Posts Tagged ‘WWF’

How Do We Ensure Sustainable Tourism? TreadRight

1430843_75984981The TreadRight Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to guaranteeing the health of the environment and that the communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come. More than $2.5 million has been donated to sustainable tourism projects and partners like WWFConservation International, and The National Trust. The projects they support must meet key criteria:

*Conservation and protection of the environment, wildlife, and cultural heritage sites

*Relief of poverty and the improvement of the conditions of life in socially and economically disadvantaged communities through community involvement in sustainable tourism initiatives

*Promotion of sustainable tourism as a means to achieve economic growth and regeneration

There are four themes in which projects are pursued: Biodiversity, Community, Leadership, and Water. This organization, a joint venture with The Travel Corporation brands, sets the bar high for other travel and hospitality companies to step up their game. A recent new venture is support of the National Geographic Travel World Legacy Awards.

The foundation website even includes a great graphic and 25 tips for traveling responsibly–food for thought from some folks doing it right.



Ben Affleck: Batman AND a Real Life Hero (plus other charitable Batmen)

batsignalThe news today about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman in the new film with that hero and Superman certainly has the interwebs in a tizzy. The new Dark Knight seems to eclipse all other news, cuz, really, nothing else is really going on in the world, right?

Well, regardless of the roles he plays, Ben is a true hero in his civilian life. Because his voice has the amplification of his career status, he is our nation’s number one shouter to the rooftops about the atrocities occurring every day in the  Democratic Republic of the Congo. His huge efforts on behalf of the Eastern Congo Initiative help the organization in their efforts to increase international investment, boost awareness of the war-torn region’s immense challenges, and affect changes in governmental policy on behalf of the African nation. In addition, Affleck smoothly moves into philanthropist roles with many other charities, quick to lend his name, clout, and direct effort to an array of causes here and abroad.

Let’s have a gander at the charitable work of others who have portrayed the Caped Crusader…

Adam West gave us the super-campy version of Batman that set the bar (either nosebleed high or subterranean low, depending on your preferences). He has, through the years, given his support to numerous charities, lending his name and talents to events, and occasional memorabilia to auctions to raise bucks for causes.

Michael Keaton also shows up at events as a celeb to raise the profile and raise funds for various causes. He has given particular weight to charities devoted to education opportunities and kids pursuing academic excellence.

Val Kilmer has spent many years in the philanthropic world, and directly supported, among others: First Star, shining a light on child abuse and neglect; Global Green, working toward green buildings and cities, food and water scarcity issues, and eco-causes; LIFEbeat, which is a music industry charity focused on youth and HIV/AIDS prevention; V-Day and its global work to halt violence against women and girls.

George Clooney is kind of the Grand Poobah of charitable famous folks, often putting more energy toward making the world a better place than he does toward movie-making. His Not on Our Watch charity—founded with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Jerry Weintraub, and David Pressman—works to end mass atrocities around the world. It is because of Clooney that many first heard of Darfur and Sudan and their outrageous situations. Clooney is also involved with dozens of other charities and philanthropic pursuits, and is well known for dropping giant chunks of change for causes and people he believes in, as well as the occasional stranger in need.

Christian Bale has a terrific focus on global ecology and animals, with his support of Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, WWF/World Wildlife Fund, and others.


Great Book: Endangered

babybonoSo last Friday I finished a book I pretty much raced through (not my usual reading style, as I rarely give myself permission for pleasure reading). This, however, started as a bookstore purchase I’d figured was research for a novel I am beginning…I’ve been reading lots of YA fiction (YA=Young Adult) to immerse myself, and am rarely lucky enough to be truly transported, as I felt with Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. The teen protagonist, Sophie, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo just prior to war arriving and shattering the peace in the region. Sophie ends up alone in the wild, with one, then variously other bonobos depending on her for survival almost as much as she depends on them. It is a great story, and the conservation/bonobo behavior/harrowing setting make it a super-fast read. I loved finding out more about the author on his webpage ( and how he really ended up jumping into telling this story because of time he spent at a volunteer conservation project.

People of every stripe and focus come home changed forever from volunteer vacations and service travel–and very often become terrific spokespeople for the issues and difficulties faced by the communities they served. Foundations and charities are formed, campaigns waged, funds raised, lives saved, books written, long after volunteers return home and unpack their bags. It is how this work spins the world at a little better velocity, keeping it from wobbling on its axis, as it surely would if we never reached out to one another. Get activated. Get this book. Find out more about the plight and conservation of  bonobos via the organizations Eliot Schrefer recommends after he jumped into the issue (links below):

African Wildlife Foundation focuses on general conservation, conserving wildlife, protecting land, and empowering people.

World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading independent conservation body.

Conservation International works worldwide to sustain biodiversity and a sustainable planet for all species.

Specific focus on bonobos:

Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is based in both Washington D.C. and the Deomcratice Republic of Congo, dedicated to protecting bonobos, their rainforest habitat, and empowering local communities in the Congo Basin. Volunteer opportunities available.

Terese and John Hart work with local Congolese teams for exploration, conservation, and discovery with in-depth field study of bonobo populations in the DR Congo.

Friends of Bonobos supports the world’s only bonobo sanctuary and first bonobo release in Congo. You should adopt a bonobo!



Corporate Forestry

FedEx Enchanted Forest

It is, of course, very popular to find fault with large corporations these days (very popular, and not an incredible challenge, actually…so many international companies make themselves easy targets). Since multi-nationals are a part of our universe, I am always pleased when I discover ways they get things right. A couple of large companies have recently come to my attention for their focus on climate change and their efforts to engage the public in environmental care.

HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial institutions, has partnered with volunteer service company Earthwatch, the Climate Group, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and WWF to inspire action and dig deeper into climate change with their 5-year Climate Partnership. The goal is to engage at least  100,000 of HSBC’s international workforce to take on decisive action for the environment. They have already set up regional climate centers in China, India, Latin America, North America, and Europe for local research programs and field work, since forests are so different from place to place. HSBC employees can elect to work in the Climate Champion program, working with the scientific community, to help monitor forests, and educate their colleagues, families, friends, and communities.

Federal Express has launched an online initiative (via facebook), called the Enchanted Forest, as a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and FedEx’s own eco-focused organization, EarthSmart (solutions for a more sustainable world). When you go into the animated Enchanted Forest and elect to plant a virtual tree, FedEx translates that action into planting a real tree, aiding reforestation projects in areas affected by wildfires and drought. Click to plant often, and encourage others to do the same, as large companies can put some focus on green that isn’t printed at the treasury.

We Are All Connected–WWF

Amazing images here. Amazingly peaceful feeling from watching it. Hopefully amazingly inspired to support the World Wildlife Fund (their old name but still used in the US and Canada) and their great work.