By Dr. Sue Maxam – check out her first week on our Instagram!

Week Two

For the second week of my e-activism, I focused on the famine in Africa; LGBTQA discrimination in Chechnya; animal abuse; and environmental issues, among other themes. I signed/sent a total of 31 petitions/letters and continued calling the White House about global climate change. Here are a few highlights of this week’s issues:

With famine present or looming in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen, over 20 million people are facing starvation. Their lives are at risk. It is incumbent upon world leaders must urgently take action to prevent a catastrophe on a scale not seen since World War II.  Therefore, I reached out to all G-7 Leaders (including the US) to implore them to make a financial (and moral!) commitment to save the lives of these people. In 2013, the G7 committed to lift 500 million out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goals.  Yet, we still haven’t seen a plan or any new money. With millions facing starvation, I emphasized that now is the time for world leaders to act!

Over 100 men were recently rounded up in Chechnya, subjected to humiliation and torture, solely upon suspicion of being gay. Many in the media suspect mass murders, including what are being referred to as “honor killings” of men suspected of being homosexual. According to one media outlet, the “gay hunt” is being carried out by local law enforcement as a “prophylactic” measure. The petition I signed for this demanded a full investigation of all the facts about unlawful repression in Chechnya of LGBT population, punishment for the guilty parties and an end to the practice of extra-judicial violence and killings in the republic.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words,  and the picture below says it all about animal abuse that should never be allowed to happen (CW: animal abuse). These poor dogs were subjected to abuse, and neglect from their owners, with the German Sheppard on the brink of death. (He did live and a forever home was found for him.)

Sadly, this type of inexcusable cruelty happens every day around the nation and the world, which is why I belong to a number of animal rights organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, and local shelters and signed a number of petitions this week on behalf of these voiceless animals. This video (CW: animal abuse) is of a dog that had been caged and completely neglected its entire life, with no human contact whatsoever until it was rescued by an animal rights organization. Although it is very difficult to watch, it is so important because you will see how the dog goes from complete and utter fear of the person trying to touch him to loving being held in a matter of minutes.

People often ask me why I bother to “waste my time” advocating for social justice issues such as the ones above that likely will not go away during my lifetime. My response is that if I can make a difference in the life of just ONE person or animal, it is worth all the time I spend advocating for everyone and everything! Sometimes I will send or tell those people one of my favorite stories to illustrate this point:


A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

Week Three

This weekend (April 22nd) the world celebrated our 47th Earth Day, which is a day set aside each year to raise awareness about the welfare of our planet and all living beings (people, plants and animals). Therefore, most of my activism this week revolved around Earth Day issues and took the form of signing petitions, marching and making calls to my legislators and the President!

Issues of Concern:

  • Last month, President Trump (who denies climate change is “a thing”) proposed a federal budget that includes a staggering 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — slashing programs and cutting funding for:
    • Clean Air Act programs that have reduced emissions of six harmful air pollutants by 70 percent in the last 40 years.
    • State and local government initiatives that protect fresh water and allow communities to meet health-based drinking water standards.
    • The entire EPA environmental justice office.
    • Scientific research on climate change and the health impacts of toxins in our environment.

Where would that money go? To the Department of Defense for our military build-up.

  • The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has a track record of suing the EPA, casting doubt on climate change, and voting against any initiatives that would protect the environment.

Some good news around the nation and world:

  • Nearly 200 countries adopted a landmark global plan to curb climate change in the years to come, known as the Paris Agreement. Now countries must come back to the table every five years to stay on track.
  • In the US, more than 1,000 businesses, 250 college and university presidents and 75 Mayors back climate action. These leaders are calling on Washington to support the Paris Agreement and accelerate low-carbon policies.
  • Half of America’s Fortune 500 companies have a goal to cut climate pollution. Their efforts are equivalent of taking over 40 coal fired power plants offline for a year.
  • 65 American companies pledge to power their operations with renewable energy—the equivalent of powering 4.8 million American homes with the same. These businesses are calling for greater access to renewable energy across America to power their businesses, and are encouraging other companies to follow their lead.
  • More than 60 US cities have set targets exceeding current US emissions reduction target.Cities’ emissions reductions are a critical piece of the US ability to deliver strong action on climate change, and they are necessary to America’s energy security and economic prosperity.
  • 187 countries and territories, 3000+ landmarks and millions of people turned off their lights for Earth Hour 2017, the world’s largest global movement on climate action.
  • More than 3.3 million Americans are employed in the clean energy economy.That’s more American jobs than all an all US jobs in traditional fossil fuels combined.

Some Tangible Actions YOU Can Take to “Be The Change”

  • Join and/or go to www.change.org; www.nwf.org (national wildlife federation); wwf.org (world wildlife federation); www.nrdc.org; (national resource defense council); www.globalcitizen.org/en/issue/environment/ (Global Citizen); and many other nonprofit organizations and sign petitions!
  • On April 29, 2017,join the hundreds of thousands of people will march in Washington, DC, and other cities worldwide to show that we want to create a clean energy future and protect our planet!
  • Call your members of Congress at 1-877-969-2590 and demand they fight for clean air and water!
  • Go to catalogchoise.org to stop unwanted junk mail from coming to your house/apt.!
  • Watch this short, informative and enlightening video on the Earth Day…what has changed over the past 47 years created by the Museum of Natural History: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xClCgciaSYM

Finally, I encourage you to MAKE EARTH DAY EVERY DAY!!

Week Four

This week most of my e-activism was about the environment and sustainability issues. This is because last week marked the 47th anniversary of the first Earth Day and this week was President Trump’s 100th day in office…a platform he has used to literally try to turn the clock back on our environmental and wildlife protection advances over the past few decades. In addition, his administration’s climate-destruction, polluter-first energy policies have caused the US to begin backsliding immeasurably.  President Trump’s list of anti-environmental assaults is long:

  • Appointing climate deniers like EPA chief Scott Pruitt to key government positions
  • Proposing crippling budget cuts to the EPA and government programs to tackle climate change
  • Re-opening our coasts, public lands and national monuments to oil companies
  • Threatening to take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Greenlighting the environmentally dangerous Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines

But Trump’s biggest target is the Clean Power Plan. With support from fossil fuel CEOs and their allies in Congress, his administration is working to remove President Obama’s groundbreaking plan to reduce climate pollution from America’s dirty power plants — the largest source of climate pollution in America.

It is for these reasons that I not only took part in one of the thousands of Earth Day marches last weekend but also one of the hundreds of thousands of people who took part in this weekend’s the Climate March (also known as the March for Science).

Grassroots activism since the beginning of the Trump administration has made great strides thus far, preventing the ban on Muslims, preventing the repeal of Obamacare, and sending the message to Washington DC that people truly DO care about our environment. This is why I’m going to continue all forms of activism…electronic, phone calls, and in person.  Each of us has an obligation to fight for what we believe in and do what in our hearts, we know is right. Each of us needs to “be the change we want to see in this world” and I intend to continue my quest for change for all future generations!

Want to get involved and take your own #EverydayActivismChallenge? Visit http://bit.ly/bethechange17 to learn more and take the pledge!