He outlines a lot of different ways we can serve...and amongst those ways, we all should be able to find something that fits.
I told Craig that I particularly appreciated this option:
3. You might have the time for traditional civic engagement, where you participate in local governance. For example, you might join the PTA, or just attend local city council or board of education meetings, or join the board of a small non-profit. That's traditional grass-roots democracy, an important American tradition.
These are the traditional pipelines that a lot of our political leadership still comes out of. And that pipeline should be filled with as diverse a population of participants as our is our population of people. Too often it is not.
What do you think of Craig's Craig's List for Service? Which ones do you already do, and which ones can you image yourself doing?
Sigh. The list never ends. Whether it's hidden animal ingredients or testing, unfair business practices or environmental policies, or just plain safety: The list of products to eschew grows longer the more attention you pay.
I think it's safe to say these are modern canaries in the coal mines of our kitchens. And while their lungs may be much, MUCH tinier than ours, so we can all debate how long it would take to kill us...I'm really not comfortable with using something that would kill a bird if I had one. Are you?
Unfortunate that we just received a bunch of Calphalon cookware as wedding gifts. Guess I unknowingly registered to be slowly poisoned.
The question is whether you'll trust that GreenPan is truly safe...or if we just haven't figured out yet how it's dangerous.
I'm torn. I really can't imagine throwing out all of this very new and very expensive cookware. I don't cook a lot or for extended periods. I don't own birds. The EWG mostly wants warnings affixed to warn bird owners, not humans.
Early Monday morning, a dam containing tons of coal ash burst in Harriman, Tennessee, burying an estimated 400-acre area in a 6-foot pile of toxic sludge. The dam belonged to the Kingston Fossil plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. It produced fly ash, a byproduct of coal burning that contains troubling levels of lead, mercury and other heavy metals. That's in addition to being "100 times more radioactive than nuclear waste" according to Scientific American magazine and Dr. Steven Chu -- the man that Pres. Elect Barack Obama has tapped to run his Department of Energy.
Seeing no coverage of this in the mainstream media (gee, could that be related to the fact CNN cut its science and environmental staff to cut expenses?), bloggers and twitterers stepped in to fill the gap. Amy Gahran wrote about it over at Poynter, and she created the #coalash hash tag on Twitter.
It was more than a couple days before, finally, the mainstream started to catch up...with CNN and the New York Times finally getting in on the action on Christmas Day and following up yesterday.
Considering the buzz word "clean coal" was in heavy use throughout the presidential campaign, it's clear that this little spill throws a wrench in any thinking that we had a simple solution just waiting in the wing, and that a buzz word would be sufficient to address safety and environmental concerns.
What went wrong? How do we prevent a similar accident in the future? How long will it take to clean this up? And what are the long-term ramifications, for wildlife and for humans?
Some big questions need answering soon. Let's hope that they'll get to work on the answers now that everyone' paying attention...and kudos to those social media types who kept this story alive...or really, made it come alive to begin with. It ain't all navel-gazing, folks!
Now, they were trying to strengthen the safety standards on mass-produced toys, clothes, and accessories made in China, and to ban toxins like phthalates and lead. A worthy goal, who could be against that? Unfortunately the law was written carelessly enough that small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters are getting caught up in it...and face being pushed out of business altogether.
The law requires new third party testing and labeling to prove that items don't contain toxic chemicals, but it applies across the board to everyone...including probably some folks you all have found on Etsy and are fans of.
I'm no expert here, but this sounds ridiculous, and I urge you all to go to Cool Mom Picks to learn more and find out all the ways you can try to stop it.
I know that many of us are looking long and hard at our holiday gift giving lists this year. (I'm maintaining mine on a product I discovered via a BlogHer sponsor, Springpad...check it out if you're my kind of anal retentive!)
You're probably economizing on the gifts you do give, but you're also probably thinking about this: If you are in a good enough financial position to be making a list and checking it twice, would some of that money be also well-spent in a little more year-end giving?
This year my family is:
a. giving gifts to the kids
b. having each adult pull one other adult's name to give an actual gift
c. each making a charitable donation as our overall gift to the family
I'm busily trying to figure out who that charity should be for me and my S.O. Last year we did the same, and we picked One Laptop per Child...taking advantage of their Give One, Get One program.
I also am deciding which of my regular charities will receive extra year-end donations from me.
I know that the Humane Society of Silicon Valley is on the list. This was the first year I did not donate to them, starting last holiday season, because I did not agree with them doing horse carriage rides as a way to fundraise. (You can read that whole story here.) Well, this year they reached out to tell me that, in part due to my interchanges with them, they decided not to run that program again. So, since I told them that I was going to stop my long-term giving to them until they stopped...and they stopped...it's back on the Elisa gravy train for the HSSV.
I will probably donate to my alumni association, I make monthly donations to Greenpeace and the DNC already. And then there's the various acronym soup represented by PETA, PCRM, HSUS, and so on and so on.
If you are looking for alternate ways to give, including ways to give of yourself that are not dollar-oriented, here are some great resources:
Britt Bravo links to some great resources for deciding how to allocate your giving, and how to keep track of it over on BlogHer.
One of the links she features is from Change.org, where Social Entrepreneurship editor Nathaniel Whittemore is gathering and sharing tips for giving from noted social good and social change blogerati.
If you need some lightly amusing and satirical inspiration...and then a place to take action...then look no further than Changing the Present. They've filmed some commercials that put those cheesy "buy her a diamond and erase all your sins and prove you really love her" commercials in their place. Plus, they have hundreds of charities to choose from to give, along with an appropriate accompanying gift card.
Finally, I discovered via Marnie Webb: GiveList. Ways ot give that don't involve your wallet at all. More about their project is here, and you can read what the NY Times had to say about it here. You can find lots of ways to contribute either your own time and skill or thins you would never miss, but would mean a lot to some.
I hope somewhere in all of this you get some great ideas.
Seriously. He seems to be doing everything he can possibly manage to make things more precarious than they already are for the Earth's living creatures in his last lame-duck days. (Gotta include humans in there, actually.)
One of the worst tactics, removing the requirement for independent scientific reviews of the environmental impact of proposed federal projects, is covered by the LA TImes here. Because who needs independent reviews? Because we all have sooo much trust that whoever is in charge of something (be it industry or government) is really really honest and thorough when it comes to self-policing and self-regulating.
Now, really, they should have prioritized this list. Items #1, 2 and 4 on the list assume that one is still in the archaic practice of relying heavily on printed materials for one's marketing. I would have liked to have seen a BIG, BOLD STEP #1 made out of there Step #5:
5. Go digital. Instead of submitting print copies of your marketing materials, photos and other graphics to a printing company use digital images and documents that can be sent through email or uploaded to a website. It's faster, cheaper, and much better for the environment. You may see this as trivial, but the small things add up.
Even this step is assuming one can go digital in one's preparation for preparing printed materials, however.
So, I would have started the Go Digital step by asking:
Do you really need printed materials? Really? What would happen if you considered ways to eliminate printed materials altogether?
I'll give you an example:
BlogHer puts on events, and as part of that we used to print a nice, glossy conference brochure. There absolutely was key information in that brochure: venue maps, session schedule, speaker pictures and bios, sponsor logos and blurb. All very basic stuff you see in every conference brochure. And it was running about 50 pages long.
But when you really think about it: all people really need to carry in their hand is the map, and maybe, a skeleton schedule to remind them where they want to go next.
SO, now we create the brochure and send it to attendees via email. And we have a simple one-page handout at registration with the map and skeleton schedule. Sending them an PDF is actually better than a hard copy brochure...you can embed URLs etc. You have more chance of long-term use of your digital brochure.
So, yes, when we have to provide actual physical materials we do go for things like organic cotton lanyards and tote bags etc., but our first step is being brutal about cutting back on materials created for the conference in the first place. And our second step is recommending that sponsors have the same attitude when thinking about what to put in our conference tote: Think something usable and practical, not something someone might have to read!
After all, I can't be the only person who typically leaves most of the paper and brochures and other stuff I get in my conference totes behind on the hotel room bed, right?
Just one more heartless act by an administration that has been obsessed with corporate welfare and warmongering from pretty much day one.
This one: a rule that would "make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job."
This just one of nearly two dozen rules that seek to help companies avoid responsibility for people, animals, the environment, you name it. A couple more examples:
One rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. Another would reduce the role of federal wildlife scientists in deciding whether dams, highways and other projects pose a threat to endangered species.