Five Reasons to Not Buy Turtles or Tortoises As Gifts

American Tortoise Rescue, the international nonprofit for turtle and tortoise protection, is asking consumers to not buy live animals, especially turtles and tortoises as gifts this holiday season. Adopt don’t shop.

According to Susan Tellem, co-founder of the sanctuary, while these wonderful reptiles have outlived the dinosaurs, wide spread illegal smuggling and the commercial pet trade in turtles and tortoises has devastated wild populations worldwide. Many once thriving species are now threatened or endangered. Worse, some are now extinct.

“The pet industry thrives on small, adorable exotic animals with a big price tag,” Tellem says. “What we are recommending is to avoid impulse buys. We understand the appeal of an adorable two inch baby turtle!” Tellem adds, “But most animal rescues have many turtles and tortoises ready for adoption to good homes.”

Tellem gives five reasons why people shouldn’t buy a turtle or tortoise.

  1. Reptiles are boring. Parents shouldn’t expect their kids to find everlasting enjoyment in an animal that basically sits still most of the day sunning itself. Many kids tire of a turtle in a tank and don’t want to clean the habitat and change the water daily. Turtles and tortoises poop, Tellem reminds everyone.
  2. Most turtles and many tortoises hibernate during fall and winter. It’s unnatural for them to be awake and available for sale when they should be sleeping from about October through April. It’s cruel to sell wild animals that need to hibernate to stay healthy.
  3. Turtles and tortoises confined in tanks are miserable. It’s like a human spending their entire life in a bathtub Tellem says. The only proper habitat for these reptiles is outside. Natural sun exposure helps maintain a healthy shell and is necessary for the animal to grow and thrive. During hibernation, most reptiles can stay outside in shelters that are dry and predator proof.
  4. Adoption is the ideal option, Tellem says. During the spring and summer, when the animals are awake, rescues help place them in good “forever homes” with proper habitats. In many cases, there is no charge to adopt, only the promise that the animal will be given exceptional care for the rest of its life.
  5. Turtles can easily live 25 years or more and tortoises can top 100 years. An impulse buy without a thought to the future is not in the best interest of the animal, Tellem says. Plans need to be made in wills and with family members since the animals can outlive their owners. Most people don’t think about that when they buy an animal.

Tellem, who founded the nonprofit 27 years ago with her husband, Marshall Thompson, says, “Many owners assume that when the tortoise becomes a problem, zoos will take them. This is simply not true. Zoos are not interested in cast-off pets.”

She adds that a domesticated pet cannot be put back into the wild. It will die or introduce disease into an already precarious wild ecosystem. In many states, it is also illegal.

Tellem says that the option of placing the animal with a rescue is not always the answer, as her rescue is full as are most others. The best solution is to find a compassionate adopter who is willing to give a proper “forever home” to the pet. There are many national rescue organizations listed on www.tortoise.com which can facilitate adoptions if people are interested in getting an animal.

One way to enjoy a turtle or tortoise without harming them is to make a donation to a nonprofit like American Tortoise Rescue. “This allows us to educate people and care for the ones that are ill in our sanctuary. If a donor makes a $100 donation or more, we send them an adoption certificate featuring one of our permanent residents, and it’s good for one year. People enjoy that because they can care for the animal vicariously,” Tellem says.

American Tortoise Rescue, Malibu, Calif., is a nonprofit founded in 1990 to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle.  For more information, contact:  American Tortoise Rescue at www.tortoise.com ; or email [email protected] . Follow on Twitter @tortoiserescue and on Facebook. Tellem started World Turtle Day® 17 years ago which is now celebrated globally (and is trademarked). Find out more at www.worldturtleday.org and on Facebook and twitter. Here’s a list of rescues in the U.S and elsewhere http://www.tortoise.com/need-a-rescue.html.

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS Announces “You Make Today Better” Campaign in Honor of World Suicide Prevention Day

Nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) just launched its 8th annual campaign to honor World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8 – September 14). This year’s campaign centers around the message of: “You Make Today Better.
According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. Additionally, the CDC recently reported that as of 2016, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 25% over the last 20 years.
TWLOHA Founder Jamie Tworkoswki shared: “World Suicide Prevention Day has become the most important day of the year for us. We love that this campaign gives people a way not only to support TWLOHA but also to have honest conversations about mental health. Above all, the goal is people getting help and lives being saved.
People can participate in this year’s campaign by purchasing the organization’s World Suicide Prevention Day pack, joining the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using #YouMakeTodayBetter, #WSPD19, and by becoming a fundraiser or donating to the campaign. TWLOHA has set a goal to raise $150,000 to sponsor 3,000 counseling sessions, provide scholarships for higher levels of care, and to connect thousands of people to reduced-cost local mental health resources.
Since its start in 2006, TWLOHA has donated over $2.4 million directly into treatment, has responded to over 210,000 messagesfrom over 100 countries, and traveled more than 3.4 million miles to meet people face-to-face at nearly 3,000 events. Each month, they connect with 5 million people online through social media and their FIND HELP Tool fields 5,000 searches made by people seeking affordable, local mental health resources.
In addition to this year’s WSPD campaign, TWLOHA recently announced that they will be holding their annual HEAVY AND LIGHTevent on September 21st, 2019 at the House of Blues in Orlando, FL. The organization invites everyone to attend the show for what promises to be an inspiring evening of songs, conversation and hope, with performances from Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, DessaSWIMM, spoken word poet Anis Mojgani, singer/songwriter Morgan Harper Nichols, and singer/songwriter Jamie Grace.
Tickets for HEAVY AND LIGHT are on sale now and available at https://livemu.sc/2ZcpptG. Bundles for the event, which include a ticket and an exclusive shirt, can also be purchased at http://bit.ly/2Y7aeFG.

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS CELEBRATES 13 YEARS OF HOPE AND HELP

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) celebrates its 13th birthday on Saturday, March 30th. Since 2006, the nonprofit has been dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with mental illness. In their 13-year history, TWLOHA has donated over $2.3 million directly into treatment, traveled more than 3.4 million miles to meet people face-to-face at nearly 3,000 events, and has responded to over 210,000 messages from over 100 countries. Each month, they connect with 5 million people online through social media and their FIND HELP Tool fields 5,000 searches made by people seeking affordable, local mental health resources.
To celebrate, the organization is asking supporters to wear TWLOHA merch on March 30th and to post a picture on social media using the hashtag #WearTWLOHA. From the very beginning, the organization has designed and sold T-shirts as a way to fund their efforts. The merchandise they sell, however, serves a bigger purpose. It acts as a conversation starter and a way to introduce people to TWLOHA and their mission of spreading hope and help.
It’s amazing to think that March 30 means 13 years have passed since our friend Jon Foreman wore the first TWLOHA shirt on stage at a Switchfoot concert in South Florida. We never could have imagined all that’s happened since that time-the people we’ve been able to reach, the stories that so many have shared with us,” says TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski. “We get to hear from folks all over the world who are getting help and even choosing to stay alive. We are beyond thankful for the last 13 years. We’re truly hopeful and excited when we think about the future.
They will also be hosting a Two-Day Birthday Warehouse Sale on Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their headquarters in downtown Melbourne, Florida. The sale is open to the public and will include brand new designs, exclusive deals on merch, and Run For It 5k registration. For more details, visit https://twloha.com/events/spring-warehouse-sale/.
This past September TWLOHA wrapped their 7th Annual World Suicide Prevention Day campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) and National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW). With the help of supporters from around the world, the organization was able to raise over $200k for treatment and recovery, more than doubling their initial goal of $100k. Over 3600 people donated to the “Tomorrow Needs You” campaign, in addition to the sale of 4655 World Suicide Prevention Day packs. The money raised will help sponsor nearly 4000 counseling sessions and connect 55,000 people to local mental health resources.
As part of the campaign, TWLOHA shared an inspiring video featuring actors Chris Sullivan (from This Is Us) and Jaina Lee Ortiz (from Station 19), country music star Hunter Hayes, who raised $25,000, writer/artist Morgan Harper Nichols, and singer/songwriter Matt Wertz, along with a number of clips submitted by TWLOHA supporters from around the world. To watch the video, please visit: youtu.be/aEzUMnBHHK0.
For more information on To Write Love On Her Arms, please visit https://twloha.com/.

St. Jude’s global childhood cancer initiative aims to cure 60 percent of the world’s children by 2030

Over the past year, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has announced it’s expanding its international reach with St.Jude Global, a more than $100 million investment toward accelerating efforts to improve childhood cancer survival rates worldwide. In addition, as part of this renewed effort to prioritize the global approach to childhood cancer, St. Jude and World Health Organization announced a five-year collaboration – a multi-faceted, coordinated effort to cure 60 percent of children with six of the most common types of cancer by 2030.

 

In the United States, pediatric cancer survival rates top 80 percent, and most children have access to quality care, regardless of where they live. Around the world, however, the statistics are bleak. More than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, and the overwhelming majority will die from their diseases.

 

Video – Global Disparities in Childhood Cancer

 

“During this year’s World Cancer Day, we continue to make great strides in achieving St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a world where ‘no child should die in the dawn of life,’” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Global childhood cancer rates are on the rise as more children worldwide survive infancy. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of those new cases are happening in places where they lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment.”

 

Young Syrian refugees living in Lebanese camps is one place where St. Jude Global has already made a difference that will be featured during the upcoming American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Annual Meeting – the world’s largest gathering of multi-disciplinary sciences – on Sunday, Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C.

 

A collaboration between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon at the American University of Beirut Medical Center has led to almost 600 non-Lebanese children receiving cancer-related evaluations, treatment, consultations and referrals. By sharing resources, best practices, insights and infrastructure, more refugees were treated who would have otherwise died because they happened to have cancer at a time when their family was displaced by war.

 

“During this year’s World Cancer Day, our work in Lebanon is a reminder that it is possible to save the lives of children who would have otherwise died simply because they happen to have cancer when their families were displaced,” said Sima Jeha, M.D., director of St. Jude Global’s East and Mediterranean Region.“Our experience in this region shows that effective pediatric cancer treatment is possible even in crisis situations.”

 

Jeha will lead a presentation, “Treating Pediatric Cancer in Crisis: Lessons for Delivering Care,” outlining lessons learned from this collaboration across borders and institutions and offering a blueprint to address the needs of children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries, even under the worst of circumstances. During the presentation, a panel of global medical experts will discuss lessons learned from the experience in Lebanon and how institutions and countries can work together to improve outcomes for non-communicable diseases in peace and in crisis.

 

Additional detail about St. Jude Global’s work to effectively treat young Syrian refugees can be found in St. Jude’s Promise Magazinehere.

2018 World Health Run – Run With Us or Follow Along on Social! #GlobalHealth #Running #HealthForAll #PeaceCorps @WorldHealthRun

Follow us on social media tomorrow as we participate in the very first World Health Run!

In order to raise awareness of health equity, health as a human right, the many challenges some people face in seeking health care, and the challenges that health systems face in trying to provide comprehensive care, we are gathering stories and reflections from individuals around the world. We will highlight responses to questions on social media in the hopes of encouraging an open conversation that represents everyone.

Please go to www.RealVoices.World to participate!

We are very proud that this event offers the opportunity for individuals and groups to support some pretty terrific organizations and their high-quality work.

We are all proud, of course, to be a part of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. The 2018 conference was inspiring and we were thrilled to be a part of it. In addition, the Rotary Club of ChicagoNational Peace Corps Association, and Peace Care are collaborators in this effort. Take a look at their websites to see what kind of work they do. We’ll be telling you more about them through social media, as well.

In addition, this run supports many local organizations and the communities with whom they partner around the world. We will distribute a report several weeks after the run to let you know about these groups, and we will distribute a follow-up report later in the year to let you know about the impact of our collective effort.

Our principal goal is to raise awareness about health equity in the U.S. and Globally. If you are keen to learn a bit about the topic, the World HealthOrganization is a great place to start.

Did you know that:

  • In the U.S., “Native Americans and Alaska Natives have an infant mortality rate that is 60 percent higher than the rate for their white counterparts. 1 In 2013, infants born to African American mothers experienced the highest rates of infant mortality (11.11 infant deaths per 1,000 births), and infants born to Asian or Pacific Islander mothers experienced the lowest rates (3.90 infant deaths per 1,000 births).2” 3
  • Globally, every day, about 800 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal mortality is a health indicator that shows very wide gaps between rich and poor, both between countries and within them.4

(these are quoted directly from Baciu 2017 – referenced below)

We believe that by bringing broader communities together to advocate for better health.

Check out our 2018 World Health Run Music Mix!

We are thrilled that this event is gaining traction as being a premier opportunity for committed individuals and organizations around the world to come together to raise awareness about health equity.

Virtual World Health Run

Date: April 7, 2018

For World Health Day 2018, as stated during registration, there isn’t a physical run near you. Therefore, you will be participating in the VIRTUAL RUN. (We are working diligently to organize a physical run near you year. We’ve made a lot of connections this year and we are already making some terrific plans for moving forward).

DIRECTIONS:
As a VIRTUAL runner, you have a terrific opportunity to plan out a terrific route and raise awareness. We encourage you to get a group together if possible.  If you need some help planning a route, www.plotaroute.com is a terrific resource. Not only can you plan your own route, but you can locate previously planned routes near you.  Please let us know if you find a route that would be a great location for a physical run for next year!

We recommend that you go for your run on April 7, World Health Day, so that we can unite around the world on that day. With that being said, the virtual run does afford a degree of flexibility that can be convenient for those that are traveling or experiencing other challenges with their schedule.

We would love for you to engage with us on social media when you do run. Help us show the world that we care about health equity.

Above all, go have a great time, wear your shirt with pride, and feel good about this event. We are making an impact together.

Listen along to the Official World Health Run Music Mix! Let us know what we should add.

Join the Movement and #ShopWithYourHeart With the ASPCA

The ASPCA has launched an exciting new initiative to improve the lives of farm animals called Shop With Your Heart.

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As you may already know, most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. And animals are not the only affected, as factory farms impact human health—they can be breeding grounds for dangerous pathogens and the antibiotics used to prevent disease create the potential for dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria to develop. To fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals, the Shop With Your Heart initiative gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

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Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  •  Use the Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.
  • Post a photo of yourself on your social media channels making the “heart hands” to show solidarity with the movement with sample language like:  “Join the movement with me and pledge to #ShopWithYourHeart! aspca.org/ShopWithYourHeart @ASPCA.”

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Gifts That Give Twice With World Vision For The Holidays

Looking to give a beautiful, unique gift this year? Maybe you want to do something even better then that- maybe you want to give a gift that gives back. World Vision lets you do both- you can not only give beautiful gifts that the gift-ee will love, but when you buy, your money goes to those who need it most. World Vision is Fair Trade, and helps artisans make a living wage that they can raise their families on.

This year more than 50 percent of holiday shoppers plan to purchase holiday gifts online. Look into new gift ideas that give back with just a few clicks of the mouse from the World Vision Gift Catalog.
More than 250 items, ranging in price from $10 to $39,000, are available online and in the print catalog to help improve quality of life for women, children and families in the U.S. and around the world. Give help where it is needed most and receive handcrafted gifts that are beautiful accessories:

African Soapstone Box – New to the 2014 World Vision Gift Catalog, the hand-carved African Soapstone Box is a safe place to store necklaces and rings. Coated in light blue with an image of a giraffe, this ornate box features pretty details that will complement nearly any decor. Donations go toward the Kenyan artisans who crafted the box to help provide medical care for their families. $85

 

Royal Silk Scarf – A recent addition to the Catalog, this gorgeous silk scarf adds color to the holidays and supports the needs of children and families worldwide, including those in the community where it was crafted; the luxurious silk was woven by Vietnam’s Ma Chau villagers, who receive fair wages & sustainable income through their craft. $95
[Read more…]

Feed the Children Offers Seven Days of Giving Through Its Holiday Gift Catalog

Feed the Children is helping to create a season of hope for children and families in need at home and around the world with its annual Holiday Gift Catalog. This special edition catalog offers one-of-a-kind gifts that will send a message of hope – and life – to those without life’s essentials.

This year’s catalog is filled with Feed the Children’s most popular gifts to help children and families in need just in time for the holidays. These gifts not only help the people receiving them, but also bring them joy.

There is simply no reason for a child to suffer the pain of hunger and poverty, so the Holiday Gift Catalog features items that will help children and families fill their pantries, restore their lives and begin the holiday season with renewed hope for the future.

This year’s top seven gifts for seven days of giving offer life-changing resources all under $100.

  1. Provide one chicken for $14. A chicken means fresh eggs and meat for international families to eat. The eggs and meat can also be sold to neighbors or in markets throughout each country.
  2. Provide one goat for $79. Goats are a source of meat and milk for families globally, providing much-needed nourishment, and their offspring can be sold to generate income to help a family overcome poverty.
  3. Feed a class of 50 for $79. Feed the Children serves meals to thousands of boys and girls each school day to help children thrive physically and mentally. A class of 50 children in Kenya can receive a traditional Kenyan meal of corn and beans for only 44 cents per child.
  4. Provide water purification tablets for two families for one year for $29. Even clean water can become contaminated while being carried home or stored for later use. These tablets are one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent diarrhea and other waterborne health issues greatly affecting international countries.
  5. Provide one food box, one essential box, and one holiday turkey for $57. Families in the U.S. will receive a 25-pound food box, a 10-pound box of basic essentials and a 10- to 12-pound frozen turkey to help them celebrate the holidays.
  6. Equip a child with a backpack and school supplies for $20. Some children in America don’t have the basic items they need to succeed in school. Each backpack is filled with school supplies, children’s books, hygiene items, and healthy snack food.
  7. Provide one food box and one essentials box for $38. This gift will help fight childhood hunger in America by providing much-needed food and other essentials like laundry detergent and shampoo for families in need. Each box supplements a family of four for up to a week.

“We believe that no child should go to bed hungry in a world where there is plenty of food,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “But the reality is, millions of boys and girls across the globe face this hardship every day. With this catalog, our donors and supporters are able to bring help and hope to families during the holiday season.”

About Feed the Children

Feed the Children believes that it can create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. Since 1979, Feed the Children has grown into one of the largest U.S.-based charities. It is accredited by GuideStar Exchange and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, maintains a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and is also a member of InterAction. Through its network of agencies, Feed the Children distributed more than $344 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine, impacting close to 9 million individuals in the U.S. and more than 4.9 million individuals internationally, for a total of 13.9 million individuals globally[1] in fiscal yer 2014.

Visit www.feedthechildren.org for more information.