Posts Tagged ‘malcolm gladwell’

Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The San Antonio Area Foundation’s “Talk About It!” campaign welcomes Julie Ruff as a guest blogger. Julie manages, the pets page for the San Antonio Express-News and She is a lover of animals and has volunteered for Animal Care Services and the Helotes Humane Society.

Julie RuffAccording to an article in the San Antonio Express-News, officials estimate that there are 100,000 stray dogs roaming San Antonio streets. And I’m willing to bet almost none of them are spayed or neutered.

Animal Care Services spokeswoman Lisa Norwood said the city’s relatively new facility can hold about 169 to 300 dogs on any given day. That means we would need to have at least 334 more facilities to hold these animals if we somehow managed to round them all up. Of course, that will never happen. Sure, there are nonprofit shelters and rescues around the city also picking up strays and unwanted litters, but it’s not enough. Those 100,000 dogs are procreating. And that’s just the dogs.

We have the opportunity right now to change the course of an epidemic. In 2000, Malcolm Gladwell, a writer at The New Yorker, wrote what would become a bestselling book called “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” in which he describes how trends spread exponentially through the population.

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do,” he says. Once an idea sticks, or becomes contagious, small changes can have huge results in a very short amount of time. This is not an especially new idea, but at some point, the book itself reached a “tipping point” and soon everyone was reading it and talking about it.

So how do we tip the scales in San Antonio back in the right direction? An important part of “The Tipping Point” that we have to understand is that it’s not just one small change that tips a trend. It’s several small changes all occurring at the same time that cause dramatic shifts.  Adoptions are rising, and there is a push to spay and neuter more animals. Now there is the new “Talk About It!” campaign spreading these messages in English and Spanish throughout the city.Talk About It!

Local celebrities, such as Manu Ginobili, are getting on board and urging citizens to spay and neuter their pets. We need more people spreading this message because, as Gladwell says, sometimes it’s the messenger and not the message that makes an idea or behavior stick. I’m looking at you, Tony and Eva.

I used to think we’d never reach the 2012 no-kill goal, but there is hope now that if we make enough changes we may reach that tipping point and see dramatic results. We need to increase funding for free and low-cost spay/neuter programs, TNR and Animal Care Services. Let’s continue adopting rather than buying our pets. More foster homes are needed. Keep encouraging your family, friends and neighbors to be responsible. Let’s keep talking about it and acting on it. Let’s make no-kill infectious. Those 100,000 dogs aren’t going away.

Contact Gavin Nichols, Program Officer if you are interesting in helping San Antonio become an animal no kill city.

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