Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What’s Happening to Lions?

Lions are one of the most majestic creatures on this planet. Many people recognize their beauty and would travel to another country in order to see them in the wild. However, lions are currently at a serious risk of becoming extinct. It was only in 2015 that lions were listed as endangered, but some experts estimate that they could go extinct by 2050. These creatures are beautiful and certainly deserve to be known as “King of the Beasts.” I was able to see lions in person when I went to South Africa on my honeymoon and it’s an experience I will never forget. Lions in the wild are an incredible treasure and we must do all we can to prevent them from leaving the wild.
Some facts
Lions are native to areas of Africa and India, which feature different subspecies of the creatures. Their habitats are typically grasslands or savannahs and they avoid dense forest, unlike many of the other big cats. These cats also live in prides, large groups consisting of a few males and many more females. Some prides may only consist of a few lions, but with enough space, it could be as large as 20 adults. Lions are also most active during the day, however, if they feel threatened or benefit from being more active at night, they can adapt to a new nocturnal routine. To learn more about lions, you can visit this page.
Why they’re in danger
While some populations of lions are only listed as threatened, others, such as the West African population, are considered seriously endangered. There are also populations of lions that have become extinct, due to various reasons. There is not one clear reason why the lion population has decreased so seriously, but it’s more likely a combination of factors, such as poaching, trophy hunting, and habitat loss. Lions require large amounts of space and food in order to survive and as humans move into their territory, these resources become scarce.
Since about three decades ago, the lion population has been cut in half. For African lions, these numbers are much more drastic, with over 80 percent of lions having been wiped out. A lot of this change has to do with trophy hunting, an incredibly popular pastime that still occurs all too often.
How you can help
If you feel motivated to help the effort to keep lions around, there are various ways you can work toward this goal. First and foremost, finding an organization that you support and connect to its message is a great option. You can donate time or money to them and help their efforts to conserve lion populations. My personal favorite is the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), but there are plenty of other organizations out there you can choose from. Another great way to help out these big cats is simply through spreading awareness. Educate yourself and share what you learn so other people understand how incredible lions are and the importance of keeping them on this planet.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

5 Benefits of Philanthropy for Volunteers

Philanthropy is something all of us should participate in, no matter what cause we hope to support. There’s an endless number of organizations out there that are desperate for volunteers. You can provide your time or money; either can go a long way with a nonprofit. Find a cause you’re passionate about and then choose a way to help them. While volunteering and supporting a charity is a great way to help out others, there are plenty of benefits you’ll receive as a volunteer as well.
Emotional lift
No matter how you do it, giving back to other people feels good, for you and the person you’re helping. When you’re making someone else’s life better, you’ll see that yours begins to improve as well. Dr. Stephen Post has spoken extensively about this occurrence, pointing out how science now backs up these theories that a philanthropist greatly benefits from charity as well. When you participate in philanthropy, in any way, you get a rush of feel-good chemicals to your brain that yield positive results.
Better health
Plenty of research has been done on the health benefits of philanthropy. While it’s proven you’ll feel better emotionally through charity, giving back always boosts your physical health. People who regularly engage in philanthropy, especially through volunteering, generally live longer lives. You’re less likely to experience high blood pressure, heart disease, or high levels of stress, among many other health benefits.
New relationships
One of the best parts of volunteering is the new connections you’ll form. You’ll get to meet people you’re helping and really see how you make a difference in their lives. By helping a philanthropy, you’ll also meet the people who work there and others who are passionate about the same causes as you. These connections can lead to enriching relationships, such as new friends or even business relationships that’ll benefit you in other areas of your life.
Job benefits
Like I mentioned above, you could meet people that’ll help you find a more rewarding job. You never know who you could meet while volunteering or helping out a philanthropy; maybe you’ll realize you actually want to officially work for that philanthropy yourself. Depending on what charity you’re supporting, you can also learn new skills that’ll help you in other areas of life, such as practical skills like work on homes or some other task you’re assisting a philanthropy with. Do not be afraid to try something new; if you’re volunteering your time, you’re certainly helping the organization out. Most charities train new volunteers, so you’ll be able to learn about a skill if you don’t already have it.
Become a better person
Simply by spending time with those in need will help you become a better person all around. You’ll feel more fulfilled and understand the value of helping others. If you work on cultivating a philanthropic mindset, you’ll carry that over into all areas of your life. Learning to help others and not focus entirely on yourself is a valuable trait that far too few people possess.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

6 Benefits of Krav Maga

Krav Maga is one of the most intense forms of self defense, but also an incredibly effective one. In fact, it’s so effective that militaries and police forces teach it to people in order to help them in difficult situations. If you’re concerned about your personal safety or just want the skills necessary to defend yourself, Krav Maga is a fantastic option. While you should be in relatively decent physical shape, virtually anyone can learn it with some hard work and practice. If you’re unconvinced, here are some of the top benefits of learning Krav Maga.
Improve your health
One of the best benefits of Krav Maga is how you’ll improve your health and fitness level while training. Krav Maga is intense, but that shouldn’t scare you away. With practice, you’ll be able to get down the technique and watch yourself become stronger in the process. You can learn Krav Maga no matter your fitness level when beginning, but throughout training you’ll incorporate cardio and other exercises into the routine that help your overall fitness level.
Ensure your safety
For most people, they learn Krav Maga in order to feel safe. No matter who you are, it’s important to make your safety a priority. Krav Maga teaches that your first step should be attempting to diffuse a difficult situation, but it’s also recognized that sometimes that simply isn’t possible. With the techniques you learn, you’ll be able to adequately defend yourself against an attacker, even if they’re larger and stronger than you are.
Adopt a new hobby
Krav Maga is a fantastic and healthy hobby that provides a great way to spend your time. If you’re looking for something new to do, find a local Krav Maga class and begin training. It’ll take up a lot of your time and focus and is a pretty interesting skill to possess.
Relieve stress
Like most physical activities, Krav Maga is a fantastic stress reliever. You’ll relieve tension and stress by working your muscles and focusing on the task at hand. It’s an activity that requires a lot of focus, so you can’t worry about other issues while working on your technique. You’ll be able to get out any physical aggression you might be feeling through your routine and training and you’ll feel much more at ease afterwards.
Train your mind
Krav Maga requires intense focus on what you’re doing and also teaches you to remain calm in stressful situations. You learn to be aware of your surroundings and manage your emotions in a constructive way. Learning to focus on specific tasks and carefully monitor your movements can help you in any area of life.
It’s practical
One of the key components of Krav Maga that makes it so effective is that it’s practical and developed to work in real-life situations. When you need to use self defense, it’s never in a controlled setting where an attacker waits for you to collect yourself and move. Krav Maga teaches you how to work in stressful and unexpected situations; the skills you learn are applicable in actual life instead of simply at a training center.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Importance of Diversifying Literature Read in Class

No matter what age or level you’re teaching, you must incorporate diverse types of books into your required reading for your class. Classical literature is great; there’s much we can learn from it and it should by no means be discounted or ignored. However, as educators, we must also incorporate diverse literature; it’s the best for students and our world. Here are some of the top reasons why you should be incorporating diverse the literature you have students read in your class.
It prepares them for the real world
Students who read a wide variety of literature are more prepared for the world at large. While reading any kind of fiction has been shown to increase empathy and other abilities, reading diverse types of literature give students an insight into the diversity of the world at large. For many students, reading about an event or experience in a book is the first encounter they’ll have with it. Once they get outside of the classroom, they’ll be more likely to encounter different events and may be better prepared for these after reading about them.
It presents other experiences and cultures
All people have different lives and it’s important for young people to recognize this fact and realize their life is likely completely different from the person next to them. By reading books that feature different perspectives and cultures, students can have a greater understanding of the world at large and the variety of people in it. It’s known that the more someone is exposed to a person different from them, the more accepting they become of that person. Literature is a great way to cultivate this open-mindedness.
More students can relate to it
In her TedTalk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses how revolutionary it was for her to read books that featured people like her. No matter what background your students may come from, they’ll find it hard to relate to people who lived decades or centuries ago and led lives completely removed from their own. Including more recent and varied literature helps students relate to authors who may have had experiences like their own or come from a similar cultural background.
It’s often easier to understand
Literature written in the 18th, 19th, or 20th centuries is going to be drastically different from something written in the last few decades. Incorporate some more recent literature into your reading lists in order to make it easier for your students to comprehend. Reading difficult literature can be enriching and a positive experience, but it gets a bit stale if those are the only options for students to read.
You’re supporting new writers
Even if the author of a work is no longer alive, you’re still supporting lesser known writers. Whether it’s financial support or simply spreading around knowledge of an author’s name, having students read lesser known writers helps support these authors and get their work more exposure.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Raising Conservation Awareness

As people and businesses go about their daily activities, environmental conservation is often the last thing on their minds. People buy products with excess packaging, use water carelessly, and damage the habitats of wild animals by improperly disposing of trash. Reminding people and business owners that conservation is a vital activity can be challenging, but the benefits can spread to every living thing in the environment.
In today’s landscape, there are so many political and social causes that conservation awareness can be lost in the shuffle. People are jaded and feel like they can’t spare any more energy to care about the world. It’s important to promote environmental awareness in positive ways, rather than using scare tactics, which may only make some people care less about the environment. For example, local businesses can be encouraged to reduce waste and recycle by using a social media campaign.
Use social media
Social media can be a perfect way to raise awareness without lecturing. Internet users love to utilize hashtags. Encourage visitors to parks and forests to take photos and tag them with conservation-related phrases. In social media campaigns, people can also be challenged to do one more environmentally friendly thing a day and to post about it. For example, users may post about turning off the lights in a room when leaving, or about picking up trash around their homes. A small action each day is better than none.
Teach children
The most important way to raise awareness is by teaching our own children to take care of the environment. Children naturally look up to parents and authority figures and model their values after them. Parents should be aware of their own actions and make sure they are environmentally sound. For example, lecturing children about wasting water falls on deaf ears when the child sees a parent letting the water run while brushing their teeth.
Children can effect powerful change on their own. A child who learns about environmental conservation at school is likely to go home and share the information with his or her family. Led by the children, the whole family may use resources more wisely. When children in youth groups, for example, encourage a business to behave in a more environmentally friendly fashion, the business is more likely to pay attention as opposed to an adult activist’s message being brushed off or ignored. Children can encourage businesses to use packaging that is less wasteful or to use recycled materials.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Let’s Talk About Mountain Lions

Mountain lions also go by various other names, such as cougar, puma, or catamount. You can find them throughout North and South America and they are the second-heaviest cat in the world. While mountain lions are very large, they are also closely related to domestic cats. However, do not let this family connection fool you; mountain lions can be deadly. While mountain lions are not as common in the United States as they once were, you may still run into one while out in the woods, so it’s important to know some basic facts about them and also how you can protect this vulnerable species.
Hunting traits
In the Americas, mountain lions are one of the top predators, placed next to the gray wolf and different types of bears. Due to their size and skills, cougars have few natural predators, often only competing with the other apex predators in the Americas. Currently, the biggest threat to mountain lions are humans, due to poaching and habitat fragmentation.
Cougars are mainly solitary predators who spend most of their time alone, ruling over wide territories. These big cats are very reclusive and rarely approach people. Mountain lion attacks are rare and often occur because humans have begun encroaching on their territories or interfered with a hunt. Mountain lions typically hunt deer, though they will also hunt smaller animals if necessary and the opportunity arises. They’re nocturnal and do most of their hunting during dusk or dawn, which is made possible by their fantastic hearing and sight. This big cat is mostly muscle, particularly their powerful back legs, which allow them to jump around 40 feet when pouncing.
Threatened status
While mountains lions are not considered seriously threatened, their population is steadily decreasing. In some areas of the Americas, they run the risk of having their populations completely wiped out by farmers or other humans who do not want the cats around their homes. It’s understandable that people are upset if they feel threatened or have their animals hunted by cougars, but it’s also important to remember that we’re in their territory and to take steps to avoid conflict. In some states, hunting cougars is legal, but must also be carefully regulated. Recently, it’s been shown that these animals are moving further east in the United States as they search for new territory. It’s important to respect their space, but also take steps to keep yourself safe in order to peacefully coexist with them.
What you can do
One of the best steps you can take to protect mountain lions is educating yourself. Know where their habitats are and what signs to look out for that would indicate a mountain lion is nearby. Avoiding these animals as much as you can keeps them (and you) safe. You can also donate to and volunteer at wildlife refuges that protect cougars. If you encounter a cougar in the wild, back away as slowly as possible, make yourself look large, and make a lot of noise to intimidate them.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

7 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved in Martial Arts

No matter who you are, there’s a way for you to get involved in martial arts. Many gyms and fitness centers offer classes for beginners and have a certified trainer you can work with. You could also find a specific gym for a certain type of martial arts you’d like to learn and work on learning the techniques and moves. Watching professionals can be intimidating, but there are plenty of options for starting to learn. Here are some of the many reasons you should get involved in martial arts.
  1. Fitness
Martial arts is extremely good for the body. You’ll learn to use muscles you weren’t even aware you had for each different move, kick, and punch. This will initially come with aches and pains, but soon the body becomes strong. Multiple weekly fitness activities are recommended for every able-bodied person.
  1. Mind focus
Martial arts teaches you discipline of the mind. In fact, that is a key tenant of the practice, and everyone who practices will learn it. One must focus in order to practice and fully execute the moves. This is the only way to master the art and is a great added benefit!
  1. Decreased anxiety
Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and stress in people. This means that any activity will help, but especially one as involved and focused as martial arts! A regular exercise program, such as multiple lessons and practices a week, keeps the anxiety down on a regular basis.
  1. Self defense
With the world being as it is today, it is nice to be able to defend one’s self. Martial arts is the ultimate practice of defending one’s self, and having that confidence and skill will make you go from feeling helpless to feeling like you have agency to defend yourself.
  1. Confidence
An ancient and world-encompassing martial arts practice is a terrific way to build confidence. Having the ability to channel your body and mind into an exercise and defense is extremely confidence building. Everyone in the world needs confidence, and martial arts is well-known for creating this in its practitioners.
  1. Group support
Being part of a group is wonderful. Groups lend support and happiness to those who join them. Martial arts is the same and it is hard not to become a group when people are sharing sweat and hits. Becoming part of the overall movement is also another great way to be part of a group.
  1. Learn conflict resolution
Every martial arts teaches conflict resolution and diffusing the situation before using any skills acquired during study. The top goal is to exit or break down the situation rather than having to resort to physical action. This is because it can be dangerous and words are better to use first. Martial arts is a smart practice that teaches you how to communicate better and maneuver difficult situations.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

6 Ways to Connect Classic Literature to Students’ Lives

Many people avoid reading classic literature and often never pick up another classic once they’re done with school. Many people don’t even read the assigned books while in class. For educators, you might feel like it’s worthless attempting to teach a class about classic literature; maybe one or two of them like it, but the rest resent you for assigning the book and take nothing from it. While some students may feel this way, do not approach studying classic literature believing it holds no value for your students. There are plenty of benefits from reading classic literature; here are just a few.
Stronger language
Simply reading through classic literature helps instill a stronger sense of language into students. There is certainly some outdated language in many classic works, but your students will learn new words that they may not encounter every day. Simply learning obscure words can be fun and educational.
Understand references
Every day, your students likely encounter some reference to a classical work; they simply don’t realize it! Reading classic literature helps students identify common themes, tropes, events, and references in modern culture that they wouldn’t understand otherwise.
Find movie versions
For virtually any classic novel, you’ll be able to find a film adaption of it. Some of these adaptations may not be any good, but they can provide humor, an alternative view of the novel, or a more succinct understanding of the events and meaning of the book. Comparing movie versions can be fun and useful when studying the interpretation of a classic work.
Greater understanding of history
One of the biggest draws of classic literature is the place the novels hold in our collective history. It can be helpful for students to read classic novels set during major historical periods; they’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of what the world was like at the time. Having interesting characters and plot to follow while studying historical events makes learning about history even easier.
Better social skills
Reading classical literature helps improve your understanding of how people behave in social situations, why they do certain things, and how these actions later affect them. Reading about the minute social interactions in classic literature helps modern students better navigate the world around them.
Increased knowledge
I’ve touched on specific examples of increased knowledge above, but your students also experience a general overall increase of knowledge. Regularly reading novels boosts emotional intelligence, helps comprehension skills, and can improve students’ performance in other subjects. Oftentimes, students don’t even realize they’re learning while they read.
Hopefully these benefits convince your students of the value of classic literature. There are plenty of works to choose from, so you can ease them into reading the heavier tomes. Start with something shorter that has an interesting plot and let your students learn the value of classic literature for themselves.

What’s Happening to Lions?

Lions are one of the most majestic creatures on this planet. Many people recognize their beauty and would travel to another country in...