March 10, 2012

March 2012: Free-Range Eggs

   Eggs: we often consume them every day without realizing where they came from. When asked, we picture an old barn with open fields and chickens walking freely, or at least in a coop. But today, most laying-birds are not so lucky.

1.) Know Your Eggs
   Most cheep eggs from the market are not from free-range hens. This means that they come from birds that are kept in wire cages so small that they can't walk, or even spread their wings. These chickens have the sensitive tips of their beaks cut off to prevent fighting.
   Normally, chickens have what's called a pecking order. This is the hierarchy in which the birds establish who's dominate. But in the tiny cages, they don't have enough room to figure out who's boss, and this leads to fights.
   The bird's are fed a diet of pellet food. This is not very healthy for the birds, meaning that they produce unhealthy eggs, which in turn are not very high in vitamins. In the wild, chickens forage for bugs and some plant matter.  This makes their eggs good for consumption, being high in proteins.
   For more about chickens, check out the Humane Society's page on the birds!
2.) Watch What You Buy
   Even if your carton of eggs says "Free Range" on it, that doesn't exactly mean that the birds get to see grass. A lot of times, "Free Range" simply means that they aren't kept in tiny wire cages, but rather filthy indoor huts. Try buying eggs from a local farmer who doesn't use such methods to raise his or her chickens.

3.) Go Egg Free!
If you don't like the thought of eating eggs, even humane ones, then don't! The birds do notice when their eggs are taken away, and this upsets them. Especially if they had all their eggs taken from them at once. I keep chickens, so I've seen this happen. Now, I only eat their "extra eggs, and leave some of them for them to "care" for (even though they are infertile [no chick inside]).
For lots of yummy, egg-free recipes, and a list of easily found egg replacements for baked recipes, check out They have some good recipes.

4.) Sponsor a Rescued Hen
   Ordinations, such as Farm Sanctuary, rescue farm animals from abuseful situations. You can help out by sponsoring an animal, such as a pig, horse, cow, or chicken!
   Here's an idea: host a vegan bake-sale to raise money for needy chickens!

Next Month: World Water Consumption

February 1, 2012

Febuary 2012: Fair Trade Chocolate

   Okay, who doesn't love chocolate? I know I sure do! But underneath the sweet, sugary goodness, chocolate has a dark side: poisonous pesticides, child labor, and underpayment. Here are some ways you can help eliminate the dark side of chocolate.
   Show extra affection this Valentine's with the gift of fair-trade chocolate.

Look for this on packaging
to tell if something is
certified fair trade.
1.) Go Fair Trade. Okay, this is the most simple thing you can do. When you buy chocolate from a non-fair trade company, such as Hershe's, that means that the cacao farmers are not getting a fair price for their product. This can mean that the company buying the dried cacao seeds may be only paying a few cents per pound, or less. The Cacao farmers don't get a good price for their product, so they have to find cheep labor in the form of children, and use pesticides in abundance to prevent any crop loss.
   Child labor is cheep. Families desperate for money will send their children, as young as ten or eleven years old. It is not that the cacao farmers are cruel people, they just don't get payed enough. The makers of the documentary Black Gold found out that the average American coffee drinker will pay as much as $2.90 for a cup of coffee. Coffee bean farmers would have to sell 20 kilos, enough to brew 1,600 cups of coffee to make the same amount. Cacao farmers have similar problems.
Another logo to look
for when shopping
fair trade.
   By buying fair-trade, you don't only help support poor farmers, but also their local community. In order to tell if an idea is fair trade, look for the fair-trade certification image on the packaging. Bonus: if you buy organic fair trade chocolate, you are also eliminating the need for harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and helping save forests. Cacao trees naturally grow best in the shade of larger trees. Because of this, organic cacao farmers usually leave the natural forests intact, and plant the cacao trees around the other trees growing naturally.

2.) Go Reverse Trick-or-Treating. Next halloween, don't just get candy, go go reverse trick-or-treating! Hand out samples of fair trade chocolate as you make your rounds, and a card explaining reverse trick-or-treating.

3.) Take Action! Start your own youth group to help poor cacao farmers in Africa and South America! For tips on starting a club, or to find one already formed, click here.

4.) Get a Pen-Pal. Wanna meet some of the kids working for fair-trade cacao farms? Log onto, and get started!

5.) Host a Fair Trade Bake-Sale. Bake yummy recipes using all organic, fair trade ingredients. Sell the treats with cards attached explaining why they're so special. Donate the money to a charity that helps fair trade farmers or children in need.

For more information, check out these websites:

Next Month: Cruelty-Free Eggs

Homeless Animals & Animal Shelters BONUS pt. 2

   View PetFinder's weekly "Happy Tail", the stroies of adopted pets!
Pet Adoption Happy Tails | Petfinder

   Or, submit your own here!

January 1, 2012

January 2012: Homeless Animals & Animal Shelters

Homeless Animals & Animal Shelters

   All over the world, domestic animals, such as cats, dogs, and rabbits are left homeless. These animals cause damage to local ecosystems and to themselves, because they weren't meant to live in the wild. Here are some of the many things you can do to help.

1.) HOST A FUNDRAISER. Raise money or gather pet supplies, such as cat food or dogs toys. You can also make some of this stuff, and give it to the shelter, based on their needs. Click here for how to make a fleece dog bed! You can go door-to-door, leave a donation box at your local grocery store or school, or even put an ad in your local shopping guide, seeking donations.
   Animal shelters are always in need of supplies, some more specific than others. Be sure to check your local shelter's wish-list before starting.

2.) VOLUNTEER. Animal shelters are almost always short-handed, and can always use the help. These organizations are typically almost, if not completely volunteer-ran. You might have to be a certain age in order to volunteer, so be sure to check with your local shelter.
   Volunteering at an animal shelter can mean any number of things; it can be cleaning kennels, feeding, training, or simply playing with the animals. They need attention as much as any other pet!

3.) ADOPT. Hundreds of animals are put to sleep every day because no body adopts them. And what happens to those dogs and cats? They end up at dissection tables at collages and high-schools. Loving cats, playful dogs, simply wonderful pets. Their waiting period can be anywhere from three days to two weeks. Either way, that is not very long to live. These animals are not just strays, but people's puppies, and old house cats. They are loving individuals looking for a new home, a home you can give. Dogs from breeders make it so that there are more unwanted animals, and cause more pets to be put to sleep. If we stop supporting the cause of the problem, we can save many lives. Still not sure? Then click here for information on purebred pets vs. mixed-breads.

4.) SPAY OR NEUTER. Sure, who doesn't love puppies? Well, when there are too many of them, there are bound to be some that are unwanted and end up in shelters, where they are put to sleep.
   Think of it this way: So you have two dogs, a male and a female. They have eight puppies. Four of the puppies are male, and the other four are female. A year later, each of those females has eight puppies, half male and half female. 4X8 is 32. So that is already a lot of puppies. Now what happens if those puppies have puppies? 32X8=256. And that is only four generations of dogs! That means, just from a pare of non-spayed and neutered dogs, 256 new dogs were born over the corse of under 6 years! Now, what do breeders do? Just that. Now you see why it's important to "fix" your dog, cat, or rabbit. After all, there are only so many good homes in the world!
   Now, what happens if you have, say, an out-door cat, and it isn't spayed or neutered. If female, it could get pregnant by a stray cat, or another out-door pet. If male, it'll simply impregnate females, sending the problem to someone else's home, or to a stray, homeless cat. Click here to order a copy of A Dog's Life for only a $1 donation to PETA!
   One study showed that most dogs hit by cars are non-neutered males. They go looking for a mate, and sometimes get hit by cars, maiming or killing them. This can be avoided, or at least the risk greatly reduced, buy fixing your dog. Because, with out those, erm, urges, they have no reason to leave home.

5.) START AN ANIMAL SHELTER. Yes, you too can start the all-mighty animal shelter! See some of the laws and regulations here!

Next month: Fair Trade Chocolate

Greetings and Salutations!

   Hello fellow activists!

   Welcome to Young People. Big Impact. This blog will be updated monthly with new ideas on how youth can help that month's cause. Check back at the beginning of every ideas for more fundraising ideas and other ways you can help, causes that need your attention, and links to organizations.

   We look forward to hearing from you!

~The Insolitus Lupus~