Archive for the ‘Act Now’ Category

Being Ahead of Schedule Is Bad – Earth Overshoot Day

earth-spaceOuch

We keep getting more efficient at screwing ourselves up!

Most often, in life, it is beneficial to be ahead of schedule for things–better than the alternative, being late. Well, when it comes to annually using up our world’s resources, the early bird doesn’t get the worm…the early bird probably only gets hungry, and thirsty, and hot, very hot.

Earth Overshoot Day should be sometime in early October, this red-letter-in-a-bad-way day, but this year, 2015, it happened yesterday, on August 13 (six days ahead of last year–a bad trend). Yikes!

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. The Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for, and supply of, natural resources and ecological services, and at some point on the calendar, we get to the point where we are in a deficit compared to what can be provided, so we are technically drawing down resources and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We owe the world, and that tipping point date gets earlier every year. In banking terms, we are drawing down the earth’s principal rather than responsibly living off the interest.

Ecological overshoot is a non-sustainable way of life and possible for only a limited period of time before we degrade the system so far that we end up with water shortages, desertification, soil erosion, reduced cropland activity, overgrazing, rapid species extinction, collapse of fisheries, and increased carbon concentration…sound familiar?

Our global overshoot has nearly doubled since 1961. According to Global Footprint Network, we are now living large, literally, as it would take 1.6 Earths to actually support our current consumption, and predictions state we would require two entire planets to support our usage trends by mid-century. Only 14% of our world lives in countries with more biocapacity than usage footprint, including Australia, Canada, Finland, Chile, and Brazil. The United States is squarely in the not-so-happy red zone, using more natural resources than we can possibly provide.

TAKE ACTION:

Check out this interactive footprint calculator to discover how much land area it takes to support your own lifestyle, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the earth.

Voter Lookup Tool Makes it Easy

It’s perhaps not convenient, but it IS important. Please don’t spend any time creating excuses–just participate in creating the society that matters most to you!

Doublecheck your polling place here…

Celebrate National Bat Week

B&W batIt’s lovely synchronistic timing that National Bat Week is the seven days including Halloween (Bat Week=October 26-November 1).

Here’s why bats are NOT scary, but the prospect of losing them is terrifying:

> Bats maintain the health of our environment–eating insects and controlling those populations is hugely important, to which any scratchy mosquito bite you’ve ever had attests. A single bat can eat up to 5,000 insects per night.

>With a healthy bat population, farmers need fewer pesticides, which means safer food sources for us. Bats save the agricultural industry in America about $23 billion per year.

>Bats pollinate plants and disperse seeds, invigorating the health of forests, jungles, and many other ecosystems. Bats are the ONLY pollinators of agave–so your forward-thinking sweetener AND your tequila go out the window with no bats!

BUT… a fungus called “white nose syndrome” is decimating many bat populations–up to six million bats have died from it to date–add that to the destruction of habitat and difficult climate issues affecting their health, and we’ve got a potentially buggy problem on our hands.

Be a friend to bats. Advocate for them. Protect their habitats. Create new habitat (bat houses on the side of your home or trees are a great addition to landscaping). I’m sure someone can teach me why I should love mosquitoes and wish more of them would feed on me…but until then…I’m all for the bats.

Some Behaviors are Inexcusable–Push Back and Stand With Jetta

Jetta photo from Facebook page Stand-With-Jetta

Jetta photo from Facebook page Stand-With-Jetta

Jetta Fosburg is a hero of mine. The ten-year-old girl decided on her own to cut off her long hair to donate it to a charity that creates wigs for children battling cancer. Wigs for Kids got 14 inches of Jetta’s hair for its great work, and do you know what this young Dayton, Ohio girl got?

Bullied at school. Made fun of. Teased and mocked and called “ugly” for her newly-short hair.

That doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for me that people torture Renee Zelweger or Bruce Jenner or anyone for the way they look.

I admit I might be extra-sensitive to this issue from my work with burn survivors, but shouldn’t every single one of us be extra-sensitive to this issue?

Show Jetta your support. Hashtag a bunch of social media posts: #StandWithJetta

Like the Facebook page to show your support.

Don’t stand for the attitude of Jetta’s school principal, who, according to Jetta’s mom,  “told me that he didn’t know of any child that had ever died from words. And that we needed to toughen up and deal with it…”

It’s good to know you are the right one, Jetta, and that they are wrong–but I suspect it still hurts. I hope it helps to know–we’ve got your back on this!

Welcome to World Turtle Day

117368_4372Today, May 23, is World Turtle Day, so give some love to the shelled wonders of the world. More than one species of sea turtle is endangered, and all of them need us to be caretakers of the seas to better protect the environment they share with so many species. Saving the integrity of oceans saves land masses as well.

Toward that end, and trying to better aqua environments, Greenpeace is championing a proposal for a Global Network of Marine Preserves. These preserves would be protected ocean regions, more than 40 percent of international waters, beyond control of individual governments, but critical for the health and vitality of sea life. The global sanctuary network can prohibit overfishing, mining, and drilling as well as begin to heal regions and populations from climate change and pollution.

As you head into a holiday weekend, send an S.O.S. to world leaders on behalf of turtles everywhere, and all their aquatic neighbors, to protect their homes…and lives.

HAPPY TURTLE DAY!

Make Your Tax Refund Tax-Deductible

taxcheckWhew. Did you finish? Get those taxes into the mailbox yet? As I’m writing, you’ve still got a few hours left, but not many. April 15 can be a real son of a gun for many of us as we gather piles of paper and reports around us that get scattered a few times by the breeze or a cat or dog or kids or our occasional fits of temper…but eventually we muddle through some ten-ninety-something form and stand in line at the post office, muttering that we’ll never put it off until the last minute again.

So, Forbes tells us the average tax refund this year is about $3,000 and more than 90% will be processed in less than 21 days. Ready for a wacky thought? Donate that money to charity. Don’t wait until December to give to organizations that have your passions and interests at heart. Everybody waits until the end of the year, which makes the rest of the calendar uncomfortably lean for most non-profits.

You probably didn’t budget the refund money since you couldn’t plan well until you did the paperwork to find out how much it would be…and while extra cash flow never hurts…you did OK so far this year without additional infusions of dollars. It could make a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, or a fun entertainment splurge, or that widget you’ve been eyeing that nobody got you from your gift list last December…but it could also mean less empty stomachs for some kids, or life-saving malaria nets, or an endangered species being better protected, or a school being built, life-saving medical care or medicines, a creative endeavor being realized, a teacher not having to empty their own wallet to get supplies in the classroom, a safe source of drinking water or hygiene. The list is as diverse as we are, but the commonality is that it could be YOU that makes a difference. You can’t solve every problem by throwing money at it, but you can help those who have boots on the ground working tirelessly every day in our stead while we have to go on with our lives, keep on working. A truly helpful charity closing down because of lack of funds is tragic, and it happens all the time.  Giving is low, need is high, and not every organization will make it until December when people loosen up their own pursestrings and get more generous for good causes.

Think about it, when that multi-colored check comes from Uncle Sam. You could turn it around right away and put it to work making our world better. It would be huge, and, it would be tax-deductible for next year’s return.

Get a receipt!

40th Annual National Volunteer Week

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWell, here we are. National Volunteer Week is upon us (April 6-13), and it has been a part of the April calendar for four decades. It is a week for charitable and philanthropic organizations to recognize and laud the volunteer force, without which most could never continue. Volunteer work is the lifeblood of most active social change around the world. That is not to suggest that for-profit work doesn’t move mountains for positive impact…but the volunteers, the unpaid blood/sweat/and tears gang, really makes the sea change in communities. It is never for money. It might occasionally be for glory (even if only glorified in our own eyes). Mostly, giving selflessly for others or a cause is all about being human. Respecting connection. Touching other lives because we can, because that is what we are meant to do. Being open to receiving service is much more difficult than giving of ourselves, and both sides of the equation are noble.

There has been a spate of recent articles making the social media rounds about how international volunteering is all about making the privileged volunteer feel superior while doing nothing for, perhaps even harming, the communities they go to serve. I mourn this negative attention based on tiny individual experiences that people extrapolate to be condemnation of the entire venture of giving.

Give. Of yourself. That is all.

If you tried a volunteer stint and it wasn’t a good fit for your desires, skills, needs, personality, etc…move on, but don’t stop giving. That would be tragic–for you, most of all. Are there people for whom balance of power and inequality issues get in the way of being of good service? Yes. Are there shady businesses cropping up, like false orphanages for “orphanage tourism” to try and capitalize on the best intentions of visitors? Sadly, yes. Does this mean there is no need–hell no! If you have been burned by an illegitimate service organization, don’t try and make that mean that the system is broken. Warn the rest of us, and find your next volunteer opportunity that sends you home wiping your eyes from endless gratitude that you got to be part of something huge. THOSE experiences are everywhere. If being of service to a person or community of need much greater than your own confronts or triggers you–go work on behalf of endangered species, or clean up the beach, or advocate in front of congress for better air quality, or work a charity race/walk/cycle/swim/etc event for a health cause that inspires or has touched you.

There is a volunteer opportunity that will light your fire uniquely and astoundingly and because of it, you will never be the same. If you haven’t found it on your first, or even fourth try, you mustn’t think it is the volunteering that is wrong…and you mustn’t, ever, discourage others from giving of themselves. You steal from them such light they may never know they have.

Give. Of yourself. That is all.