Dr. Tyrone Hayes and Atrazine

This video is so important, we needed to share it on our site too. We have collaborated in the past with Save the Frogs on their campaign to Ban Atrazine.

Ban Atrazine graphic designed by Susan Newman

Original broadcast:

http://www.democracynow.org – We speak with a University of California scientist Tyrone Hayes, who discovered a widely used herbicide may have harmful effects on the endocrine system. But when he tried to publish the results, the chemical’s manufacturer launched a campaign to discredit his work. Hayes was first hired in 1997 by a company, which later became agribusiness giant Syngenta, to study their product, Atrazine, a pesticide that is applied to more than half the corn crops in the United States, and widely used on golf courses and Christmas tree farms. When Hayes found results Syngenta did not expect — that Atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs, and could cause the same problems for humans — it refused to allow him to publish his findings. A new article in The New Yorker magazine uses court documents from a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta to show how it sought to smear Hayes’ reputation and prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from banning the profitable chemical, which is already banned by the European Union.

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.


Eco-Interview: John Hamilton, Children’s Book Illustrator and Conservationist

John Hamilton, children's book illustrator with chameleon

When did this all begin? Please tell us a bit about your work.

I am an artist and illustrator based in Manchester UK. My artwork has always been narrative /story-based, using oil on canvas, printmaking, and large-scale collage. My work includes characters acting out various scenarios and role play, as if from a film or stage play. I often include animals or people dressed as animals. I recently had a children’s picture book published called “The Boy Who Really Really Really loves Lizards” aimed at 3-7 year olds.

Go quietly so as not to wake the butterflies' oil on canvas, 2013

What is your educational background and what led to this creative path?

My background is in Fine Art. I did my degree back in 1990 and have been a practicing artist since then. A couple of years ago I did a Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration. For the final project I wrote the story about my son Oliver who was obsessed by visits to the Manchester Museum, From the age of two he has loved the museum and would spend hours there.

inside the vivarium - illustration from the book

What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?

When I was doing research at the museum for the book, I became friendly with Andrew Gray, the curator of the vivarium. He specializes in the conservation of frogs and has done a lot of work to project many endangered species from Costa Rica and other places. His passion and commitment to the Museum is amazing. He was also responsible for getting the museum to publish my book which is a playful look at my boys obsession with the museum and the lizards, frogs and snakes. I think we saw it as a way to engage the younger visitors and to perhaps encourage them to become aware of the conservation involved. The museum features heavily in the book.

Today Oliver is going to the museum - illustration from the book

What can people do to help this cause?

The museum allows the public to sponsor the frogs and to contribute to the cost of research and support for the museum. Oliver recently sponsored a tiger monkey frog and got to meet it and hold it at the museum! You can also buy my book too!

Oliver with the Tiger Monkey Frog at the Manchester museum

How do you reach your targeted audience?
Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

I am trying to promote my book at the moment and I have been doing that through Facebook and Twitter as they both allow you to reach a large volume of people very quickly. It is also a good way of keeping in touch with people and informing them of events and new work. There is also a website for the book where I post features, reviews and workshop projects done with schools and colleges.

school workshop with John Hamilton

How do you keep the audience engaged over time?

Updates on Facebook and Twitter and by creating new links with organizations and groups with similar interests.

Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.

The book is only available in the UK so that has been my main target but I would love it to go further afield! I have had emails from people in South Africa, Australia, France and the USA who have received the book, many as presents from the UK – so that is exciting!

children looking at tadpoles in manchester museum

What is in the works for the future? What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?

I am working on another picture book possibly about butterflies or snails! I am hoping the museum may show an interest in publishing this one too. I want to try and make this one a bit more factual and to include facts and information to allow children to continue their interest in the subject.

Would you like to add a bit more?

No. Just a thank you for the opportunity to talk about the book and hopefully reach a few more people and encourage some more young people to really, really, really love lizards and frogs!

Boy who really really really loves lizards

To find John Hamilton online:

Website: http://www.johnhamiltonillustration.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tbwrrrll
Twitter: @JohnHamilton17

For information on the Manchester Museum and their work with frogs and about sponsoring the frogs visit:


Eco-Interview: Mike Maka, Mural Artist

When was your organization founded?
I’ve been a full-time artist since 2007, but making art since kindergarten, like when everyone else started.


What is your educational background and what lead to creating this organization?
(I’m not really an organization, nor am I especially organized.)

I studied in universities in New York, Adelaide, and Melbourne, but have learned a lot from friends and travel. Studies included illustration, fine art, graphic design, philosophy of art, etc. But working many years as a bike courier and enjoying the extreme side of life naturally led to climbing buildings, street art and graffiti. which has turned into a career or life.

Sao Paulo Frog Mural

What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?
I struggle with the business side of being an artist, such as pricing things, understanding the bigger market picture of what I offer, and finding a balance of creative projects with necessary business operations. I’m trying to get other people to do certain things, like social media, proposal writing, residency research and grants, and graphic design. Things that I am good with, but will let me create more art. I have learned over the years that the choices I make to do projects that are more fun, and the content or imagery that I find to be the most fun and challenging, without worrying about a client or people’s opinion in general, will lead to further projects in the same vain… and the money side of things takes care of itself. (Example: people will approach me to do paid projects for what I want to do, rather than when I started… I would compromise to suit a certain type of cafe for example.)

Snail Mural in Brooklyn, NY

How do you reach your targeted audience?
Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

I paint a lot on the streets, which is a better feeling of ephemerality than canvas work. More people will see street works than in a gallery, but many more will see the art on the internet.

I don’t like to think in terms of advertising, or branding, as it kills the creativity.

There are a lot of bloggers out there who put my stuff on social media, but Instagram seems to be the main thing at the moment, and the best thing for me is it keeps me off Facebook with the direct share option.

Melbourne Spotted Tree Frog Mural

How do you keep the audience engaged over time?
I think I have more of a problem of changing styles and content too much that would loose an audience, but again I don’t like to think about engaging an audience, but aim at an introspective view of my own mind. It does make me happy to know people enjoy some of my work, but also makes me happy when I can create something that isn’t main stream and doesn’t have mass appeal.

Brazil frog mural by Mike Maka

Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.
I recently spent a month in New York City, painted many walls and went up to Toronto and through Los Angeles to paint a few walls. I’ve painted in around 20 countries and hope to paint more.

What is in the works for the future? What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?

I have a lot of walls to do in Melbourne in the next month. September 6th will be the opening day of the new Everfresh Studios. October, I am planning a month long freedom drive up the east coast to link up 4 paid projects as well as whatever else I can find along the way. Living and working out of my bus (and probably a few friends houses.)

Later in November, I’m going to be the subject of a German documentary film crew, who will shoot an episode for their series.

I also plan on being back at the Miami Basel in December, and have plans to build a pyramid in Tulum or Playa del Carmen, which will be an art piece, but also a functioning permaculture garden prototype.

I am looking at art residencies in some Latin countries, and hope to be able to make this happen in 2014. Hopefully, Portugal, Brazil or somewhere Spanish speaking.

Frog mural by Mike Maka

Bonus Bite:
The big snail wall has a frog reference, on the post box bottom right in the rubbish, the Puerto Rican guy who owned the building asked me to do his tattoo, a native symbol of his homeland, which is a famous frog, I can’t remember the name, but it was taken to Hawaii for some reason to do with people working there. I think they missed the sound it made, but they didn’t take the natural predator, so it thrives in Hawaii now… (this is the Coquí, Eleutherodactylus coqui)

To learn more about Mike Maka, visit the links below:

Website: http://www.makatron.com
Instagram: Instagram.com/mike_maka
Facebook: Mike Makatron
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/mikemaka


Eco-Interview: Rosa Da Silva, Author of Jabujicaba, The Heart of Brazil

When was your organization founded? Please tell us a bit about its mission, goals…

Jabujicaba the book was published as an e-book at the end of April 2014. The paperback version is coming out this month. Behind it is an idea. Literally a ‘novel’ campaign.

On June 2nd 2014 the not-for-profit company Voices for Nature Limited was incorporated. This takes the campaign forward beyond the life-span of the book.

The people working on this creative project are young and green and Indie… but the ideas behind all this are long in the tooth.

 Jabujicaba by Rosa da Silva

What is your educational background and what led to creating this organization?

I am half German and half English. I grew up always on the move. I have lived in many different countries, including the US where both of my children were born. I speak lots of different languages. I would say I grew up with strong feelings for nature and none for national affiliations.

I studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University (Spanish and German). It helps to explain my love for magic realism – Garcia Marques, Isabel Allende – Latin American authors – and German writers like Kafka and Brecht and socialist political art eg: George Grosz and Kaethe Kollwitz.

I worked in the environmental area for many years, with a professional background in policy, communications and campaigning. I was involved in the early days when social/human rights, economic and environmental agendas were merged into ‘sustainability’ – an unimaginative word. I have worked in many countries including Brazil and Africa.

Politically, I believe in intervention in the markets for the good of others. I think a civilized society needs to ensure fair and equal outcomes, not just opportunities (which we know not everybody is able to take advantage of). I believe people must always be intellectually curious and be free to question. I believe in activism and not turning a blind eye or the other cheek. I believe in courage. In the separation of church, judiciary and state.

Over the decades there has been no real progress on climate change or conservation. Climate change continues on the up and so does species extinction. Something is clearly not right about how we are trying to tackle these problems – we know so many facts, we can measure the path we are on and predict where we are going. As a species, human beings need to reconnect with all living creatures and realise our inter-dependence.

I think we can find the right path by re-engaging people emotionally so they feel part (and not in charge) of the natural world.

That is the impulse behind Jabujicaba the book and setting up Voices for Nature. But it is not just a feeling, it is a process of political engagement (with a small ‘p’).


What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?

Pursuing fairness is a huge and continual challenge in everything I have done in my varied professional career. I was always standing up and arguing with ‘authority’ whether it was with a teacher at school or bosses at work.

Being heard in all the noise of a global market place, which is a Babel, is a big challenge.

The only way forward is to keep repeating yourself and remembering core values and the goal ahead. But you can’t get to where you are going alone in life. You need the help of others. You need to inspire and lead and to do that you need to be empathetic and kind.

 white-nose coati from Jabujicaba

What can people do to help? Donate, and contribute to your cause? Other ideas?

I don’t want the interview to be about selling an idea or a project. It is for people listening to ask their own questions and maybe find some of their answers are aligned with mine. Then they might want to find more about what we are doing and help. They could maybe read the book. It has had good reviews.


How do you reach your targeted audience? Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

All possible routes are tried and taken, although we are trying to work bottom-up, Indie in everything. We wouldn’t say ‘no’ though if Harrison Ford stepped in to help our ambitions for a green Indiana Jones film! Sometimes ‘top down’ or celebrity endorsement can help you to get where you are going (although it is not without its dangers). Certainly we are using social media and word of mouth.


How do you keep the audience engaged over time?

By being happy, having fun, with lots of variety. Everything we do also has to ring an inner chord with the target audience of what really matters, the meaning of our existence, not just our individual life. Jabujicaba is not about simply ‘entertainment.’ Through our website we hope to engage people in other areas of their life – to campaign or to study or volunteer – or even just to take their children to the zoo but with a changed heart.


Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.

When we made Jabujicaba the book available as a free download to test the audience, we found there was interest all over the world. About 700 copies were downloaded in 5 weeks.Take up is a lot less now, it costs a couple of dollars… We are still at the beginning of our journey.

Our campaigns, if you can call them such, involve around engaging with the books various stakeholders through interviews which explore the relationship between fact and fiction in the book. For instance, in the area of anthropology, with an anthropologist from Oxford University. Or in politics, with a green politician who did a ‘prequel’ meeting one of the characters in my book as a young man. Marco, who is the president of Brazil.

The focus of these interviews has been local and in the UK. We have tried to engage a little in the US, so far without success. It is hard not being there and time constraints mean you stay close to home.

Also the book is in English at the moment which restricts its target audience.

 rainforest in Brazil

What is in the works for the future? What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?

We are working on Jabujicaba the film and progressing step by step. Jabujicaba as a ‘novel’ campaign is timed to coincide with the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil. After that, we plan Voices for Nature to kick in with our film initiative. Through film we will reach a much larger audience with our messages.

Longer term, we would like to fund and reward young people’s creative projects for rainforest conservation, using royalties from the book/film – a bit like Sophie’s World – and grow to a forest (metaphorically and literally).



Jabujicaba is about diversity in our own societies too – and social justice. We need to tackle these issues too.

All on www.jabujicaba.net – but also @ArchieAiredale (my dog!)



Eco-Interview: Raphael Marius, Kiroja: Discover Something Wonderful

When was your organization founded? Please tell us a bit about its mission, goals…

I started Kiroja in July of 2010. However, the idea of starting something like Kiroja began to take root in sometime in 2000. In fact, I think I originally purchased the domain name around that same time. However, it wasn’t until an injury I sustained while visiting Morocco, that I really started to become more serious about the idea. It still took two more years before I did anything about it.

As far as our mission is concerned, Kiroja is committed to creating quality natural products, supporting women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, and championing education in its many forms. As an organization, we source our products from women run co-ops and organizations that support women’s empowerment. In support of entrepreneurship, we have donated capital equipment to help small enterprises take the next step in their development. As individuals, we have volunteered our time to organizations and schools as near as your local elementary school, to schools and organizations in South Africa.


What is your educational background and what lead to creating this organization?

I have a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in international education. As I mentioned earlier, the idea of something like Kiroja began way back in the year 2000. While recovering from the injury I had sustained in Morocco, I had time to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. This led to my graduate pursuits and trips to Ghana, New Mexico, and India to meet with women operated cooperatives and partnerships.

What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?

A major challenge we faced early on was related to quality control. The sources that we deal with don’t have sophisticated machinery or delivery systems. As a result, we would often receive products, like soap that varied in size and shape. Or prepackaged products were also not in great shape when they arrived. Changes in temperature during the shipping process caused leakage and other issues. Since the co-ops were not around the corner, or even in my home country. It wasn’t  easy returning damaged items for new ones. Also, what was the guarantee that the new items would be in any better shape?  There was another issue. I didn’t want to put a hardship on the women who ran the co-ops. They couldn’t be expected to constantly exchange damaged product for free. I actually had to put the company in mothballs for a bit to try and solve the problem. At one point, I almost decided to abandon the project and move on to something else.

It may sound weird, but it wasn’t until the middle of last year that I came up with a solution: formulate and package the products in the states. I worked with a designer to create a logo and labels. I switched from plastic containers to amber glass for our butters. I learned as much as possible about Shea Butter (both East and West), Argan Oil, product formulating, and a host of other things related to natural body care.


What can people do to help? Donate, and contribute to your cause? Other ideas?

People can help in many ways. Obviously, one way is to purchase our products. The more we sell, the more we can order from our sources. However, people can also help by volunteering their time to organizations that support education and women’s empowerment. One of the issues that is very important to me and formed the basis for my thesis research is getting men involved in preventing sexual and gender based violence.

How do you reach your targeted audience?

We do this in various ways. We take advantage of vending opportunities, like the Green Festival that just took place in April on Pier 94 in New York. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We also advertise in magazines like NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association). We also have our company website, Kiroja.com. You can also find our products in several NY and NJ stores. A couple of the stores that carry our products are actually organic farms.

Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

I think the best way has been word of mouth and when I actually get to talk to a potential customer. In those situations, I’m able to answer any questions they may have and talk about the quality of our products and our mission. This takes time. Although people are familiar with Shea butter, Argan Oil, and other products, They don’t always know the difference in quality. In some cases, what they have been buying may not even have been Shea Butter.

How do you keep the audience engaged over time?

What I try to do (though I’m not always consistent) is create blog posts and updates on Facebook. We notify our customers of upcoming events and opportunities. We also ask some of our customers to try samples of new products we are planning to launch.







Save The Frogs Day Event with Mayor Steven Fulop

We all have something we’re passionate about, and it’s not always easy to get others to share our enthusiasm, but yesterday, Jersey City came out to learn about frogs, amphibians and enjoy the Earth Day / Save The Frogs Day event.

As the event began, we set out all the delicious, healthy food (some came from vegan, organic, gluten-free baker Chef Camillo Sabella), the wine and beverages, and the day’s musical guests, The Gully Hubbards began to play. People started streaming in. Artists, nature-lovers, neighbors, parents and children (some who take Saturday morning art classes at the Distillery Gallery) and everybody would say how great the space was, the music sounded, and how amazing the art was.

At about 5 pm, a reporter from Jersey City 1 TV (JC1TV) arrived and interviewed me about Frogs Are Green, what the Green Dream is about, and why it’s so important to save frogs. Then Mayor Steven Fulop arrived and we took some photos, and talked together about frogs. He was quite informed on the topic, so the discussion was very good. Then the reporter captured the Mayor and I discussing frogs and why we must save them. The Mayor moved around the gallery looking at the art, talking with others and the children also. Then we moved to the back end of gallery along with the two curators, Kristin DeAngelis and Gabriel Pacheco and the Mayor spoke to the crowd about frogs and amphibians, and the three of us spoke as well. The Mayor gave us proclamations, and we gave the Mayor gifts. A painted flowerpot (with flowering plant) by one of the children who is enrolled in the Saturday classes at the gallery, a Green Dream t-shirt, and one of the most recent Earth Day posters from Frogs Are Green, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault. It was so fantastic to see a crowd so into this.

Afterward, there were two environmental speakers, Michelle Anne Luebke, an instructor at CUNY and an environmentalist and Laura Skolar of the Jersey City Parks Coalition, who spoke. There were so many children at yesterday’s event, some who sat on the floor in a circle and were drawing with chalk and crayons. We did the drawing of the raffle contest and the winner was announced, but wasn’t there, so he will be notified. One lucky child receives a year of art classes at the gallery for free!

The overall harmony of the event was perfect. The people, music, food, and excitement with photographers and TV, made the event a thrill for me and everybody had a fabulous time. There will be many more photos to come (from the official photographer, Danny Chong) as well as video of course, but here are a few, so you share in the event’s success.

— Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green

Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop talk about saving frogs!

Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop talk about saving frogs and their importance to our ecosystem.

The Gully Hubbards

The Gully Hubbards play at Green Dream for Save The Frogs day.

Gary Van Miert, Susan Newman, Dave Ace Case

Gary Van Miert, Susan Newman, Dave Ace Case

Thomas Tyburski and John Crittenden at Green Dream

Thomas Tyburski and John Crittenden at Green Dream.

Children drawing

Children gather to draw pictures, maybe of frogs!

Kristin DeAngelis, Susan Newman, Mayor Steven Fulop, Gabriel Pacheco

Kristin DeAngelis, Susan Newman, Mayor Steven Fulop, Gabriel Pacheco at Green Dream in Jersey City.

Proclamation to Frogs Are Green and Distillery Gallery for Green Dream

Proclamation to Frogs Are Green and Distillery Gallery for Green Dream.

Jersey City 1 TV films, Frogs Are Green founder Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop with Distillery Gallery curators

Jersey City 1 TV films, Frogs Are Green founder Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop with Distillery Gallery curators, Kristin DeAngelis and Gabriel Pacheco.

Laura Skolar of Jersey City Parks Coalition

Laura Skolar of Jersey City Parks Coalition speaking to crowd.

Michelle Anne Luebke, instructor at CUNY and environmentalist

Michelle Anne Luebke, instructor at CUNY and environmentalist speaks to crowd.

Susan Newman and Chef Camillo Sabella

Susan Newman and Chef Camillo Sabella, who brought his gluten-free, vegan,organic, kosher-style and low fat macaroons!

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