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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

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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