2014: Make it Your “Do Something” Year

Good evening everyone, how’s it going? Tonight I’d like to discuss the very broad topic of biodiversity. What’s biodiversity? It’s basically the collection and variation of all living things on Earth, and it’s very important that we maintain and take care of it.


During the past decades, the world has further and further exploited environmental resources, which has had a deleterious effect on wildlife populations around the world. We all hear about how the “rain forests are being cut down” and how “the ozone is depleting”…these statements are very true and their effects will shape our lives later on in the future. 

Now, I don’t mean to be an alarmist or anything, but according to David Olsen, (Inhabitant) and other environmental analysts,

“A conservative estimate is that well over a hundred species a day are going extinct, with the rate of disappearing species accelerating as natural habitats shrink, fragment, and degrade and commercial exploitation of vulnerable species escalates. The loss of species is irreversible and the loss of old-growth natural habitats irretrievable within centuries. The fewer the species remaining on this planet, the more tenuous our own existence.”

Seriously people of the world? Seriously? This is totally unacceptable! But you know what the great thing is though? You can make a difference, no matter how corny that statement sounded. If there’s only one thing I took out of my WYSE experience last year, it’s that anybody at all can make a difference, but it all starts in the home. 

Most of you guys have probably seen those ASPCA and PETA, etc commercials with the sad puppies and kittens saying “Give me a home!” And if you guys are anything like me, those commercials are tear-jerkers. Well, think of all the other poor animals out there, that really don’t have a voice. Who will take care of them if no one speaks up? Here’s what we can do.

1. Get educated. Know what the environmental issues are. Know what’s happening in other countries and know the current policies towards deforestation, tracking, wildlife trade, etc. The more you know, the better you can make small differences in your life that could contribute to the environmental effort.

2. If you live in a very politically active area, try lobbying for environmental rights, or join a protest/demonstration. The civil rights marchers got somewhere by demonstrating, why can’t we?

3. Lastly, just make differences in the way you live. Give a little to the WWF each month, or volunteer at a zoo, or pet shelter. Educate more people, recycle, start composting, the possibilities are endless. If we all just pitch in a little bit, we can change society, and the environment could be pristine again.

So go, and “Just do it”, as Nike says, and make 2014 the year of caring.

Goodnight everyone :),

– Claire


Give Thanks to the Salamanders

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Hope you all had plenty of yummy turkey and gravy! Today I wanted to do a sort of different post…a post about Chopsticks for Salamanders. 



This lovely organization was founded by Lauren Augustine who I had the opportunity to meet at the National Zoo as a part of the WYSE program. The concept is simple, buy a pair of reusable chopsticks, and contribute to salamander research, + help keep the environment free of waste. 

So, why chopsticks? Well according to CFS…

“Though chopsticks may not seem like a common utensil in American culture, their production is one of the leading causes of international deforestation and loss of critical amphibian habitat. Nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species have been classified as threatened near extinction due, in part, to increasing run-off,  rising ground temperatures,  the disruption of vernal pools and other issues associated with deforestation.”

“By using re-usable chopsticks, consumers take a stand for forest stewardship. Disposable chopsticks are typically made from old-growth forests that are clear cut in search for the perfect straight-grained wood used for chopsticks. A total of 3.8 million trees are produced annually in China for chopsticks. With recent tax hikes on Chinese chopsticks, the United States is now being targeted to become more open to disposable chopstick manufacturing.” 

By contributing towards this organization, more light can be shed on the beautiful and unique salamanders of the world, and we can clean up the Earth! So, let’s spread the word! Anyone up for some Asian food? 😀

Chopsticks For Salamanders Webpage