If you are a coffee lover like me, receiving or giving a coffee gift card will put an instant smile on your face. With the new Conservation International Starbucks Gift Card, you get a little something more to smile about. From March 9th to December 31st, 2010, every time the CI card is used, Starbucks will donate five cents to Conservation International in order to help with their efforts to decrease deforestation and continue to find solutions to climate change. Starbucks Coffee has teamed up with Conservation International for more than 10 years in order to improve ethical sourcing of coffee and fight the global climate change that threatens the growth of coffee beans.
Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of CI states that “the alliance between Starbucks and Conservation International is an important step in reducing emissions from deforestation, which accounts for 20 percent of all the carbon released into the atmosphere – double the world’s cars, trucks, and trains combined. Our partnership engages one of the great corporations, their customers and coffee farmers in this battle against climate change. By stepping up this partnership we have aligned our existing work and success to address the most pressing issue of our time.” For details about › Continue reading
Earth Hour is starting to crop on the calendar. If you’ve never heard of it yet, you can visit Earth Hour’s site. During Earth Hour, participants turn out all their lights for one hour. It was started by the World Wildlife Fund three years ago as a way to speak up and raise awareness about climate change. While largely a symbolic act showing one’s support of climate change legislation, it also means that on that day an hour of electricity isn’t being consumed. This year, Earth Hour takes place on Saturday the 27th of March 2010 (next week!), at 8.30pm local time. That means, 8:30pm according to the time zone you live in, in case you’re confused.
Last year, around 1 billion people participated, including people from 4,100 cities, 87 countries, and seven continents. Some notable landmarks around the world that got involved include the Las Vegas Strip, United Nations Headquarters, Golden Gate Bridge, and the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City. You can watch the Earth Hour 2010 video, which has an awesome montage of various places before and during Earth Hour.
This year, show your support by spreading the word locally to friends, co-workers, and family. Join the facebook event or show your support with the twitter application found here. This application automatically “turns the lights off” on your Twitter profile picture during Earth Hour and sends out a tweet to tell your followers › Continue reading
It really is quite a dilemma, the question of brand and style management and environmental stewardship has been at the forefront of controversy since the H&M and Walmart clothing destruction and disposal incident. This conjures up a similar dumpster diving topic of food disposal by grocery stores and restaurants, food safety concerns can pose some justification while the destruction of clothes can be more difficult to explain.
Given that people are dying of exposure around the world and there really doesn’t seem to be any cause to destroy perfectly good clothes, there are two issues one must consider- Brand management and the fragile economy of clothing manufacturing. In some ways they can be interconnected although one is detrimental to a company, the other can doom an industry.
Brand management to some is not an excuse, but in our society it is a necessity. Much like the regulation of food production to maintain pricing, people starve as a consequence, however, it is needed to maintain the industry. If a brand is de-valued, it can bring about the death of the company. If you had just purchased a new jacket at a store for $100, and then started to see that same jacket being worn by homeless, showing up in large quantities at second hand stores and charities, it would probably disappoint you or make you feel like you got ripped off (you paid decent money for something that others are getting at a heavy discount or even free). Not only does it sabotage the ‘style’ (style inherently involves an exclusivity factor or comparison with ‘stylish’ people), but it de-values the item knowing that you over-paid for it. This will cause a collapse in the brand as no one will want to pay that much for their items if they can get it cheaper elsewhere, or know that ‘societal unsavory individuals’ will be wearing them at the same time.
The other, and probably least recognized issue is the affect on the clothing industry as a whole. This has been a particular problem in very poor regions of Africa and South America. The infiltration of charities giving away free clothes has destroyed any hope of a local industry and sadly closed down the manufacture of traditional style clothes. In areas of true extreme poverty, where the chance of death from exposure is a real risk, these practices have indeed saved lives. It is the collateral damage from an over-abundance of these items which has spread throughout these areas that wreak havoc on the local clothing industry.
Over the holidays, I learned that a extended family member is doing some great things in the name of charity, and I wanted to share it with all of you.
One day 7 year old Nikki and her Mom were watching “American Idol Gives Back.” In this case, the judges traveled to Africa to promote charity. Nikki immediately gave her entire allowance to charity.
“Wow” her Mom said, “You saved three children.” Nikki burst into tears. “That’s not enough. What more can one child do?”
Nikki brought together 9 friends, ages 8 to 10, dedicated to this cause. The result is a CD composed of inspirational songs, stories, and the children’s dreams for this CD.
They have many classics such as Amazing Grace, Ode to Joy, and sing-alongs like She’ll be coming Round the Mountain paired with stories. You can hear samples, meet the children, purchase the CD or donate to help their cause on their website ChildrensVoicesforCharity.org
100% of the proceeds are donated to Doctors Without Borders Children’s Malnutrition Program.
Tis the season, and many of us are in the giving spirit. With so many good causes out there, selecting charities can seem a bit daunting.
It’s good to do a little research and ask some questions to find out a little more about the organization. There are some helpful guides which can give you financial breakdowns and spending habits of each charity from places like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch. Here are a few guidelines I use when selecting a charity or organization to donate to.
- Fund Allocation
One of the most important things to ask is how is my money being spent? When donating to a charity or cause, I like to see at least 80% of my funds going towards action. You will find some charities spending (in my opinion) too much money on administration, fund-raising and extraneous things. Before you give, try and find the percentages, most good charities will have it readily available.
Where do these charities operate and do I see the effects of their work? Granted there are several charities that work ‘under the radar’, but they should still be held accountable. I like to see results when choosing a charity whether it be news coverage, events, preservation, laws passed, documented actions, etc.
How does your charity affect change? Make sure you are comfortable with the actions of your charity, and know what their methods are. Some groups can be more radical and aggressive, and indeed some charities could be viewed as terrorist groups. It is wise to know what your charity is doing and how they are doing it.
- Transparency and Trust
How much do you know about your charity, and how easy is it to find out more? I like to know a lot about the groups I give to, from where they are based to how far they reach, what/who they help and how they help are all important to me. Some charities will allow you to even select exactly what you want your money to go to.
- Ability to Affect Change
This is where the rubber hits the road and I want to know what is my Return on Investment (ROI) is going to be, because that is exactly what it is. I’m not giving money away, I am investing it in an idea. When looking at a specific cause, try and pinpoint organizations which are most able to impact it the best way. Sometimes it is a larger organization with lots of equipment and manpower, other times its the smaller guys who can mobilize quickly and effectively – choose the best tool › Continue reading
If you are following me on Twitter, you probably already have seen many of these, so start following @chicecologist for up-to-the-minute eco-friendly updates from The Chic Ecologist. Hope you are having a great Friday, and hopefully this will make it even better!
If you love sushi like I do, then you should check out Seafood Watch’s sustainable seafood initiative. You may already carry around a pocket guide (or the cool iphone app they have), but now you can help your favorite sushi restaurants also be more aware of the seafood they serve.
You can even get a sushi kit by pledging to get sustainable with your sushi. The kit includes chopsticks, sustainable sushi cards and informational brochures to leave with your sushi chef. For those who don’t know, Seafood watch is a part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a very respected marine institution.
Helping to feed the hungry and improving your vocabulary don’t seem like they go together, but freerice.com pairs them like white on rice. For every correct answer you get, you donate (through their sponsors) 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program.
Let me tell you, it gets very addicting, and before you know it you have a bowl-full of rice on the screen. You can even change the subject to different languages, geography, math, chemistry, even art! If you are a teacher, or know a teacher, pass it on to the students- they will love the game-like play and visual rewards. All for a great cause.
T shirt recycling
Andy over at hideyourarms.com put together a great blog article on how to customize and recycle your old t-shirts. From scarfs to dog clothes, pillow cases, underwear and more. Tons of great ideas, videos and how-to’s to reuse those favorite old T’s.
A great campaign by the World Wildlife Fund to promote energy conservation and awareness on a global scale, Earth Hour takes place around the globe for a single hour on Saturday, March 28th, 2009. It happens to be at 8:30pm (PST) here in Seattle, WA – just visit the site to see what time it is in your area.
The Nation’s Capital Joins 950 Cities Around the World, Including Paris, London, Hong Kong, Rome, Beijing, Nairobi and Moscow, in Historic Call to Action on Climate Change. Check out what other icons will also be supporting this action:
- The Las Vegas Strip
- Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
- Sears Tower in Chicago
- Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in Paris
- Sydney Opera House
- Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
- Niagara Falls
- Coliseum in Rome
- Stockholm Castle
- Burj Dubai
I have been a longtime fan of WWF, although many here in the states associate it with showman wrestling, I was first introduced to the organization when I was living in the United Kingdom. World Wildlife Fund is more well know in Europe, although they provide immense support to the US as well. One of the highest rated charities around, it is comparable with the Sierra Club here in the states, with their focus primarily on endangered species.
I couldn’t help show off their new T’s as well as this is an Eco-Chic blog. Made of organic cotton with their trademark panda design, its pretty sweet. They are giving them away with any donation, and are well worth it!
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