I have been a bit obsessed lately with two Instagram accounts that I absolutely love: @paulnicklen and @Mitty. Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier respectively are prolific underwater photographers and founders of Seal Legacy, an organization committed to creating healthy and abundant oceans for us and the planet.
It’s funny: As much as I love the oceans I don’t really visit them often. Sure, I fly over them often and at long stretches and I take photos of the ocean from a distance like the one above that I took in the Philippines, but I never get up close and personal to the ocean. I would like to change that one day. In the meantime, I live vicariously through Nicklen and Mittermeier. Also, as I sat looking at their work I wondered how I can help the oceans in my own little way and you can, too. Here are jewelry companies that have beautiful bling while also giving back to oceans, ocean clean-ups, reefs, and ocean life.
It’s nice to live in an era when innovations that help save our planet are rolling out faster than ever. We are able to pick and choose the best products that ring true to our thoughts and ideas about the issues we care most about. That includes having more consumer options even down to the shoes on our feet.
Here are five forward-thinking shoe brands that give back to the environment while still designing hip footwear for the masses. Do you know of others?
All Birds creates footwear with Trino (their proprietary blend of ZQ Merino wool and eucalyptus tree fiber. They also use materials including recycled cardboard and plastic bottles as well as castor bean oil. www.allbirds.com
I have worked with Save the Children in some capacity for the past five years whether seeing their work around the world, blogging on pro-bono campaigns or partnering as a consultant. That’s why I can personally vouch for the amazing work they do for the most vulnerable children who have experienced psychological trauma from all-too-routine natural and man-made disasters. Many people think Save the Children … Continue reading Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey
PET bottles, one of the most widely used materials in the world, are used to package foods and drinks from soda and juices to salad dressings and cooking oils. It is also completely recyclable. In the United States alone, 1.5 billion pounds of PET bottles are recycled annually.
Throughout my travels to low and middle-income countries I see PET bottles thrown haphazardly in fields and streams clogging waterways and dirtying sidewalks and walking paths. In countries such as Nepal (where I visited last year with Coca-Cola), there are concerted educational efforts by environmentally focused NGOs to change behaviors around discarding PET bottles. There are recycling centers in Nepal, but not enough to completely clean its streets and countryside. It seems to be a sisyphean battle to combat PET bottle waste, but there are some who are using the bottles in innovative ways.
When I stepped out of the U.S. Forest Service SUV after nearly a two-hour scenic autumn drive from Taos, New Mexico to the Carson National Forest, we were standing in an expansive valley so big that huge cows below us looked like mere dots in the distance. We had finally arrived at Valle Vidal, a massive grassy meadow with vistas as far as the eye could see and elevations reaching close to 13,000 feet in Carson National Forest. Even though Valle Vidal is overwhelmingly beautiful to take in its environmental impact is being increasingly hampered by major stream and groundwater degradation that needs immediate remedying in order to protect fish and wildlife as well as to store more ground water for communities downstream.
I was in New Mexico visiting the Carson National Forest with Coca-Cola North America’s sustainability team last week to learn about their water restoration efforts in northern New Mexico as well as the company’s overarching nationwide partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest Foundation that replenished 1 billion liters of water to nature and communities reaching 60 million people in the United States. Coca-Cola also recently announced that it has successfully reached one of its principle global sustainability milestones ahead of schedule to effectively balance its water usage in its beverages and production. Coca-Cola has reached its goal five years ahead by replenishing 191.9 billion liters of water across the globe in 71 countries. In the United States, Coca-Cola North America has pledged to double the 1 billion liters of water that it has already replenished by 2018.
Inadequate infrastructure is widely recognised to be holding back Africa’s development and lowering the quality of life of its citizens. The traffic jams of Nairobi, the power cuts of Nigeria or the water shortages that currently afflict Harare and Bulawayo are some of these.
The same is true in fast-growing regions of Latin America and many parts of Asia. It is widely agreed from Addis Ababa to Brasilia, New Delhi and beyond that infrastructure investment is a priority.
But what kind of infrastructure is needed? Developed countries that enjoy a legacy of decades of infrastructure investment are trying new approaches. Since their cities and populations are growing slowly, their primary concern is now simply to maintain and improve what is already in place and make it more sustainable.
So, there is growing interest in using what they call green infrastructure – such as natural systems like wetlands – to provide services such as water storage and treatment.
When it comes to climate change Africa is in the eye of the storm. This is partly because of human factors – but the continent’s climate also makes it extremely vulnerable.
Africa is faced with a number of interlinked challenges. These include land degradation, poverty and climate change. These are referred to as “wicked problems” since they are complex and caused by a number of factors, many of which have global dimensions.
In the case of climate change, Africa is vulnerable because it is exposed to damaging climate risks including extreme droughts, flooding and storms.
It has been three months since the earthquake in Nepal. Over 9,000 people lost their lives and several more were injured. The latest figures state that over 117,000 people are displaced from their homes and over two million children have been affected. Like many countries at this time, Nepal is in great need of humanitarian assistance and help in rebuilding efforts. However, disaster relief is a short-term issue. The fate of the country in the long term must be considered by the international community.
Nepal was already listed as one of the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake, and moving forward they will not be able to break from their rank anytime soon. However, the country does have the means to be self-sufficient with the right help.
Nepal has many natural resources, particularly minerals like zinc and copper, but they are in limited supply and hard to get to. Agriculture is the largest source of income for the country and employs the most people. Many crops grow in the region but the most popular now are rice and corn. There is great potential for agriculture in the country if they can gain access to newer methods of farming and education. Agriculture will not only help Nepal feed its people, but boost international trading potential.
On November 8, the world will recognize the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, the superstorm that devastated much of the Philippines and claimed 6,300 lives. 1000 people are still reported missing.
It’s difficult to believe that it has already been a year since we were stunned by the horrific photos that raced across the wires of bloated bodies lining the streets, people sitting listless in the middle of rubble, and a huge ship in the middle of Tacloban City. While Haiyan is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines, the 7100 islands country experiences 19 typhoons every year.
Next Monday I will head to the Philippines along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Jeana Shandraw with our partner World Vision USA to see their recovery work on the ground since Haiyan hit the islands last year. We will see devastated areas that are a part of a “no build’ zone, community savings groups that have helped families rebuild, child trafficking protection programs funded by USAID, health centers, and area development programs. On November 8 we will attend a one-year anniversary vigil.
If you follow my work you know I travel often to see NGOs work on the ground. This will be my first time traveling with and seeing World Vision’s work and am interested to report on its recovery efforts in the Philippines. To date, World Vision has reached 760,000 people with a goal of reaching 1 million beneficiaries. World Vision has also provided 51,000 temporary shelter kits and is working with the government to ensure homes are built in safer areas among a long list of recovery services it provides.
For the next month 100 of our members will become Toxin Freedom Fighters as they spread the word through blogs and social media about the need to update and reform the Toxic Chemicals Control Act of 1976. In 1976 60,000 chemicals were grandfathered in and since then 20,000 new chemicals have been added, but fewer than 10,000 of them have ever been tested. Seventh Generation … Continue reading Our Work With Seventh Generation to #FightToxins
Typically when we think of global development we focus on everything that is wrong because the challenges are so great. Rarely are the successes celebrated because with every move towards a goal there is still so much to do. Today we are featuring those stories that have been more about success than failure; more about moving forward than moving backward even if the net result … Continue reading 10 Global Development Stories to be Thankful For
If you have ever headed north on I-65 in Indiana chances are you have seen the large wind farms along the highway. The Department of Energy, through its Windpowering America Initiative has set a goal of providing 5% of all electricity in the United States by 2020 through wind power. It’s quite interesting how individual homeowners and towns are generating wind power for renewable electricity … Continue reading Powering the Country With Wind Energy
WHAT: The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing WHERE: www.dosomething.org/hunt THE CONVERSATION: #TheHuntisOn DoSomething.org, the nation’s largest organization for teens and social change, has partnered with Lenovo, the world’s second largest PC maker who helped found the campaign last year, and Bing, the search engine from Microsoft, to launch “The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing.” Every day at 11:11 AM EST Do Something releases the day’s current challenge via email, text, and … Continue reading DoSomething.org’s The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing