4 Reasons Why You Should Be Kind To Elephants

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Kind To Elephants

I speak for the Elephants.

Recently, President Donald Trump signed an act that has legalized the previous ban on the trade of elephant trophies. This action is detrimental to the already decreasing elephant population in Africa and will without a doubt bring the species one step closer to extinction. This article points out 4 factual reasons why you should stand up for elephants and stand against the hazardous decision that will most likely determine the species' fate.

1. Ivory has no real value.

Ivory is made of the same compound that human teeth is composed of. The only difference is the tusks of elephants are large enough to carve from. The value we have placed on it is completely manmade. We might as well save our baby teeth and make trinkets out of them.

2. All of this, for a trinket.

The main reason Ivory is desired is to manufacture goods like trinkets, utensils, jewelry and religious figures. An entire species is going to go extinct for commonplace objects that could easily be made out of something else. Save an elephant, desire marble and jewels instead.

3. Every hour, 5 elephants are killed.

Just last year alone, 35,000 members of the species were slaughtered. A detrimental number to an already small population. They don’t even stand a chance.

4. We have been here before.

Subspecies have already gone extinct, like the North African Elephant, and there is no doubt that history will continue to repeat itself. History always repeats itself.

But just as humans are the reason we have gotten into this mess in the first place, we are the only ones who can turn it around. If you feel compassionate about this horrible decision, there is a few things you can do to stand up against President Trump. The first step you can take is signing Humane Society of The Unites States of America’s petition. You can also donate to organizations that are trying their very best to reverse these actions, like the The American Wildlife Foundation or The Word Wildlife Fund. But above all else, the best thing you can do in these situations is keep yourself educated. Continue to seek out information that explains why all these governmental changes are harmful. Stay on top of current events. Keep reading. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Speak for the Trees.

Speak for Elephants.

Speak for the Planet.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Dear Flamingos,

A lifetime achievement award for the legendary birds.

Dearest Flamingos,

You’re so good at what you do. Ya know, Flamingo-ing, and I feel like we all need to take a moment to appreciate you. Think of this as your lifetime achievement award that you’ll never see because of your one flaw. You can’t read. It’s okay though, I’m always told it’s the thought that counts.

First of all, your aesthetic is on point. Your Instagram theme would obviously be pink with tropical backdrops and honestly just name a more iconic duo.

When you touch beaks with a friend or a mate (I don’t want to assume anything about your love lives), it forms a perfect heart. I just think that’s so special.

You’re the original yoga master, achieving infinite balance in your life. I wish I could balance my classes, social life, and make time for self-care just how you manage to balance.

I wish I too, could eat enough shrimp to turn bright pink.

Your baby flamingos look Fashion Week ready. Especially if the category is fluffy and adorable.

For some reason, one of you legends strutted around in little booties and I just really support that flamingo. Sometimes you have to strut your custom-made booties and make all the heads turn.

You guys are squad goals. What's your squad called? Flamboyance. That's actually the best thing I've ever heard. You’re so in sync, but like, I’m sure you think for yourself too and don’t get so caught up in that group mind thing. Or is there a flamingo cult? Is this a sensitive topic? Okay, I’ll shut up.

What I thought were your knees have been your ankles this whole time. Why did no one tell me? This changes everything!

Overall, you're just incredibly interesting. Thank you for existing, though I know somehow evolution made you possible (we won't go into that here, because I don't want to think about science). You keep strutting in your flamboyance (squad name goals) and continue to make the world proud.


Someone Who Just Spent Three Hours Watching Flamingo Videos.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Am A Human First, Journalist Second

Journalists are often faced with whether to tell a story or become a part of it.

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I recently saw a reactionary article posted by National Geographic. It was in response to a video posted in early December of last year chronicling a starving polar bear searching for food on iceless land. Amid much public outcries of dismay, the recently published article recounted what the photojournalists would've done differently, looking back now. That begged the question of the role that photojournalists play in telling a story. Or, rather, their roles in changing the ending of a story.

For this piece, I was originally going to compare several photographs including The Terror of War, The Face of AIDS, and Alan Kurdi. These photos gripped the world in their intensity, poignancy, and raw, unadulterated emotion. That being said, however, they all differed from the video of the starving polar bear. These photographs documented horrific, heart-wrenching moments over which the photographer had no control. They could not prevent the napalm burns on an unclothed child, nor could they stop the progression of a then fatal disease, or resuscitate a drowned infant. The world spins onward. Journalists do not pick up the broken pieces and rarely can prevent the fractures of a shattering world around them. Rather, they document the messes that have been made.

However, there is one photograph known the world over that can be appropriately compared to the video of the emaciated polar bear. It is a textbook example of ethicality in photojournalism and the responsibility that befalls any person who documents some of the most horrific moments of an individual's life. Shown below, the image is entitled "Starving Child and Vulture."

Captured in 1993 by photographer Kevin Carter, the image depicts a Sudanese child who had collapsed on his way to a feeding center, with a plump vulture lingering nearby. Carter and a band of photographers, collectively known as the Bang-Bang Club, had all been tasked with documenting apartheid in South Africa and instructed not to touch any of the victims because of disease. So, instead of helping the slumped toddler, Carter waited for 20 minutes in hopes of capturing a better shot before chasing the vulture away. He then reportedly watched the child walk away, smoked a cigarette, wept, and prayed.

The New York Times ran the photograph, which won Carter a Pulitzer. Amid criticisms at his selfishness in not lending aid to the child, Carter died by suicide in 1994. In his suicide note, he wrote, “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain.”

In Journalism 1001 at the University of Minnesota, it is drilled into the heads of aspiring journalists to be objective when possible: we are to tell the story, not become a part of it. But, complete objectivity is an unachievable ambition. It is of the utmost importance for consumers of media to realize that journalists are not superheroes -- capes often get in the way of the cameras and equipment that photojournalists require. We are storytellers, not knights in shining armor. Unfortunately, not every story can have a happy ending. The videographers who captured the starved polar bear had no food to lend; and any food they did have would have only prolonged the horrid inevitability of fate. We must not hold photojournalists to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. Humans are only humans, and, as such, will make mistakes and regret inaction. It is a sad inevitability of life. In a world of black and white, where one color represents goodness and the other evil, we are destined to experience every hue of grey.

That being said, however, we are humans first and journalists second. One of the pinnacles of Journalism Ethics, as pointed out by the SPJ, is to minimize harm. That means that we feed the child in front of us. We hug those in need of a friendly gesture. We show humanity, the kind our photographs can often look devoid of. There is no narrative on this planet free of bias; that being said, let that bias be one of love and compassion for all that inhabit our world. When we look back in retrospect, we want it to be a fond memory, not a stinging regret. To tell a story is an act of valor, but to intervene is an act of heart. We must realize that a picture is worth a thousand words, but an act of kindness is worth ten thousand more.

Cover Image Credit: Nat Geo

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