Wednesday, September 30, 2015

50 Acts of Aloha

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has launched a 50 Acts of Aloha giving campaign.

From donating 50 sleeves of balls to random golfers to creating the new My Mauna Kea forest stewardship program, thoughtful acts of kindness will continue by the iconic hotel throughout 2015. The acts of aloha have been organized by hotel employees and their families.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate 50 years of timeless tradition than to pour love, or aloha, back to the community,” said Phyllis Branco, hotel manager at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. “Our employees are very excited and, just like with our guests everyday, are the heart of planning and executing the campaign.”

A number of acts by the hotel have already taken place, including the donation of 50 golf bags to the Big Island Junior Golf Association and 50 Target gift cards to three charitable non-profits in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Additional acts are planned throughout the nation, although hotel officials say that the majority of acts will benefit the Big Island community and environment.

One of the acts is the new My Mauna Kea collaborative forest stewardship program.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ranchers Gather Hay For Wildfire Impacted Animals

George Hodan photo

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — Ranchers in Nevada's Carson Valley have donated 26 tons of hay to help animals affected by a deadly northern California wildfire.

The Gardnerville Record-Courier reports ( ) ranchers in the area began collecting hay this week to take to Jackson, California, where the nearby Butte Fire has burned more than 500 homes. Two deaths have been reported in the blaze.

Betty Stodieck and her family say their hay donation was given to Laughton Ranch in Jackson, where evacuated animals are being housed.

They also collected items for people who were forced out of their homes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4 Steps to Cultivating Compassion

C. Coimbra photo
Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) created compassion cultivation training. The eight-week course leads participants through a step-by-step approach for increasing compassion

These are four main steps covered in the course that are key to cultivating compassion. Here’s an overview of what they are and how to integrate them into your life.

Step 1: Mindfulness

You can’t offer compassion if you don’t see the suffering around you. Mindfulness allows you to see what’s happening within and around you.

Mindfulness is the “awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment—non-judgmentally,” according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, father of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Put your phone down, shut your laptop, take a few deep breaths, and observe your own body and mind. Do you feel tightness anywhere, is your mind replaying something you did “wrong,” or are you worrying about something you can’t control? Notice, accept, and breathe.

Then take a look around and notice what’s happening around you. What do you see? What do you hear and smell?

Step 2: Compassion for a Loved One

In traditional Tibetan Buddhism, a loving-kindness or metta meditation begins with compassion for one’s self. Many Westerners don’t understand what self-compassion means. Think about it: We are taught to take care of others, give back, and go, go, go. No one teaches us to tend to our own suffering.

It makes sense, then, to start by having compassion for someone who can easily conjure up compassionate feelings within you. This can be a pet, a friend, a family member, or anyone who gives you “warm fuzzies.”

Step 3: Compassion for Yourself

This is a tricky one for many. Have you ever paid attention to how you speak to yourself?

Perhaps you’re overly critical with yourself or use harsh words. You might think you’re letting yourself off the hook too easily if you don’t reprimand yourself for every single mistake you make.
Research indicates the opposite. High levels of self-compassion have been linked to less procrastination, and people with self-compassion are more likely to take ownership for their own mistakes. Self-compassion is also linked to greater happiness, more optimism, and less depression.

Try treating yourself as you would treat a good friend, and recognize that you are not alone.

Step 4: Common Humanity

You might find that it’s relatively easy to be compassionate toward family, friends, and others like you. For example, I feel empathy for the single mom who is struggling to balance motherhood, career, and her friendships. If I hear about a passionate entrepreneur who is having doubts about his abilities, I’m ready to listen and help. I can identify with these people, and compassion flows naturally.

...The challenge is to recognize the basic commonality between all humans. Consider that everyone you meet (or don’t meet) wants to be happy. Everyone has a mind, and everyone has a body and heartbeat. Everyone has dreams. Everyone has fears. Everyone wants to be loved.

This takes some practice, but it may change the way you interact with the world. Once you start recognizing that everyone deserves your compassion, you will feel more connected to the world.

Practicing the above four steps will help you face the suffering you encounter each day.  Suffering is everywhere, and it isn’t going anywhere.

Fortunately, neither is compassion.
--Excerpted from the Chopra Center

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Sporadicly Posted Prism

The Daily Prism will be sporadic for the next six weeks.  You can temporarily refer to this site as "The Sporadicly Posted Daily Prism!"

We are busy with an important fundraiser to help bring a few extra sparks to the big prism.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Army of Kindness" Where Wildfires Burn

From the Petaluma Animal Services in Petaluma, Ca., near where the devastating wildfires burn in Northern California:

ValleyFire response update: Officer Mark spent most of yesterday leading convoys of supplies through check points to reach the Moose Lodge and Middletown Vet Hospital with essentials. At home, staff coordinated a medical drop, including medicine, bandages, burn ointment and blankets for Middletown Vet Hospital. We delivered 2 pallets of donated food, litter and bedding to our Calistoga relief area, for distribution there, as well as via convoy. We are blown away by the legions of volunteers, drivers, donors and organizations making this possible. We update on our part in it here, as this is your PASF donations at work right now. Thank you for your continued support. #ArmyofKindness

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Beach Boy Joins Mental Health Campaign with Benefit Concert

Beach Boys in concert 1964. Brian Wilson in center. Public domain photo

Rolling Stone reports,  Brian Wilson's lifelong struggle with mental health issues is at the centerpiece of his acclaimed new biopic Love and Mercy. On Thursday, the Beach Boys co-founder announced a partnership with The Campaign To Change Direction to help others people facing similar issues...One of Wilson's first acts will be to play a November 4th benefit concert at the Hyatt Regency in Tysons, Virginia. The show will raise funds for Give An Hour, a non-profit and lead organization behind the Change Direction campaign that provides free mental health services to veterans.

The Campaign to Change Direction states from its website: 

America is at a crossroads when it comes to how our society addresses mental health. We know that one in five of our citizens has a diagnosable mental health condition, and that more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents.

While many of us are comfortable acknowledging publicly our physical suffering, for which we almost always seek help, many more of us privately experience mental suffering, for which we almost never reach out.

The Campaign to Change Direction is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Volunteers Rescue Newborn Sea Otter

Photo illustration

Excerpted from my local paper, The Cambrian, comes this story of a newborn otter pup rescued and now in a state of the art center.  The beauty of the story is one otter pup and the amount of people involved in its rescue and future survival.

Five Marine Mammal Center volunteers came to the aid of an apparently abandoned newborn sea otter pup Saturday, Sept. 5. The rescue happened late Saturday afternoon on the beach two pullouts north of Pico Creek.

The tiny female pup was taken to the Sea Otter Rescue and Conservation division of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a state-of-the-art otter rehabilitation program designed to train the pups to be adult otters that can survive in the wild. Once the pup is fully stabilized and acclimated, a surrogate-mom otter female will be assigned to help “raise” the baby — in about eight weeks.

The pup might have been born the same day it was rescued, officials said.

According to Laura Scherr, marine-mammal center spokesperson, volunteers who went out to rescue the pup included: Margaret “P.J.” Webb, Zach Hoffman, Steve Johnson, Susan Trip and Rod Helm. Some of them have been TMMC rescuers for more than 20 years. Scherr said the entire rescue took less than an hour. 

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Grocery Store "Repurposes" Food, Competes With Fast Foods

C. Coimbra photo

Daily Table is a not-for-profit retail store that offers our community a variety of tasty, convenient and affordable foods that will help you feel and be your best; food that will keep you moving forward, not hold you back.  We provide both “grab-n-go” ready to eat meals, and a selection of produce, bread, dairy and grocery items all at prices that will put a smile on your face, and designed to fit within every budget.  Many of our items are prepared fresh daily in our own kitchen onsite.

We offer an upbeat, clean and friendly retail store environment that is open to everyone in the community.   We can offer these daily values by working with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to us, or provide us with special buying opportunities.

In this way, we are able to keep prices affordable for all our customers.  Our meals are priced to compete with fast food options, making it easier for families to eat healthier within their means.  And all the food in our store meets guidelines set for us by a leading group of nutrition experts, which makes it easy for our customers to make great food choices.

Founded by Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s, Daily Table opened its first store June 4, 2015 in Dorchester, a diverse residential community in Boston.   There are plans to open additional stores in both the greater Boston area and additional cities across the country.

Working together we can help reduce both the effects of poor eating habits caused by challenging economics, and the impact that wasted food and its precious resources has on our environment.

--From the Daily Table website

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's Spoontember. Put A Spoon on Your Nose. Feed America

Feeding America photo
Feeding America launched SpoontemberTM, a social media activation to engage the public and help raise awareness of the 1 in 7 Americans struggling with hunger. Spoontember supporters can share a ‘spoon selfie’ – an image of themselves balancing a spoon on their nose – along with hunger-related statistics and challenge a friend to do the same.  (Click the Spoontember link above.)

Feeding America's  mission is " feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger."

Click this link, Find A Local Food Bank that "... secures and distributes more than 3 billion meals each year to communities throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger," according to the Feeding America website.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Multilayered Means to Strengthen Families

C. Coimbra photo
From the nonprofit's website:

The Center for Family Strengthening (AKA San Luis Obispo County Child Abuse Prevention Council), a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization was founded by a group of concerned citizens and professionals.  San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, in 1988, designated Center for Family Strengthening as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.  To learn more about the purpose of Child Abuse Prevention Councils, click the CAPCfactSheet link.

Child abuse is preventable by strengthening families and fostering healthy development of children.  Working with the Community, the Center for Family Strengthening prevents child abuse by offering programs that make systemic changes in lives of families.  And it works.   Despite a crushing recession and an increasing county population we’ve achieved a 12% decrease in cases of child abuse in SLO County.

The nonprofit offers:

  • Parent Connection -- parenting skills classes and coaching skills, 
  • Supports mothers with the Postpartum Depression Support Line.
  • Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, we teach child protective and safety skills.  
  • Beginnings program offers prenatal substance use education and ongoing public awareness activities .  
  • Train professionals on their mandated reporter of suspected child abuse responsibilities’ and educate the community on child abuse reporting laws.  
  • Promotores Collaborative is a volunteer team of Spanish-speaking members who connect to families in need.  
  • Public Health programs to make dental care accessible to the thousands of children in this county who do not qualify for MediCal. 
  • Partnership for Excellence in Family Support,  a network of county-wide Family Resource Centers to provide families with high quality services.  
Similar organizations can be found throughout America.

Friday, September 11, 2015

From Big Career to Big Charitable Funding

Photo by George Hodan

80,000 Hours is an interesting concept that came from two Oxford University students in 2011. From their website:  

Our aim is to help as many people as possible lead high-impact careers.

We do this by providing career advice for talented young people who want to have a social impact.

Over a third of young graduates want to make a difference with their careers, but they have little idea what to do—many think it’s a choice between working in the social sector or giving up and “selling out.” Existing career advice either doesn’t address the question of how to have a social impact, isn’t based on much research, or doesn’t have much in the way of concrete, comprehensive advice.

As a result, each year, much of the potential impact of our most talented young people is wasted, either because they end up in low-impact jobs or because they turn away from the idea of making a difference altogether. Our goal is to help our users get the meaningful careers they want, funneling more talent toward the world’s most pressing social problems.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Planting 'Edible Peace'

C. Coimbra photo
"The Edible Peace Patch Project is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization whose mission is to eliminate poverty as a factor in educational success and diet-related health issues.  To accomplish this mission we are building a model farm to school food system that will provide educational support and training and offer food literacy while delivery fresh locally grown food to school cafeterias.

"We currently operate eight schoolyard gardens in south St Petersburg, Florida including Bay Point Middle, Campbell Park Elementary, Fairmount Park Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Maximo Elementary, Melrose Elementary, Sanderlin IB World School, and we have aided in the maintenance of the John Hopkins Middle School Garden."

---From the edible Peace Patch Project website

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cities of Peace

International Cities of Peace™ is a nonprofit, tax-exempt association dedicated to connecting, promoting, and encouraging the global cities of peace movement. An Advisory Council of leaders from global Cities of Peace organizations is working to create an all-inclusive, non-polarizing network of world citizens working on the ground to bring peace to their communities.

Peace, in the view of this organization, is not just a hope. It's a right.

VISION: To foster peace as a consensus value in Cities of Peace around the world.

MISSION: To network, encourage, document, and provide resources and information for leaders and organizations working to make peace a consensus value through the global Cities of Peace movement.


• Network individuals, villages, and cities of peace, internationally.

• Provide an independent, unaligned resource for Cities of Peace.

• Act as a non-polarizing source of information on worldwide peace issues.

• Encourage, honor, and connect peace adherents and organizations.

• Document the history, scholarship, and formation of cities of peace.

• Promote the ideal of a World Dream of peace.

Safety, prosperity and quality of life: peace is a consensus value. Add your considerable energy to this worldwide, grassroots movement to define our cities and villages in the language of peace.

---From the International Cities of Peace website

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Canadian Outreach to Syrian Refugees

CTV News reports from Vancouver:

The image of a drowned Syrian boy has sparked outrage and a desire to help refugees around the world.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are more than four million Syrians who have left their country and are desperately looking for somewhere to settle.

Record numbers are trying to reach Europe and many are fleeing poverty and violence in Iraq, Syria and Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 350,000 have attempted the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean this year.

And then there are those left behind. Inside the country, there are 12.2 million Syrians that need emergency assistance, 5.6-million of which are children.

World Vision is among the Canadian organizations on the ground in Syria providing emergency aid to the desperate and displaced.

Lindsay Gladding, team leader for World Vision’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance programs, called the situation “desperate.”

“People need food, clean water, health care,” Gladding said. “Ultimately we need to support to continue our efforts and provide assistance to the millions that need our assistance.”

There are a wide range of organizations helping Syrian refugees around the world. Your donation provides critical support for Syrians in need of emergency assistance:

The UNHCR - The UN refugee agency provides shelter and critical emergency support to Syrian refugees.

World Vision: Your donation provides urgent supplies like food, hygiene items and water for Syrian children. The organization has supported more than 700,000 people in Syria to date.

Unicef Canada: This child-focused group is committed to keeping Syrian children from becoming a “lost generation.” It’s efforts focus on health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as education and child protection.

The World Food Programme – The WFP’s response focuses on delivering food, e-cards and organizing logistics to help Syrians. WFP provides emergency food assistance to close to four million Syrians.

The Canadian Red Cross - The Canadian Red Cross is working on the front lines of the conflict with the Syrian Arab Crescent to provide food, household items, healthcare, and supplies to help survive the chilly winters.

Amnesty International – Funds will be used to ensure observers are in the field to report human rights violations, and for Amnesty International workers to meet with UN officials to support Syrian refugees.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Monk Links Environment and Religion

C. Coimbra photo

Roger Cohn writes for Yale Environment 360:  Ogyen Trinley Dorje, spiritual head of a 900-year-old lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, says his deep concern for environmental issues comes naturally. As a boy on the Tibetan plateau, he lived close to the land, so, as he notes, “My views on the need for environmental stewardship did not come from artificial or theoretical knowledge but from early experience.” 

Now living in northern India (near his mentor, the Dalai Lama), His Holiness the 17th Karmapa is promoting a program that seeks to instill The Karmapa good environmental practices in Buddhist monasteries and in local communities across the Himalayan region. 

While on his current U.S. tour, the 29-year-old Karmapa sat down with Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn and discussed how environmental awareness fits with the Buddhist concept of interdependence, why the impacts of climate change in the Himalaya are so significant, and what role religion can play in helping meet the world’s environmental challenges.

“The environmental emergency that we face is not just a scientific issue, nor is it just a political issue,” he said. “It is also a moral issue.” 

Click this link to read the entire interview:  Religion & Environment are One

Friday, September 4, 2015

Condor Cam Ready for Internet Viewing

Scott Frier - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John FitzRandolph reports for The Cambrian:

Close-up live streaming views of a nesting pair of endangered California condors in Big Sur — and their recently hatched chick — are available at

For the first time, people with Internet connections  have the opportunity to observe through a new webcam the behaviors of nesting condors with their chick, hatched in May. The chick is expected to fledge in October.

These adult condors (No. 111 is a 21-year-old female, with four surviving offspring in the wild and No. 509 is a 6-year-old male) were the first pair to nest in a coastal redwood tree, according to Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society.

Biologists also use the webcam to monitor the chick and her parents without having to trek out to the tree site and risk disturbing the birds.

California condors were close to extinction in 1987, when the last 22 were captured and an aggressive captive breeding program was launched. Today, 220 of the birds are flying free; about 70 condors fly in the Big Sur and Pinnacles area. Soon, seven juveniles will be released in San Luis Obispo County, in the mountains above San Simeon.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Volunteers Clean Hawaiian Landmark Shore of Debris

Volunteer divers removed 157 pounds of marine debris from the cliffs at Ka Lae, also
known as South Point on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Photo by: Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

At the bottom of South Point Road in Kamaʻoa (Kaʻū district, SE Hawaiʻi) lies a well-known rocky shoreline named Ka Lae, translated from Hawaiian to mean point, promontory, or wisdom. The cliffs at Ka Lae (a.k.a. “South Point”) are internationally celebrated as the southernmost tip of the United States, domestically recognized as a National Historic Landmark, and are locally renowned for fishing and cliff jumping. Visitors and island residents alike flock to this rugged coastline for the opportunity to take a photo or to leap into the deep blue below. Unfortunately, this region is also a hub for the accumulation of marine debris.

In June, with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF, hosted its first-ever underwater cleanup event at this locale. With help from divers with the Sea Beautification Society (SBS) from Japan and a volunteer interpreter from Canada, this cleanup turned out to be a complete success. A dozen scuba divers were joined by 3 free-divers and 8 shoreline support volunteers. In total, the 23 participants were able to remove 157 pounds (71 kg) of marine debris, most of which was monofilament fishing line that was encrusted with invasive algae. This collaboration was first conceived when HWF linked up with SBS at an international Japan tsunami debris symposium hosted by JEAN (Japan Environmental Action Network) in Vancouver in October 2014. It is yet another reminder of how connected we all are, and how we can work together to take care of our planet.

HWF has been working to conserve native wildlife in Hawaiʻi since 1996 and removing marine debris from the shores of Hawaiʻi Island since 2003. During this time, HWF has hosted nearly 100 cleanup events and collectively removed over 161 metric tons (or 356,000 lbs.) of debris from Hawaiʻi Island with the help of thousands of community and visiting volunteers. This debris typically comes from faraway places on the Pacific Rim, such as the West coast of the U.S. and several countries in Asia; however, regardless of where it originates, it continues to be a threat to marine wildlife until it is removed from the marine and coastal environment. Marine debris is a people problem and HWF is committed to working with people on the island and around the globe to resolve this issue.

---From NOAA

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Guns Become Shovels Made to Plant Trees

C. Coimbra photo
After Pedro Reyes (of Culiacán, Mexico) collected 1,527 guns for the project, Palas pro Pistolas, he had them melted down and transformed into 1,527 shovel heads.
These new shovels were then distributed to art institutions and public schools, where people in the community are now using them to plant a minimum of 1,527 trees.

 --From True Activist

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Intergenerational Change Makers Seek Balance

C. Coimbra photo

YES! is a vibrant and dynamic body of people – staff, board, global program partners, alumni, and supporters – on a learning journey, seeking to live and work more consciously in alignment with our values. Our organization and program principles focus on restoring balance and sustainability; means-to-end consistency; partnerships across historic divides; and intentional space for the role of love and spirit. YES! brings these core elements into social change movements worldwide by convening transformational gatherings called Jams and building lasting partnerships with diverse social entrepreneurs.

Since being founded in 1990 by two teenagers, YES! has spoken in person to more than 650,000 students in school assemblies, led hundreds of day-long workshops, and held more than 100 week-long gatherings for visionary young leaders from 65+ nations. YES!’s Jams support some of the planet’s most potent and dedicated young social change leaders and are currently being held on six continents.

---From the YES World Website