My intro to this movie came via Bill Maher last week. He interviewed former Sea World trainer John Hargrove about a new movie he is featured in called Blackfish. It touches upon a hugely important subject….the danger to humans when we capture what we cannot control and also how abusive it is to even keep such animals in captivity.
Now I realize you may love Sea World. I do too. I haven’t taken my kids there in over 10 years though (despite making trips to Disney and Universal) because I just cannot support what they do. Killer whales (as well as many other species) are kept in spaces way to small for them. This is ABUSE. As the former trainer pointed out, they think that keeping a killer whale in a 20×20 tank that is pitch black is causing psychosis and it is no wonder that whales are turning on their trainers. He also pointed out that Sea World and other corporations like it are making money hand over fist and all that money goes to making rich people richer OR improving areas of the park not related to the animals such as roller coasters and food stands. Making conditions better for the animals is not even in the budget.
IMO if any such places even exist they should be not for profit and all money should go towards improving the natural habitats of all marine animals and those currently in captivity. Isn’t it the height of arrogance to take these creatures from their homes, abuse them, and make them sing for their dinner?? Using and abusing these beautiful creatures should not be tolerated by the public…let alone openly endorsed by us, by taking our families there.
I encourage everyone to catch this film when it hits theaters in your area (check here for listings). Watch the trailer below:
Getting children to eat healthy foods with lots of fresh fruit, veggies, and greens is often times no easy task. Many children just aren’t adventurous when it comes to food. It is also hard for us moms when so many of the foods children gravitate to these days are not the healthiest options. Why would they want to try that veggie omelet you made with pastured eggs and those funny things called leeks when the Leprechaun on TV has a more “charming” breakfast in mind for them. Add to this the fact that junky foods are artificially cheap and the healthier foods seem more expensive and we have a battle on our hands. Moms need some serious superpowers to navigate this treacherous territory…
Why though is this a battle we NEED to win? Well, we all know by now (I hope) how many health problems can be directly tied to our food choices. We don’t want that for our children. A new report from Save the Children called Food for Thoughtgives us a few more reasons. Malnutrition can be tied to their ability to learn and their prosperity when they reach adulthood. According to the report:
Childhood malnutrition cuts future earnings by at least 20%
Current childhood nutrition could end up costing the global economy $125 billion when today’s children are grown
Malnourished children score 7% lower on math tests and 19% are delayed readers
It also has some alarming stats that show how this impacts non developed countries but there are plenty of children right here in the prosperous US who are malnourished. They are malnourished either because they don’t have access to healthy foods or they are being fed substandard, nutritionally devoid foods. Whatever the reason, children all over the world are suffering and being dealt a bad hand NOW that will effect their future and their ability to care for themselves and their own families down the line. We cannot allow this continue. President Obama and the world leaders who will come together at two global nutrition summits (known as the G8) in June, need to address this issue.
Mom Bloggers for Social Good are asking that moms try to raise some awareness via social media and get the attention of our leaders by tweeting our concerns. Here is an example of a prepared tweet:
Click the above and it will autofill a tweet for you. Addressing child malnutrition, especially in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life when their bodies and brains are growing rapidly, needs to be at the top of President Obama’s agenda.
In addition to asking our leaders to take this issue on we can all earn our own supermom capes by making sure our kids are getting the nutrition they need. I will kick things off with a healthy breakfast recipe because I hate to think of moms falling back on the sugary breakfast cereal I alluded to at the top of this post. I know we are all busy but that stuff is pure junk. This cereal uses nuts and fresh fruit so it is crunchy and sweet, but also packed with nutrients and healthy fats (brain food!). In honor of the G8 nutrition summits we will call it a Gr8 healthy recipe. It only has 8 ingredients.
Gr8 Apple/Coconut Cereal
1 sweet apple, grated
1 banana, chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Handful of shredded coconut
¼ cup coconut or almond milk
1 tsp raw honey
Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
Mix all ingredients in a cereal bowl and enjoy!
This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 a group of mom bloggers banding together to work for social good.
Did you know that you could help the world just by the purchases you make? Many companies that offer necessary products also do good deeds locally, internationally and for the world as a whole. Some businesses focus on minimizing their carbon footprint, while others focus on humanitarian efforts – and many do both. Here are just a few of some of the great companies that are using their powers for good.
Jatalo founder Aditya Viswanathan took a trip to India and learned that many local children couldn’t attend school due to the high cost of textbooks. This gave rise to the new company where backpacks equal textbooks. Jatalo supplies the textbooks for a full school year to one child for each backpack the company sells. These quality, fashionable backpacks feature ethnic color schemes that speak of the culture that inspired them. Not a bad way to give back, while also encouraging the pursuit of further education.
This Los Angeles headwear company proudly wears the name of the cheeriest color on the color wheel, alongside the Pantone number that corresponds with it. The goal of the company is to minimize waste from green textile factories. All hats and accessories from Yellow 108 are crafted from salvaged materials, and two percent of all sales go directly toward local non-profit organizations that participate in socially responsible initiatives.
Four close friends who had a vision to bring sight to the world founded Warby Parker as a place for customers to purchase quality, attractive eyewear at reasonable prices. How reasonable? Try 95 bucks – not too shabby for new pair of prescription glasses. In addition to keeping their overhead low and prices well below competitor’s rates, the company partners with non-profit organizations to donate a pair of glasses to those in need for each pair they sell – that includes their beautiful collection of vintage-inspired sunglasses as well, so even if you aren’t a glasses wearer you can still rock some shades and give back.
Fashion, utilitarianism and green practices come together in the innovative designs of WeWOOD. After establishing their brand in Florence, Italy, the founders of WeWOOD opened a store in Los Angeles where they sell ornate wooden watches and other timepieces fashioned primarily from scrap wood. The company also partners with American Forests to assist with reforestation, and with each piece they sell – the company has a tree planted locally and abroad.
Why go on a hunger strike when you can grab a snack and feed hungry children? Two Degrees Food focuses on providing healthy snacks to hungry guys and gals while working to feed the world’s children. For every vegan, gluten-free snack bar they sell, they donate a meal to feed a hungry child. By empowering consumers to feed the hungry, they achieve their goal of feeding the world through only two degrees of separation, quite the delicious trade-off.
Life brings each of us many opportunities to help others. When we join forces with others to do good in the world, the effects will be more far reaching than any of us could possibly imagine. By checking out some of these alternative options you are not only encouraging the growth of a new business, but you are truly giving back to the people that make up the world we live in.
Michael Fields is a brand new blogger writing about social good, gardening, the great outdoors, and anything else that may interest him along the way. Michael is a husband, father, and advocate trying to live a more socially conscious life every day. Connect with Michael via his blog, Mountains & Fields.
Today is World Water Day and it has been given this distinction so that for at least one day the world might consider just how many of its inhabitants do not have clean water at their disposal. The stats are actually pretty shocking and for those of us who have the luxury of simply walking a few feet to the nearest faucet and running as much water as we like, it needs to be a wake up call. For world water day I want to highlight three organizations doing something to address this global crisis and they are doing a wonderful job via social media to reach those of us who don’t actually realize just how much we should care about this issue. 10,000 people are dying each day (2000 of those are children) because they don’t have clean water and here in the west we like to wax poetic about not letting it run while we brush our teeth.
WaterAid is an organization I have written about before and which I have donated to before. WaterAid America will join leading experts in the fight against water poverty for a Google+ hangout today at at 1:30pm EST / 5:30pm GMT at http://ow.ly/iZCdj. They have some great info on their site as well as great articles with #20ways that water is just the beginning of the road out of poverty. You can also subscribe to their emails and stay up to date with what they are doing and any volunteer opportunities they have available.
According to One there are millions of people who walk an average of 3.7 miles to collect water each day. This results in over 200 million hours spent collecting water each day. Can you even imagine having to travel over three miles to get water to wash with or drink? Can you imagine not having a clean and safe place to go to the bathroom each day? I am horrified at the thought and yet this is reality for so many people around the world. It needs to be horrifying that we are not doing something more to remedy this. 2.5 million people in developing countries do not have access to improved sanitation, like toilets. 3.4 million die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene related causes. Every time we take a seat on the toilet we are experiencing a great luxury and we may not even realize it.
Another organization mobilizing today for water aid is Matt Damon’s charity Water.org. I am a big fan of his already but I especially love what he is doing to bring awareness to this particular issue. I loved his toilet protest video and he just released a new one that demonstrates this issue with clever animation. Seriously, kiss your toilet and donate a few bucks. It really is the least we can do.
If you want to donate some money today and/or help with their mission in some way to help improve water access for all, these three organizations are good places to start.
This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 a group of mom bloggers banding together to work for social good.
It has been quite awhile since I breastfed my little ones but even so it is one of those subjects that I am still deeply passionate and opinionated about. From the time my youngest was born I knew I would breastfeed and mostly that was because my own mother had. I recall her breastfeeding my younger brother well into his toddler years and she talked about the joy of breastfeeding so enthusiastically that I knew I had do the same when I became a mother. This made me the odd one out among my friends and peers but I also found that I truly enjoyed the whole breastfeeding experience and I fed my oldest child this way until I had to return to work, about four months after his birth.
Weaning him so early became a big regret for me when he developed health problems a short time later. His health problems were so severe that that I waited three years to have another child and I was determined from the get go that this child would be breastfed exclusively and for an extended period of time. I had plenty of time to research all the reasons why breast is best and I wasn’t going to let modern life get in the way of of feeding my child the absolute best food. Not this time, no way. I quit my job and really never looked back. That was nine years ago this week. I breastfed my daughter for 2.5 years with the last 6 months of that being done in tandem with her little brother. Every moment breastfeeding her was special and joyous just as my mother described. I like to think that all the time she spent at the breast gave her a great start in life. It makes me so sad that many mothers and babies do not experience this and that so so many cultures are not supportive of this all important aspect of raising children.
BREAST IS BEST. By now this should be a widely known fact and all women should be be educated about why breastfeeding is not only 100% normal and natural but also extremely important for the health of their children. I will be honest that I get more than a little peeved by prevailing attitudes about breastfeeding in the US but I just have to hope that most of it is lack of education and that it can someday be remedied.
This is why a new report from Save the Children was of great interest to me and I want to share it here. Quite simply it highlights the fact that breastmilk is superfood for babies and that it saves lives. The report talks about the ‘power of the first hour’ and they estimate that 830,000 infant deaths could be avoided if every baby were breastfed within the first hour of life. Much of this has to do with colostrum, which is the first milk. It is the most potent natural immune system booster known to science.
Other stats from the report:
* An infant given breast milk within an hour of birth is up to three times more likely to survive than one breastfed a day later.
* Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea than those who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
*An estimated 1.4 million child deaths in 2008 were as a result of ‘sub-optimal’ breastfeeding, where babies were not exclusively breastfed and where breastfeeding did not continue into the second year.
* The baby milk formula business is worth $25 billion (or £16 billion).
* Breastfeeding rates have actually stagnated around the world over the last 20 years – and remain below 40% globally.
* Four major barriers to breastfeeding around the world: 1) cultural and community pressures 2) the health worker shortage 3) lack of maternity legislation, and 4) aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes – or formula.
* Only 6.7% of U.S. births occur in designated 154 “Baby-Friendly” facilities that meet international recommendations for supporting breastfeeding, and the U.S. has the weakest levels of maternity legislation in the industrialized world.
This shows without a doubt how powerful the act of breastfeeding can be and how it impacts the health of our children. It also shows why we must get better about educating women about what it actually means when they choose NOT to breastfeed and how the formula industry is working against their interests and against the health of their children. Here in the US part of that education process needs to be about making breastfeeding culturally normal. When you live in a society where restaurant or store employees ask breastfeeding mothers to leave these places of business and imply they are doing something gross or socially unacceptable by feeding their children, then we have HUGE problems. We must also make the work environment more family friendly so that working moms do not have to choose between being able to work or being able to feed their infant the best food available.
Other cultures have other issues. In India they believe that colostrum should be expressed before any breastfeeding can occur. This is a cultural practice that goes against science and best practices for health. It needs to be addressed. Other areas are affected by a health worker shortage. Even if you believe in home birthing and few, if any interventions, you are still likely to have a midwife and/or doula. Having health and birth workers around is so beneficial and often times they help young moms get established with breastfeeding because it can be a bit tricky sometimes. In developing countries this is even more important.
On addition to distributing this wonderful report, Save the Children is calling on Secretary of State Kerry to recommit to the 1,000 Days Partnership that expires in June. Since 2010, this international partnership has already helped countries such as Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Tanzania develop strategies around fighting childhood malnutrition through supporting breastfeeding and other important steps. It is set to expire unless we speak out and demand that the breastfeeding support and education continue. I signed the petition and I hope you will to.
I would also love to hear form you. What do you think we need to do to increase breastfeeding rates worldwide? Comment below if you want to share. Also be sure to check out the video below of how Brazil has had tremendous success with a breastfeeding initiative. It is such a powerful message and brought to us by actress Isla Fisher. I knew I really liked her!!
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, crossfit mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!