A Georgian-age 9-Challenges State: Save Turtles From Deadly Balloons

Activist, author, and $1,000 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship winner, Cameron (Amie) Koporc has done more for sea turtles than most people think of doing in half a lifetime. Now she’s started a petition at Change.org to get legislators to make Georgia the 7th state to protect wildlife and reduce pollution by outlawing mass balloon releases.

Balloons and ribbons--beautiful killers.

Balloons and ribbons–beautiful killers.

A former resident of Florida, now living in the Atlanta Georgia suburb of Roswell, Amie’s learned a lot about sea turtles since her family adopted a sea turtle nest in her name as a 7th birthday present. She recently told the Roswell Neighbor news journal, “When I grow up I want to work in a rescue center for ocean animals. I just hope it isn’t too late by then.” So do I, but she’s working hard to make sure turtles and other animals remain part of the planet’s ecosystems forever.

This Blaire Wirthington photo on my website page Threats to Sea Turtles illustrates what can happen when a balloon ends up at sea. This little Kemp’s ridley was lucky someone spotted him. The ribbon or string can be as deadly as the balloons.

Kemp's ridley juvenile from 65 NM west of Sarasota FL. The turtle had ingested the latex end of a toy balloon.

Ribbon trail of the balloon swallowed by a Kemp’s ridley juvenile off the Sarasota, FL coast. Photo: Blair Wirthington
photo, Blair Witherington (http://myd.as/p6429)

While Amie’s petition is directed at influencing Georgia politicians, sea turtles, birds, and people everywhere are impacted by balloon trash. All states should get the message, so each one added works to tip permanent change in the right direction. As of this writing, Amie has upped her signature goal to 2500 and is 408 signatures shy. Help by adding yours.

Still think balloons are harmless? Take a look at Balloons Blow’s photo gallery of what can happen when balloons are enjoyed without thought to what happens when they come down, pop, and no longer fun. Take a minute to look at all these ideas for celebrating, memorializing, and getting attention WITHOUT balloons. Most add to the planet or the animals and people on it, they don’t just decorate. This “follow me” balloon was left behind in my neighborhood today after a weekend open house.
open house balloon left behind
Thanks to Amie and her family for all they are doing to take a stand for sea turtles and the planet! I hope to find her book Juno’s Journey in print someday!
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Elizabeth’s Landing-Nook e-book!

FOR AGES 11 TO THE AGELESS

It’s true! It’s a miracle! Okay, that’s overstating it, but how it feels after six years. An e-book version of Elizabeth’s story is available through Barnes and Noble’s Nook site. If you don’t have a Nook device, don’t worry, you can download the app for free and read on your computer or other mobile devices. Go to B&N’s Mobile Apps webpage to sign in, sign up, and connect to the right download.

If you’re the something soft and flexible, tree-based-book type person, the Print-on-Demand version will be out by June through Amazon. A Kindle version will go up about the same time, maybe sooner if I’m successful formatting it myself, as I did the Nook. Watch my Facebook Author site, Follow me here, or leave your e-mail on the Contact Me page above for updates.

PLEASE, once you’ve finished the book, leave feedback and ratings at these sites, Goodreads, Facebook it, blog it, etc., because…

single turtle fleuronA portion of all my book sale profits support worldwide sea turtle conservation and education programs. B&N has e-book gift cards. Bookstores do, too. I’m just sayin’ . . .  shrimp fleuron

Gull patrol

MENDO LAUNCH

Flags are flying–get out your calendar. The revised book launch date at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, CA. is June 30th, 6:30 p.m. Tux, tails, and formals optional, but my tiara’s getting steam-blasted and the side seams of my Senior Prom dress are sprung WAY out for the event.

I’m working on Grandma Linnie to do some of the catering.975 Apple, pear, blberry pie 2010_edited-1

Deepest thanks to everyone who has given writing help, an ear to moments of pain and joy, celebrations at key steps, and for believing all these years I really was writing a novel.

Photo by Katy PyeIndie publishers and indie bookstores are trying hard to work together so each can survive and grow. I’m publishing with the “big houses” (interpret at will) because it is the most direct, profitable way for me to get books into readers’ hands. Please support your local, or any independent bookstore, and encourage them to carry books you want to read. I’m working to collaborate with them, too.

Book Blurb

Port Winston—home to sun, sand, and shopping. What’s not to like? Everything, to 14 year-old Elizabeth Barker, uprooted mid-school year to the Texas coast. When Grandpa, with more judgments than the Old Testament, pronounces her 10¢ shy of worthless and headed for trouble, Elizabeth bolts for Wayward Landing beach—the county’s last wild haven.

A chance encounter with an endangered, nesting sea turtle ignites new purpose, friendships, and trouble even Grandpa couldn’t predict. Her fight to save the Landing unearths complex family ties to the powerful developer and catapults her against those she loves. When the Deepwater Horizon oil slick threatens the turtles’ Louisiana feeding grounds, Elizabeth’s journalist mom hits the front lines. And Elizabeth’s fears and plans hit overdrive.

Elizabeth’s Landing, a compelling environmental and family saga, bridges risk and loss to hope and hearts —human to human, human to animal, human to world.

single turtle flip fleuron

Ages 10 and up.

P.S. Turtle nesting season has begun along the Gulf coast. Info under Elizabeth’s Sea Turtles tells you the best places to visit to see turtles or hatchling releases. Donations are always welcome.

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.