This week, I want you to practice being vocal. It’s really easy, and if you’re shy, that’s okay too. Contacting people doesn’t actually require a lot of speaking- it’s mostly writing. In a lot of cases, it’s just signing something. Organizations like WWF, 350.org, and the League of Women voters often provide pre-written letters. All you have to do is sign them and alter them, if you so choose. Then hit a “send” button.
It seems like I’ve been giving a lot of challenges that aren’t that hard… maybe I’m being too soft on you guys!
Anyways, on each post day this week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) I want you to either send a letter, an email, or make a phone call for an environmental cause that you care about. I’ll provide something that you can do each day, but please, feel free to do your own.
Spend some time tomorrow thinking about who you’d like to contact. Look through old Viridorari posts for ideas, and check out Guest Writer posts to see what they’re passionate about. You could send a letter to a local restaurant or dump about recycling cooking oil, which I wrote about in Ecofriendly Economics #3. You could tell Kimberly-Clark you think they should make their tube-free bath tissue available nationwide, which I wrote about in Ecofriendly Economics #4.
If you would like to contact legislators about major issues, such as Keystone XL, fracking, renewable energy, or fossil fuel divestment, you should learn who the representative in your area is, how to contact them, and where they stand already on the issue. Typically, representatives respond better to snail mail and phone calls, rather than email.
I encourage you to do more days than just Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and as always, I encourage you to share your experiences with Viridorari. What are you going to be vocal about? How are you going to do it? Why are you passionate about that particular cause? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Viridorari on Twitter to receive tweets about potential causes you could support.
Are you a little anxious about speaking out? Not sure exactly how to go about it? Email me with questions and concerns, and I’ll be happy to help you with the process.
Animal of the Month UpdateThe Snow Leopard Trust uses sound science to determine priorities for protecting the endangered snow leopard in order to build community partnerships. SLT’s goals are to understand snow leopard behavior and habitat, to listen to communities to identify their needs, and to seek resources for sustaining long-term programs.
Picture courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Leopard_Trust
The Snow Leopard Trusts operates in five of the twelve countries that snow leopards call home. They include China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and collectively, these countries contain 75% of the world’s remaining snow leopard population. China is home to the largest number of snow leopards in the world, and SLT has been working with China since 2004, with their area of focus in the Qinghai Province.
To determine where conservation efforts are needed the most, SLT uses cutting edge research tools, including research cameras to photograph snow leopards in their territories, GPS collars to track the movements of individual cats, ecological surveys to better understand the landscape and the roles of humans and wildlife, and genetics to establish the health and diversity of snow leopard populations.
Many of the families sharing ghost cat habitat are impoverished herders. Members of these low-income communities sometimes resort to poaching snow leopards to protect their livestock. SLT remedies this with a community-based approach that breaks the cycle of poverty and creates an incentive for herders to protect their local wildlife. For example, Snow Leopard Enterprises was created through a partnership between these families and SLT to address the poverty that leads to retaliation against snow leopards. Snow Leopard Enterprises provides training and equipment that enables participants to craft items from their livestock’s wool. The SLT purchases the finished items at mutually agreed upon prices, and sells them through their online store. SLT also provides livestock vaccination and insurance to affected herders. Vaccinations keep their animals healthy and insurance provides monetary reimbursement to people who lost an animal to snow leopard predation.
The Snow Leopard Trust hosts environmental education seminars program countries which provide information about local ecology and the role that snow leopards play. Through these seminars, SLT demonstrates the need to protect snow leopards in the area. During the summer, SLT hosts camps for children. These outdoor camps take place in lower altitude grasslands within snow leopard habitat. Camp activities focus on raising awareness about local biodiversity and teaching the importance of conservation. Furthermore, dozens of schools throughout crucial habitat areas have become involved in snow leopard nature clubs. Students join these clubs during the school year to participate in environmentally focused activities. In India alone, these clubs have impacted over 2,000 children. SLT also partners snow leopard education with their other programs for herders to stimulate understanding and to create a well-rounded conservation plan for the beautiful beasts.
The Snow Leopard Trust has a plethora of ways you can donate, including directly, adopting a snow leopard, purchasing handmade goods from herders, and much more. Find all the options here. Visit SLT's website for more information. SLT also makes their annual reports available to the general public. View them here.
Tomorrow is the last day that Viridorari will be featuring snow leopards. Please, consider one of the three organizations I have presented to you and take action to support this beautiful but sadly endangered animal.
Picture courtesy of: http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/Apple-Specialists-Confirm-Snow-Leopard-Launch-Events-3.jpg/