Episode 36: Kindness Is Ella Saves The Oceans

Eleven-year-old, Ella Grace joins Anitha to kick off Season Two of the Kindness Is Everything Podcast.

Ella’s journey to protect oceans and sharks began when she was four years old and has kept growing. In this jam-packed episode, Ella shares her dedication and knowledge about oceans and the beautiful animals who live there.

In addition to her Ella Saves The Ocean project, she has teamed up with a friend to create The Clean Up Kids. This amazing initiative focuses on cleaning up our beaches.

A wonderful episode for anyone interested in conservation.

To learn more about Ella Saves The Ocean- check out her Instagram: @ellasavestheocean

To learn more about The Clean Up Kids and how you can get involved- check out @thecleanupkids and www.thecleanupkids.org

As a thank you for sharing her story, Anitha donated to WildlifeVOICE. This non-profit, started in 2014 by Jim Abernethy, supports the conservation and preservation of all animals and their habitats. To learn more about this group, please click on this link:  https://www.wildlifevoice.org

Episode 31: Kindness Is Keeping Companion Animals & Youth Together

For many homeless young people, their companion animals are often their only friend and support system. Unfortunately, most shelters do not allow animals inside. This sad truth means these youth are faced with the incredibly difficult decision—take shelter and lose their beloved companion animal or live on the streets.

In May of 2020, sisters Shania and Anya Bopa, created an organization called The Canadian Courage Project. The goal of this initiative is to keep homeless youth and their companion animals together by offering various types of support.

These two wonderful young women talk about what inspired them to create this non-profit and how they are trying to keep companion animals and youth together.

A fabulous episode about compassion for all beings.

To learn more about The Canadian Courage Project and how you can support Anya and Shania, check out their website: https://www.thecanadiancourageproject.org/

As a thank you for sharing their story, Anitha donated to Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada. This charity seeks to change the way Canadians think about using and caring for animals used in research, agriculture, education as well as companion animals and wildlife.

To learn more about this charity and all they do, please click on this link: https://awfc.ca/

Margot Raggett: Determined to Remembering Wildlife

Margot Raggett has worn many hats—Public Relations Director, Consultant, Wildlife Photographer and now the creator of Remembering Wildlife.

Margot grew up in Hampshire, on the South Coast of England. Her father was a keen sailor, so she spent much of her early years on the waters of the Solent as a child. The family never had pets, so apart from the occasional visit to see New Forest ponies, Margot had little exposure to wildlife until her first safari in Africa in 2006.

A young Margot sailing

Even though Margot didn’t grow up with animals, she loved the idea of animals and watched David Attenborough documentaries voraciously.

Similar to her early childhood, Margot’s initial career also didn’t include animals. She followed in her mom’s footsteps and aspired to climb the corporate ladder. She wanted to attain a level of success where she could financially support herself. However, in 2010 Margot found her true passion.

She signed up for a trip to Masai Mara, a national reserve in Kenya. This wasn’t her first safari (that had been in South Africa in 2006) but it was the first time she was exposed to the art of wildlife photography, by the tour leaders, award-winning wildlife photographers Jonathan & Angela Scott. It was on this trip Margot discovered the beauty of photography and wildlife, and how photography can help promote conservation. Jonathan & Angela went on to become mentors to Margot and huge supporters of the Remembering Wildlife series.

When she returned home to the UK, Margot signed up for a course at the London Photography School. Upon completion of the course and armed with a better camera, Margot set off for another safari, just a few months after her adventure in Masai Mara, and thus began an addiction.

With her love of photography growing, Margot left her position as PR Director and started her own consulting business. This switch from employee to self-employed, not only allowed her to choose which projects she wanted to work on, but gave her the flexibility to travel.

One such project was Entim camp in the Masai Mara in 2012. Margot entered a partnership/agreement with the owner of the camp—in exchange for consulting services and help with their marketing, she would be allowed to stay at the camp and build her photography portfolio.

In 2014, while on a safari in Laikipia, a different part of Kenya, she was woken by the sound of hyenas early one morning. The noise was so loud it became clear that something unusual had happened nearby.

At first light, she and a guide went to investigate. They came upon a young male elephant with a poisoned arrow sticking out of him. He was dead and the hyenas had been feeding on his remains. The guide told her the young elephant had most likely suffered for days before he succumbed to the poison. His young tusks were still in him.

Margot was furious. It was at this moment, she went from wildlife photographer to wildlife warrior. She channeled her fury into a promise to do whatever she could to help.

While many ideas churned in her mind, the one that took root was to make a book.

She reached out to Will Travers, the Chairman of Born Free—a charity dedicated to wild animal welfare and conservation, and proposed a partnership. Margot would produce a book of elephant images by world class wildlife photographers, and Born Free would help guide her on how best to spend the funds raised.

The first book was Remembering Elephants. The initial step was to raise enough money to cover the cost of producing the books, so that all the proceeds from the sales of the books would go directly to wildlife conservation projects.

In 2015, Margot launched her first Kickstarter Campaign with the goal of raising £20,000 to cover the production costs for 1000 books.

The tricky part of a Kickstarter Campaign, is that once you decide on your goal, it is all or nothing. If you don’t raise the needed funds to meet your goal, the project doesn’t move forward.

The campaign was to run four weeks. In the first three hours, the campaign had raised £8,000, but then the momentum slowed. Margot reached out to Will and asked that Born Free share the campaign on their social media, he complied and things picked up— the £20,000 was hit that same evening. By the end of the campaign, Margot surpassed her goal and raised £58,000.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t fully celebrate her enormous achievement.  On the final day of the campaign, Margot found out she had breast cancer.

Unwilling to postpone the making of the book, Margot worked on Remembering Elephants while she endured three months of radiation therapy and surgery. Treatment was successful and six years on, Margot is in remission, but the time made a lasting impression on Margot and her approach to life. “I felt that the elephants were looking out for me during that time, just as I was fighting for them. I now never take life for granted and truly believe you should always have one eye on the legacy you wish to leave behind.”

Remembering Elephants came out in 2016, followed by Remembering Rhinos, Remembering Great Apes, Remembering Lions, Remembering Cheetahs, and the newest book, Remembering African Wild Dogs will be published in November 2021.

Margot and the incomparable Dr. Jane Goodall

To date, Remembering Wildlife has raised £848,000 ($1.1 million USD) and has funded fifty-five projects across twenty-four countries.

Some of the projects Remembering Wildlife has been able to fund are:

  • Livestock Guarding Dogs for Farmers. These dogs bark and scare away predators, which means farmers don’t have to shoot or trap lions, cheetahs or other animals who are seen as a threat to the farmers livelihood.
  • Fund salaries and vehicles for ground teams to monitor and protect wildlife from poachers, trafficking and habitat destruction.
  • Fund outreach to local communities to discuss their concerns and come up with realistic solutions so that humans and wildlife can live in harmony.
  • Fund the purchase of tracking collars, cameras, drones, aerial patrol units. These are all key to tracking endangered species as well as poachers.
  • Fund projects to provide employment and income for women in communities. It is known that working women have less babies, which alleviates the issues with over-population and poverty.
  • Fund conservation education within local communities.

In the 15 years since Margot went on her first ever safari, she has accomplished so much to help animals. In particular she has brought together a community of world-class photographers who have generously donated their photos to help these beautiful animals survive.

When asked what the hardest part of creating Remembering Wildlife has been, Margot says,

“In the early days I didn’t actually know 50 photographers – my goal of the number of photographers I wanted to contribute to that first book, so researching and approaching people to take part was a challenge. But once word got around and I had a good number signed up, the test became much easier. We were so successful however, we now often have the opposite challenge – more photographers wanting to take part than we have space for!”

And the best part:

“I always say making the donations, and knowing how gratefully they are received is the best part of the job. It has been curtailed for the last 18 months of course due to the pandemic, but getting the chance to visit some of the projects and see and hear firsthand the difference our funds make, is enormously gratifying for me.”

Margot has made such a positive difference in the lives of so many animals and people, but if there was one thing she could change in the world, she would…

“Stop humans from assuming they have an automatic superiority and right to assert themselves over every other species!”

For more information on Remembering Wildlife, please check out their website: https://rememberingwildlife.com/

I can personally attest to the beauty of the books. The photographs are breathtaking. We have all of them and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Remembering African Wild Dogs. They make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves animals or enjoys magnificent photography.

Episode 30: Kindness Is Transforming Harmful to Beautiful

Natalie McIntosh

Fifteen-year old Natalie McIntosh is doing her best to not only help rid the ocean of discarded fishing gear, she then transforms these ‘ghost nets’ into beautiful items such as bracelets, coasters and baskets. Natalie donates 100% of the proceeds from her sales to charities working hard to remove dangerous fishing gear and plastic from the oceans.

Natalie talks about why these discarded nets are harmful to marine life and why they are called ‘ghost nets’.

To learn more about Natalie and her dedication to helping our planet and the species we are meant to be sharing this planet with, check out her website: https://www.nauticalwaters.com/

You can also follow Natalie here:

Twitter: @NauticalWaters

Instagram: nautical.waters

Facebook: Nautical Waters

As a thank you to Natalie for sharing her story, Anitha donated to London Environmental Network. This charity, situated in London, Ontario, is trying to make London one of the greenest cities in Canada. This group creates programs and projects for the community. To learn more about this charity, please check out their website: https://www.londonenvironment.net/

Episode 28: Kindness Is Seeing Greatness In Small Creatures

Many of us find it easy to care about dogs, cats, whales, elephants. But what about insects? How many of us can honestly say, we’re careful not to step on an ant or a spider?

Fourteen-year old Xander Johnston from Scotland joins Anitha to share his passion for insects. He talks about where his interest in insects came from, his favorite little creature, how he became known as ANT BOY, and so much more, including simple things we all can do to protect insects and wildlife.

Xander will change the way you think about bugs.

This is a wonderful episode for adults, kids, those who are fascinated by bugs, and those who are squeamish!

To hear more from Xander, check out his amazing YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVnKrXbUga46ABcnwyCEBtw

As a thank you for sharing his story, Anitha donated to Bug Life. This UK based organization is dedicated to “saving the small things that run the planet”.

As Sir David Attenborough said, “If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’ 

For more information on Bug Life, check out their website: www.buglife.org.uk

Episode 27: Kindness Is Helping Birds

In Canada, 25 million birds die every year from injuries sustained when they collide into windows. Angela Demarse from Bird Safe Guelph talks about what this organization is doing to prevent this terrible tragedy from continuing.

Angela shares simple tips on what each of us can do to prevent birds from crashing into our windows.

To learn more about Bird Safe Guelph, check out their website and Instagram page:

https://birdsafeguelph.ca/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/birdsafeguelph/?hl=en

As a thank you to Angela, for sharing her story, Anitha donated to Nature Canada.

Nature Canada is one of the oldest national nature conservation charities in Canada. For 80 years, they have helped protect over 110 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada. They have also protected countless species. To learn more about this wonderful charity, click on this link: https://naturecanada.ca/

Correction: During the podcast, Angela mentions that 1/4 of the globe was covered in wilderness. Upon further reading, Angela noted that it is closer to 1/2.

Episode 26: Kindness Is Saving Sharks

Thirteen-year old Finlay Pringle, joins Anitha to share his passion about sharks.

Sharks have been cruelly misjudged and wrongly considered ruthless predators of the sea. Finlay dispels these myths and tells us the truth about sharks. He also talks about the reasons 100 million sharks are killed every year and why it is so important to save them.

An incredibly eye-opening episode!

As a thank you for sharing his story, Anitha donated to Bite Back Shark and Marine Conservation. To learn about the wonderful work this organization does to protect sharks, click on the link: https://www.bite-back.com

To learn more about the wonderful work Finlay does to help sharks, check out his website: https://ullapoolsharkambassador.com

Episode 19: Kindness is Music and Lego

Fourteen-year old Annora Wu and her eleven-year old brother Andrew join Anitha to share their stories of kindness.

A talented musician, Annora talks about what it was like performing for residents of nursing homes and the joy she felt knowing she was making a positive difference in their lives.

Not to be outdone by his older sister, Andrew shares his amazing initiative of combining his love of Lego and animals to create Lego For Charity.

Andrew collects donated sets of Lego. He spends time sanitizing and sorting the pieces, and then puts together ‘new’ sets that he sells. The funds raised are donated to the SPCA.  

This is a wonderful episode for everyone who loves music, animals and of course stories of kindness.

To learn more about Lego For Charity, please click on this link: http://legoforcharity.com/

To learn more about Explore Hop, the organization that provided Annora with the skills to create the Lego For Charity website and promote its goals, click here: https://explorerhop.com/

As a thank you to Annora and Andrew for sharing their story, Anitha donated to the SPCA. For more information about all the wonderful work the SPCA does to help animals, please check out their website: https://spca.bc.ca/locations/vancouver/

Episode 7: Kindness Is Wishes For Orangutans

In 2007, the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia, granted then ten-year-old Daniel Clarke a wish. They were surprised by his response; he wanted to save the orangutans. Daniel and his brother William talk about their dedication to help one of our closest relatives—the orangutans.

In this incredibly moving episode, Daniel and William, now 24 and 22, respectively, share their story of helping save endangered orangutans from extinction. They even describe the first time they saw an orangutan in the wild.

If you love animals, this episode is for you!

As a thank you for sharing their story of kindness, Anitha donated to The Orangutan Project. This charity was created by Leif Cocks, a world-renowned orangutan expert.

To learn more about Daniel and William and their work to save orangutans, click here: https://tearsinthejungle.com/

To learn more about The Orangutan Project, click here: https://www.orangutan.org.au/

This episode was produced by Stephen Hurley of VoicEd Radio.