There comes a point when just travelling the world is no longer enough. Seriously, there does. Exploring new places and trying to understand their customs only scratches the surface.
Raising awareness of societal issues is the first step to our world’s recovery – but it is the first step of many. Unfortunately it’s the only type of action most people take. “There, I shared this status about starving children with my friends. That’s my job done!” Sadly it takes a lot more effort than that.
Still, the power of social media when it comes to saving the world should not be underestimated. Do you remember Kony 2012? Of course you do, although most likely not for its charitable achievements. What we all seem to remember is the campaign founder’s naked public meltdown and the controversy surrounding the project’s legitimacy.
Any mention of Kony makes me blush a little. I loved the project when it first came out. The viral video captivated my imagination – I’ve always been a big fan of modern technology and I was so happy to see someone harnessing its full potential for the forces of good for once. Seeing everything crash and burn the way it did left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Could I ever trust an online campaign again?
I pushed that question to the back of my mind, until about a month ago. You see, I was told about a project called #JustOneRhino. “Just one rhino what?” I thought. Well, let me explain…
What is #JustOneRhino?
In short, the #JustOneRhino campaign supports the Rhinos Without Borders project run by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert of the Great Plains Foundation. The project is raising money for relocation of endangered rhinos from South Africa to the less populated Botswana where they can be translocated to safe havens. Rhinos Without Borders is committed to moving 100 rhinos at a cost of over 8 million dollars – #JustOneRhino is committed to raising $45,000 which is the total cost of moving… just one rhino.
The campaign has been made possible by Travelers Building Change and Green Travel Media, who have helped put it together and got many travel industry specialists – myself included *blushes* – to participate. The reason I agreed to take part is simple… All of the money raised through this campaign will go directly to Rhinos Without Borders – there are no administration fees or similar nonsense. None of the sponsors or the bloggers are making money off the #JustOneRhino from this campaign – we just really believe in the cause and want to play a tiny role in making the planet a better place.
Jeremy Scott Foster, the founder of Travelers Building Change, put it very eloquently: “The rhino poaching situation in Africa is critical and, given the incredibly high cost of saving them, we wanted to focus our efforts on a difficult project that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should. With rhinos due to become extinct within the next 20 years, it seemed almost obvious that this was the organization we needed to support.”
The political scientist in me – yup, that’s what I’m currently studying at uni! – likes hard facts and statistics, so I have decided to do a little research and communicate the direness of the situation using numbers.
- 0 = the number of Western Black Rhinos in the world after they were declared extinct by the IUCN in 2011
- 5 = the number of Northern White Rhinos left in the world, all of which live in captivity
- 7 = the number of hours that pass between the death of one rhino and the next, in South Africa alone
- 97.6 = reduction of black rhino population size in Africa which is now down to 5,000
- 344 = number of poachers arrested in South Africa in 2014, compared to 1,020 rhinos poached
- 1,004 = number of rhinos poached in South Africa in 2013, compared to 668 in 2012 and 13 in 2007
- 2,025 = the year by which rhinos will likely become extinct without intervention
- 26,000 = number of rhinos left in Africa, 80% of whom reside in South Africa
- 45,000 = the amount of dollars it takes to save one rhino
- 65,000 = the street value of 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of rhino horn
How does it work?
I am proud to be partnering with over 120 travel bloggers as we work together to raise funds for the #JustOneRhino project. We are joined by over 20 sponsors who have offered up more the $30,000 worth of prizes for anyone who donates via Travelers Building Change between now and March 1, 2015. Donors get tickets that enter them in the draw – a $20 donation earns you 10 tickets or entries and then the ticket numbers increase as your donation rises. So $30 will get you 20 tickets and $50 will get you 30.
What can you win?
While I don’t think the prizes should be the main draw for donating… who are we kidding? With these incredible prizes totalling more than $30,000, I can’t think of anyone who’d want to miss an opportunity to win! They include a 10-day trip to the Galapagos with International Expeditions, a safari in South Africa with Adventure Life, a 7-night stay at the Cobblers Cove Hotel in Barbados, a 10-night wellness package for two at the Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa in Nicaragua or a number of vouchers valued at $900-1,500 from Secret Retreats.
Aside from these grand prizes, there are loads of hotel stays, dinner cruises and amazing technology to be won – I could write a separate post about all of these alone! Every person who donates a minimum of $20 to #JustOneRhino will also receive a set of 12 rhino computer backgrounds and a DIY origami rhino. Rhino origami! So go go go… let’s make the world a better place, #JustOneRhino at a time.
What are your thoughts on charitable giving? Do you take any steps to make the world a better place during your travels? Have you ever worked to support animal welfare in any part of the world?
Featured image via Colin the Scot.