Posts Tagged ‘Wyclef Jean’

Help Haiti

Haiti was struck yesterday, around 5:00PM local time, by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Details will be streaming in for some time, but the presumption is that along with the loss of many, if not most structures in capital Port-au-Prince, casualties will likely number in the thousands.

Haiti is ill-equipped to deal with such a tragedy (not that any nation is well-equipped). Weather is cruel to the island nation, and flooding and hurricanes are a disproportionately common occurrence; deforestation allows rainwater to flood down along with mudslides; political turmoil plagues the cities and villages; a lack of potable drinking water and viable food sources makes life and physical health a challenge; poverty is the rule, not the exception, with many Haitians living on less than $2 per day. Any country would need help from individuals and governments the day, days, weeks, months, and probably years after such a cataclysm…and Haiti needs it perhaps more than most.

Musician Wyclef Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, has long been a favorite charity, helping the people of Haiti with education and outreach programs, and they are aligned now with earthquake relief and aid.The Yele Haiti website is overwhelmed (a good sign–so many want to help), but persevere. Alternatively, your favorite international disaster relief organization will also be reaching out and mobilizing, so a donation to the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies or similar, a dedicated donation earmarked for Haitian relief, truly will make a difference. Many cities are also accepting aid donations and will mobilize civilian and military and government workers and relief products/supplies. More opportunities to give will undoubtedly arise as today goes on.

Don’t wait–be part of the solution.

Here is a link to MSNBC’s current (and updated) list of organizations actively involved in reaching out to Haiti, so you can find a place to have a profound effect.

World Savers

world-savers-awardMonday was the World Savers Congress in New York, at the very green and sunny Morgan Library. A few hundred folks from the travel industry gathered to acknowledge the hard work of travel trade companies that are guided by sustainability and have strong commitments to sustainability. These companies, large and small, as well as other philanthropic corporations, make changes (sometimes by making waves) in communities around the globe. From providing shoes (the ├╝ber-hip Blake Mycoskie from Tom’s Shoes) to creating recycling programs where there were none to carbon-offsetting to changing out single-size shampoo and conditioner bottles in hotels to decrease waste.

There was a great array of represented companies from giants like Ritz-Carlton and Accor (with its eleventy-seven million hotel rooms worldwide) to hospitality companies with only 20 rooms in the African bush. A few keynote celebs presented: Wyclef Jean about how tourism can help Haiti (Yele Haiti), Mandy Moore on her work with Five & Alive, and Edward Norton who gave a bit of a dressing down about how the people in the room were committed to changing the world, but not enough, and certainly not enough to yet influence all of our readers/customers/clients to do the right thing for the global community.

A preview of Ken Burns’ new muti-part extravaganza on America’s National Parks (debuting this weekend on PBS) was shown, and, like all Burns project, was extraordinary. Talk about leaving no stone unturned…and his attention to detail (and facility with calling up every little detail when speaking to us) is a thing to behold.

There are panels and assemblies throughout the day such as “The Economics of Doing Good,” “The Bottom Line–Why Responsible Travel Matters,” and “The Ripple Effect: The Travel Industry’s Power to Ignite Change.”

It is good to learn about the increasing establishment of “CSR” officers and employees–tasked with Corporate Social Responsibility. Customers expect the travel industry to be invested in community and eco-health, and the companies are stepping up and being accountable. The title of this whole day has been “The Power of Travel in Challenging Times” and it is great to see so many of us taking that responsibility quite seriously. There was a great current thrumming, both spoken and unspoken, through us as we claimed the reality that the billions of dollars generated by tourism and the unequaled life experiences when people travel (and subsequently awaken a sense of stewardship for the places they visit) helps to instigate protection for environments and art, culture and success of local communities. It tips the scales, balancing out at least a portion of the poverty, pollution, conflict, and disease we sometimes find there.