Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Earth Day 2022

Drawing of the globe, with the words (clockwise from lower left)"" Make Every Earth Day Save Our Planet April 22".l,
It's that time again - Earth Day. This year it's on Friday, April 22, 2022. In years past,  ARBICO has chosen to mark Earth Day by selecting a worthy local non-profit to support. Traditionally, they have been agencies that are working to protect the environment and/or offer help to people in our community. This year, however, we are doing something different. In light of what’s happening in Ukraine, we would like to turn the spotlight on people that are doing exceptional work in unbelievably awful conditions there. Specifically, those that are struggling to help to Ukraine's animals. After all, what better way to honor our Earth than to care for the living creatures that call it home?

A family of a grandmother, mother and 2 children huddled together holding their cat
Some of the most striking images of Ukrainian refugees have been those of people with their pets (see some of them here). In our modern world of non-stop images and soundbites, it can be easy to become desensitized to the cruelty of war but when you see someone fleeing with a beloved pet the scene suddenly becomes relatable. We can see ourselves and our pets in them and the abstract of war begins to look like something familiar. What this invasion has shown us is that war can happen to a modern 21st democracy much like our own.

Close-up of a dog with a piece of debris impaled through its face.
The plight of animals in a war zone is not just heart-breaking and deeply sad, the violence puts aid workers in constant risk. Thankfully, there are many brave souls who are not deterred and are going over and above to save animals in ways big and small. We encourage everyone to support the International Fund for Animals in their work in Ukraine. They have been working on the ground in Ukraine since the Russian invasion of 2014 and currently have a  Disaster Response Team on the Ukrainian-Polish border. They aid refugees and their pets, source supplies for animal shelters, facilitate animal rescues from zoos and wildlife parks when possible, and so much more. One entity the Disaster Response Team  granted money and supplies to is the Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center at the Ukrainian Independent Ecology in Kharkiv. For 20 years the dedicated researchers there have been studying the local bat population; but during this war-
A big-eyed dog wearing a blue muzzle at the train station in Lyviv, Ukraine
torn spring, as the shelling increased around them, the conservationists were forced to leave their hibernating bats behind in bat-boxes. Amazingly, when the team was able to make it back to check on them, the furry little mammals had remained largely untouched by the war around them. Here’s their account of war-time bat conservation and the happy but harrowing ending to this chapter. For more links to what more emergencies that IFAW is responding to, check out the links on this page.

Alexandra Levitska, who operates 3 farm animal sanctuaries, surrounded by cows.
The bravery and commitment to animals that rescuers and caregivers have shown is astounding. Here is a video of a volunteer rescuing kangaroos and tapirs. This video is a plea from a small shelter. 

Although we are looking outside our community this year, we want to reinforce our admiration and gratitude to those agencies we have donated to on past Earth Days. Their work and the needs they address are as important now as they’ve ever been: Center for Biological Diversity, Desert Survivors, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the Sonoran Institute.

Submitted by Pam

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