Weekend To-Do-Good List – 6/22/13

I’m a huge fan of To-Do lists. Sticky notes are my best friend. This is an aerial view of my desk at this very moment (3pm, 6-21-13).There IS an order, though you might not see it.

There IS an order, though you might not see it.

About half of those are probably some version of a to-do list.

And so it is with great solemnity and in deep reverence for The List that I share with you a list designed especially for YOU. It’s not just any old “To-Do” list though…it’s a To-Do-GOOD list. So in the midst of the leisure and labor that I’m sure will be part of your weekend, make some time for the giving back that we always want to do but have a hard time finding time for in our busy schedules.

I’ll make it very easy for you. Just click on the links or pictures below to do a small good deed. If you have a campaign, organization, petition, or gathering that you arepart of, that is doing good for the world, and that you would like to share with your fellow readers, feel free to provide a link in the comment section!

Without further ado…… ladies and gentlemen, your weekend To-Do-Good list!

1. Orangutans  

As most of you probably know, the Palm Oil industry is swiftly decimating the wild orangutan populations by destroying their ecosystems. Here are some ways to help:

Sign this petition!


Take this pledge to reduce purchasing products with Palm Oil!



2. Veterans

We continue to hear about the social and financial struggles that our veterans face. While I bite my lip and keep this apolitical, I invite you to take these steps to support The Mission Continues…an organization that is thinking outside the box and getting real results in their work with veterans.


Find out about The Mission Continues from the founder himself HERE.

Visit their website and consider donating to their cause HERE.

3. Healthy Eating

You know that you’ve been meaning to change your diet! You want to eat less meat, drink less soda, try more organic…maybe even dip your toe into the raw food world. You can do it! Challenge yourself to try removing one bad thing from your diet or adding one good thing. Maybe just for one day a week. Find something doable and go for it! Here are some helpful sources to motivate you….

14 Things You Really Don’t Want To Know About Your Groceries

PETA’s Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit

Find a farmers market near you with Localharvest.org.

Find vegetarian, vegan, and veg-friendly restaurants and stores near you with HappyCow! They have a great app for this too.

VegWeek Pledge!

This is from the Compassion Over Killing (COK) website. Check it out and make the pledge to put the animals, your health, and the environment first next week! It’s a great way to challenge what you thought you knew about food. And if you have any questions about what in the world you eat if you don’t eat meat, just post a question and we’ll answer it!


Welcome to VegWeek 2012: Take the 7-Day Veg Pledge!

April 23-29, 2012: There are 52 weeks in a year, so why not make at least one of them meat-free? VegWeek is seven-day celebration highlighting the many benefits of choosing vegetarian foods—for our health, the planet, and animals—and thousands of people nationwide are taking the 7-Day Veg Pledge as a fun way to discover new and delicious meat-free meals! Sign up today–and we’ll even send you a Starter Pack loaded with recipes and product coupons.

You’ll be in good company! Several elected representatives, including Md. Senator Jamie Raskin and Md. Delegate Tom Hucker, along with community leaders and media personalities, such as Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, are also pledging to go veg–in addition to thousands of others nationwide.

Be sure to check out the dozens of restaurants offering VegWeek specials as well as VegWeek events taking place across the country.

Join in on the fun: Sign up for the 7-Day Veg Pledge now!

What Is VegWeek?

Compassion Over Killing launched the first-ever VegWeek in 2009 in Takoma Park, Maryland (our hometown) thanks to the inspiration of MD Senator Jamie Raskin. Sen. Raskin eagerly signed up as the first person to take our 7-day Veg Pledge—a pledge he’s kept to this day—and VegWeek was officially recognized by our city through a Mayoral Proclamation.

Energized by his new vegetarian diet, which he refers to as “aligning my morals with my menu,” Sen. Raskin has since helped COK expand our VegWeek campaign, first to entire state of Maryland in 2010 then to Virginia, DC, and California in 2011—and now nationwide!

Want to volunteer for VegWeek or host an event in your town? Contact us today!

Why I Opted Out

Okay so here is how I came to be vegan…

I’m originally from central Illinois.  Specifically I grew up in a rural area with expansive farmland that my family has worked since the 1800’s. My childhood was filled with nature and animals. I have loved animals my entire life. As a child, like a lot of little girls, I wanted to become a veterinarian. The family pets we had included birds, dogs, cats, rabbits, fish…on and on. We were also surrounded by cows, pigs and horses in the farms all around us. As a high schooler I decided to become vegetarian after stumbling upon a magazine called Animal Voice. It was a shock to me to see the graphic photos of animal abuse in science, farms/fisheries, domestic life, and pet stores. After all, I had been reading Ranger Rick for most of my childhood! Through the years after that, I fluctuated between a vegetarian and an omnivorous diet.

 In 2008 I was working on a PhD and had gone back to an omnivorous diet. Then, in February of that year an undercover video was released to the public showing the horrific treatment of downed cows at a California slaughterhouse resulting in a massive recall of beef. Downed cows are those that are too sick or injured to walk. They are often “coaxed” to get up by beating or electrocution so that they aren’t wasted and can still be put in the food system. (By the way these are the animals that often end up in government subsidized food programs for schools and prisons.) The video was horrifying. I had seen images like this before, but at that point I felt that enough was enough. I was disgusted with what the meat industry was getting away with. I was 30 years old, living in rural Illinois, and consuming the kinds of foods that most of America was consuming. That was when I decided again, and with more conviction than ever before, to be vegetarian.

The next moment in my life that motivated me to take my decision to a new stage happened in October of 2009. I went to a presentation of the film A Peaceable Kingdom at the UCLA campus. The film was about factory farms and the individuals who are trying to make a difference for those animals. It highlighted the efforts of a woman named Lorri Houston and a man named Gene Bauer who spearheaded the farmed animal sanctuary movement in the United States in 1986. After watching the film and talking with some of the vegan advocates who were there that day, I decided to become vegan myself. One of the main factors for this was coming to understand the key connection between the meat industry and the dairy industry. I always justified consuming dairy because gathering milk didn’t require killing the cow. After all, a cow naturally produces milk, right? But I hadn’t connected the dots to completion. Because a cow only produces milk after giving birth to a calf. And where to all those calves end up? They are removed from their mother when they are just hours or days old and are crated and chained in dark warehouses until they are slaughtered for veal. Again, enough was enough for me. It was time to opt out of the system.

The change was relatively easy. There I was, just four months after my relocation to L.A. and I had already noticed all the vegan options and resources that surrounded me.
There was an intact vegan community in the city and plenty of vegan restaurants and shops, not to mention the endless information available on the Internet. Now it is 2 years later and I my conviction hasn’t faltered. On the contrary, it has grown! I have entered into a growing movement of animal advocacy and have settled into a passion that was there since my childhood. For me, fighting for the rights of the voiceless animals that we share this earth with has been a calling that was waiting for me to respond. It is a purpose that makes me feel more whole…more like the person I was designed to be. In a later entry, I will describe the reasons I continue to be vegan. For those reasons have expanded and they propel me on.


As an adult, I realize the power that each of us has to drive the movements and principles that we believe in. We can all have an impact in this world, but our lives are very short and each small step not taken is change not made. So I want to take one small step after another. My goal has been to do away with inactivity. I want each day to include something that I am doing for animals. Sometimes the effort might be simply reading a book chapter to educate myself; sometimes it may be something larger. But I want each day to find me in the midst of an effort. Each day of course I will know that my diet is helping to deny the meat, dairy, egg and poultry industry. But at this point, a vegan diet has become second nature…it is not a struggle and there are new challenges to take on. I am not a crusader. I am a normal person. And I firmly believe that my actions, like yours, are making a very real difference. 

~~~S Wave~~~