Posts Tagged ‘AZA’

Party for the Planet

Starting today, April 17, through Sunday April 25, in celebration of Earth Week (the fortieth anniversary of EARTH DAY is April 22), over 130 of the best zoos and aquariums across North America are throwing a big ol’ Party for the Planet.

While I have always had a somewhat conflicted view of zoos, some of them from my childhood being very sad with animals pacing in cement box cages or the gorilla that was in the bright blue wrought iron cage in a shopping center parking lot zoo—so many zoo habitats are now stunning and natural environments where animals thrive. Aquariums also have magnificent habitats in so many places, and spare no expense to provide the very best in care. The conservation work and study that goes on behind-the-scenes at zoos and aquariums is also responsible for much of our modern understanding of many species…so I fall down on the side of they are a good thing. When I look exclusively at the relationship and wonder they inspire in kids…the passion and desire to be a zookeeper or veterinarian just because a lion looked you in the eye and you felt a spark…I know a new animal advocate and steward of the planet has been born each time. THAT is huge, and so worth every penny put into getting it right for the animals.

So this week, go to the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) website to find Party for the Planet events near you, and get out there and growl and howl a little for Earth Day, and all of us that are resident here.

World Oceans Day

1190163_12513009In order to turn the tide of awareness of conservation (sorry for the pun–better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission, I suppose), The Ocean Project declares tomorrow, June 8, WORLD OCEANS DAY. International associations of zoos and aquariums are in on the scheme to encourage each of us to engage in ocean issues. We’re talking about over 70% of our planet’s surface here, and while Mother Nature has a remarkable ability to heal, we don’t need to keep testing her. The Ocean Project has over 800 organization partners united in helping the watersphere thrive.

Here is a list of ten things you can do at home to help the oceans (from the AZA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums):

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Help The Oceans:

  • Make Smart Seafood Choices – The seafood industry, through overfishing certain species, creating bycatch, causing habitat damage, and with the establishment of fish farms, has created problems but can also be part of the solution. You can make a difference with your purchasing power by buying sustainable harvested seafood. Learn more with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program or Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite.
  • Conserve Water – Although many North Americans have easy, regular access to water, it is a scarce resource in many parts of the world and being used up more quickly than it can be naturally replenished. Also, the less water we use, the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our ocean. Fix leaky faucets, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, and be sure to keep your showers short. Check out more water conservation tips from the Tennessee Aquarium.
  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – Energy we use and emissions we create can contribute to global climate change and have adverse affects on the ocean, such as acidification, sea level rise and threats to marine mammals like polar bears. Leave your car at home and opt for public transportation, or, where possible, cycle to your destination. Use energy saving light bulbs and turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Keep Your Watershed Clean – A watershed is the area of land where rain and snow melt drains downhill into rivers and lakes, and eventually to the sea. Trash and chemicals in a watershed flow to the ocean. Help keep your watershed clean. Don’t litter and dispose of trash properly. Many aquariums lead beach clean up efforts, such as this one hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium.
  • Limit Chemical Usage – Chemicals that may find their way into any water source eventually find their way to sea, where they can harm animals and damage ocean habitats. Purchase organic produce, limit chemicals in personal care products and make sure you dispose of oil products safely. Read more tips from the Georgia Aquarium.
  • Ditch Plastic – Plastic products harm marine life and habitats. Keep plastics out of the ocean by using reusable bags at the store and reusable bottles for drinks instead of disposable plastic ones. Be sure to recycle any plastics that you do use. Read about how plastic can affect Laysan Albatrosses here.
  • Oppose The Taiji Drive Fishery – Every year in Taiji, Japan, dolphins are slaughtered by local fishermen. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are against this painful, inhumane practice. Learn how you can help here.
  • Donate Your Time And Money – Volunteer to help out the AZA-accredited aquarium or zoo near you, participate in a beach clean up, or attend a similar ocean saving event. Your commitment is the most valuable thing you can contribute to help conserve the ocean.
  • Visit An AZA-accredited Aquarium or Zoo – Every time you visit your local aquarium or zoo you are helping to support conservation projects locally and worldwide. Ask staff how you can help contribute to conservation. Find the aquarium or zoo near you.