Saving African Elephants One Comic at a Time

Knowledge is power. With so much misinformation about endangered species it’s important for the world to understand the facts. Ivory Ghosts is an informational comic about the real issues behind the ivory trade. Although there is an international ban on ivory trade, poaching is still a crisis. Elephants continue to suffer horrendous fates as their populations dwindle.

Publisher Debbie Lynn Smith, along with writer Dr. Caitlin O’Connell, inker Laurie Foster, colorist Leizl Buenaventura, and letterer Saida Temofonte have all teamed up to create a work of art. Ivory Ghosts is the first comic book in a series that is not only mysterious and entertaining but also an excellent tool for educating people about what is currently happening in the illegal ivory trade.

Protagonist Catherine Sohon is tasked with conducting an elephant census in Caprivi Bushveld, Namibia. Soon she discovers that the threat to elephant lives is more complex than she could have imagined. Poachers, politics, and corruption all play a part in the declining population, while a quadruple homicide raises the stakes. The stunning artwork and breathtaking depictions will completely immerse you in the adventure.

Ivory Ghost is bringing awareness to real life issues. It is spreading knowledge of the illegal ivory trade in a unique and powerful way. You can truly feel the passion of the writer and the urgency of the situation as you page through and are transported to another world by the beautiful artwork. Ivory Ghosts is a must read for elephant lovers and conservationists everywhere. 

Pick up a copy HERE

 

Why Pets Can Reduce Entrepreneurs’ Stress & Anxiety

Pets are considered to be a man’s best friend. This statement is extremely true and can be proven through various facts. Take for example a person who comes back from a long day of work. The way that your pet greets you with enthusiasm actually does help to relieve most stress. This case is particularly true for hard-working entrepreneurs.

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an easy job. It requires a lot of blood, sweat and hard work. This is why a pet can play an important role in helping to relieve some of the stress as well as anxiety that many entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis.

Generally, there are other techniques such as yoga and meditation which do help in relieving stress from our day to day lives, but a pet is also a very effective solution. While our human friends do provide social support, our furry and feline friends can help us in regard to dealing with stress and anxiety.

Pets can play a big part in reliving  entrepreneurs’ health. Some of the major benefits of owning a pet in terms of reducing stress and anxiety include the following:

Improving Your Mood

One of the simple ways that your pet helps to relieve stress is because when you see your pet after a day’s work your mood automatically improves. It is actually more psychological and there are various studies which actually prove this point.

“When you see the happy look on your pet’s face it psychologically impacts your mind in such a way that you automatically become happy. Having a pet on the other side of your door can quickly aid a stressful day,” says Jake Braun of ChopperExchange.

There is a study which discovered that people suffering from aids actually suffered less from depression if they owned a pet. The mood improvement can be substantial.

Providing Unconditional Love

Another way that an entrepreneur’s pet can help reduce stress and anxiety is by showing their owner unconditional love. A pet can be there for you in any situation, at any time, which can be helpful in the event that one lives alone or doesn’t have a lot of friends.

“Pets are known to offer companionship and give unconditional love to their owners, which can help to change one’s mood almost instantly,” says Luqman Khan, founder of Wireloo. They are known to be excellent cuddlers as well, with research showing that a pet is the best anecdote to combat loneliness. Another study has shown that residents of nursing homes find it less lonely if there are pets present.

Pets Reduce Stress More Than People

Another way that your pet helps entrepreneurs is by reducing stress much more than people. Pets are good listeners, which might sound a bit ridiculous, but many experts say that talking to your pet is relaxing and can be more beneficial than speaking to a human.

Usually, entrepreneurs are busy in their day to day activities — seeking out someone to talk to isn’t always a top priority. This is where pets come into the picture. “Having a pet as your best friend can help reduce stress and anxiety, as you literally have a support system willing to listen at any given time,” explains Christopher VanDeCar, CEO of Optimally Organic. Sometimes just talking out what is frustrating you can help, even if you are speaking to your pet. Simply getting it off your chest helps.

Controls Blood Pressure Better than Drugs

An entrepreneur’s life, especially one that is just starting out, can be very hectic. The stress of work will often cause blood pressure to rise. This is where pets come into the picture. “There are scientific studies which actually prove that pets do help in controlling blood pressure and are a much better option than taking any kind of medication or drugs,” says Darryl Howard of Boca Raton Med Spa.

There might be drugs which actually help in reducing blood pressure, but they are not that effective when it comes to controlling spikes in the blood pressure due to tension and stress. There was a study conducted on people who owned pets and the ones who did not, and the study conclusively proved that people having a pet had lower heart rates and blood sugar than compared to the ones who did not have pets.

 

“Comfort Women” Dealt with a blow After South Korean Court Rejects Damages Suit

On Friday a South Korean Court threw out a damage suit that had been filed by the former women group that sought compensation of approximately $91,000 for each victim.

This followed a bilateral agreement between South Korean and the Japanese governments. The suit had been filed in 2016 at a Seoul District Court. The group was demanding compensation for what they termed as mental and financial damages that they had suffered as a result of the agreement between the two governments back in 2015.

The agreement which was lauded internationally was meant to officially and permanently resolve the issue of South Korean women that were forced to work in Japan’s military brothels during the war.

Despite rejecting the damages suit, the court acknowledged the fact that the agreement made in 2015 between South Korea and Japan was shallow and it did not address all the issues faced by the comfort women group. Nonetheless, the court defended the government saying that the entire agreement cannot be quashed because of the flaws that it exhibits. It said that the efforts made by the government were positive and that the two governments still had an opportunity to address the pressing issues that were pending.

“The ruling made by the District Court today has legitimized the 2015 agreement between South Korea and Japan despite the comfort women testimonies and we clearly understand why. We are definitely going to contest this decision in the court of appeal” said the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The women also criticized the decision by the District courts judged saying that it went against an earlier ruling in 2011 by South Korea’s constitutional court. The constitutional court had downplayed the 2015 agreement between South Korea and Japan declaring it unconstitutional since it did not resolve the major issues that the comfort women had raised. The Court in its decision said that the women victims had not been adequately compensated and that the Japanese government had not shown any tangible measures of doing so.

The agreement which was signed in 2015 and witnessed by foreign ministers from both Japan and South Korea had sought to mend relations between the two countries for the sake of social and economic cooperation in the region. Although there was some resistance especially among civil rights groups in South Korea, many people and leaders around the world lauded the agreement terming it as the beginning of a new chapter of peace in the region.

Under the 2015 deal, Japan apologized the suffering South Korean comfort women had undergone in the hands of its military and pledged to pay up to $8.8 million as compensation to a South Korean Foundation that supports the victims. This agreement had been reached out by the two governments with the aim of restoring good relationships between the two countries that had greatly deteriorated over the years. The Japanese government expressed remorse for the victims and said that it regrets the actions the South Korean women had undergone.

The agreement has however not been fully implemented due to partial opposition from the victims and a section of the South Korean public. The victims allege that the agreement signed in 2015 did not take into account their grievances and was rushed through by a few people.

The lawsuit had been filed by the comfort women with the support of a civil rights group that has been fighting for the rights of comfort women stories. The civil groups and Korean comfort women, however, say that the ruling made by the court has not dampened their spirits to pursue justice. However, the two governments are determined to bring lasting relations between South Korea and Japan.

Carbon Footprint – Try Simple Lifestyle Changes to Reduce it

Let’s face it – the planet earth is polluted to an extent that we consume a lot of harmful gases in our routine tasks. Not just air but water, as well as the environment, is highly polluted and we are not even realizing the aftermaths it will have on our health. When we talk about pollution, it would be unfair to not mention carbon footprint which is described as the total amount of greenhouse gases that we consume throughout the day during our ordinary activities. Some of you may not be aware of this term greenhouse gasses. Let’s discuss in detail what it is and how to reduce it.

What are Greenhouse Gases?

Greenhouse gases are gases are that are one of the main causes of warming the earth. These gases absorb infrared radiations and spread the heat to earth as well as the oceans. Environmentalists are also of the view that these gases are also contributing to global warming and the sudden transformations in the climate.

Which are Greenhouse Gases?

There are four chief greenhouse gases in the world. These are:

  • Methane (CH4)
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Fluorinated Gases
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

But these gases do not enter the earth naturally but we; humans, are responsible for it. Greenhouse gases enter our atmosphere in two major ways:

  • Burning gas, coal, and oil
  • Extensive use of synthetic fertilizers, fossil fuels, deforestation, wide industrial processing, and farming of certain types of livestock

Reducing carbon footprint may seem an impossible task but it is very easy and possible – courtesy of technological developments and growing awareness. If you want to live a healthy life, you should take all the steps to make sure that your lifestyle contributes to a healthy and prosperous life.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

There are numerous ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Here we have listed some of the most effective ones. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Upgrade Your Home Appliances

Home appliances, particularly of the old designs release some gases that contribute to the carbon footprint. However, technological advancements have allowed the manufacturers to develop appliances that are environmental friendly and does not release any harmful gases. Upgrading the appliances can be a great investment in both energy savings and preserving the nature. You can easily find appliances in the market that consume lesser energy and produce fewer emissions.

Get a Programmable Thermostat for Your Home

A thermostat is one of the unignorable necessities for any household. Especially if you are living in a country where the temperature changes frequently, it is a must-have for your home. However, thermostats which are mostly used in homes are not programmable. If you get a programmable thermostat for your home, you can easily save a lot of money from energy expenses and use it in other more productive ways.

Try to Use Public Transport

In a society that we live in, people have become status conscious and try to just win over others regardless of realizing that it can go against them as well. One of the major cases is the unnecessary use of private cars. According to environmentalists, if people start using public transport more, the global warming can be controlled as well as the carbon footprint can be reduced. The reason is that public transport causes the same level of emissions as a private car but it has the capacity to carry more people from one point to the other. By suggesting you use public transport, it is not intended to suggest to you that you should not use your car at all. Just try to use it when there is no other option. However, if you are not used to public transport, you can also change your car with another one that gives better fuel efficiency along with causing fewer emissions.

Start Recycling

Recycling leads to lesser waste that results in lesser greenhouse gases. There are a number of ways you can reduce your waste and two of the major ones are:

  • Using refillable water bottles
  • Switching to reusable shopping bags

These two small moves can prove to be an incredible step for the betterment of the planet. Statistics suggest that if these two wastes can be reduced by at least 20%, the global warming could be controlled to a great extent.

Choose a Better Mattress

You may be wondering how on earth a mattress can help reduce the carbon footprint but it is actually worth it. You see, most of the mattresses end up filling the landfills which are a great cause of pollution and other effects. However, if you choose the right mattress, not only will you be able to enjoy a comfortable sleep, but you will play your part in saving the planet earth for the generations to come. There are various mattresses available in the market that you can choose. Since you are up for some lifestyle changes, you should choose a memory foam mattress or a hybrid mattress. These two options are worth the money and come with a warranty as well.

Consume Less Electricity

Electricity is produced with natural resources like oil, gas, water, and air. Electricity produced using oil and gas contaminates the environment in a grand way because the emission of greenhouse gases is huge. By limiting the use of electricity, the overall consumption of electricity can be reduced. Since it will lead to lesser consumption, the production will also decrease.  

These are some very simple lifestyle changes that can bring harmony not just in your life, but the entire society. Being a human being, you should realize that your carbon footprint is not just harmful to you or your country, but the entire planet earth. Even if you want to migrate to some other place, you can never move to some other planet. Only we have the power to bring a positive change in our society. By incorporating these lifestyle changes in your life, you have a great chance of reducing your carbon footprint today.

Why Speech-Language Pathology Matters

Think about the kids you knew in elementary school who had a lisp or a stutter. Imagine how difficult life would be if you couldn’t accurately and effectively communicate due to a speaking disorder. Would you feel comfortable or capable dealing with those problems alone?

Stuttering and lisping are just two examples of common speech disorders. Speech disorders come from a person’s inability to produce sounds correctly or with fluency. And the problems can be even more complicated than that. A person can also suffer from communication disorders: receptive and expressive. A receptive communication disorder means the person is unable to accurately understand others, while an expressive communication disorder means they are unable to accurately express themselves. It must be a troublesome existence to be stuck in your own thoughts and ideas with no way to explain yourself. Fortunately, these difficulties can be remedied with the help of a speech-language pathologist.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a specialist who works with those who struggle with speech and articulation, communication disorders, and fluency. Sometimes known as a speech therapist, an SLP’s work also allows them to assist those who have difficulty feeding or swallowing. SLPs are educated with a master’s degree and licensed or certified to diagnose and treat a number of speech communication and swallowing disorders. They work with clients of any age who may be suffering for any number of reasons, including cerebral palsy, cleft palate, traumatic injury, and mental illness.

Salary and Career Opportunities

Because the money is generally good and the field is growing, speech therapy can be an attractive career choice. A certified speech-language pathologist can make upwards of $70,000 a year. One can choose a concentration under the umbrella of the field, narrowing the work down to specific types of disorders and complications. Speech therapists typically work in research, educational, or healthcare environments. Because a majority of clients tend to be in their youth, SLPs often work in school settings, but research shows that speech difficulties can increase with age, creating a bigger need for SLPs among the elderly as well. This means that the job prospects arguably look bright for future SLPs as the field grows with each passing year.

Positive Benefits

What’s more attractive than the blossoming career opportunities, however, is the fact that SLPs can have a significantly positive impact on society. The work they do fosters the notion that everyone should be able to communicate clearly, accurately, and effectively. This is central to creating a social environment where one person’s voice is equally as important as anyone else’s, regardless of gender, age, culture, race, sexuality, or disability. For young patients, learning how to use their voice can help them mature. Speech therapy teaches them to develop their opinions and share them with less fear and anxiety of how they will be received. This can foster a culture where difficult and opinionated conversations are not so uneasily had and are welcomed as a source of positive change and growth. For the elderly, it can mean making their experienced voices as sharp and resonant in the cultural climate as any young person’s. Instead of being overlooked for suffering a traumatic injury or invasive surgery, one can recover to communicate the way they once could, and perhaps even better than before. In these ways, it is possible for speech-language pathology to change the world, one voice at a time. The world could use prospective SLPs, who are interested in putting a life of service and speaking before anything else.

50 Tiny Powerful Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

  1. I am enough.
  2. I am not wrong or weak for feeling things deeply.
  3. I deserve to be happy.
  4. But that doesn’t mean I automatically deserve to have whatever I want, whenever I want.
  5. Tomorrow is always a new day.
  6. Everyone I know is a fully, three-dimensional person with feelings and insecurities and a life story that I haven’t heard – even if I don’t like them.
  7. I can do this.
  8. Bravery doesn’t usually come from feeling brave – it comes from doing something despite how afraid I feel.
  9. I cannot settle for mediocrity.
  10. The people I look up to didn’t get there by sitting on their asses.
  11. Sometimes a really tiny and simple thing can completely turn someone’s day around.
  12. Being in love will not always be easy and effortless.
  13. I am me, and that can be a lot of different things, and that’s wonderful.
  14. Being able to admit when I’m wrong is way more important than being right.
  15. Sometimes I will try stuff that I won’t be automatically good at. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to get better.
  16. It is okay, and even necessary, to walk away from people who hurt me.
  17. The online version of my life is not what gives me meaning.
  18. Even my ideal dream job is still going to be incredibly difficult, because anything worthwhile takes blood and sweat and tears.
  19. When I am going through heartbreak, it means I am experiencing one of the most universal feelings on the planet. I am not alone.
  20. Sometimes maintaining friendships in adulthood is hard and that’s okay, as long as I keep trying with the people who matter to me.
  21. The people who really love me are the ones who are telling me what I need to hear, even if I don’t want to hear it.
  22. It’s normal that sometimes I truly crave credit or validation or praise. It’s part of being human.
  23. I can be a different version of myself in front of different people, and it doesn’t make me any less authentic.
  24. This doesn’t have to be where I end up if I don’t want it to be that way.
  25. Sometimes, I’m just going to have a really rough day, or week, or year. But I will survive it. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
  26. My heart is fragile but my strength is unwavering.
  27. I’m allowed to leave a job I hate to find something better.
  28. No matter how careful I am, I’m going to make mistakes. What’s important is how I handle the aftermath.
  29. The times when I really don’t want to get out of bed are usually the moments when it is most crucial that I do so.
  30. Anxiety and depression and other mental health related struggles don’t make me weak. I just need to remember to be strong enough to ask for help.
  31. It’s important to tell the truth, especially to myself.
  32. Everybody is scared. I’m not the only one.
  33. Sometimes feeling lost is a good thing.
  34. Usually when I’m heavily judging someone, what I’m really doing is projecting something that I dislike within myself.
  35. Money can make things easier and less stressful, but it won’t make me happier or more fulfilled.
  36. I’m allowed to be proud of myself.
  37. I should never take advantage of the fact that my loved ones are only a phone call away.
  38. The only time procrastination feels good is in the moment.
  39. I can’t change the fact that my body will age, but I can control how I handle it.
  40. No matter how happy or put-together they seem, everyone is struggling with something, just like me.
  41. Regret is much scarier than failure.
  42. When I make others look good, I look good too. And it’s a much more joyful way to live.
  43. Admitting that I care about something is so much more fun than trying to play it cool.
  44. It’s important to be humble, but it’s also important to stand up for myself when I’m being treated unfairly.
  45. Just because someone is cold to me doesn’t mean I need to be cold back.
  46. There is no better quality than making others feel like, and understand that, they matter.
  47. Laughter should always be a high priority.
  48. Being warm to others can take me so incredibly far.
  49. I am here to do something.
  50. Looking for ways to feel grateful for things, instead of frustrated over them, can drastically change the way I look at the world and the way I feel about my life.

Inspired by 300+ Top Inspirational Quotes & Quote Pictures | Quote Catalog

Ivory Ghosts: A Comic that Tackles the Illegal Ivory Trade

Catherine Sohon, a pilot from the wildlife investigation agency, stumbles upon a brutal crime scene at the beginning of the comic. Soon she meets Jon Bagg, a scruffy man with a rough attitude. She brings up her concerns with elephant poachers, explaining that the population needs protection, if not, elephants will be gone forever. Jon dismisses Catherine’s concerns and the struggle to expose the poachers begins.

Ivory Ghosts uses vivid and detailed artwork to tell its story. The murder mystery is compelling; while the fight to preserve elephants is enlightening. The issue of ivory trade is a real-world problem, despite the international ban on commercial trade. Ivory Ghost is an excellent tool to educate people about the ivory trade and spread the word about depleting elephant populations.

Ivory Ghosts is written by Dr. Caitlin O’Connell, who is a Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and a world-renowned expert on elephants and vibrotactile sensitivity. She is a real hero in the fight against the illegal ivory trade, which makes this comic so much more gripping. She also authored a novel of the same name, which the comic is based on.

This comic is a must read for animal lovers, activists, and graphic artist fans. The first issue is intriguing, fast pace, and exciting. Overall a very well-done comic that will leave you in anticipation for the next issue.

Ivory Ghost:

Written by: Caitlin O’Connell

Pencils by: Debora Carita

Inked by: Laurie Foster

Color by: Liezl Buenaventura

Lettering by: Saida Tempfonte

Cover by: Debora Carita

Art Director: Paul Daughetee

Publisher: D. Lynn Smith, Kymera Press. Kymera Press is a comic book publishing company that supports women in comics.

Mars Petcare and American Humane Debut Service Canine Training Videos

The American Humane, a nationwide humane organization that has been supporting the U.S. military in excess of a century, and Mars Petcare, a dog diet and healthcare business, have became a member of forces to create two free service canine training videos made to help train business and retail employees to higher accommodate veterans along with other patrons who’ve service dogs.

Market research conducted by American Humane suggests workers are ill-informed and unprepared to support the initial requirements of customers with service dogs. Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) of retail employees stated they never received training using their employer around the questions they’re legally permitted to inquire about people to verify a pet is really a service dog.

These new video tutorials provide useful information and guidance about how exactly employees can correctly and legitimately attend customers with service dogs in compliance using the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and can include business proprietor and veteran testimonials. The downloadable videos can be found free.

In 2016 Mars Petcare and also the Schultz Family Foundation, amongst others, helped fund an attempt brought by American Humane and leaders within the veteran, service dog, veterinary, hotel and transportation fields to produce the very first national training standards for service dogs. These now-complete national standards are now being employed to better serve veterans grappling with publish-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), along with a new national registry has been designed to help verify legitimate service creatures inside a pilot program by American Humane and also the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO).

“Trying to create national standards for service dogs is only the oncoming of our critical partnership to aid veterans yet others who depend on their own help,” stated Jam Stewart, v.p., corporate matters at Mars Petcare, that has headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. “Our Better Metropolitan areas for Pets program concentrates on developing a world where pets are welcome across our communities, and with regards to service dogs, that mission is much more critical than ever before.