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For A Season of Global Giving

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Author: the Inkslinger

We got this guest post in this morning from our friend John Heckinger at Global Giving. They’ve got a cool new idea brewing over there, and I think it’s an inspired way to start the week and to celebrate the season.

Last week, GlobalGiving introduced a whole new way to give others a whole new way to give – GlobalGiving Gift Cards. They’re the size and shape of a normal credit or gift card, but they’re 100% biodegradable. These little pieces of wallet candy are made out of corn and can be used exactly like the gift cards you purchase from a retail store, but with much greater benefits:

GlobalGiving Gift Cards make it easy, and maybe even stylish, to help others close to home or in remote parts of the developing world, in a direct and real way. When you give a GlobalGiving Gift Card, you’re giving someone the ability to give someone else in the world something extremely meaningful– an education, a livelihood, clean water, or a safe place away from conflict.

Many of us are fortunate that we can worry about installing high-efficiency light bulbs, choosing renewable energy, and buying hybrid cars. Many others around the world deal with much more immediate problems, and giving a GlobalGiving Gift Card is a way to engage others is solving them.

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Getting Trashed

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Author: the Inkslinger

As White Rhino said upon it's forwarding, this guest post is almost poetry of a sort. Eco-haiku, anyone?

I have on my bedroom wall an old print from my Mother's 1925 house showing Hercules trying to hold up the world. Sometimes that is how I feel after my walk in the woods and down our dirt road. I pick up bottles and cans as I go and pile them every so often. A neighbor told me since I go to that bother he will take them to the dump.

My angst is over the trash, old metal beds, ,jugs used for target practice that I find deep in the woods.

When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn??

Kim in NH

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Can’t Get No Satisfaction

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Author: the Inkslinger

Sometimes a guest post arrives which needs nothing extra added from anyone here. This is one, and here it is…

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Bitter Coal'd

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Author: the Inkslinger

Introducing guest blogger Megan Reid. Megan is a student at Berea College and says she’s recently been awakened to the source of the coal that most of the Southeastern United States uses for energy. She writes, “I believe that if everyone knew a little more about it, the majority would have the heart to stand up for what is right and stop sacrificing the mountains and most of all the health of these people that live closest to these sites.” Here’s what else she has to say:

I recently took a field trip to eastern Kentucky, the lower section of the heart of Appalachia where mountain top removal is most popular extraction method of coal. In awe of all the beauty of this natural mountainous section of the world, there were patches of mountains that were just missing and valleys were replaced by low nutritional quality grass on a soil made of shale. Seeing these “reclamation” sites first hand matured my understanding and opinion of mountain top removal.


A “reclaimed” valley covered in this type of razor sharp seeded grass. There used to be a natural stream here.

Learning about the geological history of the Appalachian mountain chain and how coal is naturally manufactured makes it seem all the more ridiculous that we extract it, burn it, fight wars for it, and sacrifice our own people for it. It is a legal rape that effects all the people downstream, at the bottom of the valley, living within range of the vibrations of the explosions used to blow the tops off the mountains. The water is poisoned. The wildlife is poisoned. The people are poisoned.

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Climate Change: The Sins of Our Fathers

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Author: the Inkslinger

This dispatch arrived last night from our good friend and 2006 Change It participant, Joseph Kaifala, who wanted to share some of his thoughts on what’s happening in Africa.

As I was listening to BBC Network Africa this morning I heard of the increasing rainfalls that are currently devastating certain regions in Africa. According to the report, at least 17 countries have been hit in West, Central and East Africa by some of the worst rains in living memory. It also reported that at least 500,000 people have been affected by the floods in just twelve countries. An approximated 400,000 people have been affected in Uganda alone by what the BBC refers to as the country’s heaviest rainfall in 35 years.

At this point you might be thinking exactly what I thought: Climate Change. Well, you are right to think it because scientists have predicted such effects on Africa several times within the past four years. But of course, like everything else that concerns Africa, could anyone ever listen?

Earlier this year it was revealed by scientific investigation that Africa is 0.5 C warmer than it was a century ago, but that Africa is simply bearing the brunt of problems created in the rich industrial countries. The report, (Climate Change and Africa) in May 2007 aired on both BBC Focus and Network Africa reports stated that food production in countries in the Horn and the Sahel regions is always at the mercy of the climate, and the rising temperatures are putting those arid areas in an even more precarious position. Recently, a renewed study by the economist William Cline quantified drastic reductions in agricultural productivity in many of Africa’s poorest countries by the 2080s if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. Such declines are expected to be severe in places like Sudan and Senegal where agricultural production is predicted to fall by more than half, while other African countries will experience a reduction by 30-40 percent. I swear we don’t deserve this one.

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Today’s Cafeteria Special: a Green and Trash-Free Lunch

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Author: the Inkslinger

Please meet Laurel Peltier, the newest addition to our roster of guest bloggers. Laurel tells us she is a 42 year-old mom of three living in Baltimore, Maryland who writes freelance articles about the environment. She says she used to be a consumer product manager, MBA-types often disparaged by greenies, she notes, but she’s now applying her marketing skills for Mother Earth.

To me, it seems families, especially Mom are hard to reach, we're very busy juggling many things, so I try and write about ideas that relate. Here’s a short brief I wrote for Maryland Family magazine about greening our kids’ lunches.

Looking for ways to become eco-friendly? An easy place to make a difference is with your child’s lunch.

Though juice boxes and individually wrapped ‘grab and go’ foods are convenient, they generate tons of trash. Each year the average child dumps sixty-seven pounds of lunchbox trash costing school districts valuable dollars to collect and dispose of the trash.

Re-thinking how your child’s meal gets packed can reduce trash going to landfills and has some unexpected benefits. Here are some simple ways to pack a trash-free lunch:

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Working on Recycling

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Author: the Inkslinger

To get the week off to an inspired start, here’s a guest post from protagonist Diana Gabet

At my job I'm known as the junk lady. I try to recycle everything possible from the yogurt container in my lunch to reusing lunch bags. My goal is make a new recycler one person at a time. The workplace is a great place to start from paper to printing cartridges to boxes. I save the styrofoam packing peanuts and take them to the ups shipper to reuse. Also taking the old phone books to recycling. Everyone who does just one item recycle can make a difference! People come to me and ask is this recyclable. One small step at a time.

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One Drop of Change At a Time

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Author: the Inkslinger

Got a bunch of guest posts in the queue so I’m gonna keep ‘em coming...

Here are some words from Monique D'Sa, a mother of three green kids and a freshly green husband. Monique is a teacher by trade and is presently at home trying to make the world greener. She lives in Toronto close to public transit and enjoys organic foods, growing vegetables and volunteering. She says her next endeavour is to sell her homebaked cookies made with organic ingredients at the Christmas Craft show!

I have a blog of my own which I started to begin a global campaign. It's called the One Drop of Rain Campaign. I offer monthly challenges to readers to take on green living. If we all do a little something, we will make a difference. In challenging people with EASY ideas, I hope that these will become habits and hopefully change the way people shop and consume and get the word out to companies that we don't need to buy any more toxic crap!!! I also write a monthly article for Naturally Savvy.

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Inspired Consumerism

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Author: the Inkslinger

Let the Friday feast of words continue with this guest post from Sarah Schultz-Nielsen. Sarah is a public librarian and enjoys simple things, like spending time with her husband and dogs, growing raspberries in their yard and watching The Closer on DVD. She was raised on a dairy farm in Maine, which now grows organic vegetables and grass-fed beef.

I became inspired to do my part after I was at a meeting and heard a financial advisor recommend Ellis Jones' The Better World Shopping Guide. I was impressed that someone who had both money and the ability to manage it (which equals power to me) introduced such a gem. I don't have lots of money and often feel powerless, which really is a bad excuse for apathy. This book gives me no excuses. The book is physically small but the information inside is big, if not enormous. Everything from airlines to vitamins are rated based on issues including employee treatment to community involvement. I've been using it to make changes in my household that make me feel that my husband and I are helping the world to be better. Or our world, at least.

I have been buying a lot of the products I've learned about in the book at my local health food store, called Harvest Time. It is woman-owned and operated and small in comparison to some of the large, whole food markets but they have a great selection and actually use the products they sell. I buy my paper products, laundry detergent, dish liquid and bath products there. I also buy my husband's Grandy Oats cereal, and my favorite, Little Lad's Bakery Herbal Popcorn. If stranded on a desert island, I'd want my library, this popcorn and potable water. It's divine. The products made by Little Lad's are all vegan. Although they don't have a website, they do have a Cafe in Portland, ME with a $3.99 lunch buffet.

Awareness of what I buy, wear and consume just makes me a responsible human being. Buying, wearing and consuming things often gives people a lot of pleasure, albeit empty. I find composting, wearing thrift store clothes and using non-petroleum based dish liquid just plain sexy.

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The Power of Choice

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here’s a guest post to start our collective Friday from Inspired Protagonista Jack Clifford.

I am convinced that one's life is basically built around choices. I am a retired person and work part time in a bookstore and particularly in their coffee shop making coffee drinks. Like Sally Field I think they like me - they really do even though I am the oldest person working there. My point is that everyone with whom I work is in their early to mid twenties and I am very saddened by the pacifist attitude of most of my co-workers. They sincerely feel there is nothing they can do to change their circumstances. I am also sadden by an attitude that for the most part they are only interested in doing the minimum amount of work and absolutely nothing extra.

This is why I consciously choose to buy, use and do my best to convince as many folks as I can to start using environmentally safe products like Seventh Generation. We can all choose to a part of the solution and not part of the problem. As I said it is a matter of choice and attitude.

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