5 Reasons to shop locally

Shopping is fun for most people. You go shopping and usually you buy what you need or like. It is a fun process for many. Most of the time the criteria to shop are if the items are of good quality, and if they have a price tag you are willing to pay. But there are more criteria for shopping that will be very interesting for you to think about for a moment. For instance, do you know the whole history behind the product or the shop you purchase goods? Do you know where the money you spend goes to? Besides you buying something new and exciting, you spending money at a certain local shop can be life-changing for many people, for many reasons.

Some communities make easy guides to their local shops.Some communities have easy guides to their local small businesses and shops 

5 reasons to shop locally and support small businesses

1. When you shop at a local shop, you spend your money in a way that helps the shop owner and his or her family directly.

You are not sending your money off to another big corporation. If these small business owners earn money, they can take care of themselves and their family, and keep their business open. Sometimes you even get a better deal than at a big brand store. But most important: you are basically making sure these people, your neighbors, can make a living. Isn't that alone already a really good reason to spend your money in local shops?

Lonneke at AUH20 I love the cute finds and incredible low prices at AUH2O in the East Village! (Still in business!)

2. You get the best service

Small, local business owners care about the goods they sell very much. They have the most know-how of the products they sell, sometimes they make it themselves. In that case you can find out exactly how the products are made, something I always like to know. You just can't get any better advice on these products anywhere else. (Imagine big shops with employees that really don't care about you or the products they sell?) In the case you experience a problem, it is easy to speak directly to the person who owns the shop. These small business-owners exist on giving good service, and will find a product or service that will custom-fit your needs. They also will be helping out when there is a problem. They just want you to be a returning and loyal customer, and will do almost everything to make you, the customer happy with your purchased goods. When shopping locally, you can feel like people really listen to you, and really want to help you.

I did not know what bubble tea I should choose, so the owner of Thirstea NYC made me a custom-made bubble tea.the owner of Thirstea NYC in East Village made me a custom-made bubble tea (unfortunately out of business)

3. You support your local community

When you get out of your house, and see how the streets and shops in your neighborhood look, or how the local children's playground looks, imagine that when you spend your money in a local shop, your money will help care for these important building blocks in a community. Whether through taxes, or through direct payments from local business owners, they all together can make living in your community a pleasure. So putting it simple: when you spend locally, most of your money stays locally, and is spend again locally.

Lonneke Engel at Sustainable NYC

My friend Munemi and I at eco-friendly shop Sustainable NYC in East Village (unfortunately also out of business)

4. Bringing diversity to products offered

If we only buy products from big companies, the diversity in offered products will decrease. That's why it is important to shop with people who offer different products, and maybe even show their true craftsmanship. Also, by giving individuals a chance to make a living, it can pave the way for new ideas to develop into better products than the ones that already offered.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has a gluten free bakery in the East VillageActress Jennifer Esposito opened an 100% gluten-free bakery in East Village NYC: Jennifer's Way. (also out of business)

5. Social contacts

If you shop locally, you get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your social contacts will become stronger. Remember, a community is build on the people who live in it. The more active the people in a community are working on strengthening their local community, the better and nicer it will be to live in it. And you might even make new friends too!

Vito the Dog, Navy Lamey at Local NYC

Vito the Dog and my nephew Navy Lamey are chilling at Local Cafe NYC in Soho after our trip to the East Village. Local has since become a bar to have drinks at night instead of a café.

What I like the best about shopping locally is the enthusiasm of local business owners. They are passionate about what they sell, they really chose to be in that business. I love all the information I get from them, and I am always excited to return. I hope my 5 reasons to shop locally has inspired you to explore your local community.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Because of the coronavirus hitting the USA and especially my hometown of New York City, I hope you can commit to at least try to buy locally and support small businesses, because many, many families are suffering and otherwise go bankrupt. We all need to step up and help these hardworking small business owners as they are the engine of the USA economy. Thank you!

Shop in NYC

After the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, many family owned restaurants and businesses are suffering. Now more than ever you need to spend your money with these stores if you want to keep your neighborhood doing well. In New York City this nice initiative started called ShopinNYC, where you can shop and support local NYC businesses in one spot.

WATCH MORE: Check out my daily update of the NYC Lockdown due to the Coronavirus

Love, Lonneke

First published on July 29th 2015, updated in 2020

p.s. As you can see most businesses I gave as an example have gone out of business. Unfortunately that is what happens if too little people support them so they are financially strong to survive. So if you know of a small business in your hometown, please support them, so they can stay in business and feed their families!

 

 


5 tips to Consume Less & Live More

When you look around, you probably see ads everywhere. Whether on the street, or on your computer, TV and phone, you are constantly triggered to look at advertising that wants to push you to buy this and that product. For instance, makeup. The time when all you needed was a simple black mascara and some lip gloss is over according to a lot of makeup brands. They now have eyebrow gel, shine for your eyes, cheek blush, lip liner and more and more. This is in every color, and of course you should really get each one of them. If you have enough money, you can buy it all. But most of us are living on a budget, and buying everything is simply not an option. So how to decide what you really need, and only buy what you need, in a way so you don’t miss a thing, always look great, have no worries, and are definitely not in debt?

quote by Organice Your Life Consume Less Live MoreA simple formula for a great life: Consume Less - Live More

“Consume Less, Live More” is the quote I live by and share with people. We consume too much in our society, and most of it is not essential for survival in life. Let me explain what I mean. Shopping can take over your life. There are even people with shopping addictions, which is not so weird if you think of the constant soliciting from companies. With all these commercials saying you can’t live without their product, and people telling you to do more, more, more, it is sometimes hard to distinguish what you really need, and what you really want. Let’s figure out how to deal with it—it is really a psychological thing. So you can easily change your life by changing your mindset. Here are my five thoughts on this:

1. You don’t need all that

First of all, know that you don’t need much to live. Most of your purchases and daily actions are about wanting more. What you really need each day is good health, water to drink, food to eat and a place to sleep at night. In essence, you don’t need much more. That cute dress you saw on sale is not really a basic necessity, even though you feel like it is at the moment of purchase. That big apartment you want to buy, even your big career. You don’t really need it. You want it. So what is an easy way to financial freedom? Not wanting to have it all, because wanting things comes with a price, whether via a purchase, loan or debt. Or it comes with a physical and/or mental price. Is it worth it?

2. Know your financial situation

You can’t go shopping and plan purchases if you don’t take a long, hard, honest look at your bank account. And this means taking all your debt into consideration. And no, credit card maximum limits are not part of your budget. Even though it feels like free money, in the end you are paying for it, and mostly with interest added onto it. Only buy things you can pay for right away, or absolutely need to live. Even if it looks like a great deal, and you can pay in terms, in the end you have paid much more than if you had bought it right away for the full price. There will always be that next sale, and that great outfit, or other amazing product for you to buy. You are not missing out on anything if you can’t buy it right now. It actually can give you a goal to save money for something that you really want. And in the meantime while saving you can rethink if you really need it. And maybe you don’t want to have it all anymore once you can actually pay it. That’s why I love something I call “pre-shopping.” I go shopping one day and look at everything. Then I go to sleep at night and think it over. The next day I go back to the things I couldn’t stop thinking about and buy them. This way I rarely have to return something. And it protects me from buying things I don’t need.

3. Break the curse of owning stuff which can enslave you

Owning too many things can also make you a slave to your stuff, because all the things you own need time to upkeep. The bigger your apartment is, the more there is to clean. It is also likely more expensive to live in each month. And if you have too much stuff, you need to probably rent storage space. Besides that, if you own expensive things, you worry that they might get damaged, or that you will lose them, or that someone steals them. And insuring things costs a lot of money. So owning something costs money just owning it. Also, think about how much time it costs you every week or so to clean out your closet. If you have less stuff in it, you save a lot of time.

4. Minimize shopping as it can be an addiction

Shopping gives you a rush each time you go. It is the same feeling of when you fall in love, or meet your celebrity crush. Your heart beats faster. But this feeling can also come to you in other situations that cost less money. Helping out at a shelter, for instance. Donating unwanted clothes to someone who really loves or needs them also gives you a feeling of happiness. If you find other ways to get that same happy feeling, ones that are free, it will help you realize you don’t need to go shopping at all. And I am sure most girls can go shopping in their own closet and they will find a few items they’ve never worn. You can wear them or resell them so you have money to buy other things! And if you really want to go shopping, make sure you buy goods of the best quality that’ll last a lifetime and are always in fashion. They will usually be a bit more expensive, but will save you money in the long run, and they will always look great. Consume less but buy more quality. Also, make it a challenge to find recycled objects. Like vintage fashion, or go to a thrift shop to find a gem for not much money. It is very hip right now to go thrift shopping and vintage hunting. You will find amazing items that you can’t believe you can buy for prices as low as 99 cents. Even Macklemore loves it. (p.s. one of my favorite happy songs!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

5. Realize that Society makes you want more, more, more!

We are taught that the bigger job, car, home, and more expensive clothes and handbags you have, the better your life is. The governments and banks around the world have made it very easy to borrow money and get major loans. Student loan, home loan, car loan, all made possible for you to get even more. Even if you can’t really pay for it. But do you really in essence want all that, considering the risks and responsibility to pay it back that it comes with? Do you really need that bigger car, or that amazing handbag, only to show off to the neighbor or your friends? What are your real dreams and goals in life, where is your heart, really? Funny thing is that for a lot of people what they want most in life are priceless things, like being healthy, having a lot of free time, being with the ones they love, and doing something that they are passionate about. Being worry-free and debt-free. But you can’t have any of that if you constantly buy things you don’t need. To me it comes across as a bit weird. Why do people work so hard then, and not see their family much, and not have much free time to do things they like to do? Just because they want that career and to make that much money? Because that’s what people do, and what other people expect them to do. Because the bigger career and success in life, the more money people seem to make, and that is considered better. Money that they need to pay the bills of the things they buy when they make more money, but which they wouldn’t buy if they made less money. It is a vicious cycle.If you realize you need less and have enough already, you are more likely to be happy with what you have right now. You probably have more time for yourself than you realize. And you are more likely to live in the moment and enjoy it fully, and do things in your daily routine that are more emotionally fulfilling. Needing and wanting less gives you less debt and fewer worries. So if you can make your mind realize that you don’t need all that, you can save yourself a lot of stress, time and money!

Love, Lonneke

The article is protected by copyright by Lonneke Engel and was first published on Youbeauty,  the website of dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen:

YOUBEAUTY - LONNEKE ENGEL - A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR A GREAT LIFE: CONSUME LESS- LIVE MORE

 

 

Consume less live more


Helping the homeless on cold days

The days have become shorter, the leaves are starting to fall. In all colors they cover the ground. The wind is picking up, you are starting to get cold and you have to wear a warm sweater.

I love cold days

What I like when it gets colder (but not too cold) Is a long walk, breathing in the fresh air. The feeling you get when you get back to your warm house, priceless. The hot shower afterwards is even better! A real treat after a workout, because a long walk is good for you.

READ MORE: 5 tips to Stay warm

Homeless on the streets of NYC

I know I am lucky. When I see the homeless, I feel bad. In NYC there are a lot of them. These are people that just can't function well in society. And for those there is no place, except outside, on the streets. I used to give them money. But you never know what they spend it on. I have been disappointed one time when this man came out of a supermarket with a beer in his hand, bought with my money.

READ MORE: 5 tips for a Good Heart

What is the best way to start helping the homeless on cold days

We have to be smarter: We have to donate money to different places, places where homeless can get a good meal and a place to sleep. Like the Bowery Mission, very close to where I live. Every donation really does a lot. You can also give them clothing or food directly of course!

Homeless in NYC copyright Fairest Photo

My tips for helping the homeless on cold days

Every season I clean out my closet. After my friends and cleaning lady dig in and look for things they like, I take the leftover clothes to Union Square, where they collect used, but good clothes. Or we bring them to a consignment store, drop them off at Salvation Army or at The bowery Mission.

READ MORE: 10 charities to give to this year

You can also drop off groceries and essential toiletries at a soup kitchen or specialized organization. One time I helped out an afternoon at Lunch Break in New Jersey, USA. I packed bags for people with low income or who did not have a home. They need simple things like deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Canned food is always good (Luckily a lot of organic food options were donated) and the soup kitchen cooks with it so the homeless can come have lunch, or they can come pick up essentials and food items. It really felt great helping out!

ACE NYC Charity

Many people from abroad sometimes think that the USA is not taking great care of its people. There are a lot of homeless, that is true. Some have come from other countries and are illegal, some just can't keep up with the hustle and bustle of life these days, and others are simply addicted and need help. But the USA is also the country that is placed very high on the lists of countries that donate the most per citizen to charity., the World Giving Index (one is Myanmar apparently!) And there are indeed many people and charities that help homeless get back on their feet, like ACE New York.  ACE New York helps homeless by guiding them in the process of getting back to work. In the meantime they become part of Soho's cleaning team and they keep the streets clean. in return many buildings in Soho donate to this organization because they help keep the streets clean. it is a win-win situation! I used to work a lot with this charity by helping their secondhand store Use Your Head by giving advice, raising donations and organizing events. 

Small things can make a big difference. I hope to do my thing for the homeless, especially now the cold days are coming our way.  And when I walk in the street on one of my walks? I say hello at least. These people are being ignored by most people, and they are just like us! Life is sometimes unfair, but everyone can do something to make it a bit better for others. Think about that the coming months.

Below are some local initiatives in NYC and beyond, that can inspire you to start helping others on cold days.

www.bowery.org

Salvation Army

ACE New York

First published on September 30rd 2009, updated in 2019


5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

Many people want to have a dog in their lives. I understand, because they are the most amazing animals, full of love, and they love to be by your side! Many people are swayed by cute puppies, and don't really understand the reality of having a puppy in their home. That's why I am sharing with you my 5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog, and why I prefer a shelter dog over a puppy at a pet shop or breeder.

1. When you buy a puppy, one shelter dog dies

It sounds harsh, but that is the reality. The most amazing dogs are killed or left behind in cold shelters because people don't choose them but instead buy puppies from breeders, or even worse, from people who just want to make money and import the dogs from far away not caring about the health and wellbeing of the mother and puppies. If you buy a puppy (because he or she is "sooo cute"!) you are contributing to the problem and you keep unhealthy practices going. Dogs are being killed everywhere - even in my hometown of NYC - EVERY DAY. I believe that if breeders truly love their breed, they would rescue dogs of their breed, and re-home them (for a fee) until all of the dogs of their breed are out of the shelter, before they breed even more puppies that will add to the problem. 

2. You know exactly what you get when you adopt a shelter dog

A dog in a shelter shows you exactly who he or she is. You can meet them more than once, walk them, play with them to see if your characters match. The character of an older shelter dog has set, and he or she has been assessed by the shelter staff. Even though dogs until very old age can learn new tricks and rules, it is nice to know what your dog prefers or not. When you adopt a shelter dog, you know if the dog is a barker, will chew on your stuff, can be home alone, likes to run or has medical issues. A lot of inbred puppies these days are born with incredible complex medical issues, which most of them don't show up in the first year of the puppy. It's something many people forget. (If you can insure your dog for health costs, that is a good option) When you adopt from a shelter, you know if the dog is housebroken or not. (most of them are in fact!) All these things give you so much more information on how your life is going to be with your dog, than when you buy a puppy whose character and behavior is still a total mystery. It could go well (which all new puppy owners hope for, but is only possible with lots of correct and daily training) or totally wrong giving you a hard time and maybe even forcing you to re-home your dog, which will give you and your dog much heartbreak. It would also result in more dumped dogs in the shelters because they end up not matching the envisioned lifestyle of the owner. Be smart: Adopt a dog that matches your life! 

3. A shelter dog is less expensive to purchase than a purebred puppy

Adopting a shelter dog is very cheap! While a puppy with a breeder will set you back anywhere between 500 and 10.000 dollars, a rescued dog will only cost you between 100 and 500 dollars (senior dogs are much cheaper, and sometimes even for free). You also know if the dog has expensive medical issues, or has had a fairly good life so far and not too expensive in upkeep. For your financial situation is good to know what you are getting yourself into!

4. A rescued shelter dog is so thankful

A shelter dog has been through a rough time, and feel so happy to be with you in a safe home! They show you their thankfulness in almost human like affection. And a rescued shelter dog is just as cute as a puppy... maybe even cuter! No wonder the hashtag #rescuedogsrock and #shelterdogsarethebest are my favorite tags!

5. You become a shelter dog rescue hero 

When you do the right thing for yourself, for your community, and especially for the shleter dog, the feeling you get from that, is much more rewarding than that cute puppy. Everybody can buy a puppy, but not everyone can rescue a dog. It's a much more special achievement.This of course counts for adopting any animal: Cats, rabbits, horses you name it! And when your rescue a shelter dog we will salute you!

So rescue your four-legged friend from a shelter near you. And if you don't want to make a longterm commitment or want to have a trial period, you can always become a Foster Parent. Fostering saves many dogs' lives.

We loved our shelter senior dog Vito so much, he was the best. He passed away after a short illness because of cancer, 3 years after we adopted him as a senior dog from a shelter. Those were the best 3 years! We saved him, but he definitely saved us too. That's what shelter dogs do, they have a certain magic to them. Our current dog Bane was also a shelter dog from Animal Haven in NYC.. he chose us! and he has been with us for more than 3 years already. We feel blessed that we could do something so easy, with such a big impact

 

 


red heart with hands

5 tips for a Good Heart

Everyone wants to do something Good for others once a while. You can give money to a charitable cause, or volunteer to show your "good heart". You can just give away things you don't need to others who can use it very well. There are so many things, big and small, easy or difficult, you can do for others. Doing good for others feels good!

About Organice Your Good Heart:

Good Heart definition

My 5 tips to do good for others:

  1. Take care of yourself first. If you are strong & healthy, you have the best chance to succeed to help others. (Example: when an airplane is in trouble, you first put on the oxygen mask yourself and then help other passengers.)
  2.  Choose your focus. Choose your charity. What is the most important to you right now? Even if you want to, you can't save the World and everyone on it. If everyone focuses on their own subject of passion, there will be more results possible faster and without too much waste of time and money.
  3.  Find out what you can share or give. If you have a lot of money, you can give money. If you don't have money but you have time, you can volunteer. If you don't have any of those, you can share knowledge or connections. You can maybe share products or services. Fact is that a lot is valuable. Money or things like knowledge: it is all worth a lot!
  4.  Look around your surroundings and in your group of friends/relationships to see what is needed and what people focus on. Sharing is caring. Together you are stronger.
  5. Organize. The better you are organized (or "organiced"), the more success you will have.

My focus with Organice Your Life is to share knowledge and information. Besides that I love animals so I focus on charities that care for animals. Because Gandhi said it well:

Gandhi quote animals

What I support

I support most of all the Charities in my heart, while my focus is to support to a few local NYC charities.  My unwanted clothes ,household products and groceries I bring to friends, and local people who don't have much to spend. It feels good :)

What do you focus on?

Love, Lonneke


Vintage is the original Green Fashion

Really, you can officially call all clothing made before the 80's "vintage", but let's just call all the good, quality and beautiful clothing vintage. Are you with me?  I hope so!

What is vintage

Vintage is really recycling and keeping clothes from going into the landfills, so Vintage is the original Green Fashion!

Vintage is the original Green Fashion - Lonneke Engel

I always feel very happy when I find an item that used to be pricey, is in great shape, and looks beautiful.  And if the price is low now, and it fits me, it's a deal!  Most of the time people compliment me more when I wear something that they don't recognize as something they have seen in recent fashion shows.

Great vintage shops are everywhere!

New York City for instance has many secondhand and vintage stores.  Some focus on the 40's and 50's, others on mainstream brands for extremely cheap. The trick is to really dig in, and really look at each piece of clothing.  Maybe one of them is your gem.

Other places to find vintage

There are many other places to find amazing vintage.  What about your mom's closet?  Maybe your grandmother's closet?  The thing with fashion trends are that they come back every so many years, of course reinvented.  So what is old and ugly right now, you might want to keep in your closet a few years--it might be fashionable again.

Magic closet

Also, I keep a "Magic Closet", where I store all my unwanted clothing.  Coats, dresses, bags, shoes, you name it. I either sell, give clothes away, or donate. I also look into this closet every few months, because you might start liking an item again, maybe because you lost or gained weight and it now fits!  If you do have unwanted clothing, you can do the same. You can donate, sell or swap, or bring it to collection points in your area.  Those clothes will find a good new owner. You can sell it online at many places including RealReal,Letgo, Thredup, Poshmarkand Ebay !

READ MORE: Organize your shoe closet

Swap Party

Organize fun parties with your (girl) friends to swap clothes. Super fun! My friends come whenever they want, and exchange clothes with me.  This way I find something new, and they do as well.  It gives you the same feeling as when you go shopping; but this way it is shopping for free, so it feels even better!

If you are actually looking to expand your wardrobe, ask first if friends have some stuff they want to get rid of.  Most of the time they then suddenly think of that one dress they haven't worn and you might like... Otherwise: go shopping!

Did you know a lot of celebrities get their unique pieces from vintage stores or flea markets?

In the Netherlands my friends of Doortje Vintage (great online vintage webshop) started LENA Library in Amsterdam and they have made it a business for people to borrow vintage (or green fashion) from their fashion library. You become a member and can come get nice pieces all the time! Check them out when you are in Amsterdam.

A few of my favorite vintage stores around NYC

AUH2O

Best prices and cute clothing. I have found many things $3-10 that I wear a lot!

located in the East Village.

www.AUH20.com

Beacon's closet

You can also bring your clothes here to sell! Really nice collection they have of vintage and some more modern day designers.

Great prices.

Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

www.beaconscloset.com

Stella Dallas

Unfortunately, they just closed my favorite location on Thompson street!

But this is the place to go for 50's & 60's dresses. I found my wedding dress here!

www.stelladallas.com

INA NYC

High-end designer consignment.

www.inanyc.com

What Goes Around Comes Around

More really old pieces, found all over the world, really one of a kind leather belts, antique clothing and more

www.whatgoesaroundnyc.com


Shop for a good cause

A trip down memory lane! Founder Lonneke Engel and the other girls that supported Organice Your Life organized many events in New York City over the past decade to bring awareness to different causes. Let's check out this one shop for a cause event!

Shop for a good cause party

April 26th 2011 Fabiola Beracasa, Lonneke Engel and Valentina Zelyaeva hosted a charity event in one of the most beautiful vintage boutiques in New York called“Use Your Head”.  (a great name if you want to become more aware of your choices in life!) The owner of the shop, Henry Buhl (Founder of ACE), was kind enough to let us make this event happen. And of course, charming Brazilian manager of the shop – Carlos Barbosa- was a shining star of the night!

Organizing for the party

Lonneke, Carlos and Valentina spent hours during the week before the party organizing the store. The result? A very beautiful high-end looking boutique with clothes displayed beautifully! We were very proud of it. Lonneke said she is going to volunteer more often to help the store stay in good shape! During the party, we all got together with our friends to shop and/or donate our unwanted and gently used clothes.

Profits going to ACE New York

All the profits made a the store, go 100% to  “ACE” , which is a New York organization that helps homeless off the street and back to work, as well as improve communities and clean the streets of Downtown NYC.

Sponsors

It was a fun night where “Organic Avenue” (unfortunately out of business these days) provided us with fresh alkaline water and samples of freshly made juices for everyone. People could ask questions about the cleanses we were doing together with the other OYL contributors and even sign up for it. People got 20% discount on the LOVEdeep 3-day cleanse by using the code "OYLDEEP" at checkout when buying the 3-day LOVEDEEP cleanse at Organic Avenue , they would get 20% discount!

Also a big Thank you for the girls from Organic Avenue who had a wonderful display at our party! And for those who weren’t doing a juice cleanse, we were serving organic sparkling wine. (provided by Valentina! )

La Perla had donated a few amazing dresses! And top-model Doutzen Kroes donated beautiful high-end designer clothing worth thousands of dollars.

A special Thank You goes out to “NAGO” capoeira academy for their donations and presence.

Win- Win

It feels great to have a party and in the meantime raise money for a good cause!

Here some of the photos from the event! Images made by Josh Wong Photography

From Left to Right: OYL's Kate Dillon, Munemi Imai, Lonneke Engel, Valentina Zelyaeva.
Use Your Head shop manager Carlos Barbosa and friend.
Valentina and friends shopping for a good cause!
Lonneke talking to 2 people from New York Magazine.
Fabiola Beracasa and her crew.
Organic Avenue supplied their signature alkaline water and juice samples.
Valentina & friend.

Models love to shop vintage!

Lonneke & Valentina with The Organic Avenue team!
Fabiola & Lonneke checking out the store for great designer must-haves!

All profits went 100 % to charity and the shop was run by volunteers. Use Your Head was located at 262 Mott street in NYC. They went out of business a few years ago unfortunately :(  But you can still support the homeless people of Soho and beyond by going to ACE New York.

Love, 

Team OYL

First published on April 28th 2011, updated in 2020

 

 


Eliminate Plastic Waste

 Riding the waves and spouting full force, a pod of slender black and white orca whales are in pursuit of the season’s salmon:

Plastify-Anne-Marie-Van-Dijk

My work as a whale researcher

These were my days spent as a whale researcher in Puget Sound back in 2002. Our research topic: killer whale behavior.

During my first months as a researcher I soon came to realize that the animal I had come to adore, a totemic species in the Pacific Northwest, was deeply threatened by a silent, stealthier killer. A killer that disintegrates and seeps under your skin, accumulates on micro levels and is just simply impossible to get rid of: PLASTIC.

READ MORE: How quickly plastic nanoparticles can get into marine life

To us Westerners living in a consumerist society plastic has become a commodity, a necessity, a way of living, perhaps saving lives in the form of plastic syringes but also bringing luxury in the form of stylized computers. For marine animals and the ocean, however, plastic has turned into a nightmare. Turtles ingest plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish, dolphins get entangled in fishing nets and birds swallow pellets formed by plastic debris floating in the ocean.

READ MORE: How sea turtles are dying because of plastic

It's a big World with a lot of plastic waste

One may ask where all this plastic goes. Surely my plastic bottle must be recycled and transformed into a new one. If not, the world is big enough to handle a few extra billion tons of plastic waste each year.

This could not be further from the truth. Tragically, in the U.S., only 20% of plastic bottles that are thrown away get recycled. The other 80% gets dumped into landfills or reaches the ocean. Most of our waste today is made up of plastic. Plastic, which is made from petroleum, takes centuries to degrade. In fact, “every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, except for a small amount that has been incinerated, is releasing toxic chemicals”.

The Pacific Ocean is now famous for its infamous “Pacific Garbage Patch”, a swirling vortex of plastic debris and trash twice the size of Texas – the biggest landfill in the world.

The Atlantic Ocean is forming a patch of its own, as is the Indian Ocean. What is even more alarming is that plastic disintegrates, breaking down into smaller particles (polymers) yet never fully biodegrading, the process by which material decays and is absorbed back into the environment. What this means, literally, is that our oceans are turning into plastic.

It's a small World with plastic waste after all

What will happen to the whale called Killer? Orca whales are now regarded as some of the most toxic animals on Earth due to the rapid accumulation of harmful chemicals into their bodies. The pods in the Pacific Northwest have been put on the endangered species list, but to what avail?

In November 2009, Lonneke Engel, Eyal Amir and myself held a party–Pura Vida– in honor of the oceans and how to lessen our impact on our planet by promoting the use of sustainable, eco-friendly, reusable bottles. Although the subject of plastic, its toxic by-products and how this affects our planet is an extremely complex one to which there are no easy solutions, every action counts and every step is a step in the right direction.

At Organice Your Life we believe change starts at the individual level. It is with this in mind that OYL hopes to inspire you and provide you with the tips and knowledge on how to live a sounder and eco-friendlier life, a life that is better for body and planet.

We hope you enjoy this issue and as Margaret Mead once said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Kick The Plastic Habit - What can YOU do to eliminate plastic waste

Refuse & Reduce

  • Use an eco-friendly, BPA free, reusable bottle. This is better for your health and friendlier for the environment.
  • Ditch the plastic bag: carry an eco-friendly canvas tote with you at all times.
    Select fresh, local fruits and vegetables as opposed to pre-packed.
  • Prepare your lunch at home with fresh ingredients (not packaged in plastic) and carry it with you in a glass container.
  • Stop using plastic cutlery. Use real silverware whenever you can. Keep a few real knives and forks at the office or, when ordering-in, specifically ask not to include paper napkins and plastic silverware.

 

Re-use & Recycle

  • By shopping at eco-friendly stores you support the reuse of plastic and the recycling of waste materials.
 Examples like Freitag.
  • If you have leftover plastic bags bring them to a grocery store that recycles them, or use them instead of regular garbage bags.

 

Be Inspired

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyBENefmcH4

Above all, encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same!

By Anne-Marie van Dijk, Model & founder of CLEANSE, One Body One Planet.
First published on OYL in 2011, updated in 2019

5 tips for a Green World

Most people want a Green World. But how do we achieve that goal?

I recently came across this quote by Carl Sagan on the Stop Fracking Instagram account that made me stop and think. I searched for more and discovered that this man, who brought the cosmic universe in understandable language to us, gave us inspirational things to think about and maybe even make a change.

A Better World

We all notice something is in need of a thorough inspection and update in our World today. The idea of making money, a career, to have a house (with a mortgage) and a car (with a loan), fame ( & power) and buying, consuming & owning expensive "things" is just not that satisfying for most of us anymore. And we see a LOT of problems unfolding in front of our eyes.

What is going on these days? What are the issues of our generation? Why are people worried and upset?

People see that the energy supplies are drying up and we need a new way of energy. People feel they can't trust anymore what they eat. Our food system is being endangered because some big corporations are trying to change DNA structures of plants (GMO). Nature is being demolished for industries worldwide. There are worries about the Climate Change and if the air you breathe is still good enough and the water you drink from the tap is not contaminated in the future. People worry about possible nuclear bombs and terrorism. Species become extinct, people are being suppressed in countries. (Gay) people are being bullied and attacked. Even pets are legally seen as a material object, a "thing" not a living being and part of your family.

The World sometimes feels like it is messed up

And we all feel this, one way or another. Everyone wants to change something. People want less stress, less responsibilities, more time to spend with loved ones,  more happiness, greener nature, less abuse, less violence, more Peace between people and the Earth. But most people wait until others to take the lead... But why wait? All issues going on in society are influencing us all, if we want it or not. We can sit by and wait and see, or have an active attitude.

Like the quote says:

without clean air and water all our dreams and ideas for the future cannot become reality.

And if we don't speak up what we want ourselves, no one will, and money will continuously rule our World.

But it all feels like too. big. of. an. issue. to. deal. with. and. to. fix.

Where to begin? I hear you asking.

It all starts with our excessive consumption pattern of this moment. That. needs. to change. No way out.

How to start living a better, more sustainable and fulfilling life for a Green World,  without coming across as a drastic activist?

Answer: One step at a time. Here are 5 tips for a Green World Inspiration:

1.  Information is Powerful

Read and learn about things before consuming something or buying something. I read everyday all day and listen to inspirational people, experts in their field, to learn about their findings. And if you made mistakes in the past, and people are continuously pointing out all the things you do or did wrong: focus on what you do right at this moment. People will always try to find something to bring you and your good intentions down. You can start any moment to live a better and a more green life to work together with millions of others to create a Green World! (Good news huh?!) I made mistakes too, and sometimes worked with companies that are not doing so well on the ethical or sustainable level. But the money I made I now put where my mouth is. Know that every day is a new day to change your lifestyle.

2. Each time you buy something, you vote with your purchase

You can either sustain or change a situation using your power of spending. When everyone stops buying products that don't have a good ethical side to it, producers will change to fit the customers needs. It is that easy. So next time you buy something. THINK about what you are buying. And choose good stuff! For instance, if you buy cheap clothing or fast food, you are likely to vote for underpaid unethical (child) labor, depleting nature from essential minerals, contaminating drinking water and bad living conditions for animals as well as voting for a bad health of yourself, to name a few gigantic problems our World faces these days. Cheap means, the money savings have to come somewhere. So you might have a fashionable shirt you wear probably only a few times. And then throw out (creating enormous waste). Or eating a cheap meal.  The impact on yourself and the planet is so devastating you probably would think twice to purchase it if you saw all of these problems that come with that purchase unfold at once in front of your own eyes. The amount of chemicals and genetically manipulated ingredients used in the production of cheap food like products and fashion is alarming. And it is in almost all the stuff you have at home probably, unless you live under a rock. So it affects ALL OF US. Choose wisely for a Green World.

3. Think long-term, not short-term

Some people think about the short-term cost of things, in other words: what does it cost today? While I always think long-term because that is the best for a Green World. If I am healthy and stay healthy for a long time, I need less doctors for disease, less medication, and that way I save a lot of money! I believe that investing in health, by going to doctors to manage my health ,and by buying good products in the beginning will save money in the end compared to people always buying cheap food and cheap products. Cheap food gets you sick, cheap products don't last long, are unethically made, and need to be replaced all the time.  Think about your karma, your conscience.. Can you live with the situation you sustain by buying that product? Your choice if you want to save money now, or your money, your health and your karma in the end. Don't you want the best for your kids? Think about every aspect of their lives. What do you feed them, what do you make them wear, where do you let them play...what quality is the air their young developing lungs breath... each thing, each action is of an incredible importance to the rest of their lives. Be aware, be conscious. Are you protecting their future? Are you fighting for clean soil and organic food, clean air & water? Or do you just sit by and watch the big corporations & government ruining it all just for the Sake of profits? For our children and their future: you can't stay in silence, speak up and demand better & healthier products, protection of people, animals & nature and safety all along. There is enough of everything for everyone and for our future, but we are all using it up now. Pretty selfish don't you think?It is a fact that buying cheap stuff will only give you short-term happiness when purchased. And it might give you a good feeling for a moment: the ones involved in making it are not happy at all. Let's be honest here: a 1 dollar meal or 5 dollar shirt sounds like a bargain, but HOW in the world can that 1 dollar product be made with respecting people, animals & nature? Answer: no way. And the bad ingredients in cheap processed foods can help you get serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity to name a few. The toxins used in producing cheap fashion can cause lung & skin problems and the amount of waste created this way... forgetaboutit. If you knew that junk food, soda drinks, buying toxic clothing, shoes and other products would be harmful to your health and that of your family in the long run, would you think twice about buying the cheap, unhealthier version?

4. Think quality, not quantity

While a deal of 2 or more for the price of one sounds like a great deal, it usually only comes for products that aren't really healthy or well made, and actually could be harmful to your health. While our society has the idea that "We want MORE" is the way to go, and buying lots and lots of things and owning lots and lots of things are the best for you, I believe in Less is More. Also, knowing where your products come from gives a certain extra value to the purchase, besides knowing you help a local producer and the safety of knowing who made it. That is true quality. I keep downgrading my life daily, so I can enjoy my life more without the continuous bills coming my way and the worries that come with it. So I don't have to work to keep up with the bills, and don't need that much time keeping up, and organizing my belongings. So I have more time to spend with who I love, doing what I love. It's an enlightened feeling if you can say: I don't need all that. Our family doesn't need all that. I am perfectly happy with the stuff I already have

5. Be creative

Companies have tried to make us all look the same: "We give you a lot of the same looking products and you all buy it from us, and you don't know where it is made, from what it is made and who made it". It is the easiest and cheapest for companies to produce this way. And the more you buy, the more money they make, which will only benefit a very small group of people. Also, these clothes have usually a bad carbon footprint (Think made fare away like "Made s in "INSERT SOMEWHERE IN ASIA") and create a terrible amount of waste. Just saying. Back to the "Be creative" part. I hate the idea of wearing an outfit and someone else walks by in the exact same shirt from a chain store. So I try to stay as far away. I absolutely LOVE my vintage shopping, the hunt for that one-of-a-kind piece, and buying from unique designers and local craftsmen. Less carbon footprint: a happier World. Also for furniture the same. Commodity is no fun.  Be original. Exchange products with your friends (and save money too), let people see who you truly are, choose things that are original, that are YOU. And u know what? People will recognize and praise you for your courage and your great eye and originality! Because most don't have that much originality unfortunately, but they will see it when it is in front of their own eyes. Bonus: being original and recycling products like vintage and antique is usually cheaper to purchase, create almost no waste. The clothes actually are recycled in the economy as well so worth more economically per garment (if that makes sense). It takes creativity, and we lost it somehow the past decades when industrialization and mass production came into our lives, but we can get it back!

The World is not lost yet, it can still be a Green World

We have been taught that our voice does not make a difference by the people who run the world in the Old Economy. It is quite the contrary. If you feel like you want to make a change, you can totally do that as every little bit counts.   Because all those little bits together become a big chunk. And people will notice. Companies will notice and will make a chance. Just focus, everyone has their own favorite issue they want to change. And yes, you might experience a bit of a struggle in the beginning, but easy things are no fun. Success is only satisfying when it takes effort to get to that point.

I encourage you to start changing your consuming pattern for the better. "New" isn't always better," cheap" is usually not right. If you only become more conscious about your actions, and the things you buy each day with the hard-earned money you made, we are half way there. Don't believe all advertising, some are misleading. Trust me I know. The way you consume things and leave your footprint on this Earth matters. Every positive little (green) change helps to change this society for the better. And people lead by example.

Open your mind, explore, learn, send out your message and connect with people who believe in a Green World.

And foremost: Put your money where your mouth is if you believe in a Green World. Buy from true organic & green companies, local farmers & craftsmen and buy GMO free produce.

The World is not lost yet. There are a lot of people still focusing on the money aspect of things (so last Century) But even the most corrupt and money loving people and corporations have a heart... somewhere. They just lost the right path a few decades ago, and can't seem to find it anymore. They only go for the short term profit; they lost the touch with the people who work for them, the animals and products they work with and the environment they work in. But with our efforts and little changes to a greener life we will push them to find the right path again!

Together we stand, all that is important is us, our children and our future.

Love, Lonneke

Founder Organice Your Life®

Carl Sagan quote 2


Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

Carriage horses in NYC

You might have heard that there have been a few incidents involving carriage horses in New York City in the past. While on duty, the horses in these accidents either got hit by a car, died while working, or got spooked for one reason or another. this is not right!

Carriage horses in Central Park

If you have ever been to NYC, and especially around Central park/Columbus Circle/5th Avenue, you have seen the carriages and their horses lined up waiting for tourists to go on a "romantic" trip. But do they know what the horses' daily life is like, I wonder? Truth is that they have to work almost every day, and it doesn't matter how hot or how cold, they have to work daily in a noisy and polluted city with dangerous traffic. They breathe in continuously the dirty air from the traffic. The horses live in small stables (sometimes even on the second floor of a building!) that can be fire hazards. There is no space to turn them out in a meadow. They literally can look at the beautiful fields in Central Park but can never stretch their legs there when off-duty. And if there is a weather emergency, the horses are holed up in their stables as there is no indoors to have them relax for a bit.

I think years ago, and I mean decades ago, it was a romantic idea of going around town in a carriage, but reality is that in the meantime the traffic in the city has increased by 1000% or so, and it is just not safe anymore. I am confident we can take all the carriage horses off the streets, by buying the rights from the owners and bringing them to safe pastures somewhere in the countryside. These horses are sweet natured, but don't belong in the city. It is not safe for them, but these horse drawn carriages are also not safe for pedestrians and other people that take part in the traffic everyday.

There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians
There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians

RELATED: PETA made a list of horse-drawn carriage incidents

One good thing is that Mayor DeBlasio finally made a part of his election promise happen : The waiting line has been moved inside Central Park which makes it a bit safer for the horses and the pedestrians. A judge ordered the carriage horse industry to do so in February 2019. Unfortunately I noticed that the horses are less protected from the Sun in the Summer, as they are further away from the buildings that would shield them from Sun most of the day. And the horses still have to travel far to their stables that are located on the West Side of Manhattan after a long days of work.

 

Carriage horses at Central Park
From the waiting line at the border of Central park in busy traffic...
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic

Carriage horse Oreo

One of these accidents happend with a 6 year old horse named "Oreo" (love the name) bolted as he got spooked by a car that honked near him.

*6 year old is very young for a horse to let you know. It is logical that he doesn't know everything yet and can get scared. Actually, it does not matter how old or young the horse is, it is a living creature with feelings and emotions and any horse could spook.

On board were the driver and a couple hoping for a nice ride through the park. What they got was a horse that took off and had them falling off and getting hurt. He took off and an onlooker a few blocks down managed to capture Oreo. Of course Oreo was so scared of everything around him (he is a horse and he was in the middle of traffic alone) So when the police came, they had to shoot him with a tranquilizer shot. He fell to the ground and people passing by were watching this in horror. Read what happened exactly here. What I have read is that the injuries of the people were not major. And Oreo? They are giving him another vet check, but the first check showed only some bruises around his mouth. Yeah right, let's not mention the psychological trauma he endured that he has to live with for the rest of his life. This happened in 2012, many accidents have happened after this one. Also, I do not know if Oreo is still working as a carriage horse, retired, sold to someone else, or was sold off to a slaughterhouse. Who knows?

UPDATE: Oreo, now Orion was adopted by the wife of the President of  the NY Yankees, Randy and Mindy Levine.

Well, that video does not look pretty. Ono top of that Oreo's bit is so tight in his mouth it must hurt him a lot!

Carriage horses should be retired

I love horses, and I live in NYC. Therefore  I am excited that we CAN stop this because there is a great alternative! The people of NYCLASS continuously protest the horse drawn carriage industry in NYC, and actually have designed an electrical car or "horseless carriage" to drive tourists around Central Park. This way the transportation of people who want to see the beautiful views of New York City, can be safe and clean too. I love the idea!  I think it is a great solution, very fun and a good looking idea too. And the horses should enjoy a lovely retirement in a large meadow. NYCLASS once said that they already have places for all of these horses to go to! Because most of the time retired carriage horses are send off to slaughter and transported in deplorable conditions. Because in America you cannot slaughter horses, they are sent to Mexico on days long journeys. That is not what they deserve after serving so many tourists!

READ MORE: NYCLASS

We should get these cars all over the City. Do you have any ideas how we can do this? I wish I could adopt a carriage horse like Oreo and find a place upstate... we would only do fun rides in the woods and he would be in the pasture the rest of the day! I hope this will one day be reality instead of a dream.. Horse drawn carriages in NYC are so 1904!

carriage horses walking on Central Park West
carriage horses walking in traffic on Central Park West

p.s You can sign this petition to demand the NYC council to vote for the The Carriage Horse Heat Relief Bill, Intro 1425. This new bill will keep NYC carriage horses OFF the streets when the 'heat index' reaches 90 degrees or above. Sign the petition, or contact your local council members.

UPDATE October 30th 2019: the bill was signed into Law so horses cannot work anymore when the temperature gets too hot.

Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day
Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

 

UPDATE: Christine Hansen, the face of the Carriage industry in NYC only needed a short amount of time to respond to my tweet about this article. Their PR machine is huge. She invited me to the stables, but besides that I have seen their stables before, what use is that of my time? I am sure they can make it look great for that moment in time, I have experienced that with my own horses in the past. It does not say anything about day to day conduct of drivers and the horses, it does not change the horses' daily dangerous work in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the World, the breathing in of toxic fumes every day, and the lack of outdoor space where horses can graze together, rolling and stretch their legs. That last point, together with interaction between horses, is essential in the wellbeing for any horse. By the way, Christine Hansen is the woman that was once in the news by working her horse in extreme hot weather when operation was already suspended by the City. 

UPDATE April 24th 2020: Chicago is banning horse carriages in 2021 thanks to an overwhelming vote by the council of 46-4! Hopefully all horses will be get a peaceful retirement! Come on NYC, you can do it too!

Love, Lonneke

Me with one of my horses: Cooper Milo
With one of my horses: Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First published on December 18th 2013, Updated in 2020

 

 


Free Morgan

Please Help Us Free Morgan!

She is a young female Orca that was found off the coast of Netherlands in 2010, where she was captured as she swimming alone and very sick. She was brought back to the Dutch Dolphinarium where she was nursed back to health and was supposed to be released soon after.. but then she was sent to Loro Parque in Tenerife!

Now Big Marine Corporations are trying to keep her in captivity, just like the keep other killer whales in captivity. Orcas (or Killer whales) do not do well in captivity, physically or mentally, as the movie Blackfish showed us so clearly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G93beiYiE74

READ MORE: Behind the Orca smile

There was a large court case in Amsterdam, and the ruling was a disappointment but they see chances the appeal would be successful. In the meantime Morgan is still at Loro Parque.

Please visit http://www.freemorgan.org/ to see what you can do to help the experts free Morgan.

You can find me and my dutch friends Lonneke Engel and Doutzen Kroes as "Morgan's Angels on their "supporters" list.

in September 2018 Morgan has given birth to Ula, despite the fact that getting Morgan pregnant was a violation as breeding apparently was not permitted. You can read more about her pregnancy HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV6jhbreOGg

Please help and do all you can to save the beautiful and precious Morgan and all the other orcas in kept in captivity. A killer whale does not belong in a small confined environment, they need to be free in nature.

READ MORE: How to help Morgan

Love, Anne-Marie van Dijk

First published in 2011, updated with new information in 2020


10 ways to help dogs in need

Did you know many shelters in NYC and in USA have a kill policy?

The Truth about shelters in the USA

Some dogs that come in are euthanized within a few days or a week. They don't get a fair chance to get adopted. Many "mega" shelters get 80 to 100 dogs A DAY to care for, dumped by their owners, found as stray, confiscated by the Police due to abuse, you name it. Many shelter employees experience traumatic situations everyday, but pick themselves up by knowing that they are still helping the majority of the dogs. My first dog Vito - a Bull Terrier - came from a shelter in the Netherlands. When he passed away at an old age, we first fostered and then adopted our dog Bane. He was on Death Row at the NYCACC shelter, and Animal Haven shelter saved him just in time before he was killed...

Lonneke en Bane
My dog Bane

Sweet pitbulls have a bad reputation but are in fact great dogs

In the USA right now there is a big problem with pitbulls, American Staffordshire terriers and American Bull dogs. And any "scary" looking dogs. Not the dogs are the problem, the dogs of these breeds are in fact the most loving and amazing dogs I know, but the owners are the problem. In certain parts of the USA society, and other parts of the World, even in my home country of the Netherlands, people use these dogs for dog fighting. They look ferocious and some people own them only for that reason. These dogs are amazing. Why? They are so loving and so loyal to their owners, they will do everything for them. And even when these dogs are rescued after having experienced the worst they could ever experience, most of them can still get rehabilitated in loving homes. That's how amazing that breed is.The show Pitbulls and Parolees is a good example. People who are involved in any of these scams, should of course be prosecuted for these criminal charges. And never be able to own a dog in their life again.

 

Dogs in need are all around us

Dogs in need suffer all over the World each and every day. People are putting these dogs outside with no food, water, shelter or attention. Leaving your dog alone at home for most of the day is not dog-friendly either. Most dogs that have behavioral problems, are caused by their owners. Dogs have feelings just like we do. They get hungry, they feel pain, they get cold. Caring for a dog is like caring for your child. You should treat them how you treat your children, and how you want to be treated. It is no wonder that families where there is animal abuse, there are usually also other problems within that family. Animal abuse is therefore a good indication that these people might need more help. Sometimes dogs are wandering around as stray dogs. They are not neutered or spayed and therefore start families. Who then again are also homeless. These mutts usually have a hard time getting adopted too.

Must Read: 5 Reasons to adopt a shelter dog

Lonneke, Bane en Dirk
Lonneke, Bane & Dirk

10 ways to help dogs in need

  1. Firstly realize that dogs have feelings just like us. They feel pain, they get cold. Treat them how you want to be treated.
  2. More dogs need to get adopted, EVERYONE can help out.
  3. Think everything out before you get a dog. People should not get a dog if they can't give them a lifetime commitment, or a safe home. Most dogs reach an age between 10-15 years, sometimes even more! And if you do want a commitment for such a long time, getting a senior from a shelter is a good idea; You give him or her a few great years, and he or she gives you unconditional love and attention.
  4. Think about what your dog, or a shelter dog needs. Feed them enough of the right food, and give them the right (medical) care in time. Prevent your dog from getting too cold, too hot, hurt, hungry or depressed. Don't leave dogs unattended,  especially during cold and hot days. Dogs can overheat or cool down quickly and not show signs until it is too late. Make time for your dog. If your dog has behavioral problems it is most likely due to a fault of the owner.
  5. Don't buy a puppy, choose a shelter dog! Shelter dogs are a much better choice for many reasons. You know what you get, they are very well supervised and analyzed for their behavior, and sometimes even trained well! And one fact: When you buy a puppy: a shelter dog get's killed. It is that simple.
  6. Adopt, Foster a dog and/or Donate to your local shelter. You can even give dog food, new toys, blankets and beds. Fostering a dog really saves a dog's lives!
  7. If you see a dog in need, you need to take care of it and bring it to the attention of animal rescue organization in your area. Always think that you are the only one that will do something about it. Most people think; " Someone else will help that animal" and walk on. But in reality most people think like that and therefore many animals suffer!
  8. If you know of or see animal abuse, notify the local police. We need higher criminal charges for animal abuse and more people telling the Police what they have seen or know about.
  9. Become a volunteer at a shelter and walk dogs. A lot of dogs at shelters are 24/7 in their cages because there aren't enough volunteers. Even an hour a week would help out a few dogs!
  10. Use social media to bring awareness to dogs in need. Any like, click, share will help!

Here are a few shelters you can go to right now and help out!

USA:

NYC:

The dogs will thank you even if you help out just 1 of them. If we all do a little bit of work, we can create a big chance for all of them!

Love, Lonneke

Must-read: A Dog is part of the Family