Our Hero, The Rat
You’re probably aware that abandoned land mines from our species’ countless, pointless wars remain a huge problem throughout the world. The civilized world got together in 1999 and banned these barbaric weapons. The United States, of course, refused.
In Africa, that continent’s numerous civil wars have left huge tracts of land dangerously littered with land mines that continue to kill at random and without warning.
One of the charities I support is officially called APOPO, but they are marketing themselves as Hero Rat. It’s much catchier! They train the African Giant Pouched Rat (which is a bit larger than our buddies here at home) to sniff out land mines. Rats are highly intelligent and have an excellent sense of smell. They’re also too light to set off a mine if they walk over it. This combination of traits makes them ideally suited to this task.
The Economist recently put together a little slideshow about APOPO’s work:
I wonder sometimes if this blog serves any beneficial purpose at all. It probably doesn’t, you know. I should at least try to directly prevent a little misery in the world by occasionally bringing the efforts of this organization to your attention.
They’re a small foreign charity, so donating to them is actually just a tiny bit more involved than it is with larger organizations. If you’re a U.S. resident, donating directly to them is not tax deductible. Blame the IRS and our serpentine tax laws for that one. However, you can donate to them through an intermediate charity, and that is tax deductible.
You have two choices. You can go directly to their website, click the Donate button, and then follow the instructions for your country.
The simpler way is to go to Global Giving and donate to Hero Rat’s Tuberculosis project. That’s the way I do it. That’s also where the link in my sidebar will take you.
Instead of throwing up your hands in frustration at how screwed up the world is, here’s your chance to help unscrew a small part of it.