Well, the Thanksgiving holiday is over and our mailboxes become flooded with conscientious giving requests. I know I like giving money to an agency or organization I support in the name of loved ones who don’t need other gifts—and they do too.
And, as someone who supports one of those agencies, albeit a tiny one, I am always
envious of the large humanitarian agencies this time of year. The World Wildlife Founds, the Heifer
Internationals, the Nature Conservancies. . . all with their cute mini stuffed snow leopards and Peace on Earth
greeting cards and T-shirts and gift memberships and adopt-a-cow . . . and what they also have, being a large brand
name that has grown trustworthy over the years, is a celebrity spokesperson .
..or better yet, a celebrity band, that
holds concerts and screams “protect the rainforest!” and “Stop the slaughter of
elephants!” I have to tell you, some of
those celebrities make me swoon. And I
KNOW they would be concerned about how none of their charities, for all the
wonderful work they do, is concerned with a very important but neglected part of
the world where the rarest of the animals and the most fragile of the forest is
in imminent danger.
JMD is too small to be able to give out a coffee mug or a stuffed Sumatran tiger with each
donation of $50. At one point we had an
adopt-a-goat program because JMD operates very successful goat breeding and
fattening programs throughout the province. Each beneficiary group (widows
and young fighting age males) tended 60 goats; there is communal caring but
each beneficiary pair had their own specific goats. Again, our small size and relatively limited
reach was our downfall: although many kind people donated $200 to buy a goat,
we didn’t receive enough funds to give the identified beneficiaries the number
of goats they’d need to be successful, and the last thing you want to do is
make some people in a community mad at others for receiving benefits that they
don’t. Frankly I feel that the majority
of problems arising in any assistance program arise because the agency has not
thought through what the assistance does for those who have not received it.
A quick look at the areas affected by international giving, as we have seen over the past
few months of research, reveals little to nothing assisting the rainforests of
Aceh province, and even less than that being directed to the potentially
greater landmass that is rainforest but has not been classified yet as
“protected,” or which has had its protected status removed.
And that, my friends, is where we work.
Which celebrity is going to think that advocating for justice and conservation in
some dark corner of wildest Indonesia that is not on the tip of everyone’s
electronic tongue is going to further their career, improve their reputation,
or position them to successfully advocate for the next project they would like
Does that stop me from making my Celebrity Christmas Wish List?
It does not.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
So for those of you who know, who like, or who are the following celebrities, here’s who I
think would be a dandy spokesperson, and in the upcoming days I will tell you
Irwan Fals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29OuLjGx-P4
I’ll be waiting for you call!
In the meantime, just to show that we can do cute too: