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The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

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Dear Science Man

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Author: scienceman

Scienceman, can you help me better understand just what a kilowatt-hour is?

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Philanthropy as a competitive sport

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This week the Financial Times reported that Ark, or "Absolute Return for Kids", set up by leaders in the hedge fund industry raised $53 million at a single event, up from less than $5 million in 2002. Dinners bided over $1 million for a Kenyan safari. The head of one hedge fund group commented "I donate because I'm superstitious; I worry that if I don't, my luck will run out."

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Stop the USDA from watering down organic standards

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Your voice – or rather email – is needed now to stop the USDA from making changes to the organic standards act. Read the Treehugger story below, and follow the link to the send off your email – it takes less than a minute!

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Can anyone live on $10,712 a year?

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Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation. Today's minimum wage workers have less buying power than minimum wage workers had half a century ago.

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What's the deal with Cicadas?

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Author: scienceman

Scienceman, why is it that cicadas hatch only every 17 years and WHAT is their purpose?

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What's the deal with Cicadas?

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Author: scienceman

Scienceman, why is it that cicadas hatch only every 17 years and WHAT is their purpose?

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Blessed Unrest

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I just finished reading Paul Hawken’s new book Blessed Unrest. It is a beautifully written, extensively researched, deeply thoughtful but in the end unsatisfying read. While Hawken talks convincingly about the convergence of the environmental/sustainability movement with the social justice and indigenous rights movements (collectively described as “the movement,”) and the significance of the millions of organizations that have arisen world-wide to tackle the many issues that all these movements encompass, I don’t believe that this alone will adequately address our challenges.

The role and responsibility of business is for the most part sadly minimized and its potential unconsidered.

In the last pages of the book, Hawken writes:

“The only spiritually responsible way I know to be a citizen, artist, or activist in these strange times is by giving little or no thought to ‘great things’ such as saving the planet, achieving world peace, or stopping neocon greed. Great things tend to be undoable things.”

While I understand the sentiment, I disagree wholeheartedly. To face the challenges that confront us today, we need a symphony of commitment and possibility. From those of us that are only willing to make small adjustments to our lifestyle to those of us willing to ensure that the world’s largest corporations become a source of hope and positive impact, only by believing that we can, as Hawken says, re-make the world into a better place, will that possibility come into existence.

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Giving It Away

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Author: the Inkslinger

Sheila, our Doyen of Donational Doings, has been quite conscientiously forwarding to me news and notes pertaining to all the cool donations we’ve been making to laudable causes and needful folk, and I, for my own humble part in these great machinations, have been dutifully ignoring them while other stuff sucks up my time like a Hoover with an oscillating overthruster. So let’s play catch-up:

We gave the Dream Program, a great Vermont youth mentoring group, $2,500 to fund the Local Foods Program at their summer camp on Camp Fletcher. This initiative will teach camp kids to grow and cook their own food, which in turn will raise local environmental awareness and greatly reduce the carbon footprint of camp meals. They’re even going to build a clay oven to cook in.

We literally donated a boatload of our products to the Esperanza, a Greenpeace ship that’s now in the Bering Sea hard at work defending that ecosystem from harm. Here’s a dispatch about the mission from Greenpeace’s Bill Richardson:

Hi Sheila. Just wanted to let you know that the Esperanza took delivery of the 7th Generation products you sent us. Thanks again for this generous gift.

The Esperanza is currently on its way to the Bering Sea, where it will be until early September. While it's there, we'll be working to
document the beauty and threats that face this region, strengthen our
alliances with Native communities and networks, and work with citizens,
scientists, and other NGOs who are building the case for greater
protection of the Bering Sea ecosystem.

One of the interesting aspects of our work in this region will be the
use of one-person mini-subs. Using these vehicles, we'll be going to
depths of up to 2000 feet to document and provide evidence in support of designating canyons in the Bering Sea (some of the deepest on the
planet) as protected areas.

Speaking of sending our stuff on journeys, we also donated a big supply of Seventh products to JuntoVenture for their expedition from the lowest point on the North American continent, Death Valley, to it’s highest, Mt Denali. The idea is to undertake the world’s first completely sustainable trek, one that uses leaves no carbon footprint, uses no unsustainable gear, and creates no environmental degradation of any type along the way. The trip is being filmed for a documentary and creating a model other trekkers can follow on their own travels.

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20/20 by 2010

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On Wednesday, June 13, our Global Warming task team (called the Carbon 42 task team) rolled out the 7th Gen climate change program 20/20 by 2010 to the employees of 7th Gen and to two of our manufacturing partners.

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