Make One Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: Week 6 – Elephant Extinction – Does it Matter?

I love elephants. I’m in awe of their huge size, their intelligence, their community spirit, their fierceness, their grace, their extreme care for each other, their strength, their resolve, their beauty, their elephant-ness.

But I’m also very scared. Scared that one day, soon, too soon, there will be only a handful of elephants left… And that those last few elephants will then be killed by humans or die off without their population recovering…

And then there will be no more elephants. Ever.

No elephants? How could that be?

The statistics on elephant deaths, mainly due to poaching for their tusks and habitat loss, are terrifying. For example, in the 9 years up to 2011, around 62% of the world’s elephant population was lost.

From 2003 onwards, elephants have been killed faster than they can reproduce (in other words, fewer animals are being born than are dying). In fact, on average poachers kill African Elephants every 15 minutes.

Mathematically and tragically, this means elephants will one day be no more. Except perhaps for some sad individuals behind bars in zoos.

That is, unless the poaching, habitat loss, hunting and kidnapping reduces or stops altogether.

But first, why do elephants matter?

Elephants matter because they are part of the great web of life. Okay, so people natter on about ecology etc, but what have elephants actually got to do with anything?

Elephants are essential ‘processors’ in forest and savannah landscapes, consuming, moving and producing organic matter (for example, leaves, grasses, roots and branches are eaten, moved and eventually turned into poo, which in turn, provides food and nourishment for others).

Think of it like this. Your body is an ecosystem, in the sense that there are lots of parts and organic material which interact in a very finely tuned, complex way to keep you alive. If we were to remove your liver tomorrow, you might survive for a short while with the help of doctors, but you would be very unhealthy and ultimately you would probably die.

Like your liver is essential for your body to be alive and thrive, elephants are a necessary part of the vast eco-web of life across this planet. If they are killed off, the important jobs they do in keeping life ticking along can’t really be filled by anything else. And so the plants and other animals that rely on elephants in their environment will also suffer and possibly die off. The intricate balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide between plants and animals, and on which you rely in order to be able to take every breath, will also be affected. As will the chemistry of the soil and water.

But elephants also matter because they’re beings on this planet.

Because they’re alive.

Because they’re amazing and wonderful.

Because all living things matter. Like you and me.

What can you do to help elephants?

Even if you live far away from any elephants, there are lots of things you can do to help:

Donate to environmental charities which take action to save elephants from poaching, hunting and habitat loss.

Sign petitions to governments and environmental authorities to do more to stop ivory trade, poaching and hunting. Speak up for elephants by speaking out against poaching, hunting and animal cruelty whenever you can.

Share information, videos and pictures about elephants online. Make people aware, so that they in turn also take action to help elephants.

Don’t support tourist attractions like zoos, elephant rides and circuses, where elephants are exploited and kept confined. Elephants are usually beaten and tortured from a young age in these situations to make them ‘tame’ enough for interactions with humans. Did you know that over 70% of elephants in zoos in Europe were caught as babies in the wild and taken into captivity?

Support, visit and donate to wild animal sanctuaries, who are committed to providing better lives for ophaned elephants and elephants rescued from zoos or circuses.

What do elephants mean to you? I’d love to know what you think. Comment under this post.


Information sources and further reading:

https://www.freedomforanimals.org.uk/blog/10-facts-about-zoos

http://www.greatelephantcensus.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/every-elephant-counts-paul-g-allen/


Photo credits:

Most elephant photos and images from pixabay.com, except for:

Standing elephant photo by Johanneke Kroesbergen-Kamps on Unsplash

Baby elephant swimming photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

Mother and baby elephant photo by Chen Hu on Unsplash


Make One Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: Week 2 – Prep Your Plastics!

It’s not news. Plastics are everywhere – all around us, as waste and litter, and in our minds, thanks to lots of recent plastic pollution awareness campaigns.

And we’re all trying to reduce, reuse and recycle our plastic bottles and other plastics responsibly, so less rubbish ends up lying around or ending up in the oceans.

What more can be done?

Something simply really: Prep your plastics!

What does ‘Prep your Plastics’ mean?

Let’s think, for a moment, about the wildlife whose homes are in the places our rubbish ends up.

Large and small critters suffer (see these examples in an article from Huffington Post) – because we don’t always consider our fellow creatures when we throw stuff away or recycle it.

Even the journey to the recycling plant could mean garbage blows away or falls off the recycling trucks and ends up harming animals.

So how do we prep our plastic waste and recycling?

The main plastic culprits are anything we throw away that has small rings, hoops or parts that could get caught around a bird’s foot, a hedgehog’s body, a fish’s fin or a turtle’s mouth, as well as anything long or sharp like plastic straws.

So get out some scissors and cut open any plastic hoops or enclosed parts, and cut shorter any long, jabbing plastics before disposing them in the recycling or rubbish bins.

Consider reusing plastic bags, bottles and containers, rather than tossing them into waste bins.

Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) can get their head stuck in discarded plastic can holder. Set-up shot with captive animal.
Image credits – Creator:Ann & Steve Toon / Credit:1
Copyright:Ann & Steve Toon / naturepl.com

Small things you do will make a difference!

Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist, said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful [people] can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Why not explore the concept of plastic pollution further with our Planet Plastic Worksheet? Get if free here.


Acknowledgements

Photo of hedgehog caught in plastic rings from https://www.countrylife.co.uk/country-life/country-life-litter-campaign-71195 (Image credits – Creator: Ann & Steve Toon Credit: 1 Copyright: Ann & Steve Toon / naturepl.com)

Margaret Mead quote from http://www.interculturalstudies.org/faq.html#quote (used with permission)

Photos of rubbish bundle, seagull and butterflies from pixabay.com

Make One Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: Week 1 – What’s Veganuary About?

What’s all this stuff about Veganuary?

Veganuary is a commitment to try the Vegan diet and/or the Veganism lifestyle for the 31 days of January this year or every year.

How do you pronounce Veganuary?

Almost like Jan-u-ary, except it’s Vee-Gan-You-Ary!

Why January?

Well that’s when lots of us make ‘New Year Resolutions’ to do better, eat better, be fitter, be more healthy, isn’t it?

And as a Vegan diet is plant-based, it’s recognised as one of the healthiest and kindest diets. It’s not only healthy for you, but it’s also healthier and kinder to animals (you’re not using or killing them for meat, milk and eggs) and to the planet.

What’s Veganism got to with the planet?

Where and how your food is grown, fed, harvested and killed affects the natural environment.

Bulldozer clearing forest

From the pesticides and herbicides used prolifically on our food crops and the crops fed to animals kept for meat, milk and eggs – to the slashing, burning, clearing and deforestation of large areas for grazing for those animals as well as space to grow crops for them to eat – to the loss of habitats and biodiversity, and the resulting species extinctions – to the large-scale disease, use of antibiotics, and pollution caused by keeping billions of animals confined – to the major impacts of animal agriculture on climate change

Anything and everything we eat and drink has an impact on the planet.

This sounds bad. But humans have to eat. So what can we do about it?

Commit to being mindful about where your food comes from, how animals were treated from birth to confinement to slaughterhouse, and what chemicals were used on your and their food.


Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese image thanks to viva.org.uk

Consider changing what you eat. Maybe try Veganuary (even if it’s already halfway into, or past January, it doesn’t matter). Or maybe try eating less meat, eggs and dairy, or having some meat-free or diary-free days every week.

Don’t do nothing! There’s plenty of support from groups on social media as well as websites with advice and tasty recipes (such as this Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese). You can do this! 🙂

What’s this about the Vegan ‘lifestyle’? Isn’t it just a diet?

Get the long and the short of all things Veganism here.

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

https://www.facebook.com/Veganuary

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/21/lifestyle-change-eat-less-meat-climate-change

https://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk/recipes/easy-vegan-spaghetti-bolognese

https://www.viva.org.uk/

Happy Holidays – Get a Free Book!

It’s finally December… Time for catching up with family and friends… and a (free) good book?

If you’d like to receive one of my books (paperback or ebook), simply share this blog post on Facebook (and tag me), or like and share my Facebook post at KathrynRoseNeweyAuthor.

The first 10 people to respond can choose one of my paperbacks or ebooks. Have a look here: https://kathrynrosenewey.com/books-e-books/

Your paperback novel will be posted to your address (UK mainland addresses only). Alternatively you can choose to receive an ebook (downloadable PDF file) via email which you can read on any device. 

Happy holiday reading! 🙂


Terms and Conditions of this competition: The author’s decision is final. The first 10 people to respond with a Like and/or Share on the author’s Facebook Page (or by sharing this blog post on Facebook, with the author tagged) will be declared the winners. Winners will be notified via Facebook. Any notified winners who do not respond with their email address and/or postal address by 31 December 2018, will lose their winning status, and will not receive a prize. If you need to, you can contact the author through the contact form here: https://kathrynrosenewey.com/contact-me/


‘Planet Plastic’ – Get Your Free Environmental Worksheet on Plastics

Plastic is everywhere – so much so, that we might as well rename Planet Earth “Planet Plastic”.

Explore the environmental issues of plastic waste, pollution and solutions in a 2-page worksheet I created for you.

It’s suitable for anyone aged 9-14 years, and it’s best to use it with someone else, perhaps a teacher or parent, so you can benefit from discussion, research and debate of the topics it covers.

This worksheet has lots of facts, website links, questions and activities to help you delve into and investigate the topics further.

Why not start off your research by reading my blog post about single-use plastics here or read the ‘Make One Change a Week’ post called Prep Your Plastics here.

Get your Planet Plastic Worksheet


The worksheet is similar in style to WonderWorksheets set B – a complete booklet of interactive worksheets exploring all sorts of environmental issues and English literacy skills, available free.

Have fun thinking, exploring and researching how to save planet Earth! 🙂


 

Author Youtube Video Channel

Being a Vegan: Interview with Matt Prior by Kathryn Rose NeweyThought I’d let you know that I now have an author video channel where I will be posting content related to books, events, environmental issues, and interviews with authors and others who are saving the Earth in various ways.

Sonia Faruqi - Author and Speaker

Some video interviews I have already posted there include:

  • A series of interviews with Matt Prior, a vegan and a vegan activist, called “Vegan in Five“,
  • An interview with fellow environmental author, Sonia Faruqi, author of Project Animal Farm and The Oyster Thief. Watch the video and read the blog post about her.

Here’s the video introduction to what I will be doing on the channel:

Check out the Youtube channel – Kathryn Rose Newey.

Happy watching, learning and saving the planet! 🙂


 

Interview with Environmental Author Sonia Faruqi

I’m always happy to find another author who uses the magic of words and the potentially powerful imagery inherent in them to bring awareness of environmental issues, animal rights and nature conservation to the world.

Sonia Faruqi is one such author, having written two books, both of which she says happened accidentally!

I interviewed Sonia in August 2018 about her work – you can view the video of this interview below.


Project Animal Farm, her first book, is a critically-acclaimed investigation into intensive factory farming. While volunteering at an organic dairy farm, in what Sonia imagined was going to be a short, idyllic holiday between jobs, she discovered that even organic farms treat their animals as commodities and that the peaceful, grass-fed existence we imagine for dairy cows is nothing close to the truth.

This experience led her on an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in eight countries around the world – to learn about how animals are treated in various types of farms around the world, why there isn’t greater transparency about the terrifying cruelty so often built into the intensive farming system, and what it might take to solve the unsustainable global crisis known as ‘modern farming’ for meat, dairy and eggs.

Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, and often referred to as the ‘founder of the modern animal rights movement’, had this to say: “Let Sonia Faruqi take you on her courageous personal journey of discovery. I thought I already knew everything there is to know about modern animal production, but I learned many new things from this very readable book, and you will, too.

I like Sonia’s choice of title for this documentary book, which cleverly alludes to George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, about farm animals who symbolise proleteriat workers, and who don’t realise they are being controlled by sinister forces larger than themselves.

Sonia has a rare gift for description – the farm and slaughterhouse workers, managers and farmers she met along the way (she says they’re true to life except for their names which she’s changed for privacy) jump off the pages like characters you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a dystopian novel.

She includes research and statistics about the laws, policies and practices around factory farming, and this book, which could be emotionally challenging for some readers in places (I burst into tears when she described the slaughterhouse scenes), should, in my opinion, be compulsory reading for everyone aged 15 or over.

I feel very strongly that if more people know the truth about the often deceptive, corrupt and heartless world of factory farming, then many more consumers would shun meat, dairy and eggs, and farm animals might be able to live their lives in peace, just as they have a natural right to do.


The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

Sonia’s second book, The Oyster Thief, described as “an underwater odyssey”, is an extraordinary novel about merpeople in the Atlantic Ocean. In the richly and accurately-researched undersea environment, Sonia immerses herself and her readers in a story about love, betrayal and destruction of the ocean.

Through the eyes of the merpeople, many fearful of humans through past experiences, we learn about real and current environmental issues affecting the Earth’s oceans, including undersea mining for minerals and oil, and how coral reefs, the lifeblood of the oceans, are suffering from human activities.

Sonia says she sat down to write The Oyster Thief one cold, January morning, when she felt frustrated that she couldn’t escape to a warmer place. So she began creating an imaginary world, which turned into a novel!

Painstakingly researched, and informed by Sonia’s experiences including diving with sharks, the story introduces you to the myriad of different types of corals and undersea creatures which inhabit the Atlantic Ocean, as we follow Coralline, a mermaid, and Izar, a human on a quest for a life-saving elixir.

You can watch the video interview with Sonia below.

Catch up with her at her website SoniaFaruqi.com or on social media: TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


Kathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children. In fact, her books are suitable for anyone who cares about animals and the planet.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream (a story to save caged animals), Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came (a story to save the Earth), and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves (fun and educational science fiction). Her next book will be a story to save trees.

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon websites and major bookstore websites worldwide.  Find out more


Original 1945 cover of Animal Farm by George Orwell: By Unknown author (-) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Veganism: How You can Save the Planet one Plant-Based Meal at a Time

Veganism: passing fad or here to stay?

Veganism is being embraced, especially by young celebrities and their followers, and the numbers of people adopting vegan diets have risen exponentially in the last 10 years.

Are they just trying to be trendy, or is there something else going on?

Matt Prior, vegan and vegan activist

 Matt Prior, a vegan and vegan activist in Hertfordshire, says there’s more to veganism than you might think:

“Veganism is a lifestyle, not just a diet. It’s about not supporting any forms of animal exploitation, whether that be in animals farmed for meat, dairy and eggs, or animals confined in zoos or circuses; or in clothing and fashion, such as items made from leather, wool or silk; or in cosmetics/cleaning products where ingredients are derived from animals; or in animal testing in laboratories”.

So let’s take a look at the different aspects of veganism.

Probably the strongest motivator for vegans is they don’t want to support any forms of animal suffering, and so take steps to avoid it with their consumer choices. Matt describes this as “aligning your actions with your morals and ethics”.

Vegans typically avoid any foods derived from animals, such as:

~ Meat (especially meat from intensively factory-farmed animals),

~ Dairy milk and products derived from milk such as cheese, cream and butter (did you know that most dairy cows also end up as meat?),

~ Eggs (most eggs come from tightly packed hens living in appalling conditions all their egg-laying lives, and when spent, they may also end up as meat),

~ Foods like honey (which is the bees’ own food for the winter months), Foie Gras (which means ducks and geese are force-fed with pipes down their throats to make them unnaturally fat, so that Foie Gras can be scraped from their livers when they’ve been killed for this purpose), and foods with ingredients like gelatine (thickening agent usually made from boiling bones and ligaments of cows and pigs).

Unfortunately even ‘organic’, ‘free-range’ or ‘grass-fed’ animal-based food products, which may be more nutritional for consumers, often come from animals which have had to die the same grisly deaths in the same slaughterhouses as factory farmed animals.

What do vegans eat, and is it healthy?

Essentially vegans have a plant-based diet, which when balanced, will give you everything your body needs, plus better health and more energy than meat-eaters and dairy-consumers!

More and more science is noting that meat and dairy consumption contributes significantly to the world’s major fatal diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, where as a plant-based diet leads to health and longevity.

But beware – not all ‘plant-based’ diets are necessarily healthy.

You could, for example, live on crisps, chips and soda drinks – usually all ‘vegan’ – but sooner or later, you’d get sick from your nutritional deficiencies.

However most vegans are much more nutritionally-aware than their meat-eating counterparts, and vegan food can be tasty, colourful, exciting and full of nutrition!

To get everything you need nutritionally as a vegan, make sure you eat a range of vegetables and fruits – the different colours and types all signal different nutritional benefits, as well as beans and pulses (like lentils, broad beans, black beans, kidney beans, endamame beans or aduki beans), nuts and seeds. Add grains and starches like potatoes, pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa or bulgar wheat, and/or different breads like wholewheat bread, rye bread, pittas, wraps or tortillas – check the ingredients to ensure they’re all vegan – and you’re good to go.

Plus there are countless alternatives to meat and other non-vegan foods available nowadays – such as vegan burgers, vegan cheese, plant milks (such as soya milk, rice milk, almond milk or hemp milk), vegan pre-prepared meals and vegan snacks. So if you’re struggling with what to eat to appease your conscience, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

There are a lot of myths about the vegan diet.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get all the protein, iron or calcium you need, except from meat or dairy products, I’m afraid you’ve been duped by the wealthy and powerful meat and dairy industries, who, like the cigarette industry, will do anything, including lie, deceive and commit scientific fraud to keep people buying and using their products.

A plant-based diet can provide all the protein, calcium and iron you need, and in more digestible, purer forms of these nutrients, than from meat and dairy. Think of any large, herbivorous mammals like cows, camels, elephants or buffalos – in the wild, they’re strong, healthy and get everything they need from eating only grasses and other plants!

And like anybody else who’s health-aware, if you’re concerned about getting all the nutrition you need, take vitamin and mineral supplements. Vegans are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements because this vitamin, naturally occurring in soil, is no longer available to us in our overly washed, soil-less vegetables and fruits.

Vegans know animal suffering doesn’t stop with the food industry.

Shearing sheepCountless animals are kept in unnatural conditions and undergo painful trauma and abuse in order for us to have things like wool (sheep and goats are often kicked, hurled and cut in order to remove their wool as quickly and profitably as possible), leather (leather is not always a by-product of the meat industry – many millions of cattle and other animals – even dogs – are bred and killed inhumanely just for their skins), and fur (did you know that 100 million animals are killed every year for their fur, and that some fake fur is actually real fur?).

Orca whales in tank

Most vegans choose not to buy products made from those and other animal-derived materials.

They also prefer to deliberately stay away from places like zoos, circuses, aquatic parks and animal rides, where animals are usually kept in impossibly tiny enclosures their whole lives, or are forced to work or perform unnatural tricks, and often suffer from mental illness, loneliness, disease and early death.

Monkey in a cage

Even the so-called ‘best’ zoos and parks, which brag about their ‘world-class’ animal welfare policies, cannot get away from the fact that they’re essentially keeping animals captive for profits. Gone are the days when zoos and aquatic parks helped conserve species from extinction – most captive animals are not endangered and it’s very common for zoos to cull their ‘excess’ animals.

What’s this got to do with the planet?

Essentially everything we do or buy as consumers on this planet has an impact on the environment. With seven billion human beings, it’s got to.

Whether that be filling up our cars with petrol or diesel and driving instead of walking or cycling, buying and consuming foods from supermarkets or local shops, using electricity or gas for light or cooking, or choosing and using household cleaners, pharmaceutical medicines, cosmetics or clothing…

All of the food and products we buy and use come from somewhere (often from factories or farms of industrial scale); almost all of these products and by-products generate waste, littler and pollution in their manufacturing, packaging and discarding after use; and many of them are full of additives, carcinogens, pollutants, toxins, pesticides, herbicides and contaminants which are bad for our bodies and bad for the planet.

Sows in crates - Factory Farming

Take factory-farming, for example.

This is how the vast majority of meat, dairy, egg and fur animals are farmed across the globe.

Factory farming involves keeping animals by the hundreds, thousands and more commonly by the hundreds of thousands, in confined spaces like crates, cages or barns. They are fed hormones, antibiotics and even ground-up flesh of other animals in order to artificially boost their growth and keep costs down, and their natural behaviours and movement are restricted.

At the end of their short, horrible lives, they are slaughtered in cruel ways, some of which are deemed legal and ‘humane’, but not all. Keeping and killing all those animals – 150 billion every year – happens behind closed doors, for a reason. And is there really a ‘humane’ way to kill any living being?

Big farming = big degradation and big hunger.

Bulldozer clearing forest

Not only do animals suffer from these barbaric, cost-saving policies, but the disease and pollution from the close confinement of millions of animals kept in mega-farms is through the roof. The emissions of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are on the rise, accounting for anything between 10%-65% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Those quantities are definitely climate-changing.

We haven’t even touched on the land grabbing, clearing and deforestation that occurs, such as in the Amazon rainforest, and resulting habitat loss, species extinction and desertification, in order to grow feed-crops for animals, including beef cattle, or to provide space for livestock or agriculture.

Starving children begging

Or the fact that we could feed many more humans with plant-based foods than we do now, by not producing meat or dairy (meat- and dairy-producing animals need humongous amounts of space, food and water compared to plants), and instead growing crops for human food consumption. For instance, it takes around 660 gallons of water to produce enough beef for ONE hamburger!

Eating meat and dairy is literally contributing to human starvation and planetary degradation on an industrial scale.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of science and conscience.

We live in a world where we can buy, eat and use anything we want, whenever we want. Or at least those that can afford it, do.

But surely there’s more to life than just consuming whatever we like, regardless of the cost to ourselves, to other beings and to planet Earth?

Veganism is about being mindful of the fact that what we do has a consequence.

Like Matt says: “Once you know what happens in the meat, dairy and egg industries, and how bad they are for the planet, it feels hypocritical to support them. To live a vegan lifestyle is to consciously add more compassion and benevolence to the world, to establish a spiritual connection with it and its many forms of life. By minimising the negative impact we impose on the environment and our fellow earthlings, future generations have a chance to thrive.”

Never in history was it more true to say ‘you are what you eat.’


Watch this video interview with Matt about veganism, at a recent Cube of Truth demonstration by Anonymous for the Voiceless:

Vegan support websites:

Challenge22.com – https://www.challenge22.com/challenge22/

Vegan Society – https://www.vegansociety.com/

Films about animal rights, factory farming and veganism:

Cowspiracy – http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Dominion – http://www.dominionmovement.com/

Earthlings – http://www.nationearth.com/

Land of Hope and Glory – https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/

What The Health – http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/


Selected sources for further reading:

https://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/going-vegan-biggest-trend-for-2018

https://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/largest-study-to-show-link-between-meat-and-disease

https://vegetariannutrition.net/docs/Calcium-Vegetarian-Nutrition.pdf

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/things-vegans-dont-eat#section2

https://www.simplehappykitchen.com/protein-calcium-iron/

Eat Your Dirt: Natural Vitamin B12 And Where To Find The Best B12 Supplement

Is a Plant-Based Diet Right for You?

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals

https://www.ciwf.org.uk/factory-farming/why-does-factory-farming-still-exist/

10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

http://theconversation.com/five-ways-the-meat-on-your-plate-is-killing-the-planet-76128

http://www.cowspiracy.com/infographic

https://iskconnews.org/meat-eating-the-cause-for-world-hunger-criminal-waste-of-grains,3607/

https://www.thoughtco.com/is-foie-gras-particularly-cruel-127514

Fur Farming

http://www.adaptt.org/about/the-kill-counter.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26356099

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/hsus-fact-sheet-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-animal-agriculture.pdf

http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/05/everything-you-need-know-about-agricultural-emissions

 


Image sources:

Pixabay.com

FilmingForLiberation.com


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children. In fact, her books are suitable for anyone aged 8-88 who cares about animals and the planet.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream (a story to save caged animals), Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came (a story to save the Earth), and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves (science fiction). Her next book will be a story to save trees.

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon websites and major bookstore websites worldwide.  Find out more


 

5 Things You Need to Know as a New Self-Publishing Author

When I started self-publishing books, I searched the Internet for how to do everything, from file formats, to book cover designs, to best self-publishing platforms.

My biggest frustration was that there’s so much information out there, and tons of conflicting advice and opinions. It can be overwhelming for author newbies, who after all, just want to get on and write, then publish their book.

And as an author based in the UK, the advice was often not even relevant to me – as the US frequently leads the way with a plethora of self-publishing websites and authors, while the UK often seems like the poor cousin!

So here are the top 5 things I’ve learned along the way (relevant to all self-publishing authors), and the things I wish someone had told me when I started out as a self-publishing author:

1. Don’t worry too much about the standard advice on word counts or ‘write what you know’

paging though a book

Find out what the experts say, and then break the rules!

It’s good to know what the typical or expected word counts are for novels in your genre – see this article on word counts, for example.

But don’t be completely bound by them. If your complete novel is longer or shorter, and there is a good reason for this, then publish it as it is. Just beware of writing novels which are very short (say under 20,000 words if aimed at young adult or adult age groups) or very long (over 120,000 words) because readers will expect something to be a certain average length, and either be disappointed or lose motivation.

As for the old adage “write what you know” – well again, there are reasons why this rule was created in the first place.

But if every author wrote about only what they know, books might be very boring indeed! However the danger with writing about something you don’t know or aren’t familiar with is that the scenery, character, situation or event might come across to your readers as stilted, lacking in details or simply unrealistic.

So, if you’re going to write about things, places, people or feelings that you haven’t experienced personally, then do your research, speak to others about it, and put everything into using your imagination, calling on experiences you’ve had which have some bearing on this, and empathising with what’s going on in the scene/book you’re writing.

Do ensure your manuscript is as flawless as humanly possible!

Edit, edit, edit, and/or find a professional copyeditor/proofreader (the differences between those processes are spelled out here). It is annoying to readers and creates an unfavourable reputation for self-published authors if your finished book is less than perfect!

2. Beware of assisted and hybrid publishing companies masquerading as ‘real publishers’

Big 5 Book Publishers

As a new author you might be convinced that your book should be published through a traditional publisher. Think of the kudos! You might even imagine you’re the next J K Rowling!

But remember that if this is your hoped-for route to publishing, you’ll probably need a literary agent, as most of the large traditional publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts (unless you’re J K Rowling).

And there are so many options these days that thankfully, using a traditional publisher isn’t the only way to get your book out there.

To find out more about all the different routes to publishing available to authors, have a look at this continuum of key book publishing paths by Jane Friedman (pictured above).

If you decide to look for publishers, be careful of the smaller ‘publishers’ who are sometimes no more than assisted self-publishing or hybrid publishing companies.

They often make most of their money by charging authors thousands of dollars to ‘publish’ their books, not from selling books. And some of them have aggressive marketing strategies aimed at authors (not readers). Read the fine-print because some of them may tie you into exclusive contracts for years.

Logo for Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)

Whatever you decide to do, always check out any self-publishing services, including publishers, in the ALLi Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services List.

3. Use a combination of Ingramspark and Createspace/KDP as your self-publishing platforms/distributors

This is my advice, based on my experiences with a number of self-publishing platforms, especially if you’re wanting to get your books into brick-and-mortar bookstores too.

Ingramspark logo

Publish your book and ebook on Ingramspark first, then the same book and ebook (same formats, size and ISBNs) on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Amazon have now closed down Createspace – you can now publish both ebooks and paperbacks via KDP.

The order is important! You need to get your book into global distribution platforms, databases and bookstores through Ingramspark first.

Ingramspark offer standard industry discounts to distributors and bookstores, making it the most sensible platform for self-publishing, because from the point of view of distributors and bookstores, it places your self-published book on a similar footing to books which are traditionally published, and bookstores will more readily stock your book. With Ingramspark, there is a fee for setting up your titles (around $25-$49), but they do occasionally run promotions where you will be able to set up your titles for free.

Then, to ensure Amazon always shows your book as available (not out of stock), you need to publish the same files, with minor amendments, on KDP (an Amazon company).However, with KDP, do NOT choose global distribution options.

You can find out more here about the combination of Ingramspark and Createspace/KDP as self-publishing platforms.

If you do it the other way round, ie. Createspace/KDP first, this can create issues with the global distribution listings. Also, do NOT use the free ISBN offered by Createspace/KDP – this will tie you to publishing only through them.

4. You don’t have to have your own ISBNs, but it’s better if you do

If you go with my advice about publishing with both Ingramspark and Createspace, you will need your own ISBNs (usually two ISBNs per title – one for your paperback, and one for your ebook, depending on your book format choices).

ISBN number and barcode with price

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and it’s usually included in number and barcode format on the back cover of print books (and digitally for ebooks). Part of the ISBN identifies who the publisher is.

Buy your own ISBNs from Bowker (for US authors), Nielsen (for UK authors), or find the ISBN agency for your country. You will then become the listed ‘publisher’ of your books.

A cheaper alternative is to buy ISBNs from an ISBN publishing agency – who will then be listed as your publisher – such as Independent Publishing Network for UK authors. You only need to buy the ISBNs (which come with barcodes), not the ISBN registration, as Ingramspark and Createspace/KDP will automatically add your ISBN number and barcode to your book cover templates and list your book titles on relevant databases, etc.

It doesn’t matter if, at the start of your self-publishing career, you use some free ISBNs tied to certain self-publishing platforms.

Then as you progress, you can buy your own ISBNs for future books. But note that usually the ISBN attached to a certain book and format of that book will remain with that version forever. If you do need to generate a barcode for your ISBN, do it here.

5. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on training or self-publishing services

It is completely possible to learn as you go and do lots of research and free training courses before making any decisions when self-publishing, then do pretty much everything yourself.

woman walking alone long road

But it can be a long, lonely journey…

So my advice is that, as soon as you can, find some successful self-published authors who are relevant to your genre and regularly access their blogs/newsletters/videos (many give freebies when you sign up to their website newsletters). Or, if you can afford it, there are some who offer very good self-publishing courses and training (but these are often expensive and can tie you into subscriptions for a few months or a year).

Here are some self-published authors with extensive help-websites, resources and training courses to get you started (some are free):

Derek Murphy – visit his CreativeIndie website with lots of resources and view his Guerrilla Publishing course. As an ex designer, he also has a book cover design website with free templates at DIYBookCovers.com.

Joanna Penn – sign up to her newsletter to get her ‘Author 2.0 Blueprint’ for free. Joanna has a very comprehensive self-publishing support website called TheCreativePenn.com.

Joel Friedlander – lots of tips, resources, templates and advice on all things self-publishing, at his website TheBookDesigner.com.

Mark Dawson –  view his Self Publishing Formula information, books and courses.

Chandler Bolt – check out his Self Publishing School freebies, materials and training.

Jerry Jenkins – if you sign up to his newsletter, you’ll get his ‘How to Write a Book’ PDF for free.


Andy Weir, author of The Martian, now a major film
Andy Weir, author of ‘The Martian’

Finally, self-publishing is a huge growth area. In the 5 years 2011 to 2016, Bowker reported that US self-published print and ebook titles (with ISBNs) grew over 200%. And some self-published authors, including EL James of  ‘Fifty Shades’ fame, and Andy Weir who wrote ‘The Martian’ (originally available as a self-published ebook for 99c, now a Hollywood blockbuster movie), have really made it big!

But ultimately it’s not about the money! If money follows, that’s a bonus. Writing and self-publishing is about you and your readers. It’s about your desire to contribute to, and leave a mark in this world, in your own way. And it’s about your readers, who will hopefully be entertained, moved or inspired by what you write!

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose Newey

Kathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

They are available on Amazon and major bookstore websites worldwide.


Photo of typewriter scene by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Photo of book by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Photo of typewritten text by rawpixel from Pixabay

Photo of editing by annekarakash from Pixabay

Photo of woman with suitcase by josealbafotos from Pixabay

Photo of Andy Weir by Steve Jurvetson [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Single-Use Plastic – 5 Ways To Reduce Yours and Save the Earth

plastic waste on a beach

Single-use plastic is what it says:

Plastic that’s been designed to be used once only, then thrown away.

What a waste!

We all know it’s a huge problem.

single use plastic - plastic bottles, cups, bags, tubes and lids

Billions of tons of waste plastic lies about as litter, clogs up the oceans, and animals get caught and injured or killed by it.

Plus plastic is made from fossil fuels (oil) and takes decades or centuries to decompose…

And even then, it doesn’t fully decompose – it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until we have plastic micro-particles in the soil, water, air, and inside animals and humans!

Examples of single-use plastic are everywhere, in lots of things we buy everyday.

transparent plastic cup with pink liquid, with plastic lid and plastic strawHow many of these do you use?

  • Plastic water bottles and disposable cups for coffee, soft drinks or water,
  • Cling film or plastic wrappings around fresh fruit and vegetables or prepared foods like fresh pizza,
  • Plastic packaging like six-pack rings for packs of canned drinks, or sealed around other packaging like teabag boxes,
  • person walking, carrying plastic shopping bag with fruitPlastic straws and plastic spoons, knives and forks,
  • Plastic containers like yoghurt pots, laundry liquid bottles, toiletry tubes and bottles, and take-away/fast food containers,
  • And of course – plastic bags like supermarket bags, carrier bags or shopping bags from stores.

So what can we do about it?

Here’s 5 things you can do right now, to reduce your “plastic footprint” on planet Earth:

  1. We can’t always help buying plastic packaging for some things. So if you do, save the plastic bags or wraps. Then wash them if necessary and make sure to use them again.reusable coffee cup with yellow sun design
  2. Sometimes when you’re out, you can’t find a recycling bin for your waste. Take it back home and recycle it. Don’t put recyclable plastic waste into a normal rubbish/garbage bin, because it’ll unnecessarily end up in landfill, around an animal’s neck, or in the oceans.
  3. Plan ahead – take a reusable cup and your own set of reusable cutlery, including a reusable straw, with you.Mallard Duck with plastic six pack rings around his neck
  4. Use your own reusable fabric shopping bags (even reusable plastic shopping bags can end up as waste).
  5. Think of our wildlife – cut plastic six-pack rings, tear open plastic bags, cut straws up and open or tear up any packaging that might get caught around a bird’s foot, a fox’s head, a sea turtle’s flipper or a seal’s nose.

Speak up!

plastic waste and litter floating in lily pondWhen you’re paying for your food and groceries, make a comment to the staff, talk to fellow shoppers, or complain to managers about all the unnecessary plastic packaging.

Some people even unwrap their food and groceries while still in the store, and leave their plastic waste there – what better way to get the large supermarkets talking to manufacturers about reducing excess plastic?

Start conversations! 

glass cups with reusable straws

Say no in restaurants and coffee shops – is it really necessary to have a plastic lid and plastic straw with your drink?

When you’re out and about, be seen using your own reusable coffee cup, recycled water bottle, paper straw and washable cutlery – and talk to others about it. Many coffee shops offer a discount if you use your own mug or cup rather than one of theirs, so it’ll save you money too.

It’s a challenge, but worth it.

By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Challenge yourself and your family and friends to use less single-use plastic.

Zero-waste challenges like Zero Waste Life, Apps like MyLittlePlasticFootprint.org, and Social Media groups like PlasticWasteInOceans or PlasticFreeSupport are an informative and fun way to get people involved and motivated.

You can investigate the issue of plastic pollution further with this interactive worksheet all about plastics, pollution and solutions, available to download here.

Here is an infographic from boomerangalliance.org.au – all about plastic pollution around Australia:

Let’s all start taking action today. Here’s to a plastic-free world!

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

They are available on Amazon and major bookstore websites worldwide.


Sources:

https://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2017/12/19/8-single-use-plastic-items-you-can-quit-right-now

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-plastic-is-harming-animals-the-planet-and-us/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic


Photo of litter on beach by hhach of Pixabay.com.

Photo of pink drink in transparent plastic cup by Alexander Kim from Pexels.

Photo of person carrying yellow plastic bag by cocoparisienne of Pixabay.com.

Picture of different types of single-use plastics by maria_johansson of Pixabay.com.

Photo of yellow reusable cup by Michael Frattaroli on Unsplash.

Photo of Mallard duck with plastic by Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK (Please take your litter home!Uploaded by Foerster) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of litter in pond by Hagerty Ryan, USFWS of Pixnio.com.

Photo of drinks glasses with reusable straws by StockSnap of Pixabay.com.

Photo of planet Earth by NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Infographic “Plastic Does Not Go Away” from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/231/attachments/original/1464851954/MicroPlastic-Infographic-Final-2016.jpg?1464851954.