Sunday, November 13, 2016

Organization Working On Climate Change - We Need Your Support!

Now that the election is over and our environmental movement took a huge blow with the results, I’ve received numerous messages from friends that want to know what organizations would be good to support, and especially those working on climate change. My list is below:

First and foremost, a shameless plug for Nature Abounds, the organization I co-founded and am President. Nature Abounds is an emerging national 501c3, found in 2008, with currently over 8,000 supporters across all 50 states. Our main goal is to engage folks in environmental issues whether it be through volunteer opportunities (action and outreach) and stewardship. Climate change is a major priority for us as it touched upon pretty much all aspects of our lives…air, water, habitat, health, etc… Climate change has been woven into all of our opportunities as well as programs and will continue to be. Not only do we engage folks in wildlife, water quality, and weather monitoring, but we engage them in educating the public, their friends and family, as well as our leaders about climate change and things they can do to help.

Finally, we just acquired another nonprofit program related to biodiversity, and adapting to the effects of climate change will play a major part of how we develop the program as we take it from a relatively locally-focused program to a national scale. Climate is such a big issue for Nature Abounds that we have a second website dedicated just to climate change - http://www.climatechangeambassador.org/

In addition to engaging volunteers and others in climate change action, I also work on the regulations regarding climate change and its effects. For example, we worked with other organizations on methane regulations as well as carbon dioxide regulations. We understand that we must work with other organizations to have a larger voice for the issues we care about.  Likewise, we believe that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can contribute to making the world a better place. Finally, with a small staff of only four, we keep our overhead expenses low, while harnessing the passion of our supporters. To expand what we’re doing to make an even bigger impact, your support would be greatly appreciated.

Nature Abounds’ websites:
Nature Abounds’ Facebook pages:

Other organizations doing significant work on climate change –

Environmental Defense Fund –
Union of Concerned Scientists –
The Conservation Fund –
Earthjustice –
Natural Resource Defense Council –
National Wildlife Federation –
Freshwater Future (Great Lakes focus)
National Audubon Society
350.org –
Seaturtle Conservancy –
Save the Frogs –
Leonardo DiCarprio Foundation –
Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy
Zero Waste for Zero Loss – a brand new nonprofit that will also be working on climate change. They currently do not have a webpage or Facebook page, but when they do, I’ll add their information to the list.

Looking beyond nonprofits, please also support nonprofit news outlets that cover the realities of climate change as well as institutions that are teaching our future generations about environmental issues like climate change as well as how to combat them. One major player in environmental education is the Vermont Law School. Their website can be found at http://www.vermontlaw.edu/ and the school can be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vermontlaw/ .



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Refugees - The Facts

There are so many posts lately about how horrible it is that the United States is accepting refugees and it's mostly blamed on liberals supporting terrorists, blah, blah, blah. As a lot of you know, one of my major pet peeves is when people don't do the research and make a complaint or statement based on nothing, and this is a great example. Here are the facts about why the United States will accept refugees, and I'm sure that many of you will find it shocking that it has nothing to do with supporting terrorism. And while many folks want to just blame President Obama or Hillary Clinton for the refugee crisis, that's just simply not true.

Many refugees have lost their homes due to war destroying their home and livelihood, and we're seeing see many more refugees on the move due to the effects of climate change such as sea level rise wiping out some island nations or coastal villages. Interestingly, when you start connecting the dots in the Middle East, you can actually track quite a bit of the turmoil to drought conditions where people were uprooted due to losing their agricultural livelihoods due to a lack of water. I could get into this further, but we'll save this "refugee and climate change" topic for another day.

Anyway, over the past several decades, 142 countries have signed on to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol. The United States signed on to the protocol in 1968 while President Lyndon B. Johnson was President. For anyone that still wants to connect President Obama or Hillary Clinton to this, he was only 7 years old at this point, and she would have been an 18 year old college student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Under the protocol agreement for the United States specifically, the term "refugee" is defined as ‘A person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…” Also note here, that the term "illegal immigrant" is not a correct description/term for a "refugee".

So...what rights do refugees have under the agreement? In addition to not being sent back to their home countries, refugees have several other rights, including:
- The right to not be punished for illegally entering countries that signed on to the treaty,
- The right to housing,
- The right to work,
- Access to education,
- Access to public assistance,
- Access to courts,
- The right to get identification and travel documents.

There you have it...the facts about refugees and our obligations. We also have to remember that many of our ancestors came to the United States as refugees, and it's probably not a stretch to say that they weren't terrorists.

Finally, if you're interested in more information about the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol, here's the link to a list of what other countries are involved with dates on when they signed their commitment.


Finally, feel free to share this post as you please. I'm 100% in favor in spreading the facts.

@United Nations