New Art: Endanger Cancer, not Elephants

I created this piece, Endanger Cancer, not Elephants, because I love and am passionate about saving elephants – and because I know several breast cancer survivors. I want this to be a symbol of hope for them. On the surface, elephant poaching and cancer may seem like vastly different issues – and you’d be right to say they are, but there exists a commonality between the two: Poaching, like cancer, steals the lives of thousands – and affects many more – each year. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, wives and companions die in great numbers – but they don’t have to. At least in an ideal future they don’t.

So, I hope.

I hope for a day when the group of women I know – a group comprised of family, friends and public figures I admire – doesn’t have to live in fear, or with the constant reminders of an aggressive disease. I hope for the healing of their emotional scars – and for their joy in life. With some of these women, I’ve created lasting memories that cannot be destroyed by cancer, or death. But, these are women, and stories, I could miss every day there isn’t a cure.

So, I cling to hope.

Statistics estimate that breast cancer will steal the lives of approximately 40,000 women in the United States (per year). Similarly, in the past four years, over 100,000 elephants have been victims of poaching. Their ivory was stolen. Elephants, a keystone species, are a necessity to their ecosystem – and it’s entirely possible that their ecosystem houses the cure for cancer. The reality is, we’ve identified [some] causes, we’ve evaluated the emotional and monetary impacts and we still work to end these devastating losses – but we don’t know the cure.

But still, I hope.

I hope you view this piece as a symbol and bridge between two very devastating issues. Yes, the face value of what I’m proposing may be a reach, but we can’t afford to stand idly by while a species and ecosystem vanishes. Our inaction could see the disappearance of a cure before it’s even discovered. So I’m taking a step to “Endanger Cancer, not Elephants,” by making equal donations to Susan G. Komen – in honor of those I know – and to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – for elephants.

I invite you to join me and use the hashtag – #EndangerCancerNotElephants – to say you will. This is my hope. Now, I present:

Endanger Cancer, not Elephants

view more of my art here

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Blog Feature at “Darden Digest;” link to “Eluxe Magazine”

Elephants - Nat. Geo.

As many of you know, during the week of August 10, I was fundraising and advocating for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, National Geographic’s Cause An Uproar and Save The Elephants. On social media (facebook and twitter), I announced I’d be donating 100% of my earnings (Aug. 13) to elephant conservation, to celebrate World Elephant Day and my birthday (Aug. 12).  The Olive Garden took notice and I was contacted by Darden’s corporate office to compose a “Sustainability” blog for Darden Digest.

Here’s a link to the blog: Fostering Rorogoi

Late last week, I also received a notification that my post “Sincerely, thank you! We raised…” had been linked by Eluxe Magazine, a digital and print publication based in London and Paris! My post accompanies a video titled “Why the Ivory Trade Must Stop. Now.”

The graphic video epitomizes why I’m taking action in an effort secure a future for elephants and other endangered species.  Take a look, and if you’re as moved as I was when it’s finished – join me.  Extinction is a very real threat for many species like elephants, but it doesn’t have to be.  Together, through our actions and voices, we can protect the cohabitants of our planet and secure their future beside our own.

 

Sincerely, thank you! We raised…

NGCI 037087, Wild WONE7949, CORE NONE7949

UPDATE (8/23):  A $25 donation was made in my honor on August 22, 2014, raising the total amount of funds raised (see below)!

Hello everyone.  First, let me begin by saying thank you to everyone who supported Cause an Uproar, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Save the Elephants this week, in honor of my birthday.  Last year, we raised a total of $175 for wildlife conservation.  It was my goal to exceed that amount – and I’m happy to announce – we did!  See what we raised per charity, then see the total below.

Cause an Uproar – for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, between three confirmed donations, we raised $55!  Last Sunday, I vowed to donate 25% of my income – however, a slow day meant an actual donation of 50% ($20) to commemorate World Lion Day!

Rorogoi - Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Rorogoi – Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust – for the Kenyan orphanage run by world renowned author and environmentalist Dame Daphne Sheldrick, between three confirmed donations, we raised $100, including the fostering of an elephant orphan!  As a gift to myself, I made a $50 donation on Wednesday to foster Rorogoi, a beautiful elephant orphan rescued by the trust in 2012. A milk-dependent Rorogoi survived for over a month on her own and found refuge on a compassionate farmer’s land before her rescue.  Born August 10, 2012 (the would-be birthday of my Grandmother), she touched a special place in my heart and I’m extremely proud to be part of Rorogoi’s journey moving forward!

Save the Elephants – Save the Elephants is a notable charity because 100% of donated funds are transferred to the field.  So the money we raised, $125 between three confirmed donations, goes directly to the front-line in the battle against the Ivory Trade.

That’s a grand total of $280 raised to save elephants and big cats!  Oh, and there’s one other thing I forgot to mention – I’ve been vocal on social media (notably twitter) this week about these causes.  I tagged The Olive Garden in one of my tweets this week – and have captured their attention.  They’re interested to learn more about saving big cats and elephants.  This coming week (Tuesday, August 19), I’ll be discussing my goal and these causes with Olive Garden’s media relations!

Again, THANK YOU all!  Together, we are helping to make this world a better place for our majestic and iconic cohabitants of our planet.

Fostering Rorogoi

Rorogoi - Sheldrick Wildlife TrustOn August 14, through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, I opted to foster Rorogoi, a beautiful elephant orphan.

Born August 10, 2012, Rorogoi was 14 months old when she was rescued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  Following a likely incident of poaching, Rorogoi survived for over a month on her own.  How she did this is a mystery.  However, her incredible story of heartbreak and survival – and of the farmer who offered her refuge is truly remarkable.  I’m proud to be part of her journey moving forward.

If you’d like to foster an orphaned elephant or rhinoceros calf ($50/year minimum), please visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Fostering Program.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of these majestic and iconic cohabitants of our planet.

It’s World Lion Day!

NGCI 037087, Wild WONE7949, CORE NONE7949

UPDATE (8/10):  $20.00 was donated to CAUSE AN UPROAR following my shift at work today!

Today is World Lion Day – and it would have been my Grandma Sarah’s 77th birthday!

In memoriam, and to raise awareness and funds, I’m asking you to join me on my quest to “Cause an Uproar!”  I’m declaring that 25% of my earnings today will be donated to  Cause an Uproar, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative.  Together our voices can be heard – and our roar can be unruly.  It’s time we started becoming the change we wish to see, “before we talk about big cats the way we talk about dinosaurs” (citation: Cause an Uproar commercial – televised, 2011).

If you join me today – or at any time this coming week – please e-mail me at bobby.james.myers@gmail.com an tell me you’re standing by my side so that I may respond with a heartfelt thank you.  Please include the amount you’ve donated in the e-mail as well, so I may tally the total amount raised (trying to outdo last year’s $175!).

Here’s an additional listing for Who to Support?

Then, please join me on my birthday, August 12 to raise funds to commemorate World Elephant Day! Visit my Birthday Wish to learn more.

Thank you!

 

“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

Elephant - Nat. Geo. 3

“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

August could not reply, for August was nothing tangible with which the Elephant could communicate.  But the Elephant knew she was in the presence of August – in the presence of the waning African winter.  She had survived another minute – another hour – another day – another month.  She’d survived another season, and after many moons, another year.  She dragged her trunk across blades of grass wetted by the brief morning rain, and her feet sank, just a bit further, into the ground.

As she pressed on, her great ivory tusks parted the grasses before her – and her feet left a telling trail in her wake.  The sun rose on the first day of August and as it did, the morning’s droplets vanished – into either dirt or air.  Cooler than summer but still warm by standards, August remained able to hug the Elephant, teasing spring warmth while filling her trunk with its wintry fragrance.  The Elephant grazed as she waded through grass, then she crossed a river and took a nap.

This particular nap was one from which the Elephant never awoke.  Murder came in her sleep, and thievery came after death.  Stripped of her ivory, in the Serengeti her body stayed – and to the Elephant, August said, “Goodbye.”

-Bobby James

“Hello August,” said the Elephant, (c) 2014


Sincerely, thank you, we raised…

Welcome to August, my birth month!

The above poem, “Hello August,” said the Elephant, was crafted to be a tragically beautiful conservation piece.  Last year, for my birthday, my only wish was to raise money for the conservation of elephants (and big cats).  I created a painting and asked readers to save the picture and use it as their social media image for a day – my birthday (August 12).  This year, I’m asking you to share my poem.  By spreading the message, it is my hope that attention becomes action – so that one day, I may craft an ending where the Elephant lives.

As I march toward August 12th, and the year I’m dubbing “the great 28,” I find my wish to be the same – to do what I can to make a difference.  That’s why this year I’m asking you all to join me again!  In lieu of birthday cards or gifts, I’m asking you to make a donation to one of the following conservation organizations in my honor – then send an e-mail to me letting me know (please) – bobby.james.myers@gmail.com :

Links provided – just click the charity you’d like to give to and it’ll take you directly to the donation page.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.” (from website)

Save The Elephants / Wildlife Conservation Network

“[Save The Elephants] Our mission: to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.” (from website)

Cause an Uproar

“Populations of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are declining at an alarming rate. They are victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans. In response, National Geographic, with filmmakers, conservationists, and Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, launched the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects combined with our Cause an Uproar global public-awareness campaign.

Cause an Uproar and join us in working to ensure that our future is not without these majestic creatures.” (from website)

Last year, we raised $175 for the conservation of the world’s elephants and big cats.  This year, I’m hoping to match – or exceed that amount.  In addition to funds raised on my birthday I’m declaring that 25% of my earnings on Sunday, August 10 will be donated to Cause an Uproar – as a memorial for my Grandma Sarah (who would have been 77 this year) and to commemorate World Lion Day!

Join me.  Let’s do some good together and if you need anymore convincing, see the gallery below.  Thank you.