Tomorrow is April 22—and millions of people worldwide will come together to celebrate Earth Day, the annual event born in 1970 to highlight support for important environmental causes. Will you be celebrating? You can do a Google search to find local Earth Day events near you, or even search this map on the official Earth Day website for ideas.
Since we share our planet with animals, I’m going to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow by spreading happiness to animals. How am I going to accomplish that, you may ask? Here are 10 fun ways:
I love the holiday season; it’s one of my favorite times of year. If you’re still shopping for the perfect gift for your animal-loving friends and family (as I am), check out my best picks for any budget:
1. An artful animal pillow to dress their living room or bedroom ($30; order by December 10).
Just when I think I’ve run out of inspiring reading material, a whole new slew of authors comes out with important works of nonfiction I can’t wait to read. Here are a few new releases for animal lovers worth that coveted spot on your nightstand:
1. Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove
In this New York Times bestseller, former orca trainer and one of the stars of Blackfish John Hargrove reveals his journey from fulfilling a childhood dream of working at SeaWorld to realizing his life’s work was morally and ethically irresponsible. The book details the lives of cetaceans held captive at SeaWorld and lays out his reasoning for why it’s time we stop treating orcas like circus animals.
My dearest dog lovers, are you looking for something special to read this weekend? Curl up with one (or all) of these truly inspirational books about canine rescue …
Dog Is My Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door by Patrick Regan: Learn the heartwarming stories behind 24 real-life rescue missions facilitated through Pilots N Paws, a wonderful organization that pairs death-row dogs (and sometimes cats) with aviators willing to fly the animals thousands of miles to their new home, shelter or foster situation. Also included: more than 100 color photos of the pilots with these special canines in flight. $12.70 at Barnes & Noble
The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant: This well-researched book is for pit bull lovers especially. Though it’s difficult at times to read about the investigation surrounding Vick’s dog-fighting ring, learning the stories of these beautiful dogs—and the heroic men and women who helped to rescue and rehabilitate them and reshape the public’s perceptions of pit bulls—reminds us that even in darkness, there is hope in humanity. $12.08 at Amazon
DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Redemption by Stefan Bechtal: You may remember the National Geographic Channel’s show DogTown, filmed at Best Friends Animal Society a few years ago. (Loved it!) This book, a “companion to the hit” show, highlights the stories of 12 sweet dogs at DogTown and their journeys from rescue through rehabilitation. Though sad at times (some of the so-called “unadoptables” came from terrible situations, such as war zones and puppy mills to dog-fighting rings and hoarding situations), thanks to the dedication of the team at Best Friends, these stories reveal dogs now living happier lives. $11.69 at Amazon
Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills by Carol Bradley: In case you’re still not convinced that animals for sale at pet stores should be outlawed, read this. In this book, author Bradley, a newspaper reporter, follows the raid of a horrific puppy mill in Pennsylvania and the subsequent difficulties in making legislative changes (though progress has been made). But this story isn’t just about an adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being rescued; you will see how she rescued her human as well. $13.09 at Amazon
Rescue Ink: Tough Guys on a Mission to Keep Our Animals Safe by Rescue Ink and Denise Flaim: The tough, tattooed bikers behind Rescue Ink are awesome! As revealed in this book, the guys at this Long Island, New York, animal rescue do whatever necessary (“within the means of the law”) to save the lives of all kinds of animals. Included are heartwarming rescue tales of abused and neglected animals, as well as a look at what inspired the various Rescue Ink members to follow this path. Like DogTown above, Rescue Ink is also a companion to a National Geographic Channel show. $13.26 at Amazon
What are your favorite inspirational books for dog lovers?
Friends, what are you up to this weekend? I am excited to be teaching a Reiki III class at Brighthaven over the next three days. As I prepare for my class, here are five things I’m feeling grateful for today …
1. Have you tried meditation? I meditate every single day and feel I would be lost without it. I’ve found that meditation helps me feel centered, connected and energized, not just in business but also with my family. And I’m not the only one: Apparently Jerry Seinfeld swears by twice-daily meditation, and even executives and tech entrepreneurs are starting to turn to meditation to boost their careers, packing increasingly popular meditation classes and conducting “mindful networking.” For some extra inspiration in your meditation practice, here are some helpful apps for meditation and mindfulness.
2. Art that honors animals: If you are lucky enough to live in London, the Here Today … exhibition at The Sorting Office is a must-see. The exhibition, which runs until December 17, explores eight different “chapters” related to environmental challenges, including “Human Footprint,” “Climate Change and Loss of Habitat” and “The Hunted.” Chapter 1 features a stunning series by Andy Warhol called Endangered Species, which he created in 1983 to highlight the plight of endangered animals.
Pop art butterflies
3. The backyard birds that tough it out through even the coldest of winters. But if you have a feeder, do you know the most nutritious seed to feed them? (Hint: It’s not the cheap bag of “filler seeds” you commonly find at the store.)
4. Innovators who rethink mundane objects in life-changing ways. I never even thought about this before, but imagine an eco-friendly alternative to the tea kettle that saves energy and doesn’t waste water! As designer and sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu pointed out in her 2013 TED talk, most people (65 percent of Brits surveyed) boil more water than needed in their teakettles. That wasted energy could literally light the streetlights of England for a night, Acaroglu says. The Miito rectifies that problem and just might replace the kettle someday.
5. The stack of books at my bedside that I can’t wait to read. I just finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants (loved it!). Next on my list: Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart by Lisa Rogak. Here’s a cool list of 11 other cozy winter reads.