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Category Archives: Environmentalist

Global Tentacles

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Giraffe Cave Art at the NamibRand Nature Reserve
Picture credit: Namibnat

 

At first glance this morning, this news appeared to be a positive move, made by someone who had their heart and their power, in the right place, and was a cause for tremendous joy.
But then after reading further and seeking secondary and other stories for reference, it seems that all is not as it appears.
Paul Allen, the Billionaire philanthropist, who is seemingly strongly supportive of protecting Endangered Wildlife, has several not so nice personal blemishes, that must also be considered before we proceed to give him his Best Global Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Allen has introduced a measure to get on the Fall Ballots in Washington State, that will put a hurting on those who use the World’s  most at risk wildlife to make a dirty income.
The measure, called Inititive 1401, has already reached, thanks to all of his volunteers in the field, the necessary number to get on to the Ballot in November.

This is a great thing.

What I am having trouble with, is the dark side of his company Vulcan and his sister Jody, who was the CEO, and has just stepped down after some very ugly issues about wildlife  poaching and sexual harassment were brought to light by accusers who work for Allen’s company.
I will not go fully into these things, as they are well presented in the links below.
What I am interested in pointing out here is this.
When very rich, very powerful people make the news and receive gushing accolades without the public or the press, doing more than just a little background digging into the facts, bad things can happen.
In this case, Allen, who has passionately promoted this initiative in Washington, to save and protect wildlife, seems awesome, but something here is not right, and  it all smells just a little rank, when you learn that he has regularly taken African Safaris and owns Tourist Lodges in Botswana.

Now add to this, the fact that his Company Vulcan,  formerly run by his sister, has been taken to court and accused of smuggling, poaching and more.
All too often, people like Allen and his sister, are unlike you and me, frequently kept safely in a cocoon, so that the scandals, or dirt runs off of them and does not stain their pristine, public images.
My concern and primary reason for writing about this today is, that it would be so much easier to believe Allen and all the others who claim to be truly concerned about the welfare of Endangered Wildlife, if there was not so damn much money involved in all of this.

If, as you do so passionately profess Mr. Allen, you truly do wish to protect Endangered African Wildlife, may I suggest that you dispose of your African Tourist Lodges and suspend your Safari trips?

It would be wonderful to see those with so much wealth, using it to personally educate and enlighten the rest of the world to what is happening to the precious few wild animals that we have left, before they are all gone.

We absolutely must take this message out to the schools, to the young, who will become our next generation of protectors.

Sadly, access to excessive money can turn even the best people’s heads the wrong way and there is just too much at stake here.

The treacherous arms of Global Smugglers and Wildlife Traffickers can have very long tentacles, some are even said to be attached to Global Mobsters, that just may reach into even safe corners, including those of the well protected, well insulated, excessively wealthy.

 

Places to learn more:

Washington Rare Species Trafficking Measure, Initiative 1401 (2015)

Global Efforts to Stop Illicit Wildlife Trade: Are They Enough?

China Promises an End to Its Ivory Trade, While Some U.S. Politicians Pander to Wildlife Traffickers

Paul Allen: Seeking unbroken tall bones?

Paul Allen’s sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, sister settle as bodyguards claim smuggling, bribery

War threatens existence of wildlife species in South Sudan

Washington State Initiative Aims to Protect Iconic Animals Threatened With Extinction

Paul Allen bankrolls initiative to ban rare-species trafficking

 

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Patron of the Oceans

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Lewis Pugh with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  September 15, 2010
Picture credit: Publicist

 

On GMHQ this morning Sam Champion interviewed a true Hero, one who is not just another wildlife activist.

He talked to Lewis Pugh, the renown swimmer, author, activist, public speaker, and former marine lawyer, from Plymouth, England, who has put his infamous speedos into water that few of us will never, thankfully have to endure, to save an endangered ecosystem and endangered Ocean wildlife.

Earlier this year, Lewis launched a five swim campaign in Antarctica for a cause near to many hearts, especially his!

Lewis is swimming in the Ross Sea, to shine a light on what Humans once again are doing to wildlife that is causing irreparable harm to those with no voice.

His dream is for the area to become a Marine Sanctuary.

Among the victims he is swimming to save and protect are: Whales, Squids, Seals and Emperor Penguins, none of which has numbers to brag about here right now.

As he so poignantly said during the interview, the affects over fishing, combined with climate change, in this unique place, is having a disastrous affect on a pristine ecosystem and those who inhabit it quite precariously.

Of course Sam is extremely close to this subject from his years on his own show Sea Rescue, and its extensive involvement in Marine life.

Pugh has a Facebook page, listed below and there have been countless interviews and stories about him, so getting to the heart of this story was quite easy.

Lewis is hoping to impact the members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources or, (CCAMLR) from its representative 24 countries.

Among the myriad of accolades and awards Pugh has been given, the one that I personally find most important was, when he was appointed the UNEP’s Patron of the Oceans in 2013.

 

Places to learn more:

Lewis on Facebook

Lewis Pugh Swims Antarctica’s Icy Ross Sea To Save Pristine Ecosystem

Ocean campaigner puts his body in ice to save a sea

Antarctica in a Speedo chilling for extreme swimmer Lewis Pugh

His Bio on Wikipedia

His personal web site: Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh: Swimmer has Ross Sea talks with Russia

Lewis Pugh’s Antarctic swim – in pictures

 

 

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You Gotta Love Leo~

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Leo at the premier of  Wolf of Wall Street  in London.
Picture credit: Wikipedia/Christopher William Adach
 
AN UPDATE 
**After seeing this film last night for the first, and last time, it is absolute that Leo gave a masterful Oscar worthy performance. However, the film was disgusting, filthy and sexist. It is basically pure porn and not anything that I would ever suffer through again, nor could ever recommend.**

We will be finally be able to see this multi talented man in the highly acclaimed, ” Wolf Of Wall Street.”

It was just recorded overnight and we will watch it for the first time tonight.

Leonardo DiCaprio has enjoyed a lengthy, impressive film career and when he comes to town, people always take notice.

As a long time admirer of his off-screen philanthropic work, it is so fitting to write this today to acknowledge what happened yesterday in New York.

Although most people, I suppose, think of Leo only as a movie star, like with so many others who perform on-screen, my respect for him, comes not for his acting, but for the admirable things he does away from Hollywood.

When he made his appearance yesterday at the UN Summit on Climate Change, Leo wasn’t just showing up to be admired, although he was given a most prestigious welcoming  by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,  naming him as the Messenger of Peace.

For this Hollywood legend, Climate Change and the disturbing state of the World’s Environmental Health are not only vital, they are something that he has cared deeply about for many years.

So often with those who are in the public eye and under the glare of the lights, it can sometimes be difficult to be taken seriously for those causes, or issues that are close to your heart.

Especially when you look like Leo!

This well known and much loved man, who came to this Summit, was only one of a very long list of VIP’s, Global leaders and others who came to speak about what so many believe, is the most important issue in our World right now, Climate Change.

What disturbs many of us the most, is that it has been five very long years since the last one and nothing was done at that one.

This very abused and tired planet, simply cannot wait another five years for us to wake up and stop our deadly bad behavior.

At any given moment, Mother Earth may just throw her hands up and say: ” You don’t show me any respect, so forget you, I’m outta here~”

Or she may allow us one more last gasp of a chance, thanks to some people like Leo.

You gotta love Leo~

 

Places to learn more:

Leonardo DiCaprio addresses world leaders at the UN: Climate change is real

Secretary-General designates Leonardo DiCaprio as UN Messenger of Peace

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Foundation Grants $3 Million to Ocean Conservation

Thousands rally for climate change action

Leonardo DiCaprio – Wikipedia

Leonardo DiCaprio Biography

 

 

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Morgan Freeman, a Man For All Reasons and Seasons

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Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty
Picture credit: Still looking~

 

Seeing a story on the Weather Channel this morning about Morgan Freeman, was both a surprise, as well as a delightful joy.

It appeared to be mostly about his wide range of Humanitarian activism, but was also about the release of his newest film.

Dolphin Tale 2 is being released this week and Morgan is from the original cast and of course, returns as the kindly genius who created Winter’s artificial tail.

You see, Morgan Freeman is someone that I have deeply admired for many years and learning about all of his other passions today, only deepened that admiration.

It does not hurt that his calming, deep resonating voice is as smooth as melted butter.

Morgan who is 77 and lives primarily in Mississippi, does so much for many, it is hard to keep up.

I was not aware of some of his other environmental activities until seeing the story this morning on AMHQ.

Am I surprised?

No.

This quiet man of deep convictions, just goes about doing his job, giving unforgettable performances that will live in our memory banks forever:  Shawshank Redemption, Invictus,  Million Dollar Baby and  Seven.

Oh, this could go on forever….

Shawshank by the way, is still number one  on the IMDB all time favorite film list.

My favorite of his countless great roles, you may be shocked to learn, is when he has played God.

I would like to believe that God would be similar to the character that Freeman has portrayed of him and that he also has a wicked, or wry, sense of Humor.

It comes as little surprise, that just being an actor, is not quite enough to quench Freeman’s seemingly insatiable thirst for giving back.

To call him a world-class Humanitarian is a clear understatement of the man and his many missions.

Morgan’s opinion on Black History Month and Racism is commendable and well-known.

Freeman co-owns a Blues Club and as of this moment, is involved in all of these Organizations:

One Earth, Global Warming, The Grenada Relief Fund, Autism Speaks, Rebuilding Together and Oceana.

This multifaceted man who has meant so much, to so many, has achieved well deserved respect and admiration, that has grown exponentially over the years.

Morgan Freeman truly is a man for all reasons and seasons.

 

Places to learn more:

Morgan Freeman Bio – Wikipedia

Morgan Freeman’s Top 10 films

Morgan Freeman narrates new LGBT equality advertisement

Morgan Freeman on Ending Racism: ‘Stop Talking About It’

Morgan Freeman Global Warming PSA

Morgan Freeman fund for scholarships turns 15

Morgan Freeman proves he’s real-life action hero by landing malfunctioning plane 4 times

Morgan Freeman To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award

Morgan Freeman to Receive an Honorary Degree from Boston University

Rebuilding Together PSA featuring Morgan Freeman

 

 

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Winona LaDuke

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Winona LaDuke

 

For those of you who are not familiar with her, Winona LaDuke is the Executive Director of a group called Honor the Earth.

Last week they began a new campaign  called   “Love Water, Not Oil,”  that is vital, no critical,  to all Americans, not  just Native Americans.

What Fracking and Oil pipelines have done and will continue to do to the environment of this country, should be high on everybody’s agenda.

Once our water supplies and land are contaminated, it will take thousands of years to make them safe again.

Hopefully, you will keep this in mind, when you go to the polls to Vote this week and next:

” which candidates are supporting Fracking and Oil Pipelines and which ones are opposed to them? “

The condition of the water and land that you will  have this time next year depends on it.

Here is a brief Bio that I wrote about Winona several years ago.

She was and is,  an amazing woman, that I have the utmost respect for.

A side note that I find interesting about Winona, she and Robert Redford share the same birthday, August 18th!

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Winona LaDuke at Dream Reborn Conference  April 6, 2008
Picture credit: Eclectek

 

Winona LaDuke, who was born in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles,  is Anishinabe/Anishinaabekwe – Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the Makwa Dodaem – Bear Clan of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Her father, an Ojibwe was a supporting actor in westerns as well as an Indian activist and her mother, a Russian Jew from New York, was an art professor.

As a teenager LaDuke addressed the United Nations on mining issues.

After graduating from Harvard in 1982, she took a position as the principal of the High School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

LaDuke is a Program Director of the Honor the Earth Fund and works nationally to promote and assist Native Environmental groups.

She is a Founding Director for White Earth Land Recovery Project: a reservation-based non-profit organization focusing on land, cultural and environmental issues.

LaDuke co-chairs the Indigenous Women’s Network and is Program Director of the Environmental Program at the Seventh Generation Fund.

LaDuke ran with Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000 as his Vice-Presidential candidate for the Green Party and worked to increase Native American voter registration and activism.

She has written on environmental racism and is the author of several books including: Last Standing Woman and  All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life

LaDuke spoke at the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China on August 31, 1995.

Read excerpts from her speech

LaDuke teaches courses on Native Environmentalism at the University of Minnesota and other colleges and has campaigned for the reduction of nuclear waste.

In 1994, she was named by Time Magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age.

She currently lives with her two children on the White Earth Reservation.

 

Places to learn more:

Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride To Protest Fracking Pipeline

Winona LaDuke – Wikipedia

Honor the Earth Website

Winona’s Facebook Page

Love Water Not Oil

First Nation Ride For Mother Earth Forms Norwegian/Indian Alliance

An Interview with Winona LaDuke

Honor the Earth – Wikipedia

 

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Branson’s Bunch~

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Sir Richard Branson at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development June,  2012
Picture credit:  UNclimatechange

 

When going through my mail this morning,  a surprising story presented itself.

The unexpected subject of this great news, is not one who normally comes to mind when thinking of Endangered Wildlife, but there he was,  right there in my mailbox, Billionaire Richard Branson.

The story was concerning a new edition to an already growing group at his Necker Island  home in the Caribbean.

I was not aware that Branson had been rescuing Endangered Wildlife for years and in co-operation with several Wildlife Groups,  was using his vast wealth for such a good purpose.

Branson’s involvements in Humanitarian and  Environmental Issues are the only things that will be addressed here,  as it would take an eternity to describe the total sum of the man’s often outrageous,  or occasionally notorious life.

It is not often that I find that a Billionaire and I have much in common, but in Branson’s case this is not entirely true.

His lifelong admiration for Nelson Mandela’s Humanitarian efforts and causes and his passion for protecting the Environment, including Endangered Animals, are two areas where we are in complete agreement.

Branson’s  Island home in the Caribbean has been a source of much criticism, as many believe that he only lives there to avoid taxes on his vast wealth, but for whatever reason, he has managed to make this place a refuge for wildlife and it is for this reason that I admire him and am writing about him today.

My huge respect for Branson as a Humanitarian,  is only superseded by my admiration of his sincere efforts to care for Endangered Animals on his little island in paradise.

As he continues to add to his animal family, Branson has wisely teamed up with the Turtle Conservancy

The most recent guests to be welcomed at his Island retreat are several Endangered Tortoises.

Prior to them,  have been a wide assortment of mammals, birds, reptiles  and other,  amounting to a total of 140 species.

As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Branson does not need to do any of  this.

He could continue to carry on every single day of his life as the famous,  carefree playboy of the world, as many already believe that he is.

But for me at least, this particular side of such a multifaceted man shows that he is a complicated,  many layered person who has earned my respect, at least for this.

One amusing mention in the story,  is about a web site that Branson has had set up,  with a new family member or addition to be  “shown each week.”

Regardless of the flamboyant outer shell this powerful, passionate man consistently shows to most of the world, in my opinion, there is more importantly,  another softer, kinder side, and it is for this that I will always thank him.

Thank you Richard, for what you are trying to do with the Endangered Animals on your island,  or Branson’s Bunch.

 

Places to learn more:

Richard Branson adds endangered tortoises to Necker Island

Necker – more species than any other island on earth

New tortoises on Necker Island

The Turtle Conservancy

 

 

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