August 3rd is the first annual Elephant Awareness Day in the city of Los Angeles, CA. The Day hopes to bring attention to the gentle, threatened mammals, with a focus on the plight of elephants held in captivity, who often face abuse and neglect.
Juliette West, a 16-year-old animal activist, made a presentation to the LA City Council in support of the adoption of Elephant Awareness Day. Along with her organization JulietteSpeaks, West has been advocating for animal welfare since she was 9, with a special focus on speaking out against elephant abuse. She often speaks at schools and youth organizations, encouraging young people to get involved in activism: “You are more powerful than you think!”
Whether or not you live in Los Angeles, there are many ways you can help raise awareness of captive elephant welfare and mistreatment:
Top 10 Ways You Can Help
Originally published on JulietteSpeaks.org
1. Get out there and learn all you can!
- Read up on the internet. Learn all that you can about elephants. Understanding the full realm of what is happening helps us better take action.
- Watch Videos online, view documentaries
- Talk to others who are working to save elephants and learn what you can from them.
2. Hit the offenders where it hurts: profits
- Boycott films that use elephants
- Boycott the circus, zoos, wildlife parks and any other sources of human “entertainment” that use elephants. Visit sanctuaries where elephants are treated humanely and roam freely in their natural surroundings.
- Encourage your friends and family to do the same. Remember we vote with our dollars and what we spend them on.
3. Become a private investigator
- If for some reason you must attend a zoo, circus or other questionable event, use your investigation skills and really pay attention to how the elephants are kept.
- Be an elephant advocate and document the details of your findings. What are the conditions like? How are the elephants treated?
- Take pictures on your camera phone or shoot video of any interesting findings. You can use it to create your own documentary and post online to push for change.
4. Use social media to your advantage
- Friend us or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
- Twitter trending topics about protecting elephants to raise awareness
- Tweet messages about elephant protection and include links to “How I became and Elephant” on your Twitter or Facebook pages.
- Include links to elephant protection videos (many can be found on YouTube) on your blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages.
- Copy web banners supporting the cause to your websites.
- Blog about the cause on a regular basis including links and videos to support it.
- Provide regular “action alerts” on Facebook or Twitter when the circus is in town to promote a boycott on social media,
If social media can escalate political uprisings all over the world, it certainly has the power to work to protect our “gentle giants.”
5. Create or sign a petition
- Create your own petitions and get signatures to enact laws that protect elephants and ban their use for entertainment. You can submit your petitions to Congressmen, Senators and local officials in your area to push for laws to protect elephants.
- Petition local businesses for signatures and support.
- Here are some current Care2 petitions for elephants that you can sign:
6. Become a volunteer
- Volunteer your time and talents to our organization to raise awareness and money to rescue elephants.
7. Invite Juliette to give a presentation at your school.
- Start a Save the Elephants club at school and recruit others who want to become involved and help save elephants.
8. Reach out to the media
- Write letters to the editors of papers and call into talk radio shows.
9. Organize a charity event
- Raise awareness through an athletic charity event such as a “5K Stampede for Elephant Awareness.”
10. Set up a table with petitions, flyers and literature outside your public library.
- Pass out literature to passers by and discuss issues with people that seem receptive to what you have to say.