Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life…

A close friend of mine is going through a really tough time at the moment due to an out-of-the-blue, awful family breakdown. Seeing her so despondent has been hard, especially when I really think about the situation and realise that is does indeed seem pretty hopeless.  Following a week of high octane-emotion it all culminated last night when I started blubbing because some poor, confused shelf stacker told me the store would no longer be stocking Borax. Sadly my pregnant belly is not showing properly enough to be able to blame my crazy emotional state and I had to scuttle out of the store mumbling something about ‘family feuding’ and ‘DIY cleaning products’. Not the most positive state of mind.

So as of this morning I needed to remind myself that good can come from seemingly hopeless situations. It actually didn’t take long before I stumbled upon a whole load of green innovations and kind acts. I came to the conclusion that nothing is ever hopeless and I should stick my chin back up in the air. I am in a much better mood now – with or without my local supply of Borax. Take a stroll with me…

Christchurch Eco-Rebuilds

2011 has not been the best for our Kiwi counterparts. Christchurch was hit by a devastating earthquake in February that resulted in 185 deaths which was followed by a large and damaging aftershock in June. The Cashel Mall was destroyed in the earthquake which eliminated a cultural hub for citizens trying to rebuild their lives. As a temporary solution to try and stimulate tourism to the city – Re:START was born. Old shipping containers were employed to create a provisional shopping mall and inject a bit of life back into the city. While I am not into the needless consumerism that shopping malls inherently support I do agree with creating a colourful, vibrant zone for people to meet – especially when it’s made from recycled materials! I think it looks absolutely stunning. Wouldn’t it be great if more developments were made with these low-impact, reused materials? I hope it has lifted the spirits of everyone in Christchurch who are going through such a difficult time.

Learn more about Re:START here.

The Tide Turns For Australian Marine Life

On the 14 June 2012 a historic announcement was made – Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke proclaimed the world’s largest network of marine sanctuaries. HALLELUJAH! After constant stories of destruction and  corporate greed triumphing over the worlds prized habitats (and the amazing creatures that live within them) finally the environment has won out. That is worth celebrating I think. Read all about it here at the Save Our Marine Life webpage.

Laboratory Chimps See Sunlight For First Time

I am yet to watch this without crying. Ten chimpanzees that had been used for medical testing by a pharmaceutical company have been filmed in Austria being released from captivity and seeing sunlight for the first time. They hug each other, scream, jump about and are completely joyous. Most of them were born into captivity (some were kidnapped as babies and flown to Europe) where they were injected with the HIV virus to test for cures. Medical Testing on chimpanzees was outlawed in 1997 however this was after these poor souls had been purchased. An intense legal battle followed and then rehabilitation which brings us to the release video which was filmed in 2011. This gives me hope for the millions of animals that are currently being tested on (read more about Animal Testing here). Get your hanky ready…

Enslaved Elephants Given New Life

It breaks my heart when I see holiday snaps on Facebook of people riding the elephants in Thailand, especially when you notice the blood running down their scalps from the ‘Elephant Hooks’. These Hooks are used by the Mahouts (owners of the elephants) to ‘guide’ and discipline the elephants which are forced to ferry tourists around for pittance. It is barbaric and hard not to direct the anger at those that are inflicted the pain to the poor elephants. The Mahouts are not doing it for their own enjoyment: elephant owners struggle to make a living and therefore move their elephants to the city to support their families. This is where the Surin Project shines. They not only provide a sanctuary for these amazing creatures but also subsidise the Mahouts who can live within the sanctuary while they are educated about kinder ways to provide sustainable economic revenue.

If interacting with the native animals is part of your holiday ‘must’ list then please make sure you investigate what sort of industry you are supporting before adding to the vicious cycle. You can get up close and personal with these personable pachyderms by visiting the Surin Sanctuary or go one better and volunteer there. I will steal words from Ellie’s testimonial – “You will never forget the sensation of an elephants’ trunk in your hand”. To find out more about volunteering at Surin see this link.

If you would like to learn more about the Surin Project see this link.

These Pictures – Nuff Said

Last week Buzzfeed went viral with their slideshow of 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity. They kinda did.

Two Norwegian men rescue a sheep drowning off the coastline…

A firefighter rescuing a cat…

A man gives his shoes to a homeless girl in Rio de Janeiro…

A villager rescues kittens from a flood in Cuttack City, India;

And My Old Favorite 

In terms of seeing the good instead of the bad I can never go past Alice Herz Sommer: an 108 year old Holocaust survivor who also happens to be the worlds most positive person.