I don’t know if you’re ready for this conversation but, you can’t buy and name a star. Period.
This business has been going on for nearly over 30 years, with romantic couples annoying the staff at planetariums. The worst part is that it isn’t totally illegal. You see, you can buy and name a star, get sent a cute little leaflet with your star’s coordinates, but it will only be recognised within the company you bought it from (for a price as low as £15). So if that isn’t enough to convince you then, by all means, name that star. Just remember it would be for entertainment purposes only and has no scientific relevance.
The reason for this is because it would make it extremely difficult for astronomers to do their actual jobs. You might think to yourself “hang on, but the Sirius star is named?”. Yes, that’s because some stars have been officially named due to mythology, astronomy and navigating reasons. They aren’t just named for fun. Astronomers have named about 200 stars in order to help find its location and identification, but they are aware of over a million.
According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), naming stars after regular people for presents would be confusing and a waste of taxpayers money. Think about it as a human, you’re not going to find a John Smith in England so easily just by going on the name. It is the same with stars. They have their own code (like having a social security number or a National Insurance).
Side Note: This reminds me of Dennis Hope, the guy who became rich by ‘selling acres’ of the moon to people. He is convinced that he can own the moon and sell real estate off it despite the fact that the United Nations Outer Space Treaty in 1967 suggests that no country could ever own the moon. His loophole was that they said ‘country’ and not ‘individuals’.
Now that we have come to the knowledge that buying a star means absolutely nothing. Let’s think about cute ideas that you can do instead that would actually be really beneficial to us.
So recently, a 16-year-old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg has stolen our hearts as she has started a wave of action by pointing out the detrimental risks of global warming. Protests throughout the world have taken place over the last couple of weeks and the threat of mass extinction has come to the attention of many. But the fight is far from over. Well, it’s barely even started.
You’re probably thinking “OK but this article started off with talking about a star”
So the World Land Trust is a non-governmental organisation that allows you to donate and volunteer in lots of ways. But I want to mention a few in particular.
BUY AN ACRE
Okay, so for £25 you can buy one-quarter of an acre, £50 for one-half and £100 you can buy a whole acre. Now it isn’t the same as owning a star, for example, you don’t have ownership and recognition of it. But the money goes towards local conversation partners across the world where they can purchase a part of the rainforest. By placing this ownership to the partner, they are then responsible for the care of the habitat and wildlife. This makes the land clear of landowners who intend to use it for agriculture or cattle ranching (which is why vegans usually tell you that the Amazon is dying because of your cheese-burger addiction).
This gift helps funds the protection of land mainly in Ecuador and Mexico.
PLANT A TREE
So for £5, you are helping to contribute to the planting of trees across the world. The trees are planted in native areas and are then cared for to the point where the tree can then survive on its own. If the tree dies during that time, another will replace it. This concept is tied in with helping the community so it usually involves Brazilian schoolchildren planting trees or local Kenyan farmers. This is also a cheaper donation option offered by the World Land Trust if you feel like you couldn’t afford a quarter of an acre.
This gift helps fund the protection of trees in Ecuador, Brazil and Kenya.
KEEPERS OF THE WILD
So the rangers are the frontline conservationists on these projects. They are protecting the habitats and species indigenous to these areas. They are really important to have as ultimately, we need people to actually protect, plant and work. They are stopping illegal activity from poachers and loggers but notwithstanding that, they are also working within the community to create trust, find local solutions and to change the attitudes of local people. Therefore they need to be employed as much as possible. There is no minimum donation as far as I am aware of this option, so any donation helps.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE FOUNDER
So I am really critical and suspicious when it comes to charities. I always look deep into the organisation to see if the money REALLY goes to what it is stating. After researching the founder John Burton, I can see that he is an environmentalist with plenty of years of experience in the field having many different roles. Some I can mention:
- Burton, John A (Ed) 1991 The Atlas of Endangered Species N Y Macmillan Inc
- Burton, John A 1996 Jungles & Rainforests London Dragon’s World
- The broadcaster on the BBC World Service
- Worked amongst USAID, World Bank, English Nature
- Received an award by the Indian Government for conserving elephants
PLUS, his work colleague and friend who has also been very involved in the World Land Trust is Sir David Attenborough. Who has said that the organisation is “The support that is given to the World Land Trust is the support that goes directly to the place where it’s needed.” So all in all, I think he is probably a pretty good guy.
If you want to see his video addressing what we need to do to help, click here
So, there you have it. I usually write travel articles, but this is still relevant because I would like to still have a planet that I can actually visit. Lately, with the concern of climate change, I have been trying to find ways where I can become more active in the movement. Considering the stars are a complete waste of money, buy a loved one (or yourself) something more worthwhile… like a piece of the Amazon instead.