Friday, November 30, 2012

Photographers "Chasing Ice"

From the website:

Founded in 2007 by James Balog, the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is an innovative, long-term photography project that merges art and science to give a “visual voice” to the planet’s changing ecosystems. One aspect of EIS is an extensive portfolio of single-frame photos celebrating the beauty–the art and architecture–of ice. The other aspect of EIS is time-lapse photography; currently, 34 cameras are deployed at 16 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, the Nepalese Himalaya, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. These cameras record changes in the glaciers every half hour, year-round during daylight, yielding approximately 8,000 frames per camera per year. We edit the time-lapse images into stunning videos that reveal how fast climate change is transforming large regions of the planet. Finally, EIS supplements the time-lapse record with episodic repeat photography in the French and Swiss Alps, Canada, Iceland, and Bolivia.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Donors Help Bring Blankets to Syrian Refugees

Volunteers and donors are working to bring warmth and comfort to the approximate 265,000 Syrian uprising refugees this winter--mostly women and children, according to Global

A current drive for blankets by the Zakat Foundation of America meets a portion of the nonprofit's mission to "bring immediate relief during and after disasters,"  The shows group's Facebook Causes page shows over $7,000 donated since the campaign began this November.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Foundations Focus on Democracy

"Spurred by concerns about big money in politics, infringements on voting rights, a shrill and divisive political climate, and the failure of a polarized Congress to pass legislation on a range of issues, philanthropies including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Omidyar Network are also exploring what kind of a difference they could make in the political process.

They join other foundations that have been working on such issues for years, including the Joyce Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund," reports a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy news piece. "... some nonprofit leaders and grant makers see a need to forge new coalitions and engage groups focused on the environment, immigration, labor, and other issues to mobilize voters and call attention to the influence of big spending in politics."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations."We have two days that are good for the economy. Here is a new day that is good for the soul," said Henry Timms, deputy executive director of strategy, innovation and content of 92nd Street Y in New York City, where the idea was hatched., notes a news piece in USA Today..

#GivingTuesday is a consumer movement, much like the big post-Thanksgiving shopping days, and organizers say it's up to people to make it a success. The goal is to drive donations of time, money or services to charities with the same enthusiasm that shoppers have on Black Friday.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Groups Devoted to Horse Rescues

"Just two weeks ago, eight horses were discovered in a kill pen in Ohio. One of them had raced 12 days earlier at nearby Thistledown, and another had earned more than $217,000 in his career. Jones mobilized a rescue through her Facebook page.

Within hours, $6,200 was raised, and the horses — all in poor shape — were removed, quarantined and under veterinarian care. Over the past four years, Jones and her informal network have raised tens of thousands of dollars to save hundreds of horses," reads a recent New York Times story.  

"Some owners treat their horses as members of the family and retire them to their farms or find them a home at retraining centers. Other owners treat them as commodities. Their horses are the ones that Jones and dozens of rescue groups come across," the article explains.

Horse lovers across the United States work to save race horses that no longer represent a profit to the owner's spread sheet. Organizations include the Equine Rescue Network  which connects a community of equine advocates to retrain and rehome equines no longer wanted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From One Veteran to the Other

Workshops for Warriors assists the transition of veterans and injured veterans into civilian life through mentorship, training, and education.  A combination of vocational training and real-world job experience empowers veterans, increases their career options, their confidence and self-respect. The feeling of camaraderie in the shop allows veterans to begin networking in order to provide opportunities for challenging and interesting work, states the nonprofit's website.

Workshops for Warriors helped a Navy veteran when  a local  business honored him for his service to the country. The company, which specializes in Volkswagen camper vans, did a complete renovation of the veteran's vehicle — for free. "The company spent more than 50 hours giving the Vanagon a complete overhaul, renovating the cooling system, suspension, wheels and tires, brakes and steering system. Ten employees helped," reports a recent news article.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Afghans Form Worldwide Peace Movement

 Afghans for Peace (AFP) is an alliance of Afghans from various ethnic, religious, socio-economic, cultural, and political backgrounds with a united vision for a democratic, all inclusive, just and peaceful Afghanistan. AFP consists of students, professionals, community leaders, and socio-politically aware activists.
 The mission of Afghans for Peace is to mobilize Afghans world-wide (internal and abroad) to take a firm stance against war and occupation in Afghanistan and demand Afghan people be allowed their right to self determination. To achieve our vision, we call for the following:

Source:  Afghans for Peace website.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mobbing Small Retailers

Those independent souls who own and operate their own businesses can easily be at the mercy of the giant box-business down the street. 

In  2011 the first "cash mob" formed in New York and has now spread internationally--all with the goal to support the small businesses that one loves.

“Cash Mobs” isn’t a political or social organization, a corporation, a movement, or meant to be an answer to economic crisis. By and large, those that organize Cash Mobs are simply people trying to make a positive impact on the businesses in their communities (and have fun while doing it), explains the website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pet Care & Rescue After Superstorm

Superstorm Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States with unmerciful fury, forcing thousands to flee their homes with or without their beloved pets.

According to a Huffington Post story posted November 13:

In New York City and on Long Island, the ASPCA has rescued more than 300 animals and treated or provided supplies to about 13,000, working with government and private animal welfare agencies, said spokeswoman Emily Schneider.

City shelters took in about 400 animals along with their families in the first days after Sandy, Schneider said. There are now more than 100 in shelters with their owners, and a mobile animal medical clinic is cruising decimated neighborhoods in the Rockaway areas of Queens and on Staten Island.

In New Jersey, the Humane Society deployed dozens of first responders using mobile units and boats to bring in about 60 displaced animals each day on the barrier islands hit by the storm...More than 200 dogs, cats and other pets from a devastated area of Long Island are being sheltered in the gymnasium of a community college, set up by the North Shore Animal League America, the nation's largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization...

...Transport trailers distributed pet food and supplies like crates, leashes and litter from a warehouse in Queens set up days before Sandy descended, said the Humane Society's Schneider. Tons of food donated by manufacturers is being trucked in.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hiroshima's Peace Host Peace Activists

Wayne Smith, founder of Friendship Force International  (FFI) claimed, “A world of friends is a world of peace." 

Using this guideline,   the city of Hiroshima hosted  “Hiroshima for Peace and Friendship”--the official theme for the FFI 2012 World Conference, Oct 30-Nov. 2, 2012.

"The Friendship Force is a global community comprising 371 clubs (chapters) in 54 countries. Its members are ordinary people of all ages who share a desire to spread goodwill, to better understand people of other cultures, and to value one another as friends," explains the website.

"Cultural exchanges and home stays are the signature program of Friendship Force...When local hosts open their homes to visitors from other countries and cultures, true understanding can develop though the sharing of meals, conversation and the routines of daily life. Strangers become friends. These friends change the way we see the world."

This year's conference attracted 350 attendees from 20 different countries.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dogs Work for Conservation

Invasive weeds and beetles, livestock protection, rare moose studies, endangered kit fox and gorillas have one thing in common-- Working Dogs for Conservation.

This is a unique collection of dogs that because of their unusually high energy levels (that oft times make them family rejections and land them in shelters), and a toy and play obsession combined with the dog's extraordinary olfactory senses, are specially trained to help planetary conservation issues.

"For more than a decade WDC has  developed and refined the training and field techniques for conservation detection dogs.  By mixing techniques from narcotic, search and rescue, and cadaver detection, and combining these with ongoing innovation, WDC remains at the forefront in the conservation detection dog field," the website explains.

A current project is protecting the endangered San Joaquin kit fox habitat where the world's largest solar farm is under construction.

A team of working dogs trained to sniff out kit fox scat are helping biologists learn more about the endangered species and developing an exact survey of the kit fox.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shining a Light on Progress

SOW volunteer filming Haitian coffee cooperative
University students short on money but rich in energy and imagination and passionate about worldwide issues, formed the nonprofit Students of the World (SOW) in 1999.

Their statement: "If our generation is to become citizens of the world, we must also be students of the world. We need to study, understand, and share stories of how people are addressing issues in order to advance the progress being made in the world."

Through media, SOW sheds light on organizations that help improve the live of others.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New York's Marine Life Caretakers

New York's Long Island sea turtles and marine mammals that strand, are injured, or otherwise compromised, are under the protection of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, a nonprofit that actively studies the marine environment.

"New York's waters show serious effects of man's activities resulting in a heavily stressed ecosystem. Aware of the importance this coastal area holds for marine life, from plankton to fish, birds and whales, we are concerned that these vital habitats are being destroyed," writes the website.

Consequently, their goals are:
1. Encourage conservation and stewardship of the marine environment through scientific findings and public education programs.
2. Establish and maintain a comprehensive data archive on marine species, particularly marine mammals and sea turtles, and their habitats in local waters through active field research and the stranding program.

The website notes that the foundation has rescued, treated and released over 4,000 marine mammals and sea turtles since it's founding in 1996.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sharing Furniture. Recycle. Reuse. Repurpose.

When a family faces financial or personal peril, furniture is often the last item on the list to purchase. 

Person's likely to place furniture as a last item to purchase include:
  • Those moving out of homeless shelters into permanent housing
  • Battered women and children escaping domestic violence
  • Working families struggling to stay above the poverty line
  • Young adults aging out of foster care
  • Victims of fires or other natural disasters.
 The Furniture Bank Association manages warehouses where families struggling with life challenges can access furniture free via referrals from social services agencies, churches, schools, employers, etc.  Furniture banks across the U.S. and Canada provides essential furniture to over 100,000 persons a year, according to their website.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unloved Animals Find Love in Special Zoo

Popcorn Park Zoo's sole purpose is to provide a refuge for wildlife that are sick, elderly, abandoned, exploited, illegally owned, abused, or injured, and which could no longer survive in its natural habitat. The zoo include exotic and domestic animals. Over 200 of these animals and birds now live in spacious surroundings in the heart of the scenic Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The Zoo, which is federally licensed, comprises seven acres and is graced by the indigenous Scrub Oak and Scrub Pine. 

The zoo also cares for thousands of animals each year, including those that are ill, injured, exploited, abused, or older.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Group Empowers Under-Privileged in Middle East

Early education and women's empowerment in disadvantaged regions of the Middle East, is the mission of an American non profit, Tomorrow's Youth Organization

The organization uses  three main tenets: Comprehensive Development, Sustainable Impact, and Cultural Diplomacy to meet their goals, which include international goodwill.

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported on a successful TYO program:

In the Palestinian territories, entrepreneurs are everywhere, but successful businesses are hard to come by.

The economic situation in the Palestinian territories is uniquely difficult, and aid agencies have stepped in to help maintain living wages as much as possible under the blockade imposed by Israel. In recent years, business development and entrepreneurship programs surfaced across the West Bank and Gaza, and suddenly there was an influx of people trying to start their own business to escape the crushing levels of unemployment.

However, many of the programs put in place lacked follow-through...TYO’s Women’s Incubation Services for Entrepreneurs (WISE) brought back six businesses that had developed a foundation from their initial women’s entrepreneurship program—Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus, and recruited nine additional female entrepreneurs by running advertisements in local newspapers, radio, and on Facebook.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fresh Food--Improved Neighborhood

People's Grocery is the model that many urban groups have followed to end the food deserts within their city.  A food desert is a district in an urban setting with little or no access to large grocery stores that offer fresh and affordable foods needed to maintain a healthy diet.  Fast food chains usually dominate the landscape.

Based in West Oakland, the People's Grocery, nearing a decade of service, "... has raised the profile of food issues within movements addressing health, the environment, economic development, and cultural competency... Our urban agriculture programs successfully developed three pieces of land within the City of Oakland, and maintained a three-acre peri-urban farm. As part of our enterprise development efforts, we piloted two food retail programs: the Mobile Market, a traveling produce store, and the Grub Box, a modified Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program," reads the nonprofit's website.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Daily Gratitude Journal--14 Day Challenge

There is a digital gratitude journal that offers a 14-day challenge.

From the website Thnx4:

More and more studies show that gratitude makes you happier and healthier, and hearing "thank you" improves the lives of others. Thnx4 is a sharable gratitude journal—and it's a scientific tool for understanding what happens when people say "thank you."

If you take the 14-day gratitude challenge at, you'll master the skills to practice and spread gratitude. Along the way you'll be able to say "thnx!" directly to the people in your life.

If you complete the gratitude challenge, you'll be able read your own entries and those of others in your community—and you'll learn how saying “thnx!” changed your life.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Understanding Gratitude

I see that another Facebook friend is posting her Daily Gratitude.  Gratitude sharing seems to spread--it has spread to the point where academics have created a course called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.

The website explains:

10-11 years,April,bouquets,bunch of flowers,bunches,cheerful,children,cowslips,flowers,girls,iStockphoto,little girls,Mother's Day,nature,outdoors,Photographs,primroses,smiling,spring,thank you The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley—in collaboration with the University of California, Davis—is launching a $5.9 million, three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude. The project is supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation. The general goals of this initiative are to:
  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

Friday, November 2, 2012

In A Day--Volunteers Take the Stage

  • Volunteers set to clean coastal dunes including frence-line tree and bush maintenance.
  • Volunteers to plant oak trees around county park.
  • Community church stages food drive to bring food to an impoverished area of Mexico.
  • Bilingual volunteers read stories at community library.
  • Donors bring personal supplies, like razors, shampoo, socks and toothbrushes to homeless shelter.
  • Cocktail chemistry event to raise funds for community children's science discovery center.
  • Community dinner and silent auction to raise fund for Camp Fire USA--a youth development non profit.
  • Fundraiser at local cafe to raise fund to benefit local breast cancer patients.
  • Halloween fright house to benefit community volunteer fire fighting.

....all events listed in local paper!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dinner Raises Funds for Veteran Amputees

Seventeen soldiers were honored at a community dinner that thanked them for their service in Afghanistan.  The funds earned by the 180 tickets sold for the dinner will benefit Amazing Surf Adventures, a nonprofit that "...utilizes surfing, along with other activities, to help individuals change their perspective and overcome their particular life’s challenges," according to the website.

During the dinner, each soldier was given a goody bag and a handmade quilt sewn by local quilters.

Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune