Monday, July 31, 2017

What is Ecofeminism?

Hello everyone,
The term 'ecofeminism' was coined in 1974 by writer, activist, revolutionary, and dedicated ecofeminist, Fran├žoise d’Eaubonne. Assumptions are made that the ideology of ecofeminism evolves from the condemnation of patriarchy, however, the impulse to control nature is dated thousands of years ago when ancient civilizations first participated in speciesism and anthropocentrism. 
To continue, ecofeminism first appeared in the 1970s by feminists who fought against the power of patriarchy. They pushed the idea that oppression was an interconnected concept that included the natural world. The movement argues that women and nature are viewed as “less than” of man. 
The 1960s are an excellent example of just how male-dominated society was. Women became part of the workforce and received very little respect, mentally and financially. The double standard was branded upon women to uphold their given roles as homemakers and mothers. Women were seen as background workers who stayed at home with the family while refraining from any contribution to production; women were perceived as “the second sex.” In good time, people started to pay close attention to this issue when Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique, was released to the public in 1963.
Betty Friedan (left)
Photo credit: http://sohp.org/

Writer, Linda Napikoski, states, 
The Feminine Mystique explains that in post-World War II United States life, women were encouraged to be wives, mothers and housewives – and only wives, mothers, and housewives. This, Betty Friedan says, was a failed social experiment. Relegating women to the “perfect” housewife or happy homemaker role prevented much success and happiness, both among the women themselves, and consequently their families. At the end of the day, Friedan writes in the first pages of her book, housewives were asking themselves, “Is that all?
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the idea of animals being including as “less than” came to be. Many ecofeminists were claiming titles as “environmentalists,” yet, the inclusion of animals was nonexistent. 
Those who spoke out on this matter were labeled “animal ecofeminists.” Carol J. Adams, writer of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theorywas one of the few who couldn’t make sense as to how an individual could consume meat and use products from animals but then claim an ecofeminist title. Adams believes that dominating animals is indeed dominating nature. This was her argument in her book, Neither Man nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of AnimalsAdam’s argues that, 
Ecofeminism identifies a series of dualisms: culture/ nature; male/female; self/other; rationality/emotion. Some include human/animals in the series. According to ecofeminist theory, nature has been dominated by culture; female has been dominated by male; emotion has been dominated by rationality; animals… Where are animals in ecofeminist theory and practice?
The disconnect was evident in the early 90s. However, Adams knew that animals were indeed part of nature, part of a dominated ‘thing.’
Adams slowly starting reaching people as they began to examine their ecofeminist theories. Unfortunately, another issue emerged to light. Those who followed this new movement were labeled as essentialists. They received a significant amount of backlash for “upholding the gender binary.” This created a distraction from the actual problem: patriarchy and the commodification of the “less than.”
Photo credit: www.caroljadams.com

Adams explains that, 
Ecofeminists were described as being essentialists, i.e., that we were saying that there was something unique or distinct about being a woman that made us more pacifist or less violent, that we were somehow holding an essentialist position that upheld the gender binary.
Simply, ecofeminism realizes that there exists an ethic for care, as so eloquently stated by Adams within her blog, www.caroljadams.com. Realizing that suffering is something experienced by all beings is an essential step to understanding the concept behind ecofeminism, an idea that I've been embracing with every passing day.
Within her blog, Adams states, 
In our new anthology, Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth, Lori Gruen and I say, “Exposing dualistic frameworks operating in oppressive situations did not mean that ecofeminists valorized the non-dominant parts of the dualism nor viewed the characteristics of the non-dominant part as ‘natural.’ In arguing relationally and developing a care tradition in animal ethics, ecofeminists were challenging, not accepting, the essentializing structure of the division between men as rational and women as emotional.
The truth is, humans and nature, nature including animals, are interrelated. We are all interconnected because we all suffer from our oppressors. Ecofeminism is indeed political, and it identifies that all oppressions are interconnected. 
Here is a video that briefly and thoroughly explains ecofeminism.

The idea behind ecofeminism attracts my attention due to my love of the environment, wildlife conservation, animal welfare, and animal liberation. It is important that I make clear that I believe all beings deserve equality. I believe in the ethics of care. Our meat feels the same fear I feel when I think of confinement and torture when it was alive.
There is such a term that associates the idea that meat is a product. The thought that this “product” used to be alive is absent. Absent referent is the concept of not labeling something as “someone.” Adams' perspective, as discussed by www.thevegetariansite.com, is, 
…terms relating to the parts of a woman’s body and cuts of meat are often used interchangeably, and Adams points to advertising that does so in an overt manner. The link is also seen in everyday language: If animals are the absent referent in the phrase, “the butchering of women,” then women are the absent referent in the phrase, “the rape of animals."
Absent referent is an important term because it identifies how people justify their consumption of another being by simply cloaking the violence behind the steak on the plate. This term is used to identify how the meat eater protects their conscience, by just labeling the animal as immaterial, or a product, not a being. The meat is now separated from the idea (or fact) that it was once a living being, in all actuality, a someone. In a sense, the animal disappears, and we completely lose consciousness of a food product being an animal.
Equality isn’t an idea; it is a practice. We practice it when we don’t treat other people or other animals as objects. We practice it when we ask “what are you going through?” and understand that we ask the question because it matters to all of us what some are experiencing” – Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that women and animals both suffer from male dominance. We are linked because we are seen as a product; we are objectified. We both function as absent referents because we are used for production.
I hope this post was able to help you understand ecofeminism. I know this is a lot to take in, it definitely was for me. It’s certainly an uncomfortable topic for some, but getting out of one’s comfort zone is when change happens. Furthermore, it is essential that I point out that I am, in no way, comparing oppressions. I am only identifying an existing problem, as well as continuing its dialogue. 
 Until next time!

Nala

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Storytime: How I Became Passionate for Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare

Hello everyone,

I've always loved animals. Ever since I can remember, I've always been fascinated by them. When I was little, my mom used to take me to the library where I would sit and read about animals for hours. My favorite kinds were snow animals and the ones that dwell in our oceans. I would even check out books that taught me how to draw them. I wasn't the best animal artist, but I did draw a pretty good wolf or horse at five years old. 

I decided early on that I would become a Marine Biologist. So, I studied sea creatures and ocean life for the longest time. I've always been a lover of the ocean, really. So much so that I find it hard to live farther than an hour from it. It seems that New York City is a pretty good fit for me. 

When I was 11, my family and I went on vacation to Cozumel, Mexico. As I went snorkeling, I had a traumatic experience with a school of fish. One moment I'm floating in an aqua oasis. Then, out of the blue, literally, a school of what seemed like hundreds of fish the size of basketballs rushed at me. It was absolutely terrifying. I remember being surrounded by these fish and struggling to reach the surface for air. 

My desire to become a Marine Biologist died that day. I've been terrified of fish since. I knew I loved animals. Unfortunately, I strayed after that experience.

Five years later, everything changed. I met the man that is my Husband today. He loves and admires animals just as much as I do. As we began to be around each other, my passion for animals started to flare up again.  

Five years later, on our first wedding anniversary, my mother wanted to get us a gift that we still love and cherish. That gift was a skinny little pit bull who was roaming the streets of Brooklyn until a shelter found her. 

 Amber chose us that day we adopted her; we didn't choose her. 

As we began our journey as a married couple with a pit bull for a daughter, many unusual things started to happen. People would harshly stare at us as we walked our dog, some mumbled nasty comments under their breath, one even screamed and ran for dear life. I felt like a mama bear needing to protect her cub from harm.

As I became immensely protective over Amber, I started to think about other animals that are abused and exploited. Still, I continued with my silence. 

Then, in 2016, my husband and I went to Miami for a week long vacation. We didn't know what to see first, so I looked up the most popular attractions. I noticed an animal attraction which conveniently allowed visitors to take pictures with baby tigers. I thought this was strange as it seemed, I don't know, too easy. I looked at pictures previous visitors posted on Yelp. Many of them showcased these baby tigers tied up in chains as park visitors coddled them. 

This was an immediate red flag to me as animals, let alone baby animals, shouldn't be tied up in chains while people pay to see and/or touch them.

It turned out that the park, which I can't find online anymore (weird), was owned and ran by the Miami-based cocaine kingpin, Mario Tabraue Sr., co-founder and president of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF), who was infamous for smuggling exotic animals. 

After I learned this, I felt such sadness. Most importantly, I felt powerless. I've hated that feeling since. Because of this, I've used my voice to speak up for the voiceless. I've been passionate about wildlife conservation, as well as animal liberation and welfare. 

A pit bull puppy saved from a Southern dog fighting ring.
Photo credit: https://consciouscompanion2012.com

People judge me all the time. Some think my love for animals is comical. The thing is, as long as pit bulls are used in dogfighting rings or baby tigers are exploited for human entertainment, my energy is saved for them. 

Moral of the story: find your passion and stick to it. The world will thank you later.

Until next time!

Nala

Monday, July 24, 2017

Green Construction

What does safety mean to you?

To me, safety encompasses all beings and the place we call home, the Earth. I've learned that safety, for many, is only meant for people. Well, why is that? 

The thing is, when the Earth is harmed, we're harmed. For example, Many people like to eat fish. Isn't it physically harmful to eat contaminated fish? I think so...

That's what the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is for, as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A few of their values include protecting the public, wildlife, and the environment from harmful human activities.

Why am I rambling about this?

Well, this issue keeps popping up in the construction industry, even in safety culture. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is a vital entity within the industry. Even more, the safety professionals who are in the field to enforce safety regulations are exceptional people fighting for the safety of family members. Working in safety is an incredible responsibility. It's also tiring, physically and emotionally draining, however, very rewarding. On the other hand, any lack of attention to the littlest detail can result in an enormous fine, jail time, or worse, a fatality. 

To safety professionals, I applaud you.

Nonetheless, environment protection is a predominant issue within the industry. Now, I understand rough conditions within a job site, the time crunch, and the financials. However, job sites are full of chemicals. Interestingly enough, New York City is full of old buildings that contain chemicals such as silica, asbestos, and mercury. During demolitions, these chemicals end up in city streets, the air we breathe, and in the surrounding waters causing harm to wildlife and to the residents of the five boroughs. 

So, when another safety professional approaches me with frustration about a ridiculous fine from the DEP, well, I'm sorry but I cannot empathize with that feeling. These fines are meant for protection. They are meant to get people so upset that they never want to wash their concrete truck in a public street, which I see all the time. If you're not familiar, many concrete trucks are covered in silica after a work day. When the silica is washed into the street, pedestrians are then exposed, as well as wildlife, and the environment. The silica and other chemicals are then washed into the city's drains and end up in our waters. It's a very overlooked practice. 

It's not about protecting a silly fish or a single tree that does nothing for you. It's about protecting that tree or that fish so you can get up and go to work in the morning as a healthy resident of New York City. It's about protecting all of us from chemical poisoning and unhealthy air such as smog.

It's about the bigger picture. 

Photo credit: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/

Fortunately, green solutions within the construction industry are becoming increasingly popular. Skanska, the fifth largest construction company in the world and one of the companies chosen to work on the new World Trade Center, is a wonderful example of a green construction company. They prove that green construction is cheaper and more advantageous to long-term goals, as well as the planet's sustainability. Regarding their green practices, Skanska explained that,
When we are good stewards of the environment surrounding our projects, we ensure that construction activities don’t foul the water that our communities depend on. When we develop projects to achieve LEED Gold certification or better, we help make sure our growing cities can accommodate more people and a larger built environment by conserving resources. If we help save the planet in the process, all the better. We’ll continue to push the boundaries to get to the next level of sustainable performance like we always have.
As one large company utilizes green solutions, others are sure to follow. Even better, green construction will be in-demand. Although it is a big leap within the industry, it's a good sign to see green solutions developing within construction companies. With that change becoming evident in the industry, safety culture and climate are sure to follow. I look forward to that.

Until next time!

Nala

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Storytime: The Time I Ate The Sauce

Hello everyone,

As I discussed in my previous post, How-To: Commit To A Vegetarian Diet, I am vegetarian. For those of you who've tried or are trying to transition, you know the struggle. In my case, I have an Italian stepdad who loves to cook. Of course, with my luck, his favorite food is what? Meat.

So one time, my beloved stepdad decided to make "Vegetarian Pasta" for my mother and I. I was so thrilled that I didn't have to break his heart again by denying his food. Not only was I happy that I didn't have to break my stepdad's heart for the millionth time, I was also happy because my new lifestyle finally got through to him.

I was so overjoyed that I offered my help in the kitchen. This is something I don't do. I simply don't belong in the kitchen. If I'm in the kitchen, it's either because I'm making coffee, a sandwich, or I'm trying to look for something sweet. Other than that, no thank you.

Anyways, my stepdad was pretty shocked. He took some time to think this over. Finally, he agreed to my assistance. I was assigned to stir the sauce. Slowly but surely, I started to feel like a world renowned chef with my stirrer. The sauce began to smell better than I felt, wonderful. At this point, my mouth was watering and I began to grow impatient. When was the stirring going to end?

The time finally came when he told me to stop. I was mentally and physically prepared to gain five pounds. Then, the most disappointing, most baffling moment happened. It was almost like it happened in slow motion...

He threw, in my beloved sauce, pounds of beef. How many pounds? I will never know. What I do know is, feelings of devastation overthrew me.

I thought to myself, "What do I do now?? I worked so hard on that sauce! He's going to kill me if I say no... I have to stick to my beliefs... maybe I can say I'm allergic to garlic... no, he just witnessed me witnessing him put in the garlic... I'll just tell him I'm not feeling good... crap, he just asked me to try the sauce... oh god, this is it, this is when it falls apart..."

Well, what do you know? I tried the sauce. Did I want to? No. Did I have to? That's debatable. Truth is, I had two choices:

1. Say no to eating the sauce and lose my stepdad's love forever 


or


2. Eat the sauce. Make him happy. Repent. Repent. Repent.

Moral of the story: Changing your diet takes time. You will not perfect it overnight. Things happen. It's okay. It's not the end of the world and it's certainly not the end of your journey to commit to your diet.

Life goes on. You and I are still amazing.

Until next time!

Nala

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How-To: Commit To A Vegetarian Diet

Hello everyone,

As a vegetarian, I get asked these two questions a lot:
"How do you stick with your diet?"
or 
"What do you eat?"
I understand why people ask me these questions. After all, I haven't always been a vegetarian. So, I've been on the wondering side, too. To be quite honest, it took me three times to commit to a vegetarian diet. Nonetheless, I've succeeded and I will happily tell you how I did it with these following tips.

1. Communication is key. 

Talk to your loved ones about your decision to be a vegetarian. Keep in mind that everyone is different with various viewpoints. It's okay to disagree with each other. The important thing is that there is an open line of communication. That way, any guessing games are out the window.

2. Educate yourself.

Since you'll be missing out on meat, it's beneficial to research which vegetables, or other foods, are a great source of protein. Also, you want to research what kind of meals, quick or complex, you want to make. That way, you won't find yourself staring at the inside of fridge wondering if you made the right choice. Lastly, research fast food restaurants that provide vegetarian meals or items. This is really helpful when you're out and get a little hungry but don't know where to get tasty vegetarian food. 

Photo: Pixabay


3. Make a meal plan.

After you've researched your heart out, make a meal plan for the week ahead. This will keep you committed because you're not going to have to guess what to eat during the day. This is a great way to stick to your preferred budget as well. Fortunately, there are vegetarian meals plans already made public on the internet. Here's a great example of a great vegetarian meal plan.  

Extra tip: Have your meal plan readily available to you. Make a printout and place it on your fridge, take a picture of it on your phone, jot it down in your physical or digital calendar, etc. Whatever works for you. Just make sure you have it at all times to help with any confusion, preparation, and for simple reminders.  

4. Order your meals online or by downloading an app. 

If you want to skip research and planning, that's fine. Some people are too busy to even grocery shop, let alone make a meal plan. The solution: HelloFresh. You can download the app or place your order online, either way, it's fast. You select the 'Veggie Plan', customize your meals for the week, then your ingredients along with preparation instructions will be sent to your door. It's really that easy. 

5. Bring snacks everywhere you go.

This helps feed your hunger. If you're not hungry, you're less likely to crave meat. After you get past your cravings (which lasted two weeks for me), you won't need the snacks anymore; they will just serve as fun treats rather than training materials. Snacks I like to carry around are mini or chopped carrots, apples, celery, pistachios and/or assorted nuts, cheerios, raw broccoli, crackers, granola, etc. 


All of these tips have really helped me commit to my vegetarian diet. I only wished I had done the majority of these sooner to help relieve the stress of transitioning from carnivore to herbivore. Remember, if you don't successfully commit the first time, there's another chance to give it a try. There are many people just like you trying to accomplish this goal, so you're not alone in your journey! 

Until next time!

Nala

Friday, July 14, 2017

Interview With An Environmental Consultant

Hello everyone,

I have been fortunate enough to interview someone who is a predominant figure in the Construction Industry, Mrs. Susy Carrieri, CSP. She is known for keeping many workers safe such as Sandhogs and those working in high rises. She's also quite proactive as she audits job sites throughout the East Coast. Although I admire her contribution to safety culture, I couldn't help but notice her extensive experience working with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Fortunately, she was more than happy to sit down and speak with me.

Check out the interview below!


Q: What is your official title?
A: I am a Health, Safety, and Environmental Senior Consultant.

Q: What is your role as Senior Consultant?
A: I provide services to construction managers and general contractors so they can implement and enforce safety policy and control negative impacts that construction activities may have on the environment.
Q: What is your experience with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)?
A: I was at four different DEP facilities that are wastewater treatment plants. One of them, in upstate New York, provides fresh water to three-quarters of New York. The other three processes the waste and cleans the water; they recycle it.

Q: What was your role in these facilities?
A: Basically the job of the consultants, in DEP facilities, is to ensure that workers, employees, and contractors don't get contaminated by pollutants, which is like a cocktail of pollutants. We have to ensure that mold is removed, make sure there are no PCBs that will later affect marine life and wetlands. We also have to stop certain construction activities. Lead and asbestos are another concern because these plants are extremely old, about 100 years average. By having a consultant full-time, s/he can work with different levels of the organization; we can cross lines of supervision. We can sit in a conference with the president and s/he has to respond to concerns we observe. We also work with the workers by training them, guiding them, by assessing how they work, even improving their working conditions. For example, if a worker is exposed to a potential fall, the fall can really be severe because they work around water tanks that process waste. We not only train them to work properly but also force the operations team to implement controls like guard rails.
Q: What is the biggest cause of pollution in the tanks? You mentioned lead and asbestos being a concern.
A: No, no, no. The main pollutant is human waste because that's what the plant is processing. They (the plants) collect from different points of the city. They utilize microorganisms that eat waste and also add components like fluoride. Fluoride later makes the water clean and healthy to drink again.

Q: Obviously we have some ways to go before we (the United States) become a greener country. What kind of optimistic viewpoint do you have on this?
A: Well, wastewater treatment plants are a greener solution to not doing anything. Just imagine third world countries where the water that goes to people for cooking or bathing isn't clean; that spreads diseases. Here, it's a responsibility of the city. 

Q: Would you say that New York has the cleanest water in the country?
A: No one can compare to the water of New York. It's better than water from a bottle.

Q: What kind of advice would you have for people wanting to pursue a career as an Environmental Consultant?
A: First, this job is not for everybody. It takes devotion and understanding of the responsibilities that are greater beyond the self. One can pursue the idea of being clean every day, but if there isn't another person who's willing to sacrifice 8-10 hours a day to clean that water, then that goal, and something we take for granted like washing our hands, cannot be possible. So, it's not for everybody. It takes a special person to work in that department.

Q: What kind of degrees, certifications, or licensing would someone need to pursue a career as an Environmental Consultant?
A: Minimum 10 years experience working in safety positions, like an officer supervising physical exposures such as falls. There are electrocutions because there's a lot of water, a lot of power to mobilize equipment, that's a bad combo ya' know. They (electrocutions) are frequent. Then there's getting crushed by machines and equipment. Also, being struck by moving equipment like cranes.  After you gain your experience, you need to have an education in Industrial Hygiene that exposes you to work experience with PCBs, asbestos, lead, and silica.

Q: This seems like a pretty dangerous and time-consuming job. Overall, did you enjoy your time with the DEP?
A: It's fascinating. If you really want to learn about becoming a consultant in construction, get involved with a DEP facility. You don't have to wear makeup, that's for sure. And, uh, just expect to invest three years of your life and you will become a superb consultant. Um, to answer your question, yes, I did enjoy my time (laughs).

Q: As an environmentalist, do you know about President Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord? If so, what are your thoughts on the US upholding to that agreement without a participating president?
A: Yes, I do know. I believe that climatological changes are beyond the control of one single person, one single entity, one single country. Climatological changes are documented in history, right? It's (climate changes) not a fairy tale. These changes do exist. He (President Trump) can say, in his tweets, whatever. You cannot cover the sun with one finger, not even a Trump finger.

Q: You're pretty optimistic that the people of the US, and all over the world, can come together and make these changes on our/their own. Is that right?
A. Yes, absolutely. I just see history. History is the mother of our next steps in the future. We can see that if we adapt and mobilize, then sanity prevails. 

This was a great experience interviewing someone who is passionate about her work and the work of others. It certainly doesn't sound like an easy job to be a Health, Safety, and Environmental Consultant. Nonetheless, it seems like the reward is far greater than the stress. So, thank you, Mrs. Carrieri, for all that you do. Your work is much-needed for environmental change and safety!

Until next time!

Nala


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wind Turbines Coming to Virginia Beach

Hello everyone,

As I've tried to make clear throughout my blog, optimism is key to excelling in your passion. You have to look forward to bigger and better things ahead and cease from dwelling on impossibilities. Where am I going with this?

Well, as I've previously discussed in my post, Wind Turbines: What They Are And Why We Need Them, wind turbines are incredibly essential to the planet's sustainability. Also, wind power is in high demand right now which is great for the environment and economic growth. This is wonderful news, especially since the thought of wind turbines were seen as impossible creations at one point.

Right now, Sweden is doing a wonderful job transitioning to an environmentally conscious country. Like I mentioned in my previous post on turbines, Sweden is surrounded by them. 

Other countries that have jumped on the wind turbine bandwagon are China, Germany, Spain, India, UK, Canada, France, Italy, and Brazil. Austrailia and the Philippines are getting a piece of the pie as well, as of recent news. Even better, believe it or not, the United States is also on the wind turbine bandwagon! Optimism, optimism, optimism. 


A DONG wind turbine in the UK (Photo Credit: http://www.dongenergy.com/)

As of July 11, 2017, DONG Energy has partnered with Dominion Energy to build a wind project off the coast of Virgina. This is an incredible win for commercial wind development, however, it will not happen overnight. There is weather to consider, as well as protected species that migrate through Virgina Beach. 
The plan is to build two wind turbines on the Virginia Beach coast by the end of 2020. Again, that's two.

Commenting on the project, Gov. Terry McAuliffe stated,
Today marks the first step in what I expect to be the deployment of hundreds of wind turbines off Virginia’s coast that will further diversify our energy production portfolio, create thousands of jobs, and reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.
Well said, Governor. Looks like all hope isn't lost after all. I'm really excited to see how this pans out as this project is predicted to have a positive impact on New York; we'll just have to wait and see.

Until next time!

Nala

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tom Holland's Pit Bull Steals the Spotlight

Hello everyone,

As you may know, there's a new Spider-Man in town. His name? The great Tom Holland!

Spider-Man: Homecoming aligns with the Justice League (2017) movie's universe. I'm really excited to see both movies, however, I couldn't contain my excitement over Tom Holland's love for animals. 

For the London premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming, one adorable animal stole the press' hearts and attention. That fun-loving animal happened to be Holland's pit bull puppy, Tessa!

As Holland is posing for paparazzi on the red carpet, Tessa couldn't stay away from him any longer. She ran out to give her owner some sweet pit bull kisses but then ran off in fear of the flashing lights. She's not used to being such a star. 

Take a look at Spider-Man and his pit bull, Tessa!

Tom Holand and Tessa
(Photo Credit: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/)

He even brought Tessa to an interview!


Batman is fortunate to have an animal lover on his team. See what I did there? Batman is a bat (sort of). Spider-Man loves animals. Spider-Man loves Batman. Alright, I'll stop. 

I'm liking this Spider-Man already!

Until next time!

Nala

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lori Robinson: Wild Lives Saving Wildlife

Hello everyone, 

Today I will be discussing a particular blogger who has been an inspiration and role model for me. That person happens to be Lori Robinson, creator of Saving Wild

Saving Wild is a blog about animal liberation, wildlife conservation, and Robinson's passion and experience with animals. Her blog glows with optimism; a reflection of her self titled 'conservation optimist' role. 

Like wildlife conservation activist Ofir Drori, Robinson stresses the importance of optimism within wildlife conservation work and passion. The truth is, this field isn't an easy one to get into, let alone stay in. You face discouraging statistics, heartbreaking realities, and backlash for your activism. 

Writing about her experience in the field, Robinson reminisced about her time at the Animal Welfare Institute, recalling, 
With a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, I went to work for the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington DC, writing about whaling issues, factory farming and vivisection, a task that transformed my hope and dedication to make a difference into a pile of quivering tears at the end of each work day.
After having an internally bad experience, Robinson turned to modeling. However, her passion called for her like a lost puppy looking for its mother. Conservation needed her and, this time around, she knew what to do differently. She explained that,
Working in the conservation field this time around I learned to cling to signs of progress, and success stories, however small. I would find hope hiding in the story about the elephant trucked from twenty years of isolation in a Canadian zoo to a California sanctuary, the first wolf pack to be discovered in 100 years in Northern California, and the new law giving captive chimpanzees the same endangered status as wild chimps.
Robinson maintains her eagerness for saving wildlife with action, persistence, and "stubborn optimism", as she says. Her post, Wild Lives, talks about this optimism and how it serves as the overtone for the book Wild Lives, Leading Conservationists on the Animals and Planet They Love, written by Robinson alongside Janie Chodosh and Carl Safina (foreword). 


Lori Robinson's book, Wild Lives.
(Photo Credit: http://savingwild.com/2017/03/31/wild-lives/)

Within her post, she explains that Wild Lives includes stories from multiple leading conversationist, or "human superheroes", in the field. She continues to explain that, 

...when a species doesn’t go extinct, when birds still migrate, where giraffes still run and lions still rule and elephants continue trumpeting to the sky—it’s because of them.
It's quite shocking because some of these conservationists have been bitten by snakes, one even chased by a rhino, another almost died from Malaria, some even hunted by rebels. 

Not only do I applaud all of the wildlife conservation heroes tirelessly working hard and in uncomfortable circumstances for the sake of conservation, but I applaud Lori Robinson for revealing their stories to the public. Even more, I applaud her commitment to optimism throughout her work. Her hope and confidence are very apparent in her writing and I believe that is important to gain public interest, as well as help to those emotionally struggling in this field. 

Like I said, conservation needs Lori Robinson and people like her that promote passion and optimism for the animals we fight for. 

Until next time!

Nala

Follow-Up: Wikipedia's Cruelty-Free Page

Hello everyone,

You might remember my post Animal Testing: A Clarification On Which Animals Are Used, which I explained what cruelty-fee is and which animals are used in testing labs. If you notice, the title of that post contains the word 'clarification'. I needed to clarify which animals are used because Wikipedia's page about cruelty-free, at the time, didn't mention a few of them. The animals that weren't mentioned included:
  • Dogs (primarily the beagle)
  • Cats, and 
  • Primates
I made sure to add that information under the 'Tests' section on Wikipedia's cruelty-free page. Since then, my addition hasn't been modified. Nonetheless, if you happen to think of any vital information that should be added, please feel free to modify my addition. It's very important that when people go to Wikipedia, the information provided is as accurate as possible.

Until next time!

Nala

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Vegan, Vegetarian, and Pescatarian, Oh My!

Hello everyone,
Today's post is dedicated to the differences among three lifestyles: vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian. Maybe you're a meat eater who is interested in learning about these lifestyles, maybe you want to convert, or maybe you're already a convert and want some quick clarification. Whatever your objective is, I'm just glad you're here. 

You might think that most people understand the differences. Well, not exactly. I mean, I learn new things about veganism every day. So, don't ever be embarrassed, disappointed, or even discouraged because you didn't know something. It takes time to learn!

To continue, I've casually explained the differences among the three lifestyles below. If you have any questions or points you want to discuss, please feel free to comment on this post. I love to hear your thoughts!


VEGAN

A vegan does not eat animals or anything made from animals. For example, eggs come from chickens, therefore, it is made from an animal. Dairy is also off-limits to a vegan diet because it comes from cows and other animals such as goats. Foods like marshmallows (which is hardly a food… just sayin’) contain gelatin which comes from cows or pigs. Another non-vegan edible item is honey which comes from bees. Bread is also another great example. It's usually a vegan food, however, if it is enriched, it will likely contain milk or eggs within the ingredients. This can be quite annoying if you're trying to commit to this lifestyle, however, I assure you that optimism is key! 

Am I a vegan? Truthfully, no. Am I trying to go vegan? Yes, every single day! Regarding that journey, I will leave that for another post. 
In addition, vegans do not use or buy anything made from animals. This is where it can a be a little challenging for some, including myself. Below, I've listed a few things that are made by exploiting animals. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of vegan vs. non-vegan.
  • Cosmetic, Personal, and Household Products – Many companies test on animals before selling a product, as discussed in my previous post Animal Testing: A Clarification On Which Animals Are Used. An easy way to make sure you are buying cruelty-free is to look for a bunny that has pink ears or that is leaping on the product you are buying. Sometimes, products have a cruelty-free label with or without the bunny. Also, there are great apps that make it so incredibly easy to shop by telling you exactly which brands are cruelty-free. The one I use is called Cruelty-Free. Having an app really makes shopping so much easier! 
  • Clothes, Shoes, Bags, and Jewelry – Clothes, shoes, and bags are commonly made from leather, fur, wool, suede, silk, and feathers. Yes, silk is non-vegan since it comes from worms. Regarding jewelry, it can sometimes have or be made of ivory, bone, and fur.
An example of a vegan dish. There's fruit, hummus,
almond milk for coffee, and bread. (Photo: Pixabay)

VEGETARIAN

A vegetarian simply does not eat meat. This diet allows for more flexibility because you can still eat and drink dairy products, as well as wear and use products of your choosing.
Are eggs on the menu? This is debatable, but it's completely up to you. Eggs are not yet meat, so you will still be considered a vegetarian if you decide to eat or use eggs. On the other hand, there are those that consider eggs to be meat. Like I said, it's up to you!


An example of a vegetarian dish. You have fruit and lentils,
however, there's also cheese which is a dairy product.  (Photo: Pixabay)

PESCATARIAN

A pescatarian diet is a vegetarian diet with fish. It’s that simple. It’s pretty much the same concept of being a vegetarian except there’s a little more leeway. So, you can eat sushi, a bagel with lox, even cream cheese, as long as there is no meat in your diet.
An example of a pescatarian dish. Fish equals pescatarian,
cheese equals non-vegan, and bread equals vegan. (Photo: Pixabay) 

So there you have it! I wish you guys all the best and I hope I was able to teach you a thing or two, or three! 
Until next time!

Nala