Rescued Penguins For My Birthday

I daydream about being a Disney princess…but it isn’t for the princes, the fancy castle, clothes, or even the books (I know *gasp*!) its because I secretly wish that I could whistle (ok, I can’t even whistle in the first place…) and animals would come walk over to me. Sure there are some animals that are more interesting than others, but I’m fascinated by most of the animal kingdom and the fact that some zoos offer close up encounters is my new favorite.

Penguin Feed GoPro

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to participate in such an encounter at the Gulfarium in Florida. I was able to interact with the amazing winged creatures known as penguins, and basically became imprinted with them. I tried to deny it for awhile, that I wasn’t really in love with them, but no one bought it.

Later, I found out that there were specific awareness days for Penguins, days set aside to bring awareness to the species. I was in a school in January so I wore all of my penguin gear: tacky sweater, jewelry, etc cetera and shared that I was bringing attention to them. Then, the teacher asked, “why are you bringing attention to them? Are they endangered?” cue me stammering like an idiot. “umm..I think so?” (I think in my mind I was just bringing attention to the fact that they are cute, and NOT mostly native to cold climates)

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Thus began research. Many penguins are endangered. The penguins I feel in love with, South African penguins, are in danger every year as they live around the coast of South Africa. During the summers many ships carrying large amounts of oil crash endangering the lives of marine life. The oil poisons the birds, as well as coats their feathers, destroying their water proofing abilities, thus making them unable to enter the water to feed themselves or their families. This pictures are pretty heart breaking, and there’s a cool documentation of the worst oil spill in recent history (2000) in: The Great Penguin Rescue

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Right now is chick breeding season, and sometimes chicks are abandoned by their parents, so SANCCOB comes in to hand rear them (a very tedious and pricey process). It is important that they help to support the species in this way because there are only 25,000 breeding pairs of South African penguins, and those are always in danger of oil spills reducing their populations and disrupting their mating/breeding cycles.

So, since December is related to penguins, I thought it would be fun to forgo gifts for my birthday this year and ask for penguin adoptions instead! There are many organizations and I’ll include the links below. There are organizations that are working in the countries, but there are also plenty of zoos with breeding programs that are also working to increase the populations. Some of the penguin adoptions are pricey, so feel free to make a smaller donation if that is better for you. Let’s save the penguins!

Adopt a Penguin

SANCCOB Saves Sea Birds  – Adopt an egg, a chick, or a “home pen penguin” If you adopt a chick you can name it, and they’ll release it. There will be no further information after they release it. Amounts are in South African currency. R700 is about $50 for reference. Right now, through the end of December, donations are doubled through a local donor.

Richmond Zoo -the amazon wishlist of the Richmond Zoo. Not sure if they listed items for penguins, but I know they have a South African penguin breeding program.

Maryland Zoo Giving Tuesday Maryland Zoo has the largest colony of breeding pairs of South African Penguins in North America. On Giving Tuesday all donations will be doubled. They also offer symbolic animal adoptions.

 

 

 

Lived in a United America

This is third presidential election that I’ve been able to vote it, and it has taught me that I do not live in a united America at all.

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2008- Due to conservative beliefs I began my voting career as an idealist Republican. I was sold the fear that Obama would ruin America and everything that I valued. I was all geared up for the “most important election of our time” and experienced a weird sense of disillusionment after the election was over, feeling like I’d been let down by what I thought would “save us”.

 

2012- I became a full libertarian, watching how Ron Paul was shut down of the primaries, so when another “lesser of two evils” tried to excite/fear me into voting to “save our world/way of life” I side stepped my with with Gary Johnson. The next morning I began my counseling career in a staff meeting. The older counselors were quiet, somber, quite like going to a funeral. We processed their “post election stress syndrome” and you could tell they were devastated by what they felt would be the end of “their way of life”.

 

2016- Well, I still don’t have a dog in this fight from the beginning, not trusting the establishment. (At the last minute Gary Johnson really was disappointing me as well but that’s another story). In a crazy unexpected turn of events the Republican won. Now I see the other side of the line, those friends filled with depression, fear, anxiety, disillusionment, feeling like it is over for “their way of life”.

 

You guys, we were all fed the same lie “the government is here to make us happy, to help us get our way of life, protect it, and make sure no one else ruins it”.

Ummm…no…the only thing that is happening is every 4-8 years half of the country is depressed feeling like the world is over. Before that there is an awful election year of name calling. Not just addressing policies/issues about candidates they don’t like, awful name calling of “if you like that person you are a racist”, “how could you not vote for xyz?!”. We become so alienated trying to identify with one of these “champions” we are given to fight for our way of life “ideals.” When neither side ends up being happy with these “champions” and each year we are told to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

I know, once again, that 3rd party voters are the “people who lost the election for everyone else” but seriously, what if we decided to stop idolizing the government as this agency of “safeguarding our way of life”? (at the detriment of ruining everyone else’s?) What if we stopped allowing the executive branch to grant themselves extra powers, so it wouldn’t matter who was elected each term? Then that individual wouldn’t have the power to change everyone’s life so much? What if we each lived our own lives, finding our own happiness without harming others, and stopped regulating the lives of other people that we don’t understand.

In summary: we need to go back to a form of government that does not have the power to affect people’s daily way of life.