World Turtle Day: Interview With a Real Teenage Ninja Turtle Rescue Dude

American Tortoise Rescue created World Turtle Day fourteen years ago to heighten public awareness of tortoises and turtles and their habitats around the world.

Celebrating turtles is always fun and exciting, but today I have particular cause to cheer. This blog post is my first (and very special) guest interview. 

Gordy is a turtle and tortoise rescue champion. When his mom, Bronwen, wrote to tell me he was reading my novel, Elizabeth’s Landing, she mentioned he had saved a turtle and a tortoise. I had to know more about that! And Gordy. He agreed to share his story. It was so inspiring, I wanted to share it with you.

Gordy 1

 

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At Squidoo: “Kids Who Make A Difference”

A friend and I talked recently about her 10 year-old daughter’s struggle to find an interest for her spare time. When mom said her daughter knows how to knit, an idea from the paper popped in my head. GermanBoyGirlKnitB

A local animal shelter advertised for recycled, clean dog blankets and jackets to help low-income pet owners keep their animals warm through the winter. Knitters stepped forward with yarn and finished sweater projects to help out.

Maybe the idea caught the girl’s attention, maybe not, but there’s always something to do. Sometimes, the hardest thing is knowing where to start?

Canadian blogger, Maria aka, “Poutine,” created an inspiring “Lens” on Squidoo all about young people making a difference. She’s gathered stories about kids and teens who have created cool and inspiring ways to give back, right the wrongs, ease another’s pain. Some are gentle souls, quietly doing what needs to be done. Some are mighty warriors, making big noises over big issues. Most don’t stand in the media spotlight, but all resonate in the hearts of those they touch.

The site has a list of idea books. Choose one idea or combine several. Or just drink in the power of inspiration and create your own, original project. UPDATE: 11-30-13, Maria’s Squidoo page link is no longer live. Sorry! An alternative book I recommend is Do Something: A Handbook for Young Activists by Nancy Lublin. A terrific step-by-step guide for kids (and adults!) to figure out their true passions and interests, then build them into action plans for giving, action, and caring.

Squidoo was co-founded by Corey Brown, Megan Casey, Seth Godin, and Gil Hildebrand as a “publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create ‘lenses’ online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest–and snap it all into focus. Like the lens of a camera, your perspective on something.”

Check out Squidoo’s set of lenses focused at non-profits where you can collect royalties for your favs.

Update from Comments:

Woodlands Wildlife uses 100% of your donations to support the animals and birds it rescues.P.O. Box 1336 Mendocino, CA 95460

Visit Mendocino Yarn Shop and pick up the bird nest knitting or crochet pattern.

Peace, do what you can, and have fun.

Find the critter

Can you find the wildlife in this photo? photo by Katy Pye

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Kids Fight for Atmosphere as a “Public Trust”

“THE STATE HAS A SOVEREIGN OBLIGATION OVER ALL EARTH AND AIR WITHIN ITS DOMAIN.”    U.S. Supreme Court 1907

Creative Commons photo Rachel CarsonIn 1962, when Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published, I was eleven, the same age as Jamie-Lynn Butler now. I was thirteen, like Glori Die Filippone, when Ms. Carson lost her fight with cancer. As a kid, the “environment” was school, summer camp, or my room. The only battle lines I drew were those separating my parents from me. It took more than a decade before I got that “the environment” wasn’t about my tiny world view. But recalling my youthful ignorance or feeling badly when I slack off recycling are empty gestures.

CC Scales_of_justice

Seventeen year-old iMatter Movement founder, Alec Loorz, and the other young people at the core of the Our Children’s Trust lawsuit against the federal government and 49 states, have taken charge and inspire awe. They’re not phrase-makers.

Trust litigant Nelson Kanuk watches winter come later every year, threatening his family’s subsistence-based life in Alaska. Twenty-three year-old Montana farmer, John Thiebes, risks his economic future, making his farm a climate-friendly guinea pig. “Climate change,” he says, “is the defining issue of my generation and the generations to follow.”

Alec created the iMatter Movement because he saw what we are doing to counteract climate change isn’t big enough or fast enough. What’s needed is a politically and legally solid engine to drive change. Through the “Trust” lawsuit these powerful young souls face a fight for the environment much bigger than the earlier ones of my generation. I’m ashamed, after such a good start in the 1970s with the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and other regulations, we let so much progress on the side of the environment slide under the corporate and individual “can’t live without it” bus. As 65 year-old Huffington Post energy and climate policy contributor, William S. Becker, (“Children v. Dirty Business,”) put it:

I must admit some embarrassment that our children now feel obligated to face off against the giants of industry and government and all their lawyers. These kids are stepping in where their elders in Washington and the international community have feared to tread.

Global fossil carbon emissions 1800–2007

Global fossil carbon emissions 1800–2007

The aim of the lawsuit is simple — our federal and state governments have a mandated responsibility to protect the environment. The suit asks for a comprehensive plan to tackle climate change. Planning. We do it all the time. The atmosphere, the kids claim, like the water we drink and air we breathe, is a “public trust” that belongs to everyone. What a thought. 

What’s Next? Who’s Playing?

In March this year, under District Court approval, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM, “one of the largest fossil fuel lobbying groups in the country”) and five other industry groups joined federal lawyers, asking the kid’s case be thrown out. Most states are following that lead. NAM’s lawyers argue industry has a legal interest (translate, a right) to “freely emit CO2” and that limiting greenhouse gasses would “limit or eliminate their businesses.” May 11th, 2012 a judge will side one way or the other. The efforts of these brave young people will either suffocate in a Washington, D.C. courtroom or breathe the fresh air of hope. 

We can’t vote. We can’t afford lobbyists. We can only trust that our leaders will make good decisions on our behalf.  But when they make decisions like favoring oil company profits over our safety, then we need to hold them accountable. — Alec Loorz
CC troubled nature phase II

Troubled Nature, Phase II

Go here to watch five short and moving videos of the Trust kids mentioned in the article. Five more will be posted at that site, one a month.

And here to learn more about the movement, the lawsuit, donate, or sign a petition to the Obama administration.

Elizabeth, meet Winter.

On Earth Day, or any day, no story captures better the lows and highs of putting yourself out there to make a difference. Click the title below to read about Winter.

Winter Slade, 7-Year-Old, Raises Thousands For Wildlife Preservation After Being Told Her Idea Was ‘Stupid’

Newfoundland Pine Marten

Newfoundland Pine Marten-threatened…
photo: Earth Rangers and the Nature Conservancy of Canada

Way back in the early 1990s, my daughter Erin was a little older than Winter when she started a local chapter of “Kid’s for Saving Earth,” then sponsored by Target Stores. I remember how excited she was rounding up her friends for their first meeting. They wrote letters to President Clinton about saving elephants, learned about garbage during a  “dump” visit, and how to cook in a solar oven from an ex-Peace Corps friend of mine.

Luckily, no one called these kids stupid. Winter’s passion for the Pine Martens and what her mom, Michelle, did to turn hurt into action will stick with Winter longer than the ignorance of a few adults. This young girl is going places! The Pine Martens even sent her a thank you!

Kemp's ridley by Katy Pye 2010

Kemp’s ridley hatchling
Photo: Katy Pye 2010

This post is the official launch of the website and blog supporting my young adult novel, Elizabeth’s Landing. The main character Elizabeth, like Winter, finds a creature, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, that snags her heart, big time. Also, like Winter, Elizabeth and her ideas to help save the turtles don’t always get the support she expects.

The site has lots of information (and links) about the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, who they are, where they travel, what they struggle against, and the folks working to save them from extinction. Kids are revved up and involved in all sorts of ways. I’ll be posting their photos and stories. I’ll also post about kids making a difference in the lives of other critters, places, and people. If you come across a story that moved you to act, pass it along. If you’re a kid or young adult working for positive change in the world, drop a note in the comment box and tell us what you’re up to.

So, brava, Winter! Brava, and all the best, Michelle, in your fight with cancer. Thank you for caring and acting.

Peace.

Elizabeth’s Landing is on the Internet highway hunting up an agent. You’ll find more about the book on the Home page.

Thanks to my husband, Robert for telling me about Winter’s story on Earth Day.