Thursday, January 30, 2014

Artist Sets Foundation for Healthy Oceans

From the Wyland Foundation website:

From the Wyland Foundation Website
"Founded by renowned environmental artist Michael Wyland, the Wyland Foundation has helped children and families around the nation to rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education, and live events. The foundation gives children the tools they need to become more creative, positive, and solution-oriented. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has worked directly with more than one million children since its inception in 1993.The Foundation,  is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through education programs, public arts projects, and community events."

Philanthropist Gives $53-Million To Revitalize Fisheries

C. Coimbra Photo
The ocean environmental blog, Neptune 911 reports that New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg's foundation has earmarked $53-million toward halting overfishing in the Phillipines, Brazil and Chile. 

Under the Vibrant Oceans project, the Bloomberg Philanthropy website explains:

One billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein. As the world’s population continues to grow, so will the demand for fish – which is projected to rise by over 20% by the year 2030. Meanwhile, over-fishing, or taking more fish than can be naturally replaced, is depleting the global population of fish. The amount of fish caught worldwide peaked in the 1990s and has since declined..That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, a $53 million, 5-year effort to boost fish populations in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile. Reforming fishing practices in these countries will revitalize 7% of the world’s fisheries..

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warka Water--A Sustainable Water Collection Design

 From DZine Trip

Conceptualized by architects Arturo Vittori & Andreas Vogler of Italy-based Architecture and Vision, Warka is a handmade 30 foot interactive tower, made from natural materials and collecting water, energy and communication from the air in rural areas of developing countries...In mountain regions of Ethiopia women and children walk every day for several hours to collect water from sources often unsafe that they share with animals and are at risk of contamination. This situation makes their life even more difficult together with the endless household chores, resulting in lacking education..‘Warka Water’ offers an alternative to this dramatic situation. It is a vertical structure with a special fabric hanging inside to collect drinking water from the air by condensation. The triangular mesh structure is made of natural materials such as junco and can be built by the village inhabitants. The structure, which weighs only 60 kg, consists of 5 modules that are installed from the bottom to the top and can be lifted and assembled by 4 people without the need of scaffolding. The tower can collect up to 100 liters of drinking water per day. The Goal is that by 2015 the ‘Warka Water’ to be realized in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'Inspiring minds change the world'

Based five minutes from the sea in Folkestone, Kent, Cognitive Media is a small, independent animation company currently employing 10 highly creative people and some excellent freelancers. 
Creating animated films and telling stories that help people make sense of what is sometimes challenging and difficult to grasp content, we enjoy helping to explain this complex information in simple and engaging ways.
We work with global clients from the private, public, charity, and community sectors and the projects we take on align with our values.
With the motto ‘Inspiring Minds Change the World’, we are looking to promote great ideas that aid progressive social change and often work within the education and charity arenas.
Cognitive Media are keen supporters of the creative regeneration currently underway in Folkestone and firmly believe in employing local talent and supporting local businesses.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Take it to the Streets--Volunteers Keep Ocean Clean

Designed to keep plastic and other materials out of the ocean, Take It To The Streets brings together adults and children to clean up inland areas so the debris doesn’t end up in storm drains and then flow on to the beach and bay.Marine Life Studies has between 50 and 60 volunteers who help with the research, maintain records, and participate in the organization’s other activities. 

From the website:

Marine Life Studies is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting our oceans, whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife.

Our mission is to acquire knowledge and share knowledge and inspire the next generation of whale,
dolphin and ocean conservationists.

We acquire knowledge through on-going research, share and utilize that knowledge to encourage conservation, and inspire the public, especially children, with our educational programs.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Peace Project for Palestinian Youth

From The Pollination Project,

Basil Farraj is a Palestinian student who has studiedin Northern Ireland in 2012. He was inspired to bring Palestinian youth to Northern Ireland to conduct workshops, with the partnership of local organizations, to show people of his generation the possibilities for a just peace. 

Basil hopes to expose the youth to the numerous work being done towards positive peace through workshops in which young people from Northern Ireland and Palestine will meet and learn together.
“By learning about Northern Ireland, the harsh history that people lived in and the current attempts made towards positive peace following the peace process, the youth will witness the possibilities for peace and justice in Northern Ireland and will think about such possibilities in their own contexts at home,” he said.
The Pollination Project is providing funds to Basil to help with the activity fees and logistics of conducting the workshops.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wine Region Proposes 100% Sustainability

The San Francisco Gate reports:

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission wants every vineyard and winery in its domain to be certified sustainable in the next five years.

..."It's being a good steward, a good employer and a good neighbor," (the commission's president) said, explaining that it comes down to using fewer chemicals and less water, and preserving the natural resources of the land."

..."What's unique about Sonoma is the goal of 100 percent participation within a set time," (a state official) said. "It's pretty bold to have that level of commitment on a county-wide base system."



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Conservation Devotees Nominated for Award

The Indianapolis Prize is given every other year to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to conservation efforts involving a single animal species or multiple species

 Nominees for The 2014 Indianapolis Prize

The work of the 39 nominees for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize the globe and represents a broad range of species including chimpanzees, snow leopards, sea turtles, giant pandas, bats, swans and many more. These individuals have dedicated their lives to saving the Earth’s endangered species.
In alphabetical order, the nominees for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize are:
JoelBerger    Joel Berger, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society) Distinguished scientist leading projects that resulted in America's 1st federally protected wildlife corridor, how cashmere trade is affecting central Asian endangered mammals, how muskoxen are faring under Arctic warming, and saiga conservation in Mongolia. (Pictured) 
Christophe Boesch, Ph.D.: (Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology) Primatologist dedicated to decreasing pressure on wild chimpanzees, providing alternatives to bush meat and applying new technology to great apes conservation.
Sheila Bolin: (The Regal Swan Foundation, Inc.) Advocate for humane treatment and veterinary care for swans worldwide through conservation, research, veterinary medicine, education and swan-related product development.
Patrick Burchfield, Ph.D.: (Gladys Porter Zoo) Persistent defender of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles against impossible odds; restored turtle nests and hatchlings released into the Gulf of Mexico by more than 3,000 percent since 1985.
GerardoCeballosFred Burton: (Blue Iguana Recovery Programme) Internationally-known director of an integrated conservation program for the endangered Grand Cayman blue iguana; successfully brought the species back from critically endangered status on the IUCN Red List in 2012.
Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D.: (Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) Champion for jaguars in Mexico, conducting the first country-level jaguar census and the most comprehensive jaguar study to date. Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize. (Pictured)
Wendy Collinson: (The Endangered Wildlife Trust) Passionate researcher and campaigner for the Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project; responsible for driving initiatives, international road ecology workshops, and action plans that address the recognized threat of roads to biodiversity in South Africa.
Andrew Conolly: (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) Cattle and wildlife rancher turned lion conservationist; founder of the four-stage African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program to secure a future for Africa’s most iconic species.
LisaDabekLisa Dabek, Ph.D.: (Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Woodland Park Zoo) Founder of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program; responsible for the first Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea; used Crittercam© technology for the first time on arboreal mammals, allowing scientists to record animal behavior through mounted video cameras and transmitters. (Pictured)
Johannes Fritz, Ph.D.: (Waldrappteam) Tireless advocate of the critically endangered Waldrapp ibis and founder of the Waldrapp team project to re-establish the bird in its historic migration range from Bavaria to Italy.
Biruté Mary Galdikas, Ph.D.: (Orangutan Foundation International) More than 35 years of advancing research on wild orangutan ecology and behavior; established rehabilitation and release programs and saved millions of acres of tropical rain forest in Borneo.
JoneGoodallJane Goodall, Ph.D.: (The Jane Goodall Institute) First anthropologist to observe tool-making in primates, now inspires action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, while encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment. (Pictured)
Helen Hays: (American Museum of Natural History) Acclaimed ornithologist working on Great Gull Island to restore its population of Roseate Terns to the largest concentration in the Western Hemisphere.
Denver Holt: (Owl Research Institute) One of the world’s leading owl biologists; founder of the Owl Research Institute and the Ninepipes Wildlife Research Center.
Rodney Jackson, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Conservancy) Conducted in-depth radio-tracking studies of snow leopards since the 1980s; dedicated to building local communities' capacity as key players in conserving the species. Finalist for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Indianapolis Prize.
Christopher Jenkins, Ph.D.: (The Orianne Society) Founder of the Orianne Society, dedicating numerous years to snakes, one of the most vilified and persecuted groups of animals in the world.
CarlJonesCarl Jones, Ph.D.: (Mauritian Wildlife Foundation) Biologist who pioneered the techniques of applied population management to reverse the decline of highly endangered species; instrumental in the creation of the first national park in Mauritius; involved in the recovery of five bird species coming from populations of less than 10 specimens. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize. (Pictured)
Stephen Kress, Ph.D.: (National Audubon Society) Widely respected ornithologist and expert in seabird conservation; known as "The Puffin Man” because of his extraordinary success leading Audubon's Project Puffin in Maine.
Amanda Lollar: (Bat World Sanctuary) Established Bat World Sanctuary, the largest rehabilitation facility in the world dedicated exclusively to bats. Created the first nutritionally sound diet for debilitated bats.
Patricia Majluf, Ph.D.: (Universidad Peruna Cayetano Herdia) Almost singlehandedly led marine conservation efforts in Peru, through political unrest, countless governments and systemic corruption; improved industrial fishery practices and initiated campaign for the use of anchoveta as a protein source for Peru’s malnourished people.
Laurie Marker, Ph.D.: (Cheetah Conservation Fund) Founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund, leading a conservation program from humble beginnings in rural Namibia to an unparalleled model for predator conservation. Finalist for the 2008 and 2010 Indianapolis Prize.
Nick Marx: (Wildlife Alliance) Revolutionized the rescue, care and rehabilitation of wild animals in Southeast Asia, risking his life many times and disrupting illegal wildlife trafficking by more than 75 percent.
Stephen McCulloch: (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution) Created legislation to fund several ongoing marine mammal research and conservation programs while working to construct the first teaching marine mammal hospital, science and education center.
Patricia Medici, Ph.D.: (IUCN Tapir Specialist Group) An unsung conservation hero with over 20 years experience conducting field work on tapirs and other wildlife species; founding member of the Institute for Ecological Research, the most respected and effective conservation NGO in Brazil.
RussMittermeierCharudutt Mishra, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Trust & Nature Conservation Foundation) Conservation biologist working to protect threatened species and habitats throughout Central Asia, with a focus on the charismatic and endangered snow leopard.
Russell Mittermeier, Ph.D.: (Conservation International) Visionary leader able to motivate every level of conservationist to support the greater good of many species, including primates; one of the first academic primatologists to become concerned with the welfare and conservation of primates. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize. (Pictured)
Attaullah Pandrani: (Save the Nature Organization) Marine biologist striving to improve nesting conditions of Pakistani sea turtles, protect mangrove trees as a natural habitat, and reduce hunting and trapping threats.
Michael Phillips: (Turner Endangered Species Fund) Montana state senator and co-founder of the Turner Endangered Species Fund; working to restore imperiled mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians and plants with an emphasis on wolf recovery.
Nicolas Pilcher, Ph.D.: (Marine Research Foundation) Champion for sea turtles and marine life in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands; dedicated over 25 years to conserve the abundance and diversity of marine life, working to bridge cultures, religions, governments and conservation practitioners alike.
Gay Reinartz, Ph.D.: (Zoological Society of Milwaukee) Internationally recognized for her work on behalf of the bonobo in both the wild and captivity, working tirelessly to protect and conserve this endangered great ape that is found only in the remote heartland of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
JoelSartoreCarl Safina, Ph.D.: (Blue Ocean Institute) Brought ocean conservation into the environmental mainstream by using science, art and literature to inspire a "sea ethic." Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize.
Joel D. Sartore: (National Geographic Magazine) Renowned photojournalist with mission to give vanishing species and habitats a voice before they're gone forever; co-founder of The Grassland Foundation. (Pictured)
John Seidensticker, Ph.D.: (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute) Pioneered the use of radio telemetry to study cougars in North America and was co-leader of the team that captured and radio-tracked the first wild tigers in Nepal; dedicated to tiger science and conservation for nearly 40 years.
Claudio Sillero, Ph.D.: (Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, University of Oxford) Founder and executive director of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, keeping watch over Africa's rarest and most endangered carnivore.
Tara Stoinski, Ph.D.: (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Zoo Atlanta) One of the world’s foremost experts in gorilla behavior and cognition, with over 13 years of dual-expertise in wild and zoo-housed populations.
Ronald Swaisgood, Ph.D.: (Institute for Conservation Research, Zoological Society of San Diego) Trained field biologist serving San Diego Zoo Global as director of applied animal ecology, overseeing recovery programs for species such as California condors, burrowing owls, Caribbean rock iguanas, mountain yellow-legged frogs, giant pandas, rhinoceros, kangaroo rats and Pacific pocket mice.
PatriciaWrightRandall Wells, Ph.D.: (Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, Chicago Zoological Society) Program director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population.
Romulus Whitaker: (Madras Crocodile Bank & Centre for Herpetology) Devoted four decades of work to studying and conserving diverse reptiles and reversing both public and governmental opinion to one demanding conservation and appreciation.
Patricia Wright, Ph.D.: (Centre Val Bio, Stony Brook University) Discovered the golden bamboo lemur in 1986, a species that was then unknown to science, which helped to catalyze the transformation of Madagascar's park systems, turning it into a model for global conservation efforts. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize. (Pictured)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Conservationists See Positive Results in Uzbekistan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan – Newly obtained camera trap images have provided the very first photographic evidence of snow leopards in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan.
In November and December of 2013, a team of rangers and biologists led by Bakhtiyor Aromov and Yelizaveta Protas, in collaboration with global wild cat conservation organization, Panthera, and WWF Central Asia Program, conducted a snow leopard camera trap study in the Kizilsu area of Gissar Nature Reserve, on the border of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Images taken through the study have confirmed the presence of at least two individual snow leopards in the region, along with other large predators – lynx and bear – and an abundance of prey animals, including ibex, wild boar, and hare...
Formerly part of the great Silk Road and Soviet Union, the reserve has more recently been home to armed conflicts resulting from the dissolution of the USSR and formation of newly independent states in the 1990s. Fortunately, this strife resulted in even stricter protection for the reserve.
Alexandr Grigoryants, Executive Director of the State Biocontrol Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan, commented, “The State Biocontrol Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan is particularly focused on the protection and increasing the numbers of rare and endangered fauna in Uzbekistan. Thanks to the hard work of the reserve employees, and with the active help of state protection officers and international conservation organizations, such as WWF, UNDP, Panthera and others, the population numbers of endangered animals in Uzbekistan will increase.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Batkid" Fantasy Bill Picked Up by Philanthropists

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The city of San Francisco is being rescued from paying the cost of staging the "Batkid" fantasy that captured the nation's imagination.

Philanthropists John and Marcia Goldman are picking up the city's $105,000 tab for allowing Miles Scott, a 5-year-old Northern California boy with leukemia, to fight villains and rescue a damsel in distress as a caped crusader on Nov. 15.

Maria Kong of the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation confirmed a San Francisco Chronicle report Sunday about the couple's gift.

City officials say most of the $105,000 in public funds went toward renting a sound system, video screens and other equipment to accommodate the surprisingly large crowds that turned out to see "Batkid," who became a social media darling.

The elaborate fantasy was arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Malaysian Women Weave And Help Local Environment

© USAID CTSP / Tory Read
"The women of Maliangin and Banggi islands in Sabah, East Malaysia, have a long tradition of weaving with the leaves of the pandanus palm, but the skills required to harvest, prepare, dye and weave the leaves was vanishing. With the fisheries declining and food security threatened, household budgets were pinched and the women needed to help make ends meet.

"When WWF—through USAID’s Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP)—came to this area inside the proposed Tun Mustapha Park and talked about alternative livelihoods to help take the pressure off the sea, everyone connected the dots, " writes the  World Wildlife Fund

"Nafsah Indami from Maliangin Island beams when talking about the income earned by her family since 2010. She specializes in woven bracelets and bangles and estimates she has earned 500 ringgits (about $170) in the past year. She can make five items a day between her other obligations and can sell these for 5 ringgit ($1.70) each, in line with the national minimum wage.

“I’ve used the money for fixing up the house, for house-keeping and food. I got a phone too,” she said with a broad smile and a laugh. The women are now recycling plastic bottles by cutting them into circlets around which they weave broader bracelets. They sell their products to ecotourists visiting the area and hope to sell more items to stores in the cities.

"Recently, the weavers in Banggi got a contract to weave 1200 napkin rings for the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capitol city. The resort is also interested in selling other pandanus products such as placemats and coasters in its shops."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Poverty War Cost Less Than Other Wars

Life does create unequal resource distribution, and that is just the way it is. Yet the gap does not need to be as great as it is, and if we truly desire to end poverty in our lifetimes we can do it. The cost is less than the other wars we have fought. The benefit is greater to our neighborhoods, communities, and nation. Yet for some reason our fears of others have caused us to live in a world of myths and distrust rather than one where we can ensure that everyone has access to quality education, health care, and a livable wage.
From: Philanthropy Today.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Philanthropist Repeats $1,000 Giveaway in 2014

DALLAS (KRLD) – How much of a difference can $1,000 make? For almost 400 organizations around the world, a thousand dollars has been the start of something big.

Dallas-based developer and philanthropist Ari Nessel gave away $365,000 in 2013, a thousand dollars at a time as part of the Pollination Project. The grants were given to start-up non-profit organizations and individuals who are bringing new ideas to the challenges of environmental sustainability, social justice, and community health and wellness.

KRLD’s Emily Trube spoke with Nessel and some of the people in North Texas who were recipients of the Pollination Project grants.

Sherpas Plan "Expedition for Global Peace"

I have the honor of meeting a young Nepal mountaineer who is committed to Mt. Everest Expedition for Global Peace and Friendship this year.  I'll bring more information soon, but meanwhile, the team is now collecting flags from every nation, and are also working to raise funds to make this trek happen.

From their blog site, Global Peace 2014:

There is impossible to exercise fundamental human rights without true understanding of peace and friendship and applying it to our everyday life.

...we cannot carry on our civilizations, social development and mutual understanding without peace and friendship...and applying it to our everyday life.  

We have planned a peace campaign Mt. Everest Expedition for Global Peace and Friendship--2014 in search of arising of peace and friendship...we all need to be one for the restoration of peace...for the betterment of both mankind and the mother earth.

For this reason we are going to welcome every national flags...of around the world and let them flutter and fly high on the roof of the world...and say YES to peace and friendship

Visit their Facebook page for more information:

Bringing Creative Voice to Domestic Violence Survivors

Traveling PostcardsShelter to Shelter, was designed to creatively bring voice and healing to survivors of domestic violence.

During the summer of 2013, a pair of artists conducted workshops at 11 different shelters for women who have endured domestic violence.

One writes:
From California to Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, West Virginia, and Texas and beyond, my partner and I drove hundreds of miles each day, stayed in motels and campgrounds and then hosted workshops at 11 shelters in eleven states.  Our hope was to reach women who are often isolated and who would be willing to share their stories of resiliency after recovering from years of abuse.  Each safe house we visited provided housing, counseling, legal advocacy and education to their clients, many of whom are younger than 30. We interviewed every director and were happy to tour the facilities and learn as much as we could about their ongoing program needs.

Our healing arts workshop, Traveling Postcards, was an opportunity for every woman we met, to share her collective wisdom while also creating an intimate hand- made piece of art that became a portrait of her authentic self. The cards are beautiful and the creative process allowed for much needed healing as well as a connection to a global community of women who care about ending violence against women.

From The Pollination Project

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thousands Remove Tons of Coastline Debris

From a recent post on Sustainable Coastline Hawaii's website--a hint at that army of volunteer workers focused on bringing about positive change and good:

 Wow 2013 was amazing! With the help of thousands of volunteers we removed tons of debris off the coastlines. We also presented to nearly 1500 students, educating them about the detriments of marine debris, over consumption of plastic, and most importantly inspiring them to become coastal stewards.

We want to thank all the volunteers that came out to our cleanups, the core team that runs SCH, the support we received through grants from the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Method, Department of Health, Patagonia, and NOAA, and the partnership support from partners like the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Under My Umbrella, Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks, Sea Life Park, Ohana Broadcasting, Da Hui, Planet Sun, Turtle Bay, and many others.

SCH was formed in February of 2011 by a group of surfers, divers, sunbathers, and general ocean lovers that were inspired to give back to the coastlines that had given them so much. These ocean loving individuals were interested in tackling the problem of marine debris while inspiring stewardship of the coastlines. The core members of SCH recruit and train volunteers, educate schools and community groups on solutions for reducing plastic pollution, and collaborate with like-minded partners to create inventive ways to combine community service, education, and most importantly……

RV's Donated For Homeless Vets

One community keeps doing what it can for the homeless population.

Hope's Village reports:
“…twenty RV’s have now been donated—with three more on the way.  Little by little, we are getting more of our local homeless veterans off the streets…Some veterans receive benefits, but often not enough to pay rent and other living expenses.  Some veterans need to live alone due to medical issues such as PTSD, and the like being mobile – and this should be their choice.”

A $3,000 Christmas gift from a police officer’s association was given to a local shelter to “…benefit children who utilize the shelter facilities,” reports the San Luis Tribune.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rescued Kitten Comforts Hospice Patient

. Rusty with his patient.Courtesy photo from news report
A California cat rescue group, North County Paws Cause, learned of a woman in in hospice care via the woman's sister.  Her  goal was to bring her dying sister, who was also in great discomfort, an orange tabby kitten.  The challenge was that the hospice patient could not "own" the cat while in hospice, consequently the patient's family took responsibility for "Rusty." 

The local newspaper writes, "...when Rusty visited (the patient) one last time, he lay next to her and kneaded the blanket, bringing a smile to (the patient's) face...Rusty turned out to be exactly the gift..." they searched for their ailing sister.

Rusty now lives with the surviving sister who "...discovered how much she adore the little scamp and realizes what a joy he is to her as a companion and a reminder (of her sister)," the report notes.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Difference Between Male and Female Heroes

Nowadays, are real-life “action heroes”—the high-stakes physical interveners lauded in myths and movies—more likely to be men?

Possibly. One Northwestern University study reported that people who win Carnegie heroism medals by pulling off feats like saving someone from a burning house are disproportionately male. Though there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, heroes who take the most extreme risks are typically men—take New York City “Subway Superman” Wesley Autrey, who jumped in front of an oncoming train to save another commuter who’d fallen onto the tracks. Differences in size, muscle mass, and temperament may account for some of this gender imbalance; occupations that most often involve heroic rescue, such as firefighting and police work, tend to be heavily male-dominated.

But across a wider range of selfless activities, say social psychologists Selwyn Becker and Alice Eagly, women perform just as many heroic deeds as men, if not more. Living kidney donors, Peace Corps members, and overseas Doctors of the World volunteers are all more female than male. While women may be underrepresented as “action heroes,” they take plenty of risks on others’ behalf.

But they’re selective about which risks they take; Eagly notes that women tend to opt for those that support fellow human beings and enhance relationships. They engage in a complex mental calculus in which they weigh the perils of taking action against the benefits it provides to others.

Sometimes, this means putting their health or well-being at risk, as female kidney donors do. Other times, they put their lives on the line—as did young San Francisco mom Keenia Williams, who dragged a truck driver more than 65 feet to her car when the diesel fuel in his tank went up in flames after a crash. Williams was no adrenaline junkie or strength trainer, but she felt compelled to intervene because she saw a fellow human being in need of help.

From:  Greater Good

The Day Compassion Trumped Violence

Antoinette Tuff.  CNN photo
On August 20, Michael Brandon Hill walked into an Atlanta school carrying an AK-47, but bookkeeper
Antoinette Tuff did not run away. Instead, she tried to build a bridge with the troubled young man by sharing stories of heartbreak from her own life, like a recent divorce and a son with multiple disabilities.
A 911 recording captured Tuff’s tense conversation with Hill:
It’s going to be all right, sweetie, I just want you to know I love you, though, OK? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life. No, you don’t want that. You going to be OK. I thought the same thing, you know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me. But look at me now. I’m still working and everything is OK.
Hill put down his gun and surrendered to police.

Source:  Greater Good

Monday, January 6, 2014

Groups Rebuild Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — Honking geese soar overhead in a V formation, buffeted by bitter gusts off nearby Lake Erie, while flocks of mallards bob along the shore. Even blanketed in snow, the sprawling wetland in southeastern Michigan is a magnet for water birds — one reason a public-private project is underway to improve it.

Crews are building levees, canals and pumps that will regulate water levels and upgrade fish passageways in a 946-acre section of Erie Marsh, making it a better home for wildlife and limiting the spread of invasive plants.

It's an example of decades-old efforts by government agencies and private groups to rebuild Great Lakes coastal wetlands such as swamps, bogs and marshes that have been depleted by development. A federal report released in November suggests the work is beginning to pay off.

To read the entire story click this link:  Great Lakes Gain Wetlands

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Adios, Wall Street. Hello Giving Programs.

A growing number of billionaire investors and young financial professionals are leaving Wall Street to focus on giving programs and the development of innovative nonprofits, according to CNBC.

Along with well-known examples like hedge-fund kingpins Tom Steyer and John Arnold, who retired relatively young ages to become full-time philanthropists, the cable network cites prominent fund managers who have signed the Giving Pledge and analysts who left Wall Street firms in their 20s to start groups like New Profit, which invests in nonprofits, and the charity evaluator GiveWell.

A study by The Bridgespan Group, a philanthropy adviser, found that more people are retiring from finance careers at younger ages to pursue giving and social goals. “We’re seeing a powerful trend toward investors who want to do more than just write checks to causes they care about. They want to get more directly involved to drive better results, faster,” said Susan Wolf Ditkoff of Bridgespan.

From: Philanthropy Today