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Fur Donations from Around the World to Now Help Orphaned Baby Wildlife

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Today, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, announced the completion of the second annual Born Free USA Fur for the Animals campaign: a four-month donation drive that collected 392 fur items from around the world to distribute to U.S. wildlife rehabilitation centers, where they will be used to comfort orphaned and injured animals. This year, the organization not only received fur coats and fashion accessories, but also a variety of other objects including a mountain lion, bison, and zebra hide. The office now has more than 750 pounds of donations, estimated at $750,000, representing approximately 12,000 animals who died for these products.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation, “It is quite a dramatic statement by the public for us to receive nearly 400 donations — coats, hats, rugs, pillows, and toys — all made from animals who were killed for these products. People do not know what to do with these once they realize that fur is neither luxurious nor fashionable. Our solution is to put those furs to far better use comforting and providing warmth to wild animals in need, rather than perpetuating the image of a brutal industry. We thank everyone who was compassionate enough to donate their old garments to the Fur for the Animals drive this year.”

While the majority of donations were mink, rabbit, and fox, Fur for the Animals received several surprising, disturbing items. Among them: a child’s fur teddy bear, and hides from white-tailed deer, bison, and zebra. Most shocking is a tattered rug made from a trophy-hunted mountain lion, including the claws and head.

“When the box with the lion was opened in our office, we were all truly devastated. While the lion rug is too torn up to be of use to a wildlife rehabilitation center, Born Free USA hopes it will serve as a compelling reminder to all who see it that such ‘trophies’ are not glorious, not beautiful, and not a celebration of wild animals in any way,” Roberts explains.

Beginning next week, Born Free USA will send the donated fur to wildlife rehabilitation centers gearing up for the spring wildlife baby season. While most will be sent as they are for the rehabilitators to turn into the sizes they need to help their animals, some items have already been turned into blankets and pillows, thanks to the generous volunteers of Girl Scout Troop 5051 in Maryland. Earlier this month, the girls sewed, altered, and crafted several fur coats into smaller cushions and blankets specifically to comfort small, baby animals.

This spring and summer, Born Free USA will ship the items to the following campaign partners:

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Kendalia, Texas
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, Ramona, California
California Wildlife Center, Malibu, California
Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary, McCall, Idaho
Peace River Wildlife Center, Punta Gorda, Florida
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, Boyce, Virginia
Chintimini Wildlife Center, Corvallis, Oregon
Desert Rescue Animal Sanctuary, Las Vegas, Nevada
Additional wildlife rehabilitation partners are encouraged to participate. Contact info@bornfreeusa.org for more information.

Born Free USA commends the growing number of fashion retailers vowing to go fur-free. In July 2015, the luxury brand Hugo Boss announced it will remove real animal fur from its collections beginning with its Fall/Winter 2016 line. Hugo Boss is joining such brands as American Apparel, Esprit,H&M, Steve Madden, Marks & Spencer, and Topshop, among others, that have pledged to produce only fur free merchandise.

Born Free USA is a member of The Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of animal protection organizations working to bring an end to the exploitation and killing of animals for their fur. The Fur Free Alliance represents more than 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries and millions of supporters worldwide.

Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, andwww.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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