Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Search for the Good Everywhere

Sporadic poss will dominate The Daily Prism for the next 9 weeks. We are busy leading a nonprofit fundraiser, then taking a fast and furious vacation. We challenge our readers to find those little sparks of light that occur around us every day.   The good dominates, regardless of what we hear and read.  It is there!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Unraveling Children From Rug Weaving Exploitation

Beautiful rugs from Afghanistan, Nepal and India brighten exclusive homes around the world.  Sadly, about 250,000 children are exploited by the industry, according to GoodWeave, a nonprofit devoted to exposing the dark side of the hand-woven rug industry.

Philanthropy Today reports, "The group was founded in 1994 by Kailash Satyarthi, a human-rights activist in New Delhi. He mounted dangerous raids on factories and reunited kidnapped child workers with their families.
But he realized he couldn’t stop the problem just with rescue efforts, so he decided he needed to find a way to persuade companies that it was bad business to hire children.

To that end, GoodWeave persuades retailers throughout North America and Europe to promise to sell only carpets that are made by workers who are at least 14, and offers merchants a certification logo to show consumers they meet that standard and others. For example, rug sellers must ensure that their suppliers and exporters don’t hire child workers."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Retail Outlet Exchanges Unskilled to Entreprenuers

Hand Crafted Rug Bag
After the Civil War, there was a nationwide exchange movement to help women in need discreetly earn a living.   It was not considered ladylike to take on a job outside the home.  In Baltimore an outlet was formed called The Woman's Industrial Exchange.

By 1880 the operation was so successful that a retail shop opened.  Today,  "The Exchange continues to serve its non-profit mission as an outlet of hand-crafted goods made by women and men intent on supporting themselves with dignity," notes the website.

Philanthropy Today reports, " The Exchange splits sales revenue 50-50 with the 80 consigners who sell wares at the shop, but increases the proportion to 70-30 for low-income women and today, also men.
The organization is working with local nonprofits to develop more formal ways of reaching out to women who could use business training. It teaches basic entrepreneurial skills to women who sell goods through the store. Some didn’t even have business cards or use the Internet when they started out."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Indigenous Cultures Address Climate Change

From First Stewards:

Climate change—the variation in the Earth’s climate over time—is a pressing issue for coastal indigenous cultures, other coastal communities, and coastal and ocean resource managers. Some of the most dramatic and economically important effects include heat waves and drought in some areas and changing ocean conditions that affect sea life that cultures depend on in others.

Because of their unique vulnerability, coastal indigenous cultures are leaders in societal adaptation and mitigation in response to climate change impacts. Exploring their experiences may hold great value and provide guidance as communities across the nation respond to our changing climate.

A symposium to inform the nation about the impacts of climate change on coastal indigenous tribes will take place at the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., July 17‐20, 2012.

The symposium will bring together as many as 300 coastal indigenous tribal elders, leaders, scientists, witnesses, and other scientists and policy leaders from around the nation to discuss traditional ecological knowledge and what it can teach us about past, present, and future adaptation to climate change. Five regional panels of tribal leaders and tribal and Western scientists will examine how native people and their cultures have adapted to climate change for hundreds to thousands of years, and what their future — and that of the nation — may hold as the impacts of climate change continue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

They Unpaved The Parking Lot For Paradise

Maia Nativ’s job involves a lot of dirty work, and she loves it. She works as a fund raiser at Depave, a charity in Portland, Ore., whose mission tagline—“From parking lots to paradise”—upends the old Joni Mitchell song.

True to its name, the organization promotes the removal of urban pavement to create community green spaces, not just to prettify cities but also to prevent stormwater runoff from sweeping pollutants into streams and rivers.

 Over the past five years, Depave,  has organized 24 events to remove 94,100 square feet of concrete and asphalt from sites around the city of Portland, soaking up more than 2,221,000 gallons of stormwater that otherwise would have gone into storm drains.

Depave hosts four to six “prys” each summer, recruiting an all-volunteer labor force to break, pry up, and remove pavement from unused parking lots and former playgrounds. It is arduous and filthy work, yet 60 to 100 supporters show up each time to help.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Walking Street Children Toward Positive Experiences

An United Kingdom charity, Retrak, enables African street children to return to life in a caring and stable family environment, either with their own family, foster family, or by living independently in the community.

From the website:  
Retrak began in Kampala, Uganda in 1994 as a football club providing street children with the opportunity for play and, for a short while at least, escape their day to day problems and dangers. Recognising both the need and the potential, Retrak expanded the scope of its work beyond football and, by 1997, had become a UK charity and was registered in Uganda as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called the Tigers Club Project; later renamed Retrak.

 Retrak has enabled hundreds of children to move off the streets and back into their communities. As well as Uganda, we now also have a centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which has been hugely successful and we work with partners in Kenya. We plan to move into new areas where our experience and programmes can be used to transform the lives of children on the streets.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baby Belgua Rescued

Two Alaskan fisherman discovered a baby beluga whale in poor condition in Bristol Bay.  The fishermen and marine specialists made heroic efforts to rescue the floundering whale calf, reports ABC News.

The specialists assume the whale was separated from its mother during a fierce storm shortly after its birth.  That's bad news for most mother-separated calves.  But a team from The Alaska SeaLife Center work 24-7 caring for the calf at a cost of about $2,000 a day.  The outlook for the beluga calf looks good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Arts & Gardens Healing Children

The Kanuwodi Art Retreat is a mentoring program for troubled children in Main.  The retreat was established in 2010 to mentor and guide Maine’s youth to become more peaceful, responsible adults that give back to their communities.

From the website:
“Kanuwodi” is the pronunciation of a series of Cherokee symbols meaning “healing”. Our program will allow children who have had a rough start to express themselves through constructive methods such as art, agriculture and community service and instill pride in themselves, a sense of community and accomplishment and the hope and determination that they can change their own paths.

The children will learn to help out those in need by growing vegetables and giving them out to help out the elderly and needy in our local community and by other community service projects for the elderly such as shoveling snow and mowing lawns. The children will also take part in our art program, allowing them to express themselves and feel the accomplishment of and freedom of completing their own art projects.  Children at Kanuwodi will spend their time with other children their age enjoying the outdoors, being creative and helping others.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Committing to Sri Lankan Blue Whales

As Sri Lanka finds peace, the blue whales in the waters surrounding Sri Lanka's coastlines are little studied and in fragile recovery.

Asha de Vos has taken on the project to study these whales and formed the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project.

Her postgraduate profile states: " To date, research on blue whales within Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the northern Indian Ocean (NIO) has been minimal. These populations, like those of the NIO humpback whales reportedly have a restricted range and breed six months out of phase with the pygmy blue whales in the southern IO, highlighting the conservation implications and significance of gaining a better understanding of the different populations. Additionally, given that these populations feed in areas of heavy ship traffic and are the focus of a rapidly growing unregulated whale-watching industry it is important to assess their status in an effort to better manage and conserve them in the longer term."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"...people came out of the woodwork," to support fundraiser

Community efforts to help out a fellow citizen warms hearts.

A recent fundraiser with the goal to purchase a service dog for a 9-year-old child struck with the rare disorder,  Friedreich's ataxia, brought in more that $15,000, according to a news report.

"...people just came out of the woodwork," explained the fundraiser's coordinator.  Service dogs range from $12,000 to $15,000--not including the training, the report says.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Volunteers of America

Today and for the next few days, thousands of volunteers across America are readying their communities for July 4th celebrations, like these volunteers, pictured below, from the American Legion Post 432 in the seaside community of Cambria, Ca.

Volunteers are unfurling and hanging flags, gathering ice, shaping hamburgers, tidying parks, reviewing fireworks procedures,setting up chairs and tables,  adding final touches to floats, polishing their band marching shoes, installing and testing microphones and sound systems, and lacing streets and buildings in red, white and blue.  Thanks, volunteers.