My talented media Guru and lovely friend Milli posted this story last week:
The Beagle Freedom Project is a service delivered under the non profit advocacy group ARME. They work with laboratories to relocate veteran beagle dogs formerly tested on for scientific research.
"Testing done on beagles in university and other research facilities includes medical/pharmaceutical, household products and cosmetics. When they are no longer wanted for research purposes, some labs attempt to find homes for adoptable, healthy beagles. Working directly with these labs, Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove and transport beagles to place them in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility." [quote taken from The Beagle Freedom Project’s website]
A seemingly admirable and worthy project. This post isn’t a space to discuss the ethics of animal testing (although an important topic). I wanted simply to share this one story:
Articles will be positive and not lean towards any political party or perspective. A strong use of the creative arts will attempt to enrich the relationship between science, campaigns and the public imagination, alongside making scientific fact more accessible to a broad readership.
To inspire people to love the Earth, based on the belief that people protect what they love.
To raise awareness about environmental problems.
To encourage participation in various, global campaigns.
To focus on issues on environmental justice, where both people and planet are abused.
To inspire production of more creative arts that tackle, answer or discuss social and environmental concerns.
We’ve received brilliant material, from all over the world. Current submissions are being considered for the next issue in 2012, however if you have a small illustration of a hummingbird mail it over to me and I’ll include it in our first issue. All hummingbirds get published. Always.
Of course, the whole point of celebrities is that we celebrate them.
Considering all the war, jealously and greed that plagues humankind, this isn’t so bad. Why not celebrate somebody else’s talent, hard work and good heart?
… but are celebrities famed for their talents, hard work and good hearts? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Let’s not get into it. Instead let’s look at the rough facts:
A list celebrities earn huge fortunes of money. The money comes from people like you and me who for some reason are interested in them, and will pay to experience their art. They attract such huge fan bases they have more money individually than entire communities in developing countries (see comparison above). Whether they deserve this money or not is not something I’m going to discuss in this post, although there are two sides to the argument. The question is: when they give to charity, do you admire them?
Because surely anyone with that much money, should give to the world. It’s to be expected. It would be ridiculous if they didn’t.
Yes or No?
The truth is celebrities don’t have to support charities, but if they decide to lend their money and popularity to a campaign they can instantly boost its success. Is it their privilege to choose or their responsibility?
Here’s a good source for learning more about well known celebs and which causes and organisations they support:
I immediately looked up the environmental cause when I found this site. And I was unsuprised to see Leonardo D’Caprio and Sting listed among its top supporters. I didn’t expect however, to see former James Bond Pierce Brosnan. and now admittedly I do possess far greater admiration for him than before, deserved or not.
This means if you donate €1, the Alliance will triple your donation to €3 at no extra cost to you. The money comes from a challenge fund set up by their Directors and will hopefully inspire some Christmas funding!
The Rainforest Alliance acts to protect the world’s rainforests by conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainability. They preserve the environment and protect the livelihoods of local communities who are threatened by deforestation, caring for planet and people. I like them because they are sensible about the problems. They work with unavoidable businesses to ensure environmental standards are maintained.
They work with agricultural and forestry industries, tourism and environmental education programmes to keep rainforest conservation at the top of everybody’s agenda. You may recognise their green frog symbol (below) which credits, for example, various coffee and chocolate brands with their environmental standards. I recommended them before in my Green Halloween (food) post.
Here are some videos explaining more about their work. If you like the sound of it, spread the news of their triple donation offer!
This is a relentlessly fruitful fundraising idea. Organise a winter exhibition. Invite local artists, writers, photographers, inventors, fashion designers and everyone else to submit their work for your gallery. Encourage people to donate a small token fee with each entry. Then sell tickets for viewing. Offer to sell entrants’ work for a share in the profit (maybe 20%). All money raised goes towards your charity of choice.
Why this is a great idea:
It supports creativity and local talent.
It builds a stronger community.
It provides people with the opportunity to see and buy independent artwork (great for Christmas or Hanukkah presents.)
You can include a theme to raise awareness. For example: environmental, human rights, peace or helping vulnerable children. Entries can keep to the theme or you can provide information about your topic at the exhibition.
You will gain valuable experience in organising events and fundraising activities.
You will make new contacts in the community and who knows, maybe new friends.
Photo: A University exhibition I was featured in a few years ago.
Include a raffle? Sell lottery tickets with the chance to win artwork featured in the exhibition.
Offer free entertainment such as a live jazz band, face painting or magician (find volunteers.)
Offer free mini workshops at the exhibition, such as painting, poetry or children’s arts and crafts. This will encourage people to attend.
What you will need:
An exhibition space. There are lots of institutions who might let you use a room for free: school halls, church halls, university lecture rooms or community centers.
Advertising. Contact magazines, art classes, students and online forums to find people who want to submit their work. Then advertise the exhibition with posters (printed on recycled paper please) or press releases in local newspapers, radio stations and websites.
Anyway today is Halloween. This is an annual holiday with a complicated history, recognising the changing seasons and dark magic. I’m not surprised to learn it developed from a mixture of European folk traditions. Now it is largely a celebration of glitter and candy, fuelled by North American example.
If you celebrate this holiday I hope you enjoy the festivities tonight. Why not sneak some social and environmental awareness into the decoration?
The theme is fear. But Halloween can often be comic too so be careful with these ideas. They are very real problems.
Some horrible inspiration -
(1. Green House Factor, Peter Essick 2. Anacostia River Washington D.C., Skip Brown)
If you are going trick or treating, why don’t you carry a cup and collect small donations as well as chocolate. The money raised can go towards saving an endangered species or supporting an environmental charity.
Below: A print out to stick around a collecting cup