One Way 2016 Wasn’t a Dumpsterfire

Let’s not repeat 2016

2016 is finally over. 2017 is here and it’s already a nightmare. 2016 was the year we could probably call, “The Beginning of the End.” We had events like Brexit, US Presidential Election, the death of your favorite celebrity, ISIS-inspired attacks throughout the world, Aleppo, Zika, a ton of internet challenges that don’t make any sense, Batman vs. Superman wasn’t as good as it could’ve been, and Harambe. However, there were some wonderful things that did happen.

All victories in the animal kingdom. Some of the best news I heard this year were that tiger numbers are on the rise for the first time in a century and the status of pandas has improved from endangered to vulnerable. For me, it’s encouraging to hear that there is some hope for the animal kingdom and the environment–humanity is actually doing something right. With 2016 another year in which we broke more climate records, it can be discouraging to hear that we’re driving various species extinct and losing irreplaceable areas of land.

Does this affect you? With us losing different biomes, you’re losing vacation destinations. You’re not going to be able to take that Alaskan cruise to see the glaciers, zip line through Costa Rica to see the monkeys and birds, go skiing in Tahoe, or stroll through Yellowstone and see the cute, cuddly woodland creatures. Think of the polar bears. Did you see any polar bears in last year’s Coca-Cola Christmas commercials? Cause I didn’t!

And electing Trump was definitely not good for wildlife and the environment. President-elect Trump (my fingers almost cramped writing the title “president-elect”) firmly believes the Chinese invented climate change to make the US manufacturing non-competitive. The Orange Potato appointed a guy who’s suing the government for environmental regulations to run the Environmental Protection Agency and also appointed the CEO of Exxon, a major oil company, as the Secretary of State. His transition team has even requested a list of employees who are working on climate change at the Department of Energy. So the future looks bleak from an environmental standpoint.

So, how do we make 2017 and the future better for the cute polar bears and preserving your favorite vacation destination? One obvious thing you can do is to make sure you vote every 2 years in key elections. But the more immediate thing you can do right now is to support some nonprofits.

I recently signed up for AmazonSmile. It’s a program by Amazon that will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. I recently registered my purchases to be donated to Vetpaw, an organization that utilizes the skills of US veterans to train anti-poaching rangers to protect endangered species like elephants and rhinos. This cause benefits both veterans and animals–like a buy one, get one free deal!

If you know me well enough, you know that nothing really breaks my heart. However, learning that poachers are killing and hunting park rangers did. These poachers are packing militaristic equipment, putting the rangers, who are sometimes tracked and ambushed, at a huge disadvantage. The money donated doesn’t just help veterans and animals, but also helps anti-poaching rangers to get proper training so they can fight back.

All in all 2017 is projected to suck. But we can make it suck less. An easy thing to do is to sign up for AmazonSmile so you can justify your unhealthy online shopping habits or volunteer for whatever cause you personally support. Go and make the world a better place! It can be Red Cross, Harbor House Ministries, SPCA, EveryOne Home, or whatever.

Make 2017 Great Again…cause it’s already looking like another dumpster fire.


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