Friday, June 27, 2014

"Must Want to Save the World"

They make no apologies for their absolute devotion to the ocean. 

“What the Ocean Outfall Group does…is tackle the big, scary issues no one else will touch with a ten foot pole. Issues like SEA WATER DESALINATION, SEISMIC TESTING, NAVY SONAR, INDUSTRIAL SEA WATER INTAKES, and even that little handle on your toilet bowl.”

“Our mission at OOG is to educate the citizens and their elected and appointed officials about the impact human activities have on the ocean, both industrial and recreational...

“...OOG uses diplomacy as well as direct action...Our members educate themselves, attend meetings, and speak with passion and eloquence. Our one requirement for members? MUST WANT TO SAVE THE WORLD."

On August 16, 2014 the group will host a Thank You Whales celebration that includes speakers, workshops and exhibits, concluding with  a Sunset Ceremony, led by Fred Collins, Tribal Administrator, Northern Chumash Tribal Council, ‘Sunset Blessings," and Brother Michael J. Phillips, Benedictine Monk, ‘Flower Ceremony.'

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Brave Volunteers Combat Polio Spread in Syria

From the Washington Post:
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Despite grave danger, a campaign to combat the spread of polio in rebel-held Syria has been surprisingly successful, with volunteers inoculating about 1.4 million children since the beginning of the year.
The reemergence of polio in Syria in October alarmed health organizations, which feared that factors such as tainted water, dysfunctional sanitation systems and a mobile population could contribute to a broader, region-wide epidemic.

In response, a coalition of nonprofit organizations quickly recruited and deployed thousands of volunteers in the country’s embattled north, where they won the cooperation of rebel fighters and braved shelling and airstrikes to administer the vaccine to children under age 5. Four volunteers have been killed in the process, but there has not been a confirmed case of polio in Syria in nearly five months...

...(There was) limited access to northern Syria. So last fall, a group of small, Syria-oriented organizations formed the ad-hoc Polio Control Task Force.
Headquartered in southern Turkey, the coalition includes SAMS, the opposition-linked Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) and about half a dozen other groups. It is supported by a patchwork of local organizations, international aid groups and foreign governments.

Task force officials said they started by recruiting and training low-paid volunteers, many drawn from a network of opposition doctors and activists that had been built over more than three years of uprising and war in Syria. The group rapidly grew to more than 8,000 strong, almost all based inside Syria or traveling there regularly.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Delivering Dignity--One Shower at a Time"

From SF Gate:
The 51-year-old public relations executive, mother and Western Addition resident has launched a new program to turn decommissioned (San Francisco) Muni buses into shower stalls, drive them to nonprofits that serve homeless people and hand over toiletries and towels.
It seems so simple and yet - like so many of the city's best ideas - took somebody who doesn't spend her days inside City Hall to come up with it.
"It's impossible to live in this city and not see how significant a problem homelessness is, and it's something I've always cared about," she said. "I would often see a homeless person and think to myself, 'When they were little, they didn't think, oh, I want to grow up and be homeless.' These are people who for whatever reason didn't make their aspirations and their dreams come true.

"We seek to bring dignity one shower at a time."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kenyan Volunteers Clean Beaches

“Though rain nearly stopped play today Watamuites were out in force from Darakasi to Mida Creek - and collected a record 4,050 kilos of marine debris!!!!!!! Please note this is rubbish washed up from the ocean not dumped on the beach. Enough said- now to thanks everyone - If we have left you out please tell us. From Mida Creek - Kenya Wildlife Service, All the residents from Plot 45 to 5 - also LOCAL OCEAN TRUST: WATAMU TURTLE WATCH, A Rocha Kenya, Tribe Watersports, Turtle Bay Beach Club (Original Page), Taylor Holding Ltd,The Watamu Marine Association Blues Team, Damian Davies Andrew McNaughton, Lynne Elson of Wajimida Jigger Campaign, The Bell's staff at Blue Bay, Rotary Mariners of East Africa and Rotarywatamu, Blue Bay Cove, Watamu, Watamu, Watamu Against Crime, Watamu Association, The village women Watamu with Mike from the village and the Watamu Beach Management Unit, not forgetting of course G4S and Dongukundu School. Also Ocean SPORTS RESORT,KENYA,Hemingways Watamu and Blue Fin Divers. Whether you were out with the crowd or made a donation, this is what makes Watamu on the Kenyan coast so great. :)”

Baghdad Peace Group Focus on Youth and Women

Al Rafidain Peace Organization was founded in 2007 and works in fields of peacebuilding and gender issues. It’s work is focused on young people, children and women, particularly in universities and schools. The organisation considers monitoring and reporting on the reality of human rights and freedoms in Iraq as an essential part peacebuilding in Iraq. 
Al Raifidain Peace has implemented a number of projects:
1. Spreading the culture of dialogue and social peace in the schools: the project included producing a training manual on conflict transformation skills, communication, non-violence, peacebuilding.

2. Reducing the phenomenon of child soldiers in Iraq: The organisation led a network of five local organisations for a period of four months to raise awareness of child soldiers in Iraq and pressure the government to take action. More information is available here:

3. Inviting youth to protect the childhood of Deviation: This project  aimed to reduce the effects of sectarian violence on young people in Baghdad

4. Protection of the Rights of the Child in the schools: Workshops for training in the field of human rights and child rights.

5. Festival of “Youth for Peace”: The festival aimed to spread the message of peace and tolerance and also to open the continuous relationship between civil society organizations and university students.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Volunteering--Way to Help the Poor"

By Maria Di Mento from Philanthropy Today:

Nine in 10 wealthy Americans say they want to help close the income gap between the rich and the poor, according to a new study released today. But only 39 percent say donating money to charities that provide education and employment programs is the way to help the disadvantaged.
Wealthy individuals put more stock in volunteering as a way to help the poor: Forty-eight percent said giving their time and talents to programs that aid the disadvantaged would help create a more level economy. Even more of the survey’s respondents, 53 percent, think the way to create income equality is through job creation by starting or growing businesses, or by promoting business ownership and laws that reduce regulations and taxes for entrepreneurs.
The survey found that women are taking a more active role in wealth planning and decision-making, and many have their own fortunes: Fifty-two percent of women in the study came into their marriages or relationships with financial holdings equal to or larger than those of their partners, something for fundraisers to keep in mind when cultivating gifts from wealthy couples.
The nationwide survey, conducted by U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, polled 680 Americans with investable assets of $3-million or more.
Among other findings:
One-third of women are the primary income earners or contribute equally to the wealth of their households.
Three quarters of wealthy millennials (adults under age 35) consider the social and environmental impact of companies they invest in.

Nearly 80 percent of well-off millennials believe socially conscious investing can help hold businesses and governments accountable for their actions.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Garden That Grows Life Tools

C.  Coimbra Photo
From the Homeless Garden Project website;

The Homeless Garden Project provides job training, transitional employment and support services to people who are homeThe Homeless Garden Project provides job training, transitional employment and support services to people who are homeless. HGP's vibrant education and volunteer program for the broad community blends formal, experiential and service-learning. The programs take place in our 3-acre organic farm and related enterprises.
Our Mission:
In the soil of our urban farm and garden, people find the tools they need to build a home in the world.
Our Vision:
We envision a thriving and inclusive community, workforce, and local food system.
We value:
The capacity of every individual for growth and renewal.
The joy that comes from growing and sharing healthy food.
The well-being created by vibrant social and natural ecosystems.
Trainees in the program:
Take advantage of transitional employment in the safety of a structured environment
Learn basic life skills required for employment
Learn a variety of other marketable skills
Share four hot meals a week with staff, other trainees and volunteers
Give to the community by growing food for other programs that serve homeless and needy populations
Grow organic fruit, vegetables and flowers for the SC community through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
Educate students and other groups who use the garden
Create value-added products from farm grown materials which are sold at the Women's Organic Flower Enterprise Store

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Actor Pledges $7 Million to Ocean Conservation

From e-online:

We didn't really need another reason to love Leonardo DiCaprio, but he just gave us one!

The philanthropic Wolf of Wall Street star just pledged $7 million to marine conservation efforts to help protect the world's oceans.

Speaking at a State Department conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday morning, the Oscar nominee urged global leaders to also take action.

"This isn't simply an exercise in wildlife conservation," the 39-year-old said. "If we don't do something to save the ocean now, it won't be just the sharks and the dolphins that suffer. It will be our children and our grandchildren."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An "Audacious" Ocean Conservation Program

"Fish Forever is a story of hope for the world’s oceans and those who depend on them.

"The demand for fish – for food and income – exceeds what the oceans can provide. Science shows this. Fishers experience it every day. Fortunately solutions exist.
"The Environmental Defense Fund, Rare and the Sustainable Fisheries Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara have come together to empower the world’s poorest coastal communities to not just change the way they fish today, but to Fish Forever.

"This global initiative realizes the potential of a comprehensive, locally led conservation opportunity, where people can simultaneously strengthen local economies, improve food security and protect nature."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Environmental Justice "...a Global Movement"

C.Coimbra Photo
Reporter Mary Hoff recently interviewed sociologist, Robert Bullard, who brought to the attention of our society the phrase, environmental justice.

Bullard's answer to her question, "What are the big points of progress in the past two decades?" was:

"One of the most important is the codification and integration of environmental justice into our language and our understanding of basic civil rights and human rights. Today we have every state at least acknowledging and recognizing that environmental justice is a framework that needs to be codified in law or some type of legislative order.

"The other is that environmental justice is now being recognized as a legitimate subject for study. At least 22 legal clinics and at dozens of university-based centers and programs have environmental justice as their central focus.

And, I think, also the fact that environmental justice now is getting recognition as worthy of national and international prestigious awards, such as Goldman Prizes and Heinz Awards and MacArthur Prizes — and even the Nobel Prize, with Wangari Maathai winning the Nobel Prize for her work around environmental justice in Kenya.

"And, finally, I think it’s important to note that environmental justice has springboarded from a United States domestic issue to become a global movement. The environmental justice movement has grown, matured and taken root across the globe."

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Compassionate Act at Life's End

This powerful photo comes from Snohomish County. Firefighters there granted a wish to an elderly hospice patient. The former forest ranger wanted to see the outdoors one more time, so the firefighters wheeled him through the forest, where he could experience nature once again.

Photo courtesy: Evergreen Hospice. Thanks toBellevue Firefighters for sharing it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Volunteers Clear 20 Tons of Plastic off Alaskan Island Beaches

TCOP volunteers working alongside GoAK team to remove plastic debris and derelict fishing gear on Montague Island at the entrance to Prince William Sound, Alaska. 
"At least 20 tons will not become micro-plastic in the Pacific gyre. Sharing this promotes direct action everywhere!" TCOP Photo

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Festival of Music, Art, Talk, Spirituality

"What the Wild Goose community believes is best discovered through shared experience. There is no litmus test beyond an open heart. There is no creed required beyond a willingness to meet respectfully across lines of difference, to share wisdom and listen to each other’s stories, and become more than the sum of our parts. We’re just getting started. The best way to discover what we’re about is to come to the festival. But if you’d like to read more about our aspirations, check out what some friends of ours in the UK have been doing for a few decades at Greenbelt; they inspire us and their commitments resonate with our own.
"Ultimately, Wild Goose provides space for courageous, imaginative, and participative social justice work, creative expression, spiritual practice, and astonishing music.

"We are called to embody a different kind of religious expression than has often dominated our institutions and culture.  We believe that the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better; so we refuse to merely denounce the shadow of the tradition and abandon it. Instead, we humbly seek to both tear down and build up, walking a path that embodies love of God, neighbor, and self."

Oil Exploration Halts in World Heritage Site

Baby Gorilla by Vera Kratochvil
Conservationists have claimed one of their greatest successes in recent years following the unexpected decision by British oil company Soco to stop exploring in the Virunga world heritage site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The company, which operates in Angola and Vietnam, caused international outrage when it was given permission to conduct seismic testing in Africa's oldest and most diverse national park, which is home to around half the world's 950 mountain gorillas, as well as hippos, elephants and chimpanzees…

…Soco follows French oil company Total, which pledged not to explore in the park last year.

Restoring Bald Eagles to California's Channel Islands

First known Bald Eagle to hatch on Anacapa Island since 1960.
 Photo was taken in 2011. NOAA Photo

"Historically, Bald Eagles nested and lived among all of the Channel Islands. However, by the early 1960s, Bald Eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands due to human impacts, including the introduction of DDT. The overall goal of this restoration effort is to create a self-sustaining population of Bald Eagles on the Channel Islands.

"Restoration efforts on Catalina Island have been conducted since 1980, and efforts on the northern Channel Islands began in 2002. The restoration of the Bald Eagle back to the Channel Islands has been a major focus of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) over the past decade.

"From 2002 to 2006, MSRP partnered with the Institute for Wildlife Studies to release 61 Bald Eagle juveniles on Santa Cruz Island. Since their release on Santa Cruz Island, the eagles have spread out among the Channel Islands and biologists have documented nesting on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, and Catalina Islands.

"Biologists monitor Bald Eagles throughout the Channel Islands. Annual monitoring involves searching for new nesting pairs, collecting data on breeding attempts, tracking eagles, and conducting contaminant analysis. Prior to a chick fledging from a nest, biologists place wing markers, a leg band, and GPS or VHF radio transmitter onto the eaglets. They also take blood samples for contaminant and stable isotope analysis. This information helps biologists to monitor the movements and health of the Bald Eagle chicks."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Integrating Nature, Environment, Human Well-Being

C. Coimbra Photo
"The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) aims to integrate the values of nature into all major decisions affecting the environment and human well-being. Our ultimate objective is to improve the state of biodiversity and human well-being by motivating greater and more cost-effective investments in both.
"NatCap develops simple, use-driven approaches to valuing nature, works closely with decision makers, and provides free, open source ecosystem service software tools to a broad community of users. We are a partnership combining research innovation at Stanford University and the University of Minnesota with the global reach of conservation science and policy at The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. We work with leaders around the world to test and demonstrate how accounting for nature's benefits can support more sustainable investment and policy decisions...

"NatCap has developed practical, science-based approaches and software tools that quantify, map, and value services provided by nature. Accounting for ecosystem services reveals the diverse benefits provided by nature, clarifies tradeoffs between alternative development scenarios, and helps people make more informed decisions about how to use lands and waters.
"Since our founding in 2006, we have applied our approaches and tools in more than 20 major projects worldwide—guiding investments in water security in Latin America, in coastal protection in the Gulf of Mexico, in food security and economic diversification in Belize, and in community development in Canada and Hawai`i."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Thursday's Child for All Youth, Everyday

Anorexia.  Bullying.  Child Trafficking. Date Rape. Peer Pressure.  Pregnancy. Runaway.  Suicidal.  All negatives that can be a part of growing up.

Thursday's Child, a volunteer service for youth in trouble offers:

☏ Crisis Counseling and Intervention
         We look for solutions to problems; we are not merely a listening line.
☏ Referrals
         We do not believe in reinventing the wheel, but rather in working
         with other organizations for services that are already in place.
☏  Assistance for Parental Abductions Victims
         We can help with skip tracing to a limited extent, direction
         for legal remedies and also act as a liaison with law enforcement.
☏ Child Abuse Reporting and Follow-up Assistance
         We will assist in making reports if the caller is reluctant to do so.
☏ Information and Resource Services
        No, we don't make referrals to private practitioners, but we can find
        free or affordable  treatment for those under 18
☏  Follow-up where Requested
        We will follow up when asked.
  •  Live Internet Support through Skype
        If a child feel uncomfortable talking on the phone, we offer live chat
  •  Emergency and transitional shelter


☆ Thursday's Child helps nearly 25,000 children each year.
       Those we help represent a diverse spectrum; from rich to poor, from
       black to white; male, female, straight, gay, in control and at wit's end.
☆ To date, we have helped nearly half a million children.
       Many of the children we have helped from the early 1980's
       are now middle-aged with children of their own.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Water is Life Education & Innovation

WaterisLife photo
WATERisLIFE MISSION:  WATERisLIFE Provides clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs. Saving Lives. Transforming communities.
CORE VALUES:  Empathy.  Transparency.  Collaboration.   Innovation.
WATERisLIFE is about impact.  Showing donors and supporters how lives are being changed. WiL provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages to those in desperate need.  We provide opportunities for others to be involved through fundraising and field project implementation.  The global water crisis can be daunting – at WATERisLIFE we focus on making impact – community by community. 

Through community driven and community engaged integrated water, sanitation and hygiene programs, WATERisLIFE works closely with non profit partners, local governments and community organizations to focus on an integrated approach to ensure that households, schools, orphanages, and medical facilities have access to safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene programs.  The results of our work change everything.  Hours are restored each day – women can use their time to learn a trade, start a business and receive an income.  Children can receive an education.  Clean water will reduce sickness by almost a third.  Clean water saves and transforms lives, and communities

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Zero-Waste Grocery Store

From The Mind Unleashed
…How about a zero-waste grocery store that utilizes no waste materials?
To eliminate food-packaging waste before it even gets into the shopping cart is the idea behind Original Unvertpackt, a new concept supermarket in Germany that takes things into zero-waste territory by encouraging consumers to tote reusable containers to the store.
Nothing that comes in a disposable box, bag, jar, or other container is sold at this store. And instead of shelf after shelf of boxed items, this supermarket utilizes bulk bins, attractively displayed produce that’s not shrink wrapped or stored in tetra packs, and beverage stations for refillable water bottles.

Such a store is the brainchild of Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski, two Germany-based social impact innovators. On the project’s website, they wrote that they want consumers to have a choice about how much food they buy, as well as how much waste it creates. ..Although a large part of the effort has been financed by private investors, the project’s team took up crowd-funding to raise the final $61,000 it needed to launch in Berlin. In three weeks, they smashed the target goal, raising about $124,000.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lottery Winner Donates Bulk of Win to Charity

A Frenchman who claimed one of the biggest prizes in the history of the EuroMillions lottery will donate $68-million—more than two-thirds of his winnings—to charity, news network France 24 and Agence France-Presse report.
The anonymous winner, a resident of the Haute-Garonne region in southwestern France, hit the approximately $98-million jackpot on January 31. He will reportedly split his donation among 10 to 12 nonprofit organizations that serve the disadvantaged.

“The winner is single and doesn’t have any children. He believes strongly in generosity,” said Francaise des Jeux, the French branch of the transnational lottery.