Posts Tagged ‘African Wildlife Foundation’

Great Book: Endangered

babybonoSo last Friday I finished a book I pretty much raced through (not my usual reading style, as I rarely give myself permission for pleasure reading). This, however, started as a bookstore purchase I’d figured was research for a novel I am beginning…I’ve been reading lots of YA fiction (YA=Young Adult) to immerse myself, and am rarely lucky enough to be truly transported, as I felt with Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. The teen protagonist, Sophie, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo just prior to war arriving and shattering the peace in the region. Sophie ends up alone in the wild, with one, then variously other bonobos depending on her for survival almost as much as she depends on them. It is a great story, and the conservation/bonobo behavior/harrowing setting make it a super-fast read. I loved finding out more about the author on his webpage ( and how he really ended up jumping into telling this story because of time he spent at a volunteer conservation project.

People of every stripe and focus come home changed forever from volunteer vacations and service travel–and very often become terrific spokespeople for the issues and difficulties faced by the communities they served. Foundations and charities are formed, campaigns waged, funds raised, lives saved, books written, long after volunteers return home and unpack their bags. It is how this work spins the world at a little better velocity, keeping it from wobbling on its axis, as it surely would if we never reached out to one another. Get activated. Get this book. Find out more about the plight and conservation of  bonobos via the organizations Eliot Schrefer recommends after he jumped into the issue (links below):

African Wildlife Foundation focuses on general conservation, conserving wildlife, protecting land, and empowering people.

World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading independent conservation body.

Conservation International works worldwide to sustain biodiversity and a sustainable planet for all species.

Specific focus on bonobos:

Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is based in both Washington D.C. and the Deomcratice Republic of Congo, dedicated to protecting bonobos, their rainforest habitat, and empowering local communities in the Congo Basin. Volunteer opportunities available.

Terese and John Hart work with local Congolese teams for exploration, conservation, and discovery with in-depth field study of bonobo populations in the DR Congo.

Friends of Bonobos supports the world’s only bonobo sanctuary and first bonobo release in Congo. You should adopt a bonobo!



The Buck Stops…Everywhere

starbucksI know, I know…some of us think the coffee giant is an evil empire. I was a coffee house snob for ages, choosing to only patronize places with big stained couches and mismatched ceramic mugs and pastries that came out of a kitchen instead of a box…but such places are harder to come by these days, and the local Starbies crew knows me well enough to start my drink before I even get to the register.

You have to admit–as giant corporations go, Starbucks does a pretty good job of keeping many priorities straight for customers, staff, and the communities in which they reside (almost every community–on every corner, right?)

Their outreach programs to support causes for the environment and global communities are really strong–like a good triple tall cappuccino–mmmmm.

For their “partners” (employees), they match the volunteer hours employees give to their own chosen charities with a donation of an additional $10 per volunteer hour. They also match employee donations to charitable causes.

The company has a foundation that has several arms of support: for youth—granting to programs that focus on arts and literacy for young people, as well as environmental education and civic action programs for kids. The Ethos Water program donates money for the bottled water they sell to clean water programs around the world. The “Red” cards you can buy, as well as other branded red products, send a portion of proceeds to AIDS education and prevention programs.

In the coffee-growing communities, Starbucks works to protect ecosystems, partnering with Conservation International and the African Wildlife Foundation to support the sensitive biodiversity regions where beans are grown. They also spearhead projects for social development in coffee-origin countries, particularly with Save the Children USA and rural communities in Guatemala, plus team projects to build schools, health clinics, and water systems. (Click on those links to find out more)

Their basic environmental focus is strong too–with the use of renewable wind energy being used or counter-purchased/offset for stores in the U.S. and Canada.

It doesn’t make that four dollar cup of Joe any easier on your wallet—but there are lots of huge corporations with whom we often do business (fast food joints, grocery chains, certain “Mart” stores–that are evil in their corporate responsibility practices–or lack thereof)—so its nice to not feel like you’re chipping away at our world, but may even be helping build it up as you caffeinate to get through the day. I’m kind of fond of the Starbucks Shared Planet frame of mind.