In the aftermath of the earthquake… help Haiti…

haiti quakeTuesday evening we were all reminded about the true instability of our planet. When she decides to release some fury, it can have catastrophic consequences.

My heart is absolutely breaking for the people of Haiti.  They were already living with such suffering and struggle in their daily lives and now to have what little they possess destroyed and literally topple around them is just inconceivable.

It is believed that this earthquake has directly affected up to three million people… one third of the country.  The situation is absolutely dire.  The death-toll is expected to reach 200,000.  And sadly, we may never know the true magnitude and number of precious lives lost… there is a cohaiti bldgsmplete loss of human dignity because the bodies are being deposited into dump trucks, never identified by their loving families and hauled away. Truly devastating.

The need that exists is unimaginable.  Medical attention, food, water, shelter… even those who survived this catastrophe are in jeopardy if they don’t receive antibiotics for even mild injuries.

Today, please commit to helping in the rescue and relief efforts…

  • Text “Haiti” to “90999” to make a simple $10 donation to the Red Cross  haiti child

If you can do more, please donate directly to:

All are currently in Haiti… helping our fellow citizens of the world who so desperately need our help.

The devastation is unbelievable.  The need is immense.  Please help.

How big is YOUR carbon footprint?

carbon ftprntUntil a few years ago, the term “carbon footprint” was absolutely foreign to me.  In all honesty, I had no real sense of what it meant… just a very vague understanding that it had something to do with global warming and climate change.

If you still don’t have a true sense of what it means, here’s a quick and simple definition:

Carbon Footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by your daily activities and use of material goods.  Used to determine your personal participation in global warming.

Eww.  That makes it sound so villainous!… my “participation in global warming”…

So, have you ever wondered about your footprint?  I’ve ALWAYS wondered.  The Global Footprint Network has a fun little calculator (if discovering how horribly we’re impacting our planet can actually be fun!) and it probably told me more than I wanted to know.  Answering some basic questions about my daily lifestyle alerted me to the fact that if everyone lived like me, it would take 3.5 planets to provide enough resources to support us. Ouch.  Although it doesn’t tell you how you rank, I’m sure I’m below average, but still… ouch!

There is also a great calculator for kids at Zero Footprint.  My kids scored fantastic, and far below average, so at least I’m doing something right!

Well, come’on!  How did you fare?… Baby footprint?  Gargantuan footprint?  Take the quiz, and fess-up… if you dare…

Green gift guide II: gifts that give back!

christmas globeTick, tick, tick… yes, the countdown clock to Christmas seems to be moving at warp speed!

I’ve given my list of favorite green gifts for when you want to give something tangible.  But there is certainly another way to go…  for gifts that don’t clutter up a home or sit unused in a drawer or closet.  These are the gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  They certainly need the “gifts” more than we do!

So, here are some ideas for when you want to give a meaningful gift that really counts:

  • Adopt an Acre of Rainforest and other of earth’s wonders (The Nature Conservancy) – for preservatiglobal warming bearon and restoration of some of the world’s most amazing places
  • Adopt an Endangered Species (WWF) – to protect endangered animals and their habitats
  • Adopt an Animal (National Wildlife Federation) – to protect additional animals and their habitats
  • Rescue the Reef (The Nature Conservancy) – for preserving an undeniably crucial part of our world’s oceans
  • Plant a Billion Trees Campaign (The Nature Conservancy) – for protecting and preserving Earth’s largest and most endangered tropical rainforests in Brazil
  • Give-a-Tree (Arbor Day Foundation)– plants a tree in one of America’s National Forests in honor of a recipient
  • Change the Present – you can contribute and honor someone by helping to restore a fragile ecosystem in Kenya, purchase carbon offsets, plant trees, preserve wildlands, adopt wildlife or any one of about 1600 causes of your choice!

If you want to give a gift that supports a worthwhile cause but still gives to the recipient too, consider:coral_reef

  • A zoo or aquarium membership – there are 218 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the US and all are dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspire respect for animals and nature (but please, no circus tickets!).
  • A botanical garden, arboretum or nature center membership – again, they dedicate themselves to the conservation and preservation of nature and the environment, and help us understand the delicate and important connection between people and nature.

And finally, one of our favorite gifts last year:

  • Kiva – Through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of Kivayour choosing.  (We selected a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming and help support his family.)  Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!

These should be the choices for the person on your list who has everything… on second thought, these choices should work for anyone and everyone… it is truly better to give than to receive!

Making a difference begins with one.

change worldHaving been extremely exhausted, overwhelmed, overcommitted (and at times, stressed out!) I felt like I should simply start the week with some inspiration… maybe even more for myself than anyone else.

Life, in general, can be overwhelming without “adding to our already overloaded plates”,  but we all sometimes need reminders about the importance of decisions we make and the difference we can make, even if we sometimes feel like an “army of one”.

I have felt this way lately for so many reasons.  Sure, there is strength in numbers but there is also strength in one committed effort that creates a trickledown effect that can sometimes, unknowingly, make an even bigger difference… even if we don’t often see the result.

I ran across two quotes this weekend that really spoke to me and I wanted to share…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Anthropologist Margaret Mead

“How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frankworld hands

These quotes speak volumes… and I, myself, think I needed to be reminded.  When I have questioned continuing this blog (and readers have been so kind as to say “No! You have to keep writing!”) or when my efforts with my one, little, individual family seem a bit in vain, I need to look back at this post… and remind myself:  Yes.  There IS strength in numbers but every huge success begins with only one.

Every day, we need to, AND CAN, continue to improve and change the world.  If you haven’t already started, make today the day!

“You Tube Live Green” & “The Green Effect” Goes Live!

In honor of Mom Goyou-tube-live-greenes Green’s one year anniversary, I’m going to go easy on myself today and not boggle my brain for a witty post…

I am, however, going to tell you where to find some fab information on going green.  Straight from the mecca of every video on the planet, You Tube has teamed with Sun Chips and launched Live Green, a channel dedicated to all things green.  From greening your home, your community and your life, it will be found here, all in one convenient location… ready for your choosing and viewing.

There is also a great opportunity up for grabs… do you have an amazing idea that has been bouncing around in your head for so long it hurts?  Well, Sun Chips and National Geographic green-effecthave also teamed up to create the Green Effect.  Submit your own unique idea for creating a green movement or program in your community and five lucky winners will receive a $20,000 grant to make their dream happen.  Imagine the possibilities.

So bookmark it, tune in, get informed and dream big.  You could have the idea to make the next “big difference!”