Bold Moves Podcast, episode 199

What is a bold move? Is it starting a social enterprise without any business background? Is it trying to make a difference? Or.. is it believing you CAN make a difference.

Nora sits down with Mandie from the Bold Moves Podcast to talk about big moves and how you can live messy and sparkly and authentically while helping animals.

Same trip, different perspectives...

We love hearing from our alumni. Reading their blogs, seeing their pictures, chatting over the shared experiences… it’s all wonderful. It’s so special to see adventures through the eyes of different people, we get to know these places, these people, these experiences even more. But what happens when everyone writes about the same thing? When we lead a group of women to The Great Rift Valley for giraffe conservation and everyone writes about cape buffalo?

Well… it must take a very special event, right? You be the judge!

Nora’s account of Expedition Kenya: https://pinkpangea.com/…/mother-daughter-bonding-rampaging…/

Lauren’s account of Expedition Kenya: https://justinpluslauren.com/my-near-death-experience-in-k…/

Marilyn’s account of account of Expedition Kenya: https://50plusworld.com/meeting-the-beast-even-lions-wont-…/

Happy reading!

Travel Towards a Career.

Travel isn't magic, it isn't going to make you taller, it isn't going to make you funnier, it won't make you rich... but maybe it can help you find you

What if when we booked trips we didn't see them as debt inducing, we saw the cost as investment? What if we looked at the world as a classroom? What if we didn't label travel as a separate and different part of life? Then, what if we didn't label our home as 'the real world'? 

What if the whole world, our whole lives, all our experiences were important? What if travel wasn't 'just' for tourism? What if it was an investment in our future? 

Those are a lot of questions, maybe your next trip will just be a vacation on a beach, perhaps it will be going to visit friends in a new town. Even though we are more than the sum of our parts, our travels, no matter where they lead us, change us. All our experiences mould and change us, if we realise it's happening or not. 

Our co-founder, Nora found this out when she went to Nepal in 2007. She didn't go to intentionally change her life, she didn't even think it was possible. She just went and now more than 10 years later she credits that first big trip as one of the reasons AEI exists today. You can read more in an article she contributed to in Student Loan Hero

We tell ourselves all kinds of reasons we shouldn't travel: we don't have enough money, we haven't worked enough yet, we haven't travelled enough before a big trip....

We want to inspire people to invest in themselves and in their future. Travel maybe won't suddenly change your life, but what if it did? What if hundreds of tiny little travel experiences changed your life over the course of a few years? Why not take the chance? Why not book the ticket?

We'll help you change your life through travel. We'll help you invest in yourself and your future. We'll help you do this while you help animals, local communities and broader ecosystems. We did it and we will be with you every step of the way.  

Contact us to talk more about where you want to go and how we will get you there!
Apply to volunteer on an international animal program with AEI.

Confronting the Aftermath of Animal Trafficking in Costa Rica.

When you google ocelot, this is what comes up:

Can you keep an ocelot as a pet?

Is it legal to have an ocelot as a pet?

Are ocelots dangerous pets?

_____

Animal trafficking is alive and well in the Americas. It's disturbing how these animals are captured. It's harrowing to see how they are illegally trafficked from the country. It's heartbreaking to see what their lives become when they are stolen from the wild and live as unhappy pets in small enclosures. 

This is an animal sanctuary we recently visited in Costa Rica. While sanctuaries are not perfect (only the wild is), it did a pretty damn good job explaining to people why these animals couldn't be realised back into their forest homes. Spoiler alert: humans. When these animals are trafficked sometimes their teeth are ripped out without anaesthetic, sometimes they are declawed without anaesthetic, sometimes they are just taken so young they never had a chance to learn how to be wild. They can't hunt, socialise, den or even really cat. 

Humanities obsession with owning things and our entitlement over the natural world has spelled often a life of torture and psychosis for the animals who survive animal trafficking. 

If you love animals, keep them in the wild. Ocelots are not for you, no matter how cute you think they are. 

 While this enclosure is pretty good habitat for this cat, it pales in comparison to the life she would have if she was in the wild.

While this enclosure is pretty good habitat for this cat, it pales in comparison to the life she would have if she was in the wild.

We are Elephant Friends, and friendly!

We are so proud to announce that we have been named one of the 215 elephant friendly travel companies by World Animal Protection!

That means when you volunteer with us you know for sure the elephant program is one that isn't just helping the animals, it's not hurting them. We couldn't agree more with World Animal Protection's elephant campaign, elephants are wildlife, they are not entertainers!  We are committed to elephants, to their protection and sanctuary. None of the elephants at our partnered sanctuaries will ever be chained up. They will never be part of elephant rides. They will always be given ongoing and consistent medical care. They will always be respected and loved for the gorgeous animals they are. 

If you love elephants, volunteer with them! Just make sure you volunteer on and visit centres that are certified elephant friendly by World Animal Protection!

We're on a podcast!

Here is a quick and dirty podcast that our co-founder: Nora, get's to discuss what it's like running AEI. She also talks about the roots of AEI, how it started and where she would like the branches to grow. Of course, being a woman she also talks about the trolls on social media and why you won't find any on the AEI Facebook page. 

Give it a listen and let us know what you think: I AM CEO podcast.

Happy listening!

Readers Digest says no to elephant...

rides!

Why? Because they asked us what tourist attractions were overrated. We thought about this idea at first. We love being tourists, that is why we started AEI. We love travel but we love giving back- the real reason we started AEI. 

We love going to new and exciting places and getting selfies with other tourists. We love meeting people at landmarks we had only dreamed of visiting. We love coming back and showing silly grins from silly friends exploring places that have been explored before, just not by us. We love being tourists. We love touring the world. So did we really think there were things that were overrated. Then we remembered the horrible torture of elephants and we remembered yes, of course there were things that were overrated- they were things that take advantage of animals, people and communities. 

Elephant rides help no one. Before elephants can be trained to have someone (or someones) on their back they have to be horribly broken as babies. We would explain it more, but it really is horrific. A quick search on google will keep you crying for days. After elephants are terribly broken, they can be dangerously shipped all over the countries they are living in. Sometimes on the back of trucks, sometimes on trains, always horrified and in danger of hurting themselves and others. Once they get to the attraction they will be working in they are typically not given enough water, socialisation or room to roam. They are chained when they are not boringly walking the same track over and over again with heavy loads on their backs. Do the elephants like this? Of course they don't. Do the communities that have elephant rides located close to them? Typically they don't either. They see these elephants languishing in the sun, in pain, bleeding and rocking due to boredom and torture. Not many communities we have talked to are excited to say they host exploitative acts. 

So why even have them anymore? Because people want to see elephants and don't know there is a better way! The better way is visiting and volunteering at elephant sanctuaries. Places were elephants are allowed to live in social groups with enough water, browse and space to walk, without chains and painful isolation. We help people volunteer in Thailand at such a beautiful and loving place, you can volunteer their, too! Check out our Elephant Sanctuary Volunteering page and write us a note if you are interested. 

There aren't too many things that we think are overrated when you travel, but we for sure think there is no good tourism when there is exploitation. 

Check our Readers Digest's article about overrated tourist attractions and see what we have to say about elephants!

Stop the presses! We are Best For the World (again)!

Today, Animal Experience International was recognized for creating extraordinary positive impact as a business based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, atbthechange.com/bestfortheworld.

 Animal Experience International is honored in the Best For The World Overall list, which includes businesses that earned scores in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations across all categories on the B Impact Assessment. Animal Experience International was also honoured in the Best for the World Governance, Community and Environmental lists.  The assessment measures a company's positive impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment. To certify as B Corporations, companies like Animal Experience International must complete the full assessment and have their answers verified by B Lab.

 

The full B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s environmental performance, employee relationships, diversity, involvement in the local community, the impact a company’s product or service has on those it serves, and more. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent of all B Corporations set a gold standard for companies using business as a force for good. Animal Experience International made the list thanks to exceptional practices like donating 6% of their profits to their animal welfare and conservation partners, using 2% of their annual sales to plant trees, and providing their local community leaders with enough help in one year (2017) to 219 weeks (4 years).

The 226 Best For The World Overall honoree companies come from 92 different industries and 30 countries. B Lab simultaneously released separate lists recognizing top-performing B Corporations as Best For Environment, Best For Customers, Best For Governance, Best For Community and Best For Workers, which can be found at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld. In the fall, B Lab will release the Best For The World: Changemakers and the Best For The World Funds lists.

 

Animal Experience International truly has three stakeholders: the placement partner (where we send clients), our clients and the planet. This honor shows not only is it possible to run a business with these ideals- but a business can thrive! We have had more than 550 clients volunteer on 27 different programs and every experience has been safe, ethical and beneficial to not just the animals, the community and the clients but also the environment.  Our business success has never been at the expense of our client experience, the planet or our local community members. This honor shows that the dream of running a company that is truly beneficial for people and the planet while making profits doesn't have to be a dream. We hope that we can inspire more clients to volunteer and make a difference with us- we also hope to inspire more businesses to take the leap and become certified as a B Corp. Conscious capitalism isn’t just a trend, it’s a way of life at AEI and we have the awards (and quantifiable data) to prove it. ” said Nora Livingstone, Co-Founder of Animal Experience International.

Additional 2018 Best For The World Overall honorees include: A to Z Wineworks; Give Something Back Workplace SolutionsMascoma Bank and Northwest Permanente.

“With the rise of anger at a system that feels rigged, people are hungry for companies like Animal Experience International, who are changing the system by building businesses that seek to create the greatest positive impact,” says Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab. “Best For The World is the only list of businesses that uses comprehensive, comparable, third-party-validated data about a company’s social and environmental performance. As consumers, talent and investors increasingly demand transparent, values-aligned businesses to buy from, work at and invest in, companies will need to not just the best in the world but the best for the world, and not just to be nice but to be the most successful.”    

A total of 932 Certified B Corporations were named 2018 Best For The World Honorees, including: Patagonia; King Arthur Flour CompanyGreen Mountain Power; and the United Kingdom’s Charity Bank. Fifty-two countries are represented, including Denmark, India, South Africa and Taiwan. The selection criteria for Best for the World honorees are available at https://bit.ly/2IgAzF5.

Today there are more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations across more than 150 industries and 50 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business. Any company can measure and manage social and environmental performance at http://bimpactassessment.net.

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About Animal Experience International

Animal Experience International (AEI) is a Travel, Adventure and Volunteer company that specializes in animal and wildlife conservation experiences. Animal Experience International is an organization with a mission to help animals around the globe by matching clients with animal-related volunteer opportunities at sanctuaries, wildlife hospitals, animal clinics and conservation projects. Through their respective work as a wildlife veterinarian and as a volunteer coordinator for wildlife sanctuaries, co-founders Dr. Heather Reid and Nora Livingstone have come to understand the need for an B Corp like AEI. People from all walks of life, and from every country, are seeking animal-related experiences as volunteers. Organizations that provide help to animals, either directly or through conservation projects, are often reliant on volunteers to achieve their goals. AEI is excited to help bring these two groups together and make a difference in the lives of animals around the world. AEI is committed to making sustainable and long lasting connections by partnering with only the very best organizations around the world. The TICO certification means these quality, worry-free placements allow AEI’s clients to focus on taking care of the animals and getting the most possible from their volunteer experience.

Animal Experience International – Points of Interest:

-The only Travel, Adventure and Volunteer company dedicated to animal and conservation projects that is a certified B Corporation and registered social enterprise in Ontario.
-AEI’s directors are both women.
-AEI’s president is a wildlife veterinarian.
-To date, AEI’s charitable donations to animal projects and wildlife conservation have exceeded AEI’s profits.
-To date AEI has more than 550 alumni go through their programs.

www.animalexperienceinternational.com

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good.  Its vision is that one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term.  

B Lab drives this systemic change by: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to give business leaders the freedom to create value for society as well as shareholders; 3) helping businesses measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance with the free B Impact Assessment; 4) driving capital to impact investments through use of its B Analytics and GIIRS Ratings platform.

 

For more information, visit http://www.bcorporation.net.

 

B the Change is a Medium publication, produced by B Lab in collaboration with the community of Certified B Corps and the movement of people using business as a force for good.

 

B the Change exists to inform and inspire people who have a passion for using business as a force for good in the world. Because we believe that storytelling is an essential element in the transformation of business and society, we commit ourselves to telling the most compelling stories possible to the largest audiences possible to propel the movement of business toward its destiny as a powerful force for good. We want to dramatically broaden and deepen engagement with entrepreneurs, managers, employees, investors and citizens in one of the most important discussions of our time.

Read all B the Change stories at http://www.bthechange.com.