Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bumblebee Bats, Bicycles and Dead Cell Phones

I neglected to mention yesterday that another gift we received was a bicycle purchased through World Bicycle Relief for an AIDS care worker in Africa. My parents purchased it in my late Grandfather's name. He was always heavily involved in charity work during the holidays. Here is some info I lifted from the website to explain more about the organization...

"Currently, World Bicycle Relief has partnered with a coalition of relief organizations to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia. We will provide 23,000 bicycles to community home-based care volunteers, disease prevention educators and vulnerable households. We are also training and equipping more than 400 bicycle mechanics in the field. The program will reach more than 500,000 adults, orphans and vulnerable children."

I can't think of a more worthy place to send funding through to! Thanks to my Mom and Dad for supporting WBR and thanks to my Grandpa Biehl for instilling a healthy vein of charitable empathy in our family.

On that note I also want to talk about something we purchased for my Mom. She drives a lot with her work and her vehicle is an Escalade. It's not exactly fuel efficient. She has driven this type of vehicle for years because it comfortably seats her clients and coworkers on their numerous outings and she finds piece of mind in it's safety on the road and she of course enjoys the luxury aspect of it as well. Anyway... through TerraPass, a company which invests our monies to reduce our individual carbon footprints we purchased a carbon offset for my Mom's vehicle and the amount of emissions she produces in a year driving it. You can calculate your emissions on their website. So buying a pass for a vehicle eases the footprint you leave over the course of a year. You can also buy passes for your home or for someone who does a lot of airline travel. Why buy a TerraPass? Because as I read one reviewer write... "you can't exactly mail a personal check to a wind farm in an effort to support clean energy." They also have a program to recycle old cell phones which I am about to participate in. I can mail my old cell (aka my piece of junk Razor) in to them postage paid and they issue me a TerraPass. Here is some info lifted from the TerraPass website in regard to cell phones...

People buy and toss out cell phones at an astonishing rate. RIPMobile estimates that there are 850 million unused cell phones in the U.S. Since cell phones contain lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium and arsenic, they become toxic waste when they end up in a landfill.

By recycling your phone you help to protect local water and food supplies from toxins, while making industry less dependent on destructive new mining for metals. You are also getting functional phones into the hands of people in the developing world who need them.

Reselling a used cell phone is far more energy efficient than manufacturing a new one. And when you purchase a TerraPass with the proceeds you are fighting climate change to boot!

So... my phone is worth $24 in this exchange. A $24 TerraPass that is. You can look up what your old phone is worth by clicking through to the site HERE. I am going to use this amount to begin to pay for a pass for our F250. Of course driving a much more fuel efficient vehicle would be a better answer... but until they build a hybrid that can tow 10,000 pounds we are stuck with the big old truck.

Why should we care about any of this? Because of Bumblebee Bats, that's why. Bumblebee Bats are the world's smallest bat species. They live in Thailand and they weigh about the same as a dime and can rest comfortably on your thumb (although they would probably prefer to rest else wear.) They are endangered. What do they have to do with cell phones, bicycles and carbon emissions? Well, I don't know enough to be able to construct an intelligent answer to that question but I can say that I am sure there is a viable connection in there somewhere. If it were not for our crazy consumption and current indifference to the planet's and our own wellness I am sure the dear little Bumblebee Bat would have nothing to worry about. So do your part for the world's smallest mammal and recycle your old cell phone the next time you need a new one!


Michelle said...

The near extinction animal list is quite versatile. Some kind of freak me out, but that's why I live in IL and don't go to zoos for the fear of being attacked by suppose to be caged tigers that are better then Houdini. Can I pay you 5 cents for you to tell me about my phobias?

Bethany said...

Yes... there are a lot of unattractive mole like creatures and bats and large rodents on the endangered list. But... much like ugly people, they still deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life.

I take it you are referring to the Tiger at the San Diego zoo? Holy crap right? Billy and I went to that zoo when were on a trip to California and I hated it. It's supposed to be such a great zoo (whatever that even means) and I was shocked by some of the crappy enclosures certain animals were kept in. Zoos give me the creeps and make me sad.

You don't have to pay me five cents... I will listen about phobias all day long for free. I have a phobia about going in a mall or a large grocery store when I have a full stomach. How's that for crazy? I have to go before I eat or I will feel wigged out the whole time. If it's a large building and has florescent lighting keep me out of there after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hmmm... maybe I should be paying YOU the 5 cents?

Michelle said...

That's a great quote about ugly animals and people. If it's ok with you I would like to use it but I will reference your name as the originator.

I was definitely talking about the San Diego zoo. Mark's always trying to talk me into doing stuff and going to the zoo is one of them-now I have a perfectly logical excuse - I could die.

I like your 2 cents instead...hahaha. Yes, I'm a dork.
Can you eat during shopping trips? I usually have to eat in the middle of shopping. I think it's from burning all those calories in the fitting room. There's a lot of squeezing and jumping involved. I'm waiting for the ER visit and that's not a phone call I want to make to Mark...

StefRobrts said...

When you're up in the NW, you can visit the zoo in Portland. They have beautiful animal enclosures, and the animals look safe and happy. Unfortunately, a zoo is the safest place some of these endangered animals can be, considering what is going on in their native territories. At least they are not being poached or otherwise driven out and killed.

I love visiting zoos when I travel, but I have not seen any that are as nice as our own Oregon Zoo.

Momo said...

I am very happy with the whole concept of the TerraPass. The phone thing is very neat too. I am going to print up some of the info and get it out to the Realtors in our office. Who would have every thought that there could be a way to counteract the effects of that Escalade.
What a wonderful thing that this organization is doing. Thanks again for the pass!

Bethany said...

Hey Stef... I hear ya on the fact that zoos are a safe haven for endangered animals. I fully support anyone or anyplace making efforts to preserve a species. I just struggle with the concept of an animal which does not need to be there at all (in the sense of protection) being kept in a cage or enclosure and denied an opportunity to live in it's natural environment. Educating people on animal life is important... and I know zoos do a lot of research and fund projects to assist wildlife. But I do think there is still a huge old school mind set that does exist. It's the ability to make a great deal of money off of people that get to come look at the cute furry animal in a cage. Some of those cute furry animals don't seem like they have it so hot. I remember at San Diego Zoo seeing a single koala bear in a small glass box with a tree painted on the wall behind it and one branch for him to sit on inside the box. Koalas are endangered... but I think there has to be a better way to try to save them than the zoo selling a koala beanie baby to a kid and then giving a small percentage of that money to the WWF. Producing the beanie babies has done more harm than good and is perpetuating the problem of habitat destruction. Like anything there are good points and bad points here... I guess overall I just don't seem to like to see wild animals caged up for my own viewing entertainment.

Groover said...

Hi Bethany,
Just read the post and was wondering if you've heard of Biketown? I read about it in the US Bicycling Magazine. It's an initiative where they give free bikes to people who need one for some reason or another but can't effort to buy a bicycle themselves. Some time later they return to see what the person did with the free bicycle. Very inspiring stories.

Re Koalas: A couple of days ago I watched this documentary about the Koala Hospital here in Brisbane. It was so sad and shocking to hear that 1500 Koalas are brought to the hospital every year and 4000 die every year. Their habitat is disappearing because of all the housing estates and developments. I am seriously considering doing some volunteer work for the hospital to help somehow. It's so sad.

Bethany said...

Hi Groover... I will google the Biketown organization and see what I can find! Thanks for telling me about it. It sounds like a great charity.

Those numbers you stated about the koalas are shocking. It sounds like people have gone housing crazy in Australia much the same way they have here in the USA. Are they building houses large enough for a dozen people to live in (and then a family of three or so knocks around inside of it?) That is what people do here. I hope that something happens sooner rather than later that teaches the world we do not have the resources to continue on in this ridiculous fashion. And that the consequences of these actions are harming animals, people, the planet in general and it is just not worth it to live in a 3,000 square foot home.

Sigh... I could go on and on, but I will spare the comment column that lengthy monologue for today.

Thanks again for your comments and please let me know if you end up volunteering at the koala hospital. That sounds like it could be an amazing experience!