbines are also made out of plastic and are NOT biodegradable!

And the Hambacher Forst has been destroyed, chunk for chunk, for decades and is in danger of being completely destroyed.

 

Germany as The Environmental Leader ???

Brown Coal Excavation Area

© Google. Click to enlarge to see the brown coal excavation area from FAR, FAR away.

Germany leads the way when it comes to tackling environmental issues but still ends up struggling with producing sustainable energy. I live in NorthRhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr Valley Area, where coal mining was the main industry in the 50s/60s/70s.

My husband’s grandfather was a coal mining manager and was killed after a mine collapsed. He went back in to save one of his guys, but couldn’t save himself and left his wife alone with 5 children.

When I moved to Germany in 1995, I could not hang my clothes out to dry on the balcony because they turned black after just a few hours.

I wasn’t allowed to buy a clothes dryer either because that was just not good for the environment, words I NEVER heard together in the United States btw.

This contradiction boggles the mind, right?

Germany’s since terminated most of their coal mining plants and turned them into exhibition halls where art and culture festivals are celebrated. And I can now hang my clothes out to dry once again. Well, mainly because I live out in the country right near a forest, but Dortmund, where I used to live, has cleaned up its act too.

But not all of it. Coal is, by far, the dirtiest source of energy. And the top managers at RWE know it, but yet, they dig and dig and dig.

Even though residents living in these coal mining areas have to deal with sudden earth collapsing incidents that damage their homes.

All for the name of money.

It’s our responsibility to protect plant and animal species that have no other place to call home.

Respect Mother Nature and All She Takes Care Of

There is absolutely no reason to produce brown coal and RWE couldn’t convince the Münster court of it either, so they lost. For now anyway as this is a temporary 2 year stop.

RWE will take a huge financial loss. And energy costs may rise because of it. Or something even worse may happen in our attempts to get energy from another source. But this conversation NEEDS to start so that we don’t continue to use the most damaging source of energy anymore. Those days are over and humans have become more conscious and more intelligent. Let’s not move back in time, but strongly demand more sustainable sources of energy.

When you think of Germany, what comes to mind? The Black Forest, Rheinhardswald and now the Hambach Forest. It’s our responsibility to protect Germany’s most beautiful feature, the forest.

Hope is in the Air

My heart sings a beautiful love song today as the animals in the Hambach forest are safe, for now. And the trees can continue to breathe and provide us with clean air and hope.

I truly believe that if every human being would be one with nature and respect all that Mother Nature provides us, there would be world peace. Yes, I do believe in fairy dust, but I also believe in the power of people and in the opportunity to be the change. This event proves that we DO have the power to inspire change and for that, I’m grateful.

I don’t know what will happen to this magical forest after this 2 years are up, but I do know that humans are not above nature. Nature will prevail. Always.

Let us sing.

 
 

How are you helping to save animals or the environment in your own community? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and love,

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How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

How Real-Life Experiences Inspire Change

Experiences Inspire Change

Let’s Talk about Expat Life, Mid-Term Elections, Global Warming and Animal Abuse

This post is super long, but I’ve had so many experiences this year that I just have to share them with you, so I’ll just jump right in.

 

Expat Life is GOOD

Monday, September 17th was my 23rd anniversary in Germany. That very day in 1995, I landed in Frankfurt without a clue of what I was doing. I was young and in love, that’s all I knew.

When my German fiancée asked me where we should live when we were living in Atlanta, I immediately said, ‘NOT here’. One reason was because of a gun assaulter at the parking lot of a pub who got no money from me but invaded my life in the most horrible way and another reason was my wanderlust that I haven’t yet been able to pursue.

I had no clue I would permanently stay here at the time of my move, let alone realize what other benefits I’d have being a European resident.

The list is long and ranges from: gun control = increased safety to paid maternity leave & real vacation time = happier & more productive employees to affordable healthcare = happier & healthier people to less toxicity in products & food = healthier people who enjoy higher quality food with flavor.

Honestly, the food in the states has decreased in quality so much that I’m actually scared to eat there! It’s disgusting!

Moving to Germany wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do. I had to pack up my whole entire life in 21 boxes, 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on and leave my family and friends to move to a strange place without knowing anyone but my husband and not being able to communicate. But I can tell you it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

 

Best Experience Ever!

Although I had many challenges as an expat in my early years here in Germany, that move gave me a new perspective on my own country and my life.

It showed me that the American dream is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be.

It taught me to appreciate very important basic human rights that we have in Europe but not in America.

It taught me to be even more compassion for nature, animals (humans included) and our environment.

It taught me about what’s really important in life: relationships, not money.

The list is so long and evergreen. I am truly grateful.

I would love all Americans to experience these feelings too and one way is to vote which brings me to the next topic: Mid-Term Elections.

 

Your Vote Counts

On November 6th, US citizens have the opportunity to make a change in the administration. And in the loving, tear-jerking words of one of my heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall, “And my goodness, don’t we need to change the world?”

It may not be a huge change that we’ll see, but If the Democrats win the majority, we’ll hopefully see some light in the darkness that’s been hovering over us for the past couple of years. More on this.

As an expat, I have to request an absentee ballot for every presidential election, mid-terms included, so I’ve just sent that in. If you’re an expat, here’s the link for more information.

Please be patient and diligent though because they don’t make it easy for expats to vote! One time, I was told to put my email address in all caps to confirm my ballot and low and behold THAT worked. All caps? Really? Thanks guys for making this easy! As a marketer, I’m all about usability, but this is a whole other level of user-unfriendliness. This is a crime!

If you’re not having any luck with that website, please contact the voting registration office of the county where you last lived and just keep on them. Please do NOT give up your right to vote, because we NEED it! But if you have any questions, please just contact me and I’ll do what I can to help you out.

Can’t we all just get along? It’s time we all learn how to communicate in a more respectful and non-violent way.

Be Respectful with Non-Violent Communication

I often worry and talk about global warming and so I posted something on FB the other day about exercising your right to vote to make some positive changes in our government regarding our environment.

Upon reading a few comments, one stuck with me. It read: ‘fake news’. Now, I knew there were people who didn’t believe in climate change, but I’ve never actually ‘met’ a climate change denier, so I sought the opportunity to discuss this issue further because although I know I won’t change his mind and he’ll never change mine, I honestly want to understand the motivation behind environmentalists and scientists to downright lie. This is the information I’m missing, so I asked about that.

But after reading the bloody fighting match that brewed between two other fb friends and the person who denies climate change, I feel it’s time we all learn how to communicate in a more respectful and non-violent way.

I know that my passion can turn into rage within a millisecond. This, however, does me no good whatsoever. I can’t sleep, I feel exhausted and sometimes when I get in an argument with a close friend or relative, I make myself sick!

So, with this newly gained knowledge of self-sabotage, I know if I keep this up, I will indeed have a heart attack.

Become your Higher Self

This year, I’ve done a lot of self-care because I’ve had a LOT on my plate and was feeling overwhelmed and constantly exhausted, so I sought help and through my work with my dear Burnout Coach, Jess Bonasso, and with my divine leadership mastermind group, I’m slowly learning how to channel my anger and am now practicing a more respectful way to communicate and guess what: it feels SO good.

I now feel more aligned with my higher soul’s purpose of inspiring others to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of through my writing. I’m truly grateful for all my new friends who’ve helped me along the way.

It’s challenging though because of how I was raised and how I feel about certain events that harm humans, animals and our environment. All this upsets me – I mean REALLY upsets me – but I must remember, this is SO important if I want to help create the peaceful and respectful world I want to live in!

Also, I think non-violent communication is the best gift we can give our children.

Experiences Shape Our World and
Form our Higher Soul’s Purpose

There are Many Forms of Animal Abuse

Circus Animals

Not only did I start the conversation about global warming, I felt the need to do the same with a lady who rang my doorbell the other day begging for money for her circus animals.

I politely said no but wanted to explain more and ask her questions about their animals and their care, but she immediately rolled her eyes and walked away to knock on my neighbor’s door.

I had to sit with my rage for a while and then I acted by posting in our local FB group to 1) warn my neighbors that they’re back again and 2) to inform them with an article in German about circus animal abuse as to why they shouldn’t support this cause.

Animals do not belong in a circus

The reactions were positive and it sparked a fellow member of our local animal rescue unit to post a different resource to inform our community.

I don’t think I need to preach to the choir and explain why we shouldn’t support circuses with animals, but if you want to know more information, please contact me.

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Animal Testing in the Medical Field

Animal Testing is inhumane, inaccurate and more expensive than alternative methods

Also, during my ‘summer break’, I joined the German organization, Ärzte Gegen Tierversuche e.V. (Doctors Against Animal Testing) who are very active in spreading awareness about alternative methods to testing on animals in the medical field such as in vitro, in vivo and in silico.

But they don’t just inform adults, they inform children (8+) too which is perfect because I’m writing my first fantasy book on the topic of animal testing for middle-graders, so I’d like to work more closely with them.

On Monday, I spoke with a biology teacher of the school my daughter attends and asked if I could send her information about this organization so that she can present it to the school board to invite a representative to speak to the students about this topic.

Education is key when it comes to conservation and children need to know the truth about these topics. Children love animals and usually don’t know how much pain and suffering they unnecessarily have to endure in these lab experiments, so if you’re also interested in learning more about it, please visit their site or find a similar organization in your own country.

And would you know: This year alone, I’ve declined two well-paying voiceover medical projects because I don’t want to support the pharmaceutical industry that make animal testing in the medical field a requirement. I also declined an offer to narrate a campaign video for a US politician who had extremely opposing political views. I don’t like saying no to potential clients, but I couldn’t live with myself if I had said yes.

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The Animal Food Industry

In July, my 11-year-old daughter went on a school trip to visit a pig farm. She thought it was going to be an organic farm, but to her dismay, it was a traditional one. She came back home with tears in her eyes and anger in her voice.

During her visit, she was very active and asked the farmer why they weren’t allowed to go outside and why they were stuffed together like sardines and why that pig was bloody, etc. I think she really put him to the test! #proudmama

He explained that this was normal. Some background info: I’m a vegan, so my daughter already knows a lot about animal abuse and the farming industry.

Farm animals need and deserve our love and respect

We’ve visited several dairy farms, but never a pig farm. The thing is, when I didn’t look happy during our last visit to this ‘modern, high-tech’ dairy farm where our dear friend worked, my daughter criticized me for frowning. She didn’t want our friend to feel bad.

I told her that I’m sorry and I don’t want to hurt her, but I can’t be happy when I see cows in small spaces, stepping on their own poop with no chance to see the sunlight or to be with their calves. I just feel so sad and I can’t hide my own feelings by putting on my happy face. She said she understood back then, but now I know she really understands!

There’s nothing better than to have her experience the reality herself. I could talk all I want, but she won’t really be able to understand until she sees it herself.

This is how change is inspired!

My daughter now asks gma for either organic meat or a vegetarian meal at gma’s house, who is, by the way, NOT too happy about it, but will do anything for her granddaughter. Me, her daughter-in-law? I have to bring my own food if I want to eat at her house, but that’s OK because she’s challenged with vegetables and pours a sugar dressing on them!

And I guarantee you my daughter will make the switch to vegetarianism and then to veganism at some point in her life. For me, this is her choice and her choice only, but I can clearly see that she’s already shaping her own path and I’m so proud of her.

Experiences Shape Our World and Form our Higher Soul’s Purpose

Through these – and many more – experiences, I’ve come to realize how I can make a difference.

Through my work as an experienced marketer, I help ethical brand owners and marketers who are making an impact in this world create and implement a marketing strategy that rocks.

I’m currently writing about the adventures of Lily Bowers, a 10-year-old girl who finds out she has an amazing gift, but with that amazing gift, she has the huge challenge of having to save someone very dear to her.

This will be the first book of a fantasy series that addresses various animal rights and environmental issues because my soul purpose on this beautiful Earth is to inspire people, especially children, to respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of through my writing.

My work and the changes I want to make inspire me to get up each and every day. What about you?

 

What differences are you making in your life?

 

How did your very own experiences shape your life and the work you’re doing today? Please comment below and let’s talk !

Peace and Love,

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about ‘Speaking for the Animals’

Passionate about speaking for the animals

Every child and animal has the right to live a healthy and happy life

I had a recent rude awakening as I watched a documentary film in German about the leather industry in Bangladesh.

In English, I found these two videos:

Stella McCartney Takes On the Leather Trade: Watch

The Skins Trade in India, Narrated by Pamela Anderson: Watch

Leather is no longer an option for me.

I was a Pescetarian from 1992 until 2012 when I completely cut off fish from my diet. I am also the webmaster of my local animal rights protection agency. I do what I can, but I’ve realized I haven’t been doing enough!

So I thought about it. I cannot donate as much time and money as I would like, but what I can do is donate my voice. Today, on my birthday, I decided to give PETA a gift and wrote them a letter offering my voiceover services.

Today, I called 37° from ZDF to find out if they are planning on producing their film in English. At the moment, they do not have plans to produce and air this in other countries, but because so many people have been moved by this report, maybe there will be a chance in the near future. I am crossing my fingers.

Since this German documentary not only speaks about the ghastly animal abuse, but also goes into further detail about the horrible child labor conditions and poisonous tanning chemicals the workers are literally swimming in, I would like everyone to be aware of what buying leather actually means. I also offered my voiceover and translation services to produce this film in English for free and thanked them for making me think and changing my habits. The writers and producers at 37° and PETA opened many eyes, not just mine. RESPECT!

There may be an alternative in the future to leather btw. Please check this out: Andras Forgacs: Leather and meat without killing animals: Watch

 

Want me to voice your animal rights project?

 

This post today actually stems from pain and the urge to spread awareness as I have shed many tears watching these films and if I reach just one person today or tomorrow with this post, then I know one small step has been made… But as we all know, many more steps have to be made.

Sending the very best,

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