Sanity-saving GOOD news! “Taking a deep breath” – Edition

Take a moment to let in the good news from last week…

The kids are alright!

A group of Boston teenagers secured $4.6 million in funding for a community center in a low-income neighborhood after discovering a hidden law and holding a corporation accountable—and they’re just getting started.

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Salvador Gómez Colón, 15, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is not just sitting around in post- Hurricane Maria, learning to deal with rationed food and lack of power. Instead, he started Light and Hope for Puerto Rico: A Citizen Campaign and started to raise money for solar lamps, hand-operated washing machines and other supplies for his neighbors in need. In four days, he raised $36,000; the total now stands at $75,000 and counting. Help him out, because teenagers who say “One day should not go by that we don’t remind ourselves of how we can make other people’s lives better” are national treasures.

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16 year old Rayouf Alhumedhi “…just wanted an emoji of me“. Her idea, which she proposed to the Unicode Consortium, the non-profit corporation that reviews and develops new emojis, was accepted by Apple.

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17 year old Yara Shahidi, an action on ABC’s “Black-ish” spoke out against Trump. This kinda makes me cry…

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Hu Ranran, 18, has produced a 75 minute film about a transgender youth to release in her home country of China. China has just taken giant steps backward, putting homosexuality alongside incest as case of “abnormal sxual relationships” unfit for broadcast. The film helped Hu gain a place at UCLA and has sparked conversation about trans issues across the world’s most populous nation. “Getting to know [the stories of] LGBTQ people is the start to reducing prejudice,” Hu says.

Krtin Nithiyanandam, 17, began his scientific career after getting ear surgery as a young child. At 15, he developed an “trojan horse” antibody to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

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He recently won an award for for creating a bioplastic that can clear wastewater of toxins and  he is now working on new method for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. His advice to his peers? “Don’t be afraid of being rejected,” he says, noting that he reached out to 52 different academic institutions about his Alzheimer’s research before finding someone to support his study.

Shibby de Guzman, 14, became well known for protesting against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a man who has admitted to personally murdering people, who locks up political enemies and whose anti-drug war has killed thousands.

shibby

The young activist, featured in Time Magazine, said . “I wanted to spark something inside the minds of those who (are) in control,” De Guzman said, adding that she believes change will “always start with youthful idealism.” The then 13-year-old De Guzman was with fellow students during an anti-Marcos protest, with a megaphone in hand and a cardboard sign around her neck that said “Lahat tayo posibleng drug pusher  (We might all be taken for drug pushers),” in reference to placards found on drug suspects killed in the government’s war on illegal drugs. “Please do not underestimate the youth. We completely know and understand the injustice we are protesting against,

OK, this is not a teenager, but we love this…

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Alice Paul Tapper, a 10 year old girl scout, has created a badge to encourage girls to throw caution to the winds, raise their hands, and answer questions, right or wrong, without fear. Just like the boys.

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A gay student was bullied so badly, more than 100 of his classmates in York High School in Maine staged a walkout in protest.

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Does anyone else feel like they just slept through their childhood?

The Obama Sun rises again!

Breakout sessions titled “The Adventure of Civility” and “Who Narrates the World? Nice.

Good news for the Women!

Imagine if Ivanka traveled across the world to give a women’s empowerment speech in Japan and no one showed up? Well, that’s pretty close to what actually happened!

ivanka in japan

Every day, the list of powerful men being called out and held accountable for sexual harassment and assault grows. Bill O’Reilly no longer has literary and television agents, and the Producers Guild of America has banned Harvey Weinstein for life.  #TheTideIsTurning

While being held in a Texas detention facility, a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant won her legal battle against the Trump administration and was able to obtain an abortion. Advocates were able to arrange for her to have the procedure before the administration had the chance to appeal the decision. “My lawyers have told me that people around the country have been calling and writing to show support for me. I am touched by this show of love from people I may never know and from a country I am just beginning to know – to all of you, thank you. This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice.”

Miss Peru Beauty pageant contestants surprised viewers by  reciting facts about violence against women instead of their measurements. They seem to be ahead of us on this….

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A U.S. District Judge ruled two Alabama abortion laws unconstitutional and blocked the state from enforcing them. One prohibited abortion clinic within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school and the other criminalized the most common method of second-trimester abortions, and effectively limiting abortions to 15 weeks.

The Mary Sue has set up a hotline number ((646) 926-6614) to help women safely reject creepy men. Everyone is sorry this is still a good idea.

rejection

Twitter is finally taking steps against the sharing of revenge porn.  Google started doing this in 2015.

Governor Brown signed AB41 to require the reporting of untested rape kits, with hopes that the legislature will pass future legislation to pay for testing. In the meantime, AB280 creates a voluntary tax donation fund that would go toward testing rape kits. The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights was also signed.
Nurx is a small telemedicine app that makes access to birth control and the morning after pill a little more convenient. The app, which has expanded to 13 states and Washington, DC, is simple: for $15 a month, you enter your health and insurance information, choose your birth control preference, and have it delivered to your home.

Good news for the Battle against Hate speech and actual “fake” news!

Reddit announced they are cracking down on hate groups by banning certain types of violent content—starting with the removal of Nazis and white supremacist pages.

reddit nazi ban

Twitter has banned Russian companies RT and Sputnik from advertising on their platform and will donate donate $1.9 million in ad revenue from RT “to research into the civic impact of Twitter, as well as its abuse by purveyors of fake news and propaganda”

New study says social media companies’ campaign embeds “a form of subsidy from technology firms to political candidates”.

The University of California plans to start a national center to study 1st Amendment issues and step up education about them. Listen to full remarks here.

While our president is trying to distract us from his botched condolence call to the family of La David Johnson with a nasty media campaign that destroyed John Kelly’s reputation, Americans everywhere are taking up slack by donating to the college-fund GoFundMe page set up for Johnson’s children.  It started with a goal of $5,000 but — after quickly bringing in more than $400,000 — the new goal is $1 million. The fund was set up by Representative Frederica Wilson’s 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Program.

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Fox News’ ad revenue nose-dives, declining a whopping 17 percent. Hannity’s advertiser losses signal that Fox’s business model is not sustainable

The Real America keeps showing up and ruining their party!

When white supremacists were about to speak at the University of Florida, music professor Laura Ellis climbed the school’s bell tower and played “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (the black national anthem) for the campus to hear.

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Here’s another great rendition of the song.

“You’re sexy! You’re cute! Take off the Nazi suit!”
Counter-protesters used some peaceful and creative methods to disrupt a white supremacist rally in Tennessee. And as there were three times as many protesters as there were white supremacists, one rally ended up being cancelled altogether. #goodpeopleforthewin

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After 62 venues refused to host him, alt-right bigot Milo Yiannopoulos was forced to cancel a public appearance. #WeDontWantToHearIt

Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us… The University of Sydney has bestowed the Sydney Peace Prize on #BlackLivesMatter. Take a moment to learn about the great women who started this movement, why they did it and how they want to “unlock the humanity of this country”.

POC and religious minorities are tired of getting harrassed on our airlines. NAACP and Muslim Advocates have put together an anti-bias guide.

Good news for our African-American citizens.

A new postage stamp honoring the National Museum of African American History and Culture highlights African-American achievements and promotes the museum on the international stage. The museum has counted nearly 3 million visitors since it opened, said museum director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Visitors are spending an average six-and-a-half hours in the building, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive museum devoted to African-American life, art, history and culture. Visitors to other Smithsonian museums typically spend between an hour and two-and-a-half hours, Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said.

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Good news for our LGBTQ community!

A federal judge blocked Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military because their claims “do not appear to be supported by any facts.”

A U.S. District Judge denied Kentucky’s request to reverse his ruling that the state must pay the nearly $225,000 in legal fees to the couples who sued county clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to same-sex marriage, saying the Governor fell “woefully short” of convincing him.

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Kentucky judge W. Mitchell Nance, who refused to hear adoption cases involving LGBTQ parents resigned.

Campaign for Southern Equality was allowed to reopen a ban on gay marriage case that ended after the 2015 Supreme Court marriage ruling by a judge in Mississippi as another way to challenge the anti-lgbtq legislation the state passed.

Good news for Native Americans!

Plans to build the $1 billion dollar Grand Canyon Escalade Project near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona appear to be dead. Tribal citizens who live on and use the land near Grand Canyon have been fighting against the project as many consider the site to be sacred. The activist group Save the Confluence called the development a “monster.”

In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a Federal court found that approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline violated the law. (Judges matter, everyone!)

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Featured image from The Indigenous American

Earlier this summer, indigenous and climate activists shut down 13 different branches of JP Morgan Chase across Seattle in a single day to protest the bank’s financing of the Keystone XL pipeline

US Bank ends its credit relationship with Enbridge Inc., the Canadian company seeking to expand tar sands oil transportation through Northern Minnesota with the controversial proposed Line 3 pipeline. U.S. Bank’s move comes amidst a growing local and global movement calling on the banking industry to cut ties to fossil fuel extraction.

Sandy Tucker has become the first tribal citizen to win a seat on Nebraska electric co-op board.

Good news for Justice!

A federal judge confirmed she will retain Joe Arpaio’s guilty verdict, despite Trump’s pardon, which leaves Arpaio open to lawsuits.

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the constitutional rights of a Mississippi woman jailed 96 days without seeing a judge were violated, saying she can sue the sheriff and county that held her.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice charged three officers with the Pomona Police Department (CA) for violating the civil rights of a minor who was beaten at the county fair and attempting to cover-up the attack.

People are now able to crowdfund lawyers for social causes. In its very short time operating in the U.S., CrowdJustice has funded opposition to Virginia gerrymandering, a suit challenging the prohibition against the 4 million residents of U.S. territories from voting in federal elections, and a challenge to Marion County, Indiana’s refusal to open satellite early voting locations in populous minority communities.

The Iowa Supreme Court has adopted rules prohibiting the use of handcuffs and other restraints for juveniles appearing in court unless approved by a judge.

A Cleveland judge threw out all charges against 12 activists who protested the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Advocates got the Mayor of Pearl, Mississippi to shut down the Youth Court and forced the judge to resign for his decision to bar a mother from seeing her baby over her unpaid court fees.

Good news for uncovering corruption!

Robert Mueller has charged Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his business partner, Rick Gates, with a 12-count indictment with conspiracy and former foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian contacts. #byyyeeeee

The complete boondoggle that was Whitefish has been outed and cancelled.

whitefish

The earth and all the humans on it have escaped a near miss. Human asteroid Sam Clovis—a right-wing climate and evolution-denying radio host who is not a scientist and who believes that schools  indoctrinate kids with “racism” and “environmentalism”, withdrew his nomination from a senior USDA position, due to his ties to the Russia scandal.

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No matter what 45 says, leaked texts sent and received by his daughter, Andrea Manafort Shand, the two pals were “perfect allies.” Also something was mentioned about about “blood money” and killings…

manfort daughter

Update on the number of White House officials currently facing questions, lawsuits or investigation: Trump, being sued for violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Paul J. Manafort, the second Trump campaign manager, indicted on money laundering charges in late October; Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government; son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company; and at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details or business dealings.

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The SPLC brought a judicial ethics complaint and a lawsuit against Professional Probation Services, a municipal court judge, and Gardendale, Alabama for creating a 20 year illegal probation scheme that requires anyone who cannot afford to pay their fines for traffic and misdemeanor offenses be be placed on probation with a private company, who requires their hard-up “clients” to pay a monthly charge. One Gardendale resident has likened the situation to a debtor’s prison.

Good news in politics!

“Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization. Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower…” former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg

There’s enough stuff going on without the stupid uranium story…

Good educational video on the 25th amendment.

Good news for Health Care!

Enrollment for the ACA began November 1st, and while the current administration is doing little to spread the word, we’re happy to see that groups like the Indivisible ACA Sign Up Project and events like the upcoming ACA Enrollment Action Blitz are working to bring awareness to the enrollment process. We’re also very happy about this welcome update too.

The signup period ends Dec. 15th for most states and on Jan. 31st for Californians. For specific information on CA, click here.

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Good news for Voting and Elections!

New York City’s Board of Elections is facing consequences for illegally purging more than 100,000 voters, and has agreed to restore these voting rights and prevent similar actions in the future.

“Voter Pact is a text bot that helps friends promise each other they’ll vote. Studies show that we are more likely to vote if we promise a friend that we’ll do it.”  Let’s check it out and see if we can use it to help get out the vote:

Every vote matters! Losing your purse can make you a non-person in America. Support Spreadthevote.org.!

The League of Women Voters is hosting a “Gerrymander 5K” to call attention to North Carolina’s absurdly-drawn Congressional districts that unfairly favor Republicans. (They’ve also filed five lawsuits since the date was redistricted.) #RunDontWalkToVote

There’s a great low-cost way to help crowdfund progressive candidates.

New Hampshire Democrats won another special election to the Legislature, this one in Dover’s Ward 1 in very Democratic-leaning territory.

Get involved! Options to help from your couch with a cat on your lap.

Want to help Doug Jones to beat Roy Moore in Alabama? Can you write short notes on postcards to encourage Alabama citizens to get out and vote on Dec. 12th?

How do you do it?
1) email Tony at join@tonythedemocrat.org, and you’ll get instructions & addresses.
2) Get some postcards and stamps. Link below to stamp source.
3) Tony has some phrases from the campaign that need to be on the card. If you write small, there’s other talking points you can add.
4) Once you’re vetted, you can request as many addresses as you want from “Abby the address bot” It’s a great texting tool.
5) Call Mandy at 781-424-2088 if you have any questions.

tony elections

https://twitter.com/DemocratWit/status/925942302102708225
https://twitter.com/OneThingYCD/status/926632107602075649
https://twitter.com/DemocratWit/status/927148417381535744
Postcard stamps at a discount:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/522977669/postcards-to-voters-34-cent-vintage

Have fun!
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Good news for Immigrants, and Immigration!

Christina Jiménez just won a MacArthur Fellowship for co-founding United We Dream. She started out as an undocumented immigrant.

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New York City passed a series of bills to protect undocumented residents and prevent city employees from working with ICE.

Detained 10-year-old with cerebral palsy released to her parents. Apparently, we are not complete monsters yet.

A Massachusetts church is providing a safe haven for an undocumented immigrant to prevent his deportation.

People gathered for a picnic spanning across the US-Mexico border. As JR, the artist behind the event, described, “People [were] eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side) around the eye of a dreamer… We forgot the wall for a minute.”

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Photo by JR

A group of 350 Filipino teachers in Louisiana won a class action lawsuit for exploitation and human trafficking against the Universal Placement International job placement agency and they will each receive about $2,200 from them and the ringleader is going to jail.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is pushing back against reported new plans by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to expand detention facilities for immigrants in the U.S. illegally through the use of private prisons.
A program by the New-York Historical Society uses art to help green card holders prepare for the naturalization test. Do you know enough to pass?  Take the test.
Over one hundred companies from the tech industry—including Facebook, IBM, Google, Lyft, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Twitter—have filed a legal brief supporting a lawsuit filed by California, Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine over Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and put 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth at risk of deportation.
Over 60 civil rights organizations have signed on to a statement in support of our Dreamers/DACA community.

Good news for Workers!

After 135 years in operation, journalists at the Los Angeles Times are unionizing. #unionstrong

Trump’s call for “merit” immigration has been expanded! Apparently the skills-sets America need to import are cooks, waiters, and housekeepers

 Good news for areas devastated by hurricanes!

With help from Tesla and their solar powered panels and batteries, electricity has returned to a children’s hospital in Puerto Rico.

TJX Co continues to pay employees in Puerto Rico, even though stores are closed. For postcard people… send congratulations and encouragement to CEO Ernie Herrman for creating a culture which recognizes and responds to the needs of its employees.

Ernie Herrman, CEO TJX
TJX Companies Inc.
770 Cochituate Rd
Framingham, MA 01701

@tjmaxx

Great news in stupid things!

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke can’t play “pirate” or “fort” or whatever the heck he was doing with his flags anymore.

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Don Jr. still can’t figure out how analogies work..

candy joke

We know it doesn’t seem possible but here is some good news about guns!

  •  “I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns.” – Karl T. Frederick, president of the National Rifle Association, testifying before Congress during the debate over the National Firearms Act of 1934,
    which the NRA helped enact, in the Washington Post.

Wall-of-us gives as a clear chart to see how we can make our investments gun-free.

Three Las Vegas shooting survivors filed suit against manufacturers of bump stock devices, alleging that the companies were negligent in producing and marketing products capable of enabling a semiautomatic rifle to mimic automatic fire. [The Trace]

Two House Democrats, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), who once held A-ratings from the NRA donated their contributions from the gun group to gun reform organizations in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. [The Hill]

The city of Charlottesville, along with several local businesses, filed suit to keep gun-toting militias and white supremacists from demonstrating there in the future. [The Trace]

A federal appeals court in California ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect gun dealers’ rights to sell firearms free from regulation.

Good news for the environment!

Despite the dedicated efforts of Scott Pruitt and Trump to protect their fossil-fuel backers, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Oregon’s governor halted a plan to let Nestle bottle water from a local spring, thanks to years of work from community groups.

A totally selfish reason why living things in our environment aren’t expendable…they may end up saving our lives. This weird little sea creature “Bugula neritina”, may hold the answer to treating treat HIV, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Bugula neritina Canon S50 v4final

Luckily,  chemists have been able to  synthesize to the chemical compound as this stuff is incredibly hard to harvest.

In New York City, thousands of people marched for climate action on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

demonstrators Sandy

Good news for the environment and BEER!

Make Earth Great Again: BrewDog’s new beer is a protest against Trump’s climate stance.

BrewDog aren’t the only Brewers to launch campaigns related to climate change. Mexican beer brand Corona partnered with Parley for the Oceans in a move that will protect 100 islands against rising marine plastic pollution by 2020.

plastic underwater

American clothing firm Patagonia also dabbled in beer, investing in Hopworks Urban Brewery, which claims to have developed an ale that not only reduces water use, but also captures carbon in the process.

The Long Root Ale uses a “super wheat” known as Kernza which can remain in the ground for years once planted. Not only does this reduce the need to use fertilizers and water to help it grow, but its deep roots can reduce soil erosion and act as a carbon sink to remove emissions from the atmosphere.

Just two months on from its decision to pursue zero-carbon breweries, low-carbon giants Carlsberg built a zero-carbon “Windmill Bar”, which harnesses wind and an exercise bicycle to reduce emissions.

Good news for the environment and Energy!

Germany gets ready to pay customers to use more electricity as their renewable energy generation creates a huge power surplus.

Sweden is experimenting with an algae filtration system to reach zero carbon emissions.

Three companies—Switzerland’s Climeworks, Canada’s Carbon Engineering, and the US’s Global Thermostat—are building machines that, at reasonable costs, can capture CO2 directly from the air. On Oct. 11, Climeworks inaugurated the first system that does direct air capture and verifiably achieves negative carbon emissions at a geothermal power plant in Iceland.

Good news for the public land!

Congress has threatened to open federal public lands for more oil and gas exploration, and even to give away lands to corporations or states. But they can no longer do that in California without providing our state the opportunity to acquire the land (SB50Allen, SD 26).

Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (Carbajal D-Santa Barbara) H.R. 1865 & S.1423, would protect close to 150,000 acres within the Los Padres National Forest as protected wilderness areas and designate Matilija Creek as a national wild and scenic river. Call your legislators for this!
Rim-of-the-Valley Corridor Protection Act (Schiff D-Burbank) would protect around 200,000 acres of open space in eastern Ventura county (and western LA county) as a protected wildlife corridor and allow for passive outdoor recreation such as hiking/walking trails, nature study and historic preservation. This bill would create protected lands from the inland mountains of the Los Padres National Forest to the coastal Santa Monica Mtns. Call your legilators for this!
 New York City begins to restore wetlands on Staten Island.
staten island

Good news for Animals!

In a win for animal rights, New York banned elephant performances in entertainment, including circuses and parades. #NotDumboAtAll

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A turtle species decimated by the illegal pet trade has been successfully reintroduced with the help of conservationists and the cooperation of local people.

turtles in myanmar

The Clinch River mussel, nearly made extinct by a chemical spill, has recovered with the help of biologists and is back in the waters of Virginia.

mussels

Through the mechanism of judicial review, something that anti-wildlife bills always seek to block, essential jaguar habitat remains protected. A bid to remove Endangered Species Act protections in New Mexico was defeated, and the state will continue to provide a habitat for endangered jaguars.

Jaguar

Three new marine sanctuaries have been established. The Government of Niue and Tofia Niue, National Geographic, Oceans 5 and others are proud and excited to announce the creation of a large-scale marine protected area around Beveridge Reef and Niue. (gorgeous video here)

Bonus Science Citizen from Calvin’s list!

We don’t know enough about sea birds because they often nest in hard-to-access areas. Help researchers by reviewing snapshots taken by remote cameras and noting if there are birds in the image. A great game for kids!

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) connects educators and parents with the materials they need to help kids explore and understand the natural world around them with a new educational resource, Wild Classroom. Now available for free download, Wild Classroom is a growing library of species-focused toolkits that can be used to enhance children’s learning inside or outside of a traditional learning environment. Aligned to US national education standards, the toolkits will include a teacher’s resource guide, fact sheet, and learning activities for science, writing, social studies, art, and physical education that can be easily integrated into an educator’s daily lesson plan. Each will interweave engaging species-specific content with other relevant conservation issues, like habitat loss, poaching and illegal wildlife trade, climate change, and more.  Let’s make sure our teacher friends know about this resource.

Recommended Movies from Alison and Stephanie!

“My vagina is a lion,” we know this is a movie we need to see. (It also doesn’t hurt that the film is about the woman who helped bring suffrage to the women of Switzerland in 1971.)

https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2017/10/29/video-trumps-downfall-went-viral-just-beautifully-done/

(Thanks as usual to Jen Hoffman, Alison & Stephanie, Marla’s Good News, What Went Right, Rogan’s List, Michelle at Small Deeds Done, Wall of Us, OFA,This week in the patriarchy, my friends and compatriots on social media and the still wild expanses of the internet)

 

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