Thursday, February 28, 2013

Serenity Sought

A friend suggested "Calm" for today's theme.  Agreed.  Serenity brings many gifts.

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
 
“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

 “We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
Swami Satchidananda




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Be Strong

Our fourth theme for this week is Strength.


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Lao Tzu 
 
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi 
 
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
Vincent van Gogh 
 
“Love must not entreat,' she added, 'or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself. Then it ceases merely to be attracted and begins to attract.”
Hermann Hesse



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vision First

Today's theme is Vision.  All begins with vision.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
Albert Einstein

“The more boundless your vision, the more real you are.”
Deepak Chopra 

 “Physical vision - one might say scientific vision - brings about a metaphysical shift in the observer's view of reality as a whole. The geography of the earth, or the structure of the solar system, are in an instant utterly changed, and forever. The explorer, the scientific observer, the literary reader, experience the Sublime: a moment of revelation into the idea of the unbounded, the infinite.”
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science




Monday, February 25, 2013

The Joy of Interconnectedness

Today's theme: Interconnectedness.

“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
Chief Seattle
 

“Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don't like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
Bertrand Russell

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let's Laugh

Let's laugh today!

[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain

 Laughter has no foreign accent. — Paul Lowney

 Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. — Victor Borge




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Comprehensive Response to Abuse

When an adult in authority recognizes possible symptoms of  child abuse in Pennsylvania, they can contact Mission Kids Child Advocaty Center  to "...provide neutral, fact-finding forensic interviews which are coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing and supports Montgomery County’s multidisciplinary team approach to child abuse investigation and intervention," writes the nonprofit's website.

The group, "offers a comprehensive, centrally located, multidisciplinary team response to allegations of child abuse in a dedicated, child-friendly setting to achieve justice for child victims and promote their physical and emotional well-being."




Friday, February 22, 2013

Students Raise Funds for Humanitarian Support

The following comes from a Facebook friend  (narrating the video below) who since his 2010 high school graduation, has worked to bring awareness to the seriously disenfranchised and, most recently, Syrian refugees.

"Syria Deeply on Campus is a national movement made up of more than 30 colleges and universities all working together to increase awareness about the Syrian refugee crisis and raise funds for humanitarian support of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians affected by the ongoing civil war. As  leaders, activists, and academics on our campuses we feel passionately about assisting all who have been affected by the conflict, especially those taking refuge in neighboring states of Syria," the website explains.

 Their current campaign is to "...raise $15,000 ($500 per university) to purchase temporary winter-proof homes–otherwise known as 'Caravans'–for a number of Syrian families currently residing in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan."


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Restoring Wild Salmon in U.S.

Imagine 16 million salmon swimming and spawning in the U.S. waters of the Pacific Northwest. 

One would have to imagine that now, but it was once fact.  Now about 125,000 salmon follow their historical river paths.

Well-meaning human encroachment with the building of dams brought about the drastic reduction.  The loss of the wild salmon numbers has damaged the local economies, ecology, and over-all health of the river and ocean systems. An effort to restore wild salmon created,   "Save Our Wild Salmon (SOS) is a nationwide coalition of conservation organizations, commercial and sportsfishing associations, businesses, river groups, and taxpayer advocates working collectively to restore self-sustaining, abundant, and harvestable populations of wild salmon and steelhead to rivers, streams and oceans of the Pacific Salmon states,"  according to the SOS website.

The nonprofit's director told Blue Notes, a publication of the Blue Frontier Campaign, " “In the 1990s scientists thought the fish would be gone in 20 years, but we’ve done a lot of good for salmon since then and gotten the federal government to place an emphasis on restoring damaged estuarine and river habitats. That helps resident fish and wildlife but we don’t think that’s enough for the dam affected fish.”

"Restoring wild salmon to the Columbia/Snake is about more than just saving fish. It’s also about saving our economy. Salmon are a critical part of the northwest economy, supporting a diverse set of industries including fishing, tourism, renewable energy, and outdoor retailers bringing billions to the northwest and creating thousands of jobs," states the SOS website.




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A "Thank You Festival"

In a small California seaside village over 200 signs line the street that say Thank You and express gratitude for a plethora of reasons to celebrate, says the local newspaper.

 Grammar school students who attend the village's YMCA After-School Program, painted the signs that thank their grandparents, the library, volunteers, fire department, medical experts...you name it.  Slogans were created by students, as well.

'It’s the second year for a program designed to create an upbeat mood and atmosphere for those traveling along the town’s main drags...Participating youngsters not only hand-paint the signs, but also must give presentations on the concept at service organization meetings, all part of their 'service learning project' at the YMCA program," notes the news piece.






Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/01/30/2375689/cambrias-second-annual-thank-you.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/01/30/2375689/cambrias-second-annual-thank-you.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/02/11/2389912/cambrians-see-they-have-lots-to.html#emlnl=Cambrian_newsletter#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Uganda's Future: Girl Power

"The Girl Power Project is based on the common belief that, when given the opportunity, women and girls can lift themselves and their families out of poverty. As tomorrow's leaders they can inspire entire villages, cities, and even nations to a new path of hope and prosperity," explains the website The Collective Heart.

"The Collective Heart's mission: Uniting humanity by inspiring global and collective transformation. We do this by supporting and promoting charitable projects that provide spiritual, emotional and physical well being for those in need. We embrace the principles of Integrative Coaching, emotional education and other bodies of transformational work to change the world."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Water Day. Matt Damon Calls for Strike!




World Water Day is set for this March 22, 2013 and actor/activist Matt Damon has declared a strike. 

From Water.org :
Matt Damon protests lack of access to a toilet or basic sanitation for 2.5 billion people

Los Angeles, California. February 12, 2013. Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org, held a press conference where he announced that to protest the fact that 2.5 billion people lack access to a toilet or basic sanitation, he will be going on a "toilet strike*."

Damon remained afterward to make appearances in videos by top talent on the YouTube platform designed to bring awareness and activism to the global water and sanitation crisis.

At the news conference, Damon pointed out that "780 Million people, that's twice the population of the United States, lack access to clean water." He then announced his "toilet strike," declaring: "In protest of this global tragedy, until this issue is resolved, until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation... I will not go to the bathroom."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The "Path" To Global Health

"PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. We take an entrepreneurial approach to developing and delivering high-impact, low-cost solutions, from lifesaving vaccines and devices to collaborative programs with communities. Through our work in more than 70 countries, PATH and our partners empower people to achieve their full potential.

"Our mission is to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors.

"We meet the complex health needs of an expanding world with this multipronged approach that moves solutions from innovation to impact: supporting new ideas through inception, development, and testing; paving the way for introduction in low-resource countries; and working with governments and communities to integrate and expand the most successful ideas."


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Uniting Humanity, Bringing Peace

"Humanity United  leads and support efforts to lift up the voices and will of people, ensure good governance and the rule of law, engage markets and businesses as a force for change, and encourage the exploration of promising ideas and innovations to build peace and advance human freedom. Although our goals are broad, our strategic priorities focus most intently on finding solutions to the global challenges of mass atrocities and modern-day slavery. We seek to support the most credible, capable, and creative ideas, people, and organizations in our field by providing grants and, when necessary, technical assistance.

" We also leverage our resources to directly lead projects that advance human rights. Humanity United-led initiatives range from policy advocacy and opinion research, to conflict negotiations, issue campaigning, and organizing conferences, discussions, and dialogues. We work across the fields of public policy making, research, civil society, international justice, and advocacy to help these often disparate communities share information and ideas and collaborate in ways that amplify their impact," explains the nonprofit's website

"We believe that all of humanity is inextricably connected. That means we see Humanity United as part of a growing global movement that rejects the notion that violence and injustice are inevitable. Information and communication flows, financial exchanges, and transportation links that were once unimaginable now happen with unprecedented ease and speed. That means that the opportunities to expose injustice and to cultivate a truly global constituency for peace may never have been greater."




Friday, February 15, 2013

I Am Not For Sale. No One is For Sale.

While it is a sad report that human slavery and the trafficking of human slaves exist in our modern world, it is good to report that there are vehicles working everyday to end this atrocity.

 Not For Sale's    mission is simple: to create a world where no one is for sale by "Using business creation, supply chain evaluation and aftercare aid around the globe. By creating enterprise for vulnerable communities, offering social services to survivors and those at-risk to human trafficking, and evaluating the use of forced labor in mainstream supply chains, Not For Sale works make sure no one is for sale."

The nonprofit actively works in India, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and The Netherlands. " Not For Sale is at the forefront of creating innovative, replicable, and sustainable solutions to fight modern-day slavery. Not For Sale believes that trafficking can be stopped upstream in poor and marginalized communities by initiating cross-sector collaborations that intentionally empower vulnerable individuals through education and dignified employment."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Philanthrocapitalism--The New Philanthropy

USA Today reports that besides the  "...$500 million worth of (a technology entrepreneur's) stock to the non-profit Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which helps donors manage and identify charitable funds that are in line with their philanthropic passions," and the about $900 million donated last year by three high-profile tech CEO's, Silicon Valley's high tech iconoclasts are inventing "philanthrocapitalism."

An example of philanthrocapitalism includes,   "...a small-but-gritty operation called REBBL, run by beverage industry veterans, signed an agreement for retailer Whole Foods Market Northern California to this month start carrying its herbal drink, also named REBBL, in a growing movement of for-profit partnerships in philanthropy. The for-profit beverage concern REBBL came to fruition from Not For Sale, an anti-human-trafficking and anti-slavery non-profit backed by Path, Causes.com and Humanity United...Sales of REBBL could pump close to $50,000 into NFS in its first year, and more than $775,000 annually later."

REBBL was created around the idea of impact sourcing. Standing for “Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark, and Leaves,” REBBL is an herbal tonic beverage.It aims to not only further physical well-being, but also contribute to the growth of jobs and social economies in areas plagued by labor exploitation.  While the indigenous communities do not have the infrastructure to produce all the necessary ingredients, the REBBL team devised a three-part strategy to make this sourcing possible, explains the Not for Sale website.


The Daily Prism will feature the above non-profits in future posts.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Peace One Day. Yes.

 Mark your calendar for Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.  It is Peace One Day.  The 2012 Peace One Day event produced significant impacts as listed in this .pdf file:  http://peaceoneday.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Peace-Day-2012-Results-from-Peace-One-Day.pdf

The Peace One Day 2012 summary report found that:
  • Across the world, 280 million people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day 2012 – 4% of the world’s population.
  • Approximately 2% of those aware of Peace Day 2012 (5.6 million people) behaved more peacefully in their own lives as a result, in turn having a positive impact on the lives of thousands of others.
  • Activities that took place on Peace Day ranged from concerts to football matches to domestic violence workshops.
  • On track to make 3 billion people worldwide aware of Peace Day by 2016






Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Seniors Volunteer Time Equals $4.26 Million in One Year

A small California county recently celebrated its senior citizen volunteers, who, according to a county agency donated over $4.26 million in volunteer time in 2011.

A local newspaper columnist and blogger reports: " For example, 140 volunteers donated 13,000 hours to ten police departments; 50 volunteers visited frail elderly weekly; more than 220 helped at parks, hiking trails, museums and recreation departments; 150 individuals gave up 20,000 hours to gather, distribute or home deliver five million pounds of food."

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Quiet" Millionaire Bequeaths Fortune to Social Services

The Washington Posts reports:
WASHINGTON — A quiet, low-profile Washington philanthropist has left a surprise bequest of $28 million to one of the oldest social service charities in the nation’s capital.

Family Matters of Greater Washington announced the gift from Richard A. Herman on Wednesday. The charity was previously known as Family and Child Services of Washington. It was founded in 1882 and provides a range of services in the area, including mental health counseling and child welfare...

Family Matters said Herman began donating $25 a year in 1967, increasing his giving over time. During his
The charity plans to establish a charitable trust named for Herman to fund its ongoing work and will launch a new series of arts programs for youth and senior citizens.

Herman also has left $7.5 million bequests to both the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera after being a regular donor to both organizations for years, said Kennedy Center spokesman John Dow. Together, the $15 million bequest is the largest in the center’s history.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love is Woven in Our DNA

Love is in the February air, and in our DNA says neuropsychologist Rich Hanson, Ph.D.in his recent blog, Just One Thing: Trust in Love. The following are outtakes from the blog.

"Love is woven into your day because it’s woven into your DNA: as our ancestors evolved over the last several million years, many scientists believe that love, broadly defined, has been the primary driving force behind the evolution of the brain. Bands of early humans that were particularly good at understanding and caring for each other out-competed less cooperative and loving bands, and thereby passed on the genes of empathy, bonding, friendship, altruism, romance, compassion, and kindness—the genes, in a word, of love."

"Don’t sentimentalize love or be naïve about it. Trusting in love does not mean assuming that someone will love you. It means confidence in the fundamentally loving nature of every person, and in the wholesome power of your own lovingness to protect you and touch the heart of others. It means coming home: home by the hearth of love."

 "Love is a lot like the air. It may be hard to see—but it’s in you and all around you."



Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Tolerant Generation

A sociologist who studies generation change discovered that the generation born after 1978 (Generation Y or the Millineals) are a tolerant and concerned generation.  In an essay she points out several positve factors generated from her research and the resulting book, Generation, Discourse, and Social Change.  

Her recent essay notes;

  • Over the last two decades, numerous quantitative studies have attempted to measure and compare the attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, and personality traits of different generations. Some have found that the younger generation—X or Y, depending on the study date—is more environmentally and socially conscious, less materialistic, more community-minded and less cynical than the Boomers, while others have found the opposite.

  • I heard a yearning for work that means something, work that allows the worker to feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. And if an interviewee wanted this, they had two realistic options. Either they found the job that had these qualities, or they found a job that ate up a minimum of their energy, time, and identities, affording them the freedom they needed to pursue meaning and a social contribution outside paid employment.  

  • Young people also self-identify as more “tolerant” of different opinions, sexualities, ethnicities and cultures than previous generations.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Project for Otters

Possibly the most adorable face in the marine mammal world is the California sea otter.  After barely surviving the years when they were hunted to near extinction, the otter was protected.   "Legal protections allowed the population to grow. The California population increased to 2,400 in 1995 before mysteriously beginning to decline. It began to grow again in 1999, and has grown in fits and starts until 2009, when the population entered another decline," according to The Otter Project

 The Otter Project is a volunteer nonprofit that   "protects our watersheds and coastal oceans for the benefit of California sea otters and humans through science-based policy and advocacy," reads the group's mission statement.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Russian Volunteers Deliver

From the Washington Post

The past year or so has seen an upwelling of a trend unprecedented in Russia — people getting together on their own to help others in need. Personal initiative, always suspect here, is suddenly taking off. Drivers deliver medicine to shut-ins. Women cook meals for hospitals. Volunteers use rubles and hammers to renovate shelters for battered women, teenage orphans and abandoned pets...The rapid emergence of volunteer efforts, fueled in large part by social media, coincides with the eruption of public political protest — and that’s not by happenstance. There is an overlap between the political opposition and those who have become fed up with a corrupt government that delivers little and who have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Law Of Human and Earth Rights

 
"The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $175,000 to EarthRights International (Washington, D.C.) to conduct legal advocacy for indigenous groups threatened by unsustainable and environmentally harmful development projects," reports Philanthropy Today.  


 From the EarthRights International website:
EarthRights International (ERI) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which we define as "earth rights." We specialize in fact-finding, legal actions against perpetrators of earth rights abuses, training grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns. Through these strategies, EarthRights International seeks to end earth rights abuses, to provide real solutions for real people, and to promote and protect human rights and the environment in the communities where we work.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Free 'Skool' Teaches Sustainable Food Practice

From my own former backyard is an innovative nonprofit called Food Not Bombs Free Skool,

It began as "...a decentralized organization that provides free vegan meals with the public in over1,000 cities mostly by recovering food that would be wasted... In 2011 a small group of volunteers realized they could encourage people to grow their own food in cities all over the world if they taught Food Not Bombs volunteers about the art of gardening and community organizing.  They started the Food Not Bombs Free Skool in Taos, New Mexico to do just that," writes the Pollination Project.

Starting in Summer, 2013, Food Not Bombs volunteers from all over the world will travel to Taos, New Mexico and spend two to four weeks taking workshops on organic grading, the consensus process, community organizing vegan cooking and other skills that will help their local chapter be more effective.