Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wearing Your Mother’s Clothing Never Seemed So Stylish (And We’re Not Talking About the 70s)

Remember the three “R’s” we learned in elementary school as children? Recycle, Reuse and Reduce. The idea is a simple one and has made a vast impact on our society its waste management. So, why can’t we use the same idea when it comes to our apparel?

Patagonia Inc. is an outdoor clothing company that has spent years trying to tackle the problem of wasted clothing. As of this fall, this green company has taken back over 12,000 kilograms of clothing to be recycled. Today, some 47% of Patagonia’s products are recyclable.

However, Patagonia is not stopping there. By the end of 2010, their goal is to increase that percentage to one hundred, meaning that everything from their luggage to ski parkas will be both recyclable and/or made from recycled products.

Patagonia realized that, in order to increase the supply of recycled materials for its own products, it needed to get other big apparel companies on the same page. About two years ago, Patagonia teamed up with its largest competitors, REI and Timberland, to mull over ideas to reduce all the companies’ environmental “footprints” through recycling in addition to other green methods.

The basis behind Patagonia’s innovative idea sprung from their first recycling program back in 2005 (Common Threads) which began with modest goals. The effort began with encouraging people to mail in their used Capilene brand underwear made from polyester. Patagonia was then able to recycle these goods into new “base layer” shirts and pullovers. The rest is history.

Patagonia is looking back in time to a simple and reliable idea and putting it to use to better the future. If plastic and newspapers can be recycled and reused, why can’t our clothing? Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When All Else Fails. The Saints Come Marching In

New Orleans is a city that truly stands out in America. From its crazy and colorful party-life, its proud professional football team, and its hazardous and dangerous rainstorms, New Orleans is prominently embedded in most American’s minds.

Where New Orleans really set itself apart from other nation-wide popular cities is in its relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina. And from these efforts sprang a new generation of entrepreneurs. One such entrepreneur, LaToya Cantrell, created the Broadmoor Improvement Association, which restores homes that are in danger of demolition.

Broadmoor is a racially mixed, middle-class historic district in New Orleans dating back to the 1920s. When Katrina hit, homes in Broadmoor found themselves submerged in over seven feet of water and were threatened with demolition. When neighbors worked together with researchers to form a comprehensive development plan to save their homes, this inspired Cantrell, also a Broadmoor inhabitant, to create a company that does the same for everyone in a vulnerable position such as hers and her neighbors.

Today, more than 70% of the homes effected by Katrina have been restored, thanks to the Broadmoor Improvement Association. The group successfully lobbied for better police presence and emergency services, reopened their local school as a charter, and built a new playground. Their unmistakable signs “Broadmoor Lives!” that are posted throughout the city, only foster exceptional cohesion within the New Orleans community. To top it off, Cantrell has spoken around our nation about the inexplicable power of communities in times of need.

It’s no secret that Hurricane Katrina left her unforgettable mark on New Orleans. However, the inhabitants can now restore their faith in where it should have been before the catastrophe hit: themselves. No one knows the power of a community more than these brave folks, and thanks to Cantrell and her group, everyone now has a place that they can call their own. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Monday, June 28, 2010

From Danger to Diplomas: The Story Behind the SEED Foundation

Think that the only time underprivileged children make it through college and go on to become successful doctors, lawyers and the like is in the movies? Well, my friends, think again. The SEED Foundation is a national nonprofit that partners with urban communities to provide innovative educational opportunities that prepare these kids for college and beyond...think the movie, Dangerous Minds, but in REAL LIFE (and without Michelle Pfeiffer)!

The first SEED school was started in Washington, D.C., in 1998. And from there, the rest is history. Today, SEED Schools are slowly being integrated throughout the country. The SEED School of Maryland is a statewide college-preparatory public boarding school that opened in August in 2008. SEED is currently working closely with leaders in Ohio and New Jersey to establish new schools in those states. Talk about spreading the love...

The school’s model integrates a rigorous academic program with a nurturing boarding program, which in turn, teaches life skills simultaneously providing a safe and secure environment. As public schools, SEED schools are tuition-free and cannot choose their students. In every year since its beginning, the number of applications to SEED schools has exceeded the spaces available, making it inevitable that an annual lottery take place in order to determine enrollment.

The SEED school boasts a 97% college acceptance rate at each of its locations. 90% of those accepted immediately enroll into college. These tremendous statistics have caught the attention from some extraordinary people such as President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the Today Show and CBS’s 60 Minutes.

The SEED Foundation and its schools are paving a way for any child, no matter their background, to have a chance to shape their life without any financial, cultural, or social restrictions. After the kids graduate, well, what they do with the experience is up to them. These children (now young adults) now have the CHANCE to make a choice about their future, rather than their past life making the choice for them. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Need For Green and Speed Just Got Sexier!

With every other car manufacturer coming out with a different kind of hybrid or ecologically-friendly car, one starts to imitate the next. Which leads one to think, what will they come up with next?

Mercedes Benz seeks to answer that question. With the release of its new prototype SLS AMG E-Cell electric super-car, the powerhouse is claiming its rightful stake in the map of futuristic “green” automobiles.

What sets this battery motored vehicle apart from the rest of the mix is that, quite simply, it’s different. With its DeLorean-style doors, a redesigned front suspension, and a paint job specifically named Lumilectric Mango, one can assert this car isn’t for the feint of heart (or the skinny pocketed).

When it comes to the specs of this cruiser, Mercedes certainly doesn't disappoint. According to the folks at AMG, the super-car can reach 60 mph in under four seconds. The motors combine to apply 526 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque to the wheels, which top out at 12,000 rpm, which is only slightly less than its gas guzzling Neanderthal-like competitors. It even has an increased available downforce, due to an extendable front splitter and rear diffuser that trumps a standard 6.2 liter V8-powered SLS. In laymen’s terms, this baby can purr...

So now my friends, with Mercedes’ innovative new time-capsule SLS AMG E-Cell, you cannot only feel good about driving an ecologically friendly car, you can look good while owning it. Plus, I bet I know who would win if you decided to race your Toyota- loving friend...just make sure his brakes work before you cross the finish! Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Music Movement: Drake Takes a Stand On “Going Green”

He has been deemed Hip-Hop’s Savior a multitude of times by a wide array of respected artists. He has had songs grace the top spot on the Billboard on more than one occasion. He signed a multi-million dollar deal with Lil Wayne’s group, Young Money. And he JUST now released his debut album, Thank Me Later. Is there anything Aubrey “Drake” Graham can’t do? Apparently not.

This spring, in anticipation of the release of his first album, Drake partnered with Reverb’s Campus Conscious Tour. Reverb is an organization that aids musicians in reducing the waste and harm to the environment caused by their concerts in addition to conducting grassroots outreach and education to their fans. In order to “go green,” Drake’s tour bus, which visited over seventeen different campuses in over a dozen states, ran solely on biodiesel. Additionally, at each tour stop there were recycling and composting stations, biodegradable catering supplies and eco-friendly cleaning products were used, catering was cooked with local, organic food, CO2 offsets were purchased, and merchandise sold was made from sustainable materials.

In order to engage students while on his tour, Drake and Reverb collaborated with Green the Block, a national campaign and coalition targeted at helping low-income communities of color become driving forces of the clean-energy economy. Representatives of Green the Block work with students on each campus to do community events and outreach events on how to expand their mission to their own alma mater. Reflecting on his choice to green his tour, Drake said, “The whole green movement has been something that’s been brought more to the forefront.  The term green is something that has been refreshing, something that is exciting…for me to be associated with it, I thought personally, it made sense.”

Being named as one of the most anticipated rappers to step on the scene, Drake has some serious weight on his shoulders. Not only is he striving to keep his loyal fan base intrigued by rolling out endless hits and collaborations, he is maintaining his eco-friendly stance and educating youth about its importance. With his unforgettable tag lines and a green concert stage from where they’re delivered, one can undoubtedly assert that, “it’s far from over!” And for that, we can be sure to thank him later...Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Have No Fear, Sir Dyson and His Blade-Less Fans Are Here!

Sir James Dyson isn’t simply the mastermind behind the world’s most popular and efficient vacuums. No my friends, Dyson is the newest ambassador to tackle one of summer’s most loathsome enemies: air conditioning.

As the world’s climate continues on its progressive path to higher temperatures, naturally, people’s dependence on their air conditioning will follow suit. This however, poses a problem for our ozone layer because as more energy is spent cooling down people’s homes, harmful greenhouse emissions will keep rising.

Being that today is the first full day of summer, it would be very assiduous to ponder that the average American household already uses 2,822 kWh of energy per year, which translates to $276 in air conditioning annually.

However, Sir Dyson has an answer to this steaming debacle. Dyson has now unveiled its new blade-less fans, which it hopes will soon end the heated battle on air conditioning forever.

The technology behind this new innovation seems simple enough... if you’re a gifted engineer that is. The fan works like a jet engine, sucking air into a cyclone accelerator that amplifies it fifteen to eighteen times before blowing it out over an airfoil-shaped ramp. As the air is blown out, more is sucked in from behind. With no blades, the airstream is smooth and the contraption is easier to clean. Most important, the fan runs on a modest forty-watt motor.

While the Dyson fans may not eradicate greenhouse emissions in total, their innovative and ecologically mindful thinking behind them is certainly a step (or flow) in the right direction. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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From a Friendly Wager To a Massive Makeover: The Cinderella Story of Tucson

Truth be told, the southern portion of the US plays host to some of the most “obese” cities. However, when a small wager was placed between two friends in leadership positions in Tucson, the city received the makeover of a lifetime.

It all began with a game of dare. Surgeon general Richard Carmona challenged Mayor Robert E. Walkup to turn the city of Tucson into a model healthy American city. In 2003, hands were shaken, the challenge was on, and the Healthy City Initiative was thus created!

This new innovative Healthy City Initiative is based on Carmona’s five pillars of a healthy community: the physical, the emotional, safety, crime prevention, and substance-abuse prevention. Along with the pillars came the building of over seven hundred miles of bikeways and seventy-two miles of shared-use paths. Additionally, plans were formulated to make the city completely walker and biker friendly, all at the cost of nearly $80 million.

Since the initiative has been established, crime is down 20% in addition to another 45% reduction in crystal-meth availability since 2006. Furthermore, high profile personalities such as the University of Arizona’s football coach, Mike Stoops, are serving as ambassadors for domestic-violence prevention.

Mayor Walkup doesn't want his and Carmona’s Healthy City Initiative to stop within the city limits. In order to spread their ideals for a healthier state and country, Walkup hosted the U.S. for a Healthy City Summit, where the countries leaders can brainstorm on how to make their own city a healthier one. Walkup also created the Mayor’s Global Alliance for Community Wellness, which is a website where civic leaders can share best practices. The website has now attracted over forty-one city managers from six different countries.

Whether it’s a bet between two friends or two cities, making the step to live a healthier lifestyle today makes for a fresher (and lighter) tomorrow. For his hard work and unprecedented will to help place his city on the right track, Mayor Walkup receives a few notches under his belt, which by now he can easily tighten around his slimming waistline. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Monday, June 21, 2010

June Is Bustin' Out All Over!

June is often filled with showers and sunshine, in addition to frolicking baby critters learning their newfound steps (or flights) towards adulthood. Being that I have a radar for abandoned baby birds, and somehow wind up with multiple beaks to feed, I felt it only suitable to highlight the charitable organization of ARK (Area Rehabbers Klub).

ARK is a federally recognized organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of Virginia wildlife. Their completely volunteer network base consists of state and federal licensed rehabilitators who have helped to nurture and release over 15,000 different species of wildlife since the time of it’s own birth in 2000.

ARK was created when a few neighboring wildlife rehab groups began networking together, all with the same vision as becoming a non-profit. With a non-profit status, the rehabbers would be able to receive government aid collectively as a group for the food and veterinary aid for the wildlife they encounter. Finally, on March 9, 2000 ARK became an incorporated business.

From its humble beginnings of simply five curious minds, today ARK’s roster has grown to nearly fifty rehab specialists that cover the Richmond Metropolitan Area in addition to surrounding localities.

Through various donations, ARK is able to provide its generous volunteers with milk replacers, dry foods, veterinary care, and caging materials. However, it hopes to soon be able to reimburse the rehab specialists for the costs they incur for fresh fruits, vegetables and some caging start-up supplies for the animals they nurse back to health.

Whether it’s a wounded possum or an orphaned baby starling, the noteworthy and selfless volunteers at ARK work tirelessly around the clock to rehab these wonderful creatures in hopes of some day soon releasing them back into their natural habitat. It’s nice to know that people out there exist, whose love extends way beyond that of their own blood, or species for that matter. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Love Is Blind: The Horrors of the Sex Trade

It’s obvious to all of us that the old adage, “sex sells” rings true in every instance. However, no one understands the truth in this statement as much as the victims of the commercial sex trade that is occurring world-wide. And it’s these victims who have been the catalysts that inspire heroic organizations such as The Blind Project.

The Blind Project is a collective assortment of passionate people uniting and combining their unique talents together to help empower victims and survivors of the commercial sex trade in Southeast Asia and beyond. The non-profit group demonstrates its passion by consisting solely of non-paid volunteers. Talk about a modern day “Dream Team!”

The Blind Project has created a sustainable style brand Biographe, which promotes the holistic restoration of these exploited women. Biographe also teaches the victims marketable job skills in the world of fashion, design and production. Furthermore, the brand employs these women and grants them the opportunity to excel in a positive work environment and earn a respectable living wage. Simply put, Biographe is giving these women a second chance in life.

The commercial sex trade has been a menacing factor to societies around the world for many years prior to now. This multi-billion dollar industry is often ignored and many times overlooked by officials and governments. The victims of the sex trade are treated as meaningless commodities as they are carelessly turned over from owner to owner or anyone else willing to spend a buck. These victims are often lured into the industry because of their poor financial state, and usually remain there until they meet their demise, either from drug abuse or brutal punishment.

Brushfire supports organizations like The Blind Project that provide a silver lining for these women who find themselves in situations that seem nearly impossible to overcome: For there is no greater feeling in life, than to have a second chance at living. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Mission Impossible 4: The Story of Gary Faulkner

Don’t you just love the Hollywood flicks that depict an every-day blue collar man as the protagonist who decides to take matters into his own hands to pursue justice? Well my friends, Gary Faulkner, is living proof that not everything coming out of Tinsel Town is fake.

Armed with a pistol, a 40-inch knife, night vision equipment and the Bible, Gary Brooks Faulkner set off on a mission with one goal in mind: To hunt down the infamously evil, Osama Bin Laden. Leaving his native California at the age of fifty-two, Faulkner decided to take matters into his own hands after being disappointed with the results of the US military and global alliances’ efforts.

However, Faulkner’s mission was cut short when he was detained by Pakistani officials when trying to cross the border into Afghanistan. After having visited the area over seven times, Faulkner had a good idea of what was necessary in order to set out on a mission as tumultuous as capturing America’s archenemy.

Although the US government has offered a $25 million dollar reward for information leading to bin Laden’s capture, their plea for help was certainly not an open invitation for an all-out man hunt. However, maybe the government should start taking notes from Faulkner as the protagonist’s guess of the location of bin Laden (and where he was headed before he was detained), in the Chitral District, was pretty spot on considering the antagonist is often housed in that exact location.

Although many may view Mr. Faulkner as irrational and border-line crazy, he is a man who follows his faith and takes matters into his own hands when all other avenues have failed. To us, this shouldn't be viewed as acts of a mad man, but of a brave American just seeking out his own pursuit of justice. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP: America's Biggest Loser

Although BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, is one of the largest suppliers of gasoline worldwide, its reputation of reliability and honesty has sunk to the deepest sands of the sea floors. However, the company is working vigorously and tirelessly to clean up its mess, and its name.

Today, BP announced the progress in its half-billion dollar pledge to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. It will grant $25 million to three institutions in the gulf region for a faster track in high-priority studies of the distribution, composition and ecological interactions of oil and dispersant.

“It is vitally important that research start immediately into the oil and dispersant's impact, and that the findings are shared fully and openly," said BP chief executive Tony Hayward. "We support the independence of these institutions and projects, and hope that the funding will have a significant positive effect on scientists' understanding of the impact of the spill."

Additionally, in order to clear its conscience from all the jobs lost because of its self-inflicted accident, BP pledges that it will pay those now unemployed because of the spill, and will continue to write them a check until the spill is cleaned up. So far, over 18,000 claims have been met, as stated by BP.

Will BP finally clear its name and remove the invisible “Scarlet Letter” that looms overhead? Will writing large checks to research initiatives and paying off a few thousand heated Louisianians erase the horrific images of black oceans and crippled animals already emblazoned in your mind? Here is the main question BP needs to answer: When will this harrowing disaster finally be stopped? One would like to think, at least for this situation, BP’s actions will speak much louder than its words. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Need For Greener Garbage Has Gone Global!

Everyone knows that imitation is the most honest form of flattery. Some cities follow in the steps of a neighboring metropolis in order to fit in, to avoid bad press. Others however, set a new standard unto which others may follow. These cities are the game changers, the innovators, the ones the world turns to in order to seek the latest trends. Taipei, Taiwan has now become one of those leaders in greener innovations.

By the end of this year, Taipei strives to achieve a “zero landfill, total recycling” target, which just so happens to be nearly thirty years ahead of the United Nation’s trash goal. Although many experts think this target is overtly far-fetched, the fact that this city is thinking this far into the future sets exemplary standards for the rest of us.

Taipei has been busy while trying to achieve this goal, regardless of its obvious limitations. It has encouraged its private sector to build composting facilities and recycling plants, in addition to requiring its residents to pay for trash collection by the bag.

When it comes to the actual practice of picking up the trash in Taipei, nothing could be further from the norm. Garbage trucks blasting Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and Badarzewska’s “The Maiden’s Prayer” collect the trash, which must be placed in city-approved bags, and the residents themselves are required to toss their bags in the trucks.

Taipei also promotes trade in secondhand goods and recently introduced new methods of kitchen-waste disposal. This new pilot program of waste management turns actual food waste into pig feed.

The result of these highly innovative greener programs that Taipei is beginning to carry out is a severely lowered volume of trash and waste. It’s not only become a leader in waste-management, Taipei has set a precedent for other cities to strive to fulfill. Will it be another thirty years before we reach a zero landfill benchmark? Only time will tell; however, with cities like Taipei in the forefront, we can rest assured that one second certainly won’t go to waste. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

There's Always More To What Meets the Eye

Every fifty-seven minutes, a child is diagnosed with retinoblastoma eye cancer. To add insult to injury, despite near a 100% cure rate with modern treatment and technology, 80% of children affected will die. No one understands this widely overlooked epidemic nearly as much as Derek Fisher of the LA Lakers. Ever since his daughter was diagnosed with the highly curable cancer, Fisher has been making his fans aware and in turn, saving many lives.

Another group who has been promoting awareness for childhood retinoblastoma is Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund. Named after a brave young girl from the english countryside in Devon County, the fund has a mission to end avoidable death, blindness and unnecessary suffering caused by this childhood eye cancer. Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund is the only retinoblastoma charity that seeks to expand its range internationally to fulfill the needs of children affected by this cancer. They are dedicated to improving care and ensuring access to modern technology and health care for every child with the cancer, regardless of their personal background.

Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund exceeds traditional methods of raising awareness due to retinoblastoma’s rare, and often overlooked nature. The fund is promoting its anthropological book, In The Eyes of Angels, which highlights the personal stories and poetry written and told by families who have struggled with the cancer across six continents. With this push for awareness, Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund hopes that the book will not only help to educate families around the world about the cancer, but the money raised from those purchasing the book will help grant opportunities to less privileged children who live in areas around the world where advanced health care simply doesn't exist.

With a particular focus on developing countries, Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund is clearly committed to improving care for all children who develop retinoblastoma, in addition to their families. With the help of some prominent celebrities whose families have dealt with the cancer, such as Derek Fisher, foundations like these can help inform people around the globe, in addition to saving children who without aid, would never see the “light of day” again. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

"Build it and They Will Come": The Growing Need for Vertical Farming

The phenomenon of agriculture and horticulture have evolved along with the very hands that pursued them. As the human race advanced around the globe, their capacities to utilize the land in which they settled followed suit. In fact, it has been through the use and knowledge of agriculture, that many historians have identified and classified specific regions of people.

Our world is slowly becoming overpopulated and supply is struggling to meet demand in light of an urban influx of society. Simply put, not enough land exists to be able to create enough food for our growing population to endure. Scientists predict that by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will inhabit urban centers. Thinking conservatively, they have also speculated that the human population will increase by about three billion during the interim. At present, over 80% of the world’s land that is suitable for raising crops is currently in use. So, what is the answer of a problem that will undoubtedly loom ahead in the near future? Farm Vertically.

Although the concept of indoor farming isn't a new one, the urgency in which it needs to accommodate over three billion people has thus begun. The idea of vertical farming is that it could potentially offer a cheaper means of raising crops that takes up less space. The farms would be many stories high and conveniently located in the heart of the world’s urban centers. If they could be remotely successful in their implementation, vertical farms could offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply, and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been long-sacrificed for horizontal farming.

Because it took humans nearly 10,000 years to grow the crops we now take for granted, the concept of vertical farming seems almost far-fetched and unrealistic. However, only time will tell. As the number of hungry mouths begin to multiply, something will need to be done to satisfy the growing demand without leaving people helpless and hungry. So who do we turn to? Do we remain faithful to the overall- wearing, tobacco-chewing, tractor-driving farmers who work tirelessly to keep us fed? Or is this something that even their hard laborious work can’t fix? One thing is for sure, the technology of tomorrow will soon become the savior for today. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

There's a New (Charity) Sheriff in Town: Sting!

When it comes to some of the greatest ballads, Sting has certainly left his mark on all of our hearts. However, his reach isn’t just skin deep. In fact, Sting’s charity work has positively influenced many persons, places, and things world-wide.

With the help from his wife, Trudie Styler, Sting co-founded The Rainforest Foundation in order to save its diminishing existence in South America. He has worked so closely and persistently with the Foundation that a species of Columbian tree frog, Dendropsophus stingi, was named after the acclaimed singer.

The catalyst responsible for Sting’s humanitarian efforts began nearly thirty years ago through a series of concerts called the “Secret Policeman’s Ball,”of which Sting was in attendance. The series of concerts was sponsored by Amnesty International, a world-wide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights.

Since being a witness to that first concert series in 1979, Sting has been a mainstay for Amnesty International, headlining in every major tour held for its benefit. In 1988, he joined their six-week world Human Rights Now! tour, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

That same year, Sting went on to write and record “They Dance Alone,” which chronicled the plight of the mothers, wives, and daughters of those who mysteriously vanished under the Pinochet regime in Chile.

Along with Amnesty International, Sting has promoted a wide array of charities and movements with focuses that span clear across the globe. Some of these charities are: Breast Cancer Care, Creative Coalition, David Foster Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Live 8, Musicians on Call, Walden Woods Project, and Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and that is just the beginning.

Whether Sting is entertaining an audience of 500,000 or simply feeding a village of fifty, it’s clear to see that “every little thing he does is magic!” Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Niagra Conservation: Saving Our Oceans One Flush at a Time

When you think about it, a life of a toilet is really quite an unappreciated one. With its stationary lifestyle, dirty vocation, and monotone scenery (the wall), the toilet lives a life of loneliness and self-pity. To top it off, it is often blamed for wasting water, even though it sits helplessly akin to its over-indulged and much taller neighbor, the shower.

However, the lowly status of the toilet is promptly transforming with the unmasking of Niagra Conservation’s revolutionary Stealth Toilet. This innovative piece of bathroom technology steeply reduces water that is needed to “do your business.” For example, it uses a meager 0.8 gallons per flush compared to the EPA maximum of 1.6 gallons.

‘How does it save more than half a gallon of water per flush,’ you ask? The secret in designing such a green toilet is in the air bubble. After the Stealth Toilet is flushed, a special tube transfers air to the trap way below the tank. That air bubble displaces the water in the trap, which then pushes the water up into the bowl. This results in a dramatic reduction in water usage, and as you flush the air creates a vacuum that effectively and efficiently discharges the bowl.

The Stealth Toilet isn’t the only green weapon in Niagra Conservation’s arsenal. Headquartered in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey along with satellite offices scattered worldwide, Niagra Conservation is the only company in the world that manufactures efficiency products and administers turnkey programs. Many of their products have been featured worldwide in a wide array of media, and that’s certainly nothing to turn your nose at. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Francisco: Home to Rice-A-Roni and Free Bank Accounts

You don't always have to be a mobster to stash your savings under the mattress. While this previous tactic held its advantages, when random guests needed a place to crash, “sleeping with one eye open” brought on a whole new meaning. All jokes aside, many families throughout our nation are literally living “paycheck to paycheck.” For this reason, the city of San Francisco, California, along with several other financial institutions launched the campaign Bank on San Francisco.

The city’s initiative highlights one main focus: granting citizens access to bank accounts and financial education. When the pilot began in September 2006, over 50,000 unbanked households existed in the city. After only two years, more than half of those households had signed up for accounts.

The primary reason for the lack of household checking accounts was that many of the families lacked government-issued U.S. IDs. Under the Bank on San Francisco program, however, the seventeen participating banks and credit unions must accept Mexican and Guatemalan IDs. Now, people have the opportunity to keep their money in a safe place instead of having to use check-cashing services that often usurped more than 5% of their net income each year!

The program also offers money-management training which helps its participants to spend and invest their money wisely, in addition to granting them access to professionals who can help them get out of debt or plan ahead. Free classes and seminars are also available to those who are enrolled in the program.

Bank on San Francisco has become such a success that Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill to expand the program statewide in California. With it’s tenacious social service programs available to its citizens, the city of San Francisco is paving a way to equality one bank account at a time. In doing so, it has not only created a unique opportunity for its citizens, it’s shifting social responsibility to a more local-friendly level, which we think deserves an ‘A’ credit rating. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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