Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Stop smoking

In honor of the popular and very worthwhile new year's resolution to stop smoking, I'm posting some links from the American Cancer Society to help you get started:

* Here are some tips on planning your quit day.

* You know all the reasons why you you should quit: your health, the health of those around you, your appearance, and more. Here's a tool to calculate how much smoking costs you financially. I'm sure you can find a better way to spend that money.

* Click here to ask a tobacco related question and receive a personalized response from a Quitline counselor by email. You can also call the hotline at 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345) 24 hours a day. You can call now.

Also check out the November 18th post on the Great American Smokeout. [I'm thinking of a few folks as I write this. Wonder if they know who they are?] 85% of smokers want to quit, so make today the day you get the information you need to stop smoking. This is your year! You can stop smoking.

Support higher Education: Ghana

I've know several people (myself included) who've dreamed of starting a school. Well, fellow Swarthmore alum, Patrick Awuah did it! Ashesi University is a private, non-profit, four-year highly-selective college in Accra, Ghana. Their mission is "to train a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa; to cultivate within our students the values of life-long learning, concern for others and the courage to think in a bold and enterprising way." To accomplish this mission they offer "bachelors degrees in computer science and business administration, based on a liberal arts core curriculum. A service learning component is built into the curriculum, and the overall program challenges students to not only hone their critical thinking and communication skills, but also apply theory to practice through class projects and internships." The first class will graduate in 2006.

To read what others (including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Seattle Times, and the LA Times) have to say about Ashesi click here. To make a financial donation or to donate an item from the wish list, click here. Donations are particularly needed to increase the number of scholarships given.

Please note that an Ashesi board member has pledged to match every donation from $1000 up to $5000 made until December 31, 2004. That means your donation could be doubled, or with corporate matching, tripled! Any amount is, of course, appreciated. So if you haven't started your own school yet (or even if you have), consider supporting Ashesi.

Donate blood

I'd planned to post about blood donation every 56 days. That's how often most folks can give. Since my last blood donation post was on October 23rd, I'm almost two weeks late. But even though my reminder is late, I am donating blood on schedule. That's what's most important, right? Ready for the reminder? Here goes . . .

One out of three people needs donated blood in their lifetime. You can help meet this need by donating a pint of your own. Blood donation takes only an hour or so, and it's something most of us can spare. Your body will make more and you'll be able to donate again in 56 days. Blood drives happen everywhere, all the time. Contact local hospitals and blood banks for a drive in your area. Or for more information on eligibility, donation locations, and more, call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit I've found it quite easy to make a donation appointment on line, and drop in to donate when it's convenient for me.

Think of your family, think of your friends, think of yourself, then give. Someone you love may need donated blood soon. Will it be available? It's just an hour, just a pint and it just might save a life. Donate regularly. See you in 56 days . . .

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Provide disaster relief

By now we've all heard the reports: 52,000 people dead, tens of thousands missing, millions homeless, all resulting from an massive earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Your donation will provide relief for the survivors. The following organizations are already at work and can use your help:

* Doctors Without Borders
* Red Cross
* Mercy Corps

Give what you can. It will be put to good use, and will be very much appreciated.

Spend two years in service

I went to my college reunion last year and briefly met an alum who graduated in the 1940's. When he found out I finished in 1993, he asked, "So what have you been doing with the last ten years of your life?" Some might think his question presumptuous, but I kind of like it. It was a good reminder that we should be able to look back on our lives with pride, and without regrets. Plan now so you can do that in the future. Consider spending the next two years in service to others. Here are three programs that will help you do it:

* Teach for America calls "upon our country's most promising future leaders to commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and to become lifelong advocates for change."

* AmeriCorps "is a network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment."

* Peace Corps volunteers work all over the world in areas like education, youth outreach and community development, the environment, and information technology.

Each of these programs pays a stipend and helps with student loans, among many other benefits. Is your life fulfilling? Think about how it could be. Now make it happen!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Understand justice; live a just life

The formal principle of justice says that in "whatever respects are relevant, persons equal in those respects should be treated equally"(1). But one can think of justice in many different ways:

* Retributive justice calls for punishment in response to actions that create an imbalance in the social order.

* Procedural justice focuses on "making and implementing decisions according to fair processes that [ideally] ensure "fair treatment.(2)"

* Distributive justice refers to a fair, equitable and appropriate distribution of resources, privileges, burdens, and responsibilities.

* Restorative justice focuses on "transforming wrongdoing by healing the harm, particularly to [interpersonal and community] relationships, that is created by harmful behavior"(3). This was the goal of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Consider these different goals of and methods of achieving justice. Which ones resonate with you? Do your life and lifestyle reflect your personal understanding of justice? What changes can you make to ensure that you live the values you hold? Remember, NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Help clear minefields, help save lives

There are about 60 - 70 million landmines in more than 90 countries, killing or injuring about 26,000 civilians every year. That's one every 27 minutes. One third of the dead are children. You can help remove landmines, save lives, and improve the lives of those injured by landmines. Here's how:

* Donate money to help clear minefields. It costs as much as $4,000 to remove just one mine, but less than 50 cents to put one in the ground. Contribute to Adopt-a-Minefield or Adopt-a-Minefield UK.

* Donate a used prosthesis to Limbs for Life. They operate the World Limb Bank which collects used prostheses, and distributes them free to amputees all over the world.

* Contact your elected officials and ask them to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty before 2006. Learn more at Unicef. See the November 15 post for more information on writing your elected representatives.

Let's get to work!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Calculate the size of your ecological footprint, then reduce it.

Your ecological footprint is the amount of productive land it takes to provide the energy, food, goods and services you use and to absorb the waste you create. The average American uses 25 acres to support his or her current lifestyle. While the average Canadian uses 18 acres, and the average Italian uses 10 acres. How much do you use?

Find out by using this ecological footprint calculator. Just answer 13 questions about food, transportation and housing. Then use the information to lessen your negative impact on the environment and on humanity.

Mine was much bigger than I expected. I've got a lot of work to do. What about you?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Spend your money wisely

It's no secret that corporations often have a political agenda. Learn more about the organizations with which you spend your money on these sites:

* Buy Blue is "a concerted effort to educate the public on making informed buying decisions as a consumer. We identify businesses which support our ideals and spotlight their dedication to progressive politics. In turn, we shine that spotlight on unsupportive businesses in the form of massive boycotts and action alerts."

* Choose the blue "compiles information from third party sources primarily to show certain reported spending by political action committees connected with a corporation and by that corporation's employees as political contributions, in each case related to recent federal elections"

* I Buy Different is aimed at young people, and those who promote environmental justice.

Though I'd rather not label states, let alone people as 'red' or 'blue,' I do think the information on these sites is useful for deciding how and with whom you want to spend your money. As one site said, "Vote with your wallet." Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Help train service dogs

My dog, Ebony, was a wonderful companion, but she never worked as hard as a service dog. Service dogs are vitally important to people with disabilities, and include guide dogs for the blind; hearing dogs, that alert their owners to sounds; mobility assistance dogs, which may pull a wheelchair or physically support a person; and seizure alert dogs. But these dogs must be trained to do their job. Help make that happen by supporting the organizations here, either financially or by becoming a volunteer or handler.

* Canine Companions for Independence trains hearing dogs, service dogs, and assistance dogs to help people with disabilities. Support them by raising a puppy, or donating time or other resources.

* Seach Dog Foundation trains dogs to search for people who are buried alive in disaster situations. You can donate, become a handler, or become a volunteer. It costs ~$10,000 to train a FEMA-certified search dog.

* The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners is a non-profit organization that represents people paired with hearing, guide or service dogs.

* Therapy Dogs International is an organization that "provides comfort and companionship by sharing the therapy dog with the patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions. This is done in a way that increases emotional well being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people."

So if you're a dog-lover, or if you're a person-lover, consider the work of service and therapy dogs. And do what you can to support them and the people that train and depend on them for a more independent life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Read books for free

Is it too cold to go out to the library? Would you rather not spend money to buy books? Are you tired of reading the books you already have? Do you know someone who is? Then check out the sites below for FREE access to tens of thousands of books. We're talking full text! Earlier this semester, I read Brave New World online for a class. It was fast, easy and free. In most cases the books are in the public domain in the US, and so are older. Search for your favorite titles today!

* The University of Pennsylvania Library offers over 20,000 free books with new ones added all the time.

* Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of free electronic books (eBooks or etexts) on the Internet. They list over 13,000 books, most are older literary works that are in the public domain in the United States.

* The National Academies Pess offers over 3,000 free books online. Most deal with science, engineering or medicine.

For more on the growing connections between literature and the internet, read this article. Happy reading!

Improve literacy

Did you know that at least 50% of the unemployed are functionally illiterate? That an estimated $5 billion a year in taxes goes to support people receiving public assistance who are unemployable due to illiteracy? That the average kindergarten student has seen more than 5,000 hours of television, having spent more time in front of the TV than it takes to earn a bachelors's degree? That 44% of all American adults do not read one book in the course of a year? Are you as saddened by these statistics as I am?

"So what can I do?"

* Learn more by visiting the National Institute for Literacy or Proliteracy Worldwide.

* Donate books to children by clicking the bright red button on The Literacy Site. Do this now! It takes less than 10 seconds. And don't forget to click tomorrow.

* Volunteer to teach someone to read. Find an organization near you at This is important since adult reading scores improve approximately one grade level with just 35-45 hours of tutoring. Use the directory to identify tutoring services for people in need of help, and to learn more about learning disabilities.

* Join with Heifer International and use their Read to Feed curriculum to teach children reading skills and sustainable development.

* Volunteer at your local library.

* Read to your children. Read as a couple. Read as a family. Join a bookclub.

* Give books as presents.

I imagine you know how valuable it is to be able to read. Help someone else experience that joy. (Did you click that bright red button?)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Send a social justice e-card

It's the holiday season and, as one friend proclaimed, reconnect month. Take some time out soon to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues. When you do, consider sending an e-card from an organization whose work you admire and support. They're easy, free, and fast, and are sure to bring a smile you your loved one's face. Choose cards from the Red Cross, Care, Heifer International, Accion International, or Habitat for Humanity. And if you prefer paper cards, consider getting them from Unicef.

You can learn more about these organizations on their websites and through posts on this blog. So when you spread your holiday greetings, spread the word about these wonderful organizations and the work they do. Maybe you or your friends will be moved to volunteer your time or donate money. And then your card will have truly made a difference.

If you know of any other good sites for progressive e-cards, please leave a comment letting us know. Thanks!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Try biodiesel

Does your car or truck have a diesel engine? How about your tractor? If so, consider using biodiesel (or vegetable oil) to fuel your vehicle. It's cheaper, it may earn you a tax credit, and it's better for the environment. Some restaurants will even pay you to take it away! Here are some other reasons you might want to try biodiesel (from the website):
* National economy. Using biodiesel keeps our fuel buying dollars at home instead of sending it to foreign countries. This reduces our trade deficit and creates jobs. Because it's farm-grown, many of those jobs are in rural communities.

* National security. Since it's made domestically, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. That's good.

* Engine life. Studies have shown it reduces engine wear by as much as one half, primarily because it provides excellent lubricity. Even a 2% biodiesel/98% diesel blend will help.

* It's sustainable and non-toxic. Face it, we're going to run out of oil eventually. Biodiesel is 100% renewable... we'll never run out of it. And if it gets into your water supply, there's no problem - it's veggie oil! Heck, you can drink it if you so desire, but it tastes nasty (trust us).

* It produces fewer emissions. Biodiesel is nearly carbon-neutral, meaning it contributes almost zero emissions to global warming! Biodiesel also dramatically reduces other emissions fairly dramatically. We like clean air, how about you? Plus, the exhaust smells like popcorn or french fries!

* Drivability. We have yet to meet anyone who doesn't notice an immediate smoothing of the engine with biodiesel. It just runs quieter, and produces less smoke.

For more information on biodiesel and to learn where to buy it in your area, visit or the National Biodiesel Board. See you on the road!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Fund microloans

What can $10 buy? A pair of scissors and other supplies for a Filipina woman to start styling hair and support her family. What can $25 buy? Supplies to start a noodle house allowing a Cambodian family to save enough for a first home. What can $50 buy? A cell phone that a Bangladeshi woman can rent out in a neighborhood with no phones, improving her life and the lives of her neighbors. Read more stories here.

Microcredit is yet another way to support sustainable development in the US and around the world. When recipients pay back the loans, the money is sent back out again to improve someone else's life. So check your pockets and see if you have any money to spare. Pool it with a friend and you can make an even bigger difference in someone's life. Consider these organizations:

* Opportunity International "Our mission is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses, and strengthen communities among the poor."

* Accion International is "a nonprofit that fights poverty through microlending." They also have Accion USAwhich makes small loans in the US.

* Association for Enterprise Opportunity is "the national association of organizations committed to microenterprise development."

2005 is the United Nations International Year of Microcredit. Learn more at Your money goes further when it's used for microloans, since a small amount can make a very big difference. Fund a microloan today.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Promote hybrid vehicles (and win a new car!)

New American Dream is holding a contest and the winner will receive a new car!

All you have to do is write a ten word (or less) slogan that tells automakers to bring more efficient hybrid vehicles to market. They're looking for a slogan that will capture the automakers' attention and inspire action. This campaign will make an immediate positive impact on carbon emissions and be a great step toward stopping global warming.

If your slogan is selected as the best core message for the campaign, you'll be gliding past gas pumps in a 2005 Toyota Prius hybrid that gets 55 mpg. So write your slogan, and visit New American Dream today.

And if you win, can I take a spin in the Prius? :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Engage the media

Have you ever wondered why some stories are covered in the news and others are not? Do you want to write a letter to the editor? Have you ever asked yourself if certain news reports are really true? Do you question the role of advertising or the government in news reporting? Make our press truly free and hold them accountable. Here are some ways to engage your media:

* Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a national media watch group, that works with journalists and activists and works against media bias and censorship. They publish a magazine (Extra!) and have a weekly radio program (CounterSpin - available online). You can also sign up for free e-mail Action Alerts that will suggest ways to talk to the media.

* offers these tips on writing a letter to the editor, getting a story on local TV news, finding the right contact person at media outlets, and more. Use these to voice your opinion, make corrections, or offer an alternative view.

* got lots of attention during the recent presidential campaign. They offered the facts about the presidential ads. Visit their site and check the facts for yourself.

* Listen to alternative radio for a perspective that often differs from that of the corporate media. My favorites are WRFG 89.3 FM in Atlanta and KABF 88.3 FM in Little Rock.

I'll be on the lookout for your letter to the editor!

Wear fair-trade union-made clothing

Check out No Sweat Apparel (as in no sweatshop) for their wonderful line of 100% union made clothing. They have the only fair-trade 100% union-made athletic shoes in the world. In the world! They're nice too! I want the Red MoJo's! :)

So browse No Sweat's catalog. It's a great place to do some holiday or birthday shopping for your socially-minded friends and relatives. Or even for yourself. There are a wide variety of styles available, and you'll look great and feel great wearing them.

Give gifts that multiply: Handwork of India

Handwork of India is a not-for-profit organization that supports economic development for financially disadvantaged women artisans in Mumbai (Bombay), India. They have a great catalog of clothing and household items, many of which would make wonderful gifts. Purchases and donations support the women and their families. Browse the catalog online or in print and find gifts that spread joy to more than just you and your loved one.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Make good use of your time and talents.

Volunteering is a great way to learn about and serve your community, and meet new people. Plus, it can even be useful for resume building and developing good professional references. Even better, you might even have a little fun!

To find a volunteer opportunity in your area, visit the United Way, enter your zip code, and search. You're sure to find an organization that can make good use of your time and talents. And when you work to improve your community, you improve your own life as well.

Party with a purpose

Isn't is a joy to get together with friends to eat, talk, and generally have a good time? There's a lot of that happening this time of year. Next time you organize a party, consider asking your guests to bring a little something to benefit someone else. Admission can be canned goods, clothes or books that you can donate after the party's over. You may want to pick a particular organization in advance so folks can bring specific donations (monetary or otherwise).

Or, consider organizing a one-day community sevice project. Something like Habitat for Humanity, where you and your friends all work together, works well. Afterwards, you can all get together for good food, music, conversation, fellowship, and fun. Besides, people might be more likely to volunteer if they know a party awaits them afterwards.

These ideas work great for birthday, holiday, and other celebrations. Now that's a party that everyone can enjoy. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Take care of yourself, take care of others: World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day. The goal is to focus on existing challenges while celebrating the progress that has been made. The theme for World AIDS Day 2004 is "Have You Heard Me Today? Women, girls, and HIV and AIDS". Here are some things you can do today and later to acknowledge this occasion:

* Learn more about HIV and AIDS. Click here and here for more information.

* Approximately one-third of the people in the US infected with HIV don't know it.GET TESTED. Visit (a CDC site) to learn more and find a place to get tested in your area.

* Learn more about HIV vaccine trials. Many people are needed to enroll in trials that test the vaccines and various stages of development. Perhaps you'll want to join a trial and help make an HIV vaccine a reality.

* Donate time, money or other resources to HIV/AIDS service organizations. Just do a Google search with the terms HIV, AIDS and the city, state or country of interest. You are sure to find an organization and group of people that would really appreciate your contribution.

If you have questions or need more information, call the CDC National AIDS Hotline toll-free at 1-800-342-AIDS (1-800-342-2437). Here's hoping that future generations don't have to mark World AIDS Day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Support sustainable development: Heifer International

Heifer International is one of my favorite organizations. Not only is it based in my hometown (Little Rock, Arkansas), but Heifer makes wonderful contributions to sustainable development. Heifer donates a wide variety of animals (and trees) to families around the world. Recipients use the animals to improve their standard of living. For example, water buffalo can help a family in Nepal plow their land to grow more food. Goats can provide meat and milk for a Romanian family, improving their diet. A family in Ecuador can eat and sell eggs and meat from Heifer ducks, and generate money for school fees. One requirement is that recipients 'pass the gift" by donating the the offspring of gift animals to others in need, making them equal partners with Heifer in the fight to end world hunger.

"So what can I do?"

* Send llamas to your lover, bees to your boss, geese to your grandma, or oxen to your uncle by donating online at You can even use the catalog to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or colleague. Heifer animals are the perfect gift for the person who "has everything." 'Tis the season for giving!

* Visit Honduras, Tibet, South Africa and other places on a Heifer Study Tour. In the US, you can tour the Heifer Learning Centers. Learn how the animals benefit people and get more information on ways to end world hunger.

* Teachers, consider using Heifer's Read to Feed ( service-learning materials in your lesson plans. Your students will discover more about the world and its people, see that they can make a real and positive difference in someone's life, and learn about poverty and environmental damage, all while improving their reading skills.

Visit You're sure to love the work they do.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Make informed giving decisions, then give til it helps.

'Tis the season to be charitable, but how do you determine which organization to support? We all know the causes that touch us and may have found organizations that we like, but some organizations might meet needs of its clients better than others. Here's some information on how to evaluate charitable organizations, so that your donation of time and talent does the most good.

* The American Institute of Philanthropy ( rates over 500 charities on financial criteria like their fundraising efficiency and operating costs.

* Charity Navigator rates over 3,000 charities on various financial matters.

* The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance ( rates organizations using financial and nonfinancial standards.

If you can't find your organization in these databases and still need more information, check out which has the tax returns for more than 250,000 nonprofits. You can also ask the organization to see a copy of their annual report, which should contain a qualitative and quantitative list of its accomplishments. If you are interested, be sure to determine how much of your donation is tax-deductible.

With this information, you'll be able to make wise decisions about which organizations you want to support. Remember, don't give 'til it hurts, give 'til it helps.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Stop domestic abuse: Cut it out!

31% of women report being physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. That's almost one third. Think of three women you know. Consider that statistic. Now get ready to act.

* If you are in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). (For TTY, call 1-800-787-3224.) Call now, or as soon as it is safe. They will help you find support and help in your area. Love is not abuse. Get help. Visit to learn more.

* Cut it out ( is a national program that trains beauticians, hair stylists, and other salon professionals to recognize signs of domestic violence and safely refer their clients to local resources. Forward this information to your hairstylist. Send your tax deductible donation to Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund. Visit for more information.

* Men Stopping Violence ( is an Atlanta-based organization that works to end men's violence against women. They educate men, women, and the community at large to "dismantle belief systems, social structures, and institutional practices that oppress women and children and dehumanize men themselves." Volunteer today. Make a tax-deductible donation. Request a presentation for your church, civic or community organization. Visit to find a similar organization in your area.

In the US, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds by her husband or parter. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States; more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Picture three women you know, three women you love. Click the envelope below to forward this post. Please, act now.

Be prepared with Red Cross health and safety courses

Do you know how to respond if someone has falls unconcious? Is your babysitter trained in first aid? Do you know how to swim? The Red Crossoffers classes and training in a variety of health and safety areas, including first aid, CPR, swimming and lifeguarding, HIV/AIDS education and babysitter's training.

Enroll in a class today, and be ready for whatever comes your way. Who knows, the life you save might be your own.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Participate in breast cancer research: Sister Study

The Sister Study is a national long-term study of women aged 35 to 74 whose sister had breast cancer. The goal is to identify environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer. Women of all ethnic, religious, and economic groups are needed. If you or someone you know is interested, please visit to learn more and join. Consider joining. If you qualify, this is a concrete way to help decrease the impact of breast cancer on women everywhere and honor your sister with breast cancer.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Don't send misleading emails

I get them all the time, emails that seem a little suspicious. To forward, or not to forward? That is the question.

Next time you get forwarded mass-recipient email, check to see if it's real or a hoax before you send it to your friends and family. Here are several sites that keep track of popular emails that may or may not be true. So before your forward that next e-mail, search one of the following sites to make sure it's real:

No sense causing your friends and family unnecessary worry, fear, anger or concern. As we all know, there are enough real situations to be concerned and angry about. We should use our energy to deal with those issues, not the fake ones.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Support primary education: Nyaka AIDS Orphans School

1.7 million children in Uganda (East Africa) have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Imagine how difficult it must be to grow up without one or both of your parents. Twesigye Jackson Kaguri and his wife, Beronda Montgomery-Kaguri (my junior and senior high school friend!) are making a tremendous positive impact on the children affected by AIDS in the Nyakagyezi village in Uganda. In 2001, they started the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School. Its mission is "to provide quality, free education and extracurricular activities, both formal and informal, to children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS as a means to counteract pervasive hunger, poverty, and systemic deprivation." What a wonderful goal!

You can support the school and the children by donating money or supplying some of the items on the school's wish list. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online or sent to

Nyaka AIDS Orphans School
P O BOX 339
East Lansing, MI 48826

Visit to learn more, click the envelope below to spread the word, then consider what you can offer to these children who have already lost so much.

"Let us remember that every person who is infected, whatever the reason, is a fellow human being with human rights and human needs. Let no one imagine that we can protect ourselves by building barriers between us and 'them.' For, in the ruthless world of AIDS, there is no us and them." - Kofi Annan, Secretary General, United Nations

Stop smoking: Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 85 percent of smokers want to quit. Well, today's your day! It's the 28th Annual Great American Smokeout. The ACS offers advice on finding the best way to quit, tells how nonsmokers can help their smoking friends, and gives numerous reasons (personal, medical, financial, etc.) reasons why you might want to quit. There's even a toll free Quitline for smoking cessation tips and counseling. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 to get started, or visit the American Cancer Society.

And remember, every day, even today, even right now, is a good time to stop smoking. Your body will thank you. Your wallet will thank you. Your friends will thank you. Best of all, you'll thank and be proud of yourself. You can stop smoking!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Insist on environmental justice

The EPA defines environmental justice as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." That means the environment is everyone's business. Dumps should not be placed primarily in low-income neighborhoods, as they often are now. Chemical plants should not primarily pollute the land, air and water in low-income communities, as they often do now. Financially wealthy countries should not dump their trash on financially less wealthy countries, as we do now.

Here are a few things you can do to insist on environmental justice:

* Visit the EPA to learn about land, water and air pollution in your community.

* Read more about Margie Eugene-Richard who has been working for environmental justice in Norco, Louisiana for many years. Her work is a model and inspiration for us all.

* Learn more about the ways toxins and pollution in the environment can affect your health. Visit the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

* Decrease the negative impact you have on the environment by doing the following: REDUCE the amount you use. REUSE whatever you can. RECYCLE so that the raw materials can be reused, reducing the need to produce more. RESTORE, to replace what you used.

The earth is a gift to all of us. Let's take care of it, so that we and our children can continue to live and thrive on it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Share your Thanksgiving blessings

Are you feeling as richly blessed as I am this year? I've got friends and family who love me and whom I love, my health, a job, a warm home. God is truly good, all the time. Heifer International (more on them later) suggests this four part approach to sharing your blessings with others this holiday season.

1) Go a little lighter on dinner. As you plan your meal, think about this: Do you really need three meats? Sweet potato, peach, karo nut, AND lemon meringue pies? This year, consider skipping one or two items.

2) Share the blessings. Take the money that would have been spent on the extra dish and send it to an organization that fights hunger locally, nationally or internationally. Perhaps Heifer International, Second Harvest, or Hosea Feed the Hungry.

3) Create awareness. At your holiday feast, let folks know what dishes are missing and why. It's great opportunity to consider everything we're blessed with and remember what we have to be thankful for.

4) Spread the word. Click the little envelope below and send this post (or a similar mail) to your friends and family. Together we can make an even bigger difference in combatting hunger in our communities and in our world.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Organize a "clothes swap"

I had such a good time at my first clothes swap. My friends and I enjoyed snacks, wine and good conversation, and I got some great new outfits in the process. It was a ball!

"What's a clothes swap?" you ask. Participants are asked to survey their wardrobe for clothes that are in good condition but were no longer being worn. Perhaps the clothes no longer fit, or maybe the person is just tired of wearing them, or maybe they're just getting rid of excess clutter. The hostess/organizer provides a place to try on and view the clothes, along with snacks and good background tunes. The guests take turns showing and describing the pieces they brought, and when another guest sees something she likes, she grabs it! Any clothes that are not claimed by the end of the swap are donated to a local community service organization.

It's a great way to hang out with your friends (and maybe make some new ones), shop for "new" clothes, and do some good at the same time. Now's a great time to organize a clothes swap! Have fun!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hold your representatives accountable

One of the most important things we can do is hold our elected officials accountable for their words, promises and actions. Let them know what's important to you, what you would like done. Tell them what you need and what concerns you. Ask them for the services and support your community needs.

Many officials are truly concerned about their constituents and want to know what they need and want so that they can make it happen. Most officials want to be elected again so they will respond to you and to your concerns so that you will re-elect them. Do not hesitate to write, call, or e-mail your representatives. Here's some information on how to do that:

* Write the President Bush at or visit for mailing and telephone information.

* Visit to find out who your US senators are and how to contact them.

* Visit to find out who your US representatives are and how to contact them.

* For state legislators and other officials, and for local offices, click here to find names and contact information.

Call them! Write them! Let them know what's on your mind. Their job is to listen to you. And if they don't do so, you have the power to fire them.

Improve school lunches

Monday morning, off to school! Do you know what your child will be eating for lunch today? Will it be a healthy lunch? Is that option even available?

Stonyfield Farms (they make a great yogurt!) has launched a grassroots campaign to improve school lunches. Children who eat well are healthier children and grow into healthier adults. Visit Menu for Change to get ideas for your child's lunchbox, learn how to get healthier items in school vending machines and find model legislation and model letters to send to your state lawmakers.

Do it for the children!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Help "meet the challenges of global interdependence." - Clinton Center Opening

The dedication and opening of the Clinton Presidential Center begins today! The mission of the Center is "to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence." There are programs in four areas: 1) Economic empowerment, 2) Health security with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS, 3) Racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation, and 4) Leadership development and citizen service. Visit online or in person to donate time or money, to look for jobs, fellowships or internships, or to find other ways to contribute and learn more.

The opening celebration, which is being called the Arkansas Globecoming, lasts from November 14-18 and features concert, films, lectures and more, much of it free. The dedication is on Thursday, November 18, so you still have time to get there. Let me know how you like it; I look forward to your comments.

All roads lead to Little Rock!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Support higher education: USA

The UNCF is famous for saying "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Here are a few organizations that work to ensure that everyone has access to a good college and graduate education.

* The American Indian College Fund finances scholarships for Native Americans and operations at tribally controlled colleges and universities. They also have an online catalog with great gifts, the purchase of which, supports the Fund.

* The Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Hispanic College Fund offer scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, while the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities supports over 200 Hispanic-serving institutions in 12 states.

* The United Negro College Fund supports more than 300,000 students at more than 950 schools including 38 historically black colleges and universities, providing scholarships, fellowships and operations assistance.

When we and our neighbors are better educated, society improves. So consider supporting organizations, scholarship funds and schools that agree. Truly, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Encourage reading among friends and strangers.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, literary reading is declining dramatically. Reading is down 10 percentage points with much greater decreases in some groups. Click here to order or download the full report.

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -- Joseph Addison

Visit your local library to borrow books or volunteer. For more free access to literature visit U Penn or to read the free full text of tens of thousands of books online.

Share your favorite books with your friends. Or if you like, share your books with strangers. Bookcrossing is the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who continue the process. If you register and label the book, you may be able to follow your favorite text all over the world.

One more quote to finish up: "Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life." -- Mortimer J. Adler

Value and support our elders

Today would have would have been my grandmother's 94th birthday. In her honor, here are some sites where you can get information on ways to support and care for the older folks in your family and community.

* The AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group committed to ensuring that older people live lives of dignity, independence and purpose.

* The Eldercare Locator ( connects senior citizens, caregivers, and others with resources for services in their community. You can also call them toll-free at 1-800-677-1116.

* The American Geriatrics Society maintains this list of sites on the health of the elderly.

* Meal Call has a search engine that will find Meals on Wheels services in the United States and Canada.

* The Medicare Rights Center is a not-for-profit national organization that works to ensure that older adults have access to affordable health care.

If you know of other useful sites or organizations, please write a comment letting us know.

Take a moment and think of the older folks in your life. Write them. Call them. Let them know you care. Grandmothers are truly special people and Fanilla Suttles Cobb was no exception. She was a wonderful woman, a true inspiration. I love her and miss her dearly. Happy birthday, Mom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Donate equipment to support college scholarships

Educational Assistance, Ltd turns your equipment, securities, or service donations into college scholarships. In this way, donating businesses can get rid of excess or outdated inventory (and likely receive a tax break) while helping students pay college tuition. EAL is a non-profit organization and accepts cash donations as well. Colleges and universities in 32 states are participating, including schools in Arkansas and Georgia, and at least one HBCU.

So if your business or organization has excess equipment, consider donating it EAL and put it to work all over again. You'll support higher education and create a better educated workforce, and that's good for business and good for everyone.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Support science-based development initiatives

Many thanks to my friend and colleague for passing these sites along. He suggests that these are for "the biosci technogeeks in the crowd." I am proud to count myself among that group, but we can all use these sites. If we can't support this work in the lab or in the field, we can support it financially. So take a look at these sites that connect science, scientists and development, and spread the word to all the "biosci technogeeks" and other folks you know.

* The Sustainable Science Institute ( is "a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health worldwide, by helping scientists in developing countries gain access to the resources needed to address local problems related to infectious diseases." They offer training and consulting services, low-cost diagnostics developments and policy research.

* One World Health ( is a nonprofit pharmaceutical company. (I didn't know that was possible!) Interested people can donate research or intellectual property, or can volunteer their time, and expertise in bench research, bioethics, epidemiology, manufacturing, etc.

* The Science & Development Network ( is an online community dedicated to "news, views and information about science, technology and the developing world."

* The African Crop Improvement Network ( is a project of the Rockefeller Foundation dedicated to implementing a program on genetic improvement and dissemination of new varieties of African food crops..

* The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute ( is a non-profit research organization that focuses on infections diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

My dream is to have the work that I do to pay the bills, be the work that I would do for free. These organizations provide a way for service-minded life scientists to live that dream. Now let's get to work!

(Thanks Myron!)

Recycle your holiday cards

Earlier this week, I promised more information on how to recycle holiday cards. (Un)fortunately, St. Jude's Children's Ranch is no longer accepting holiday cards for recycling.

You can still support St. Jude's by donating money, buying holiday cards (see Nov. 6th post), and collecting Campbell's soup can labels. Your labels will support St. Jude because for every 1,100,000 labels they receive, Campbell's will buy a van for St. Jude's to use in it's work with children.

And, just to make good on my promise, click here for some ideas on how to recycle your holiday cards.

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Pull" together to support breast cancer research

Here's an easy way to support breast cancer research. Avon Canada will give 10 cents to breast cancer research every time someone "pulls the rope" on this site. Visit It's fast and easy. Click now, click daily, help save a life.

While you're at it, click The Breast Cancer Site. It was developed to raise money for mammograms for women who cannot afford them. Early detection saves lives. So visit the site and click the big pink button. (For more information, see the October 12th post.)

You are already on-line, so click now, click daily, spread the word. It's hard to imagine and easier way to make a difference.

Expand your horizons - Visit Ghana

"The Pan-African Student Summit (Summit) is an event organized by the Pan African Student Summit, Inc. of the United States of America, and the Sankofa Educational Foundation of Ghana. The Summit is an important development in recognition of the need for cultural connections between students from Africa and from the African Diaspora; and the need for building relationships among these students. The Summit provides students with a forum to discuss issues, inspire ideas that promote action for the progress and development of Africa.

The Summit affords students a forum to address important issues concerning their educational and career opportunities; and to develop an in depth cultural understanding through personal interaction and shared experiences. The Summit is also a unique opportunity for building personal and professional relationships that will lead to future collaborations, as well as for African students to interact with each other on issues regarding national and continental development. Moreover, the Summit provides a forum that contributes to the acquisition of skills that will make the students independent leaders, internationally and culturally aware, and entrepreneurs, with international linkages to move
Africa forward.

The Summit is organized every year in Accra, Ghana. The 4th Pan African Student Summit will be held 11-15 July 2005. For additional information visit"

Also consider the D'Zert Club which offers free trips to Ghana and Egypt for children. There's nothing like visiting a new place to change your perspective, create understanding, and drive change.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Support local farmers

Local produce is always fresher and tastes better. Plus, buying local goods supports your regional economy. Find a farmer's market near you at Won't it be nice to know exactly where your food comes from?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Send holiday cards that deliver more than warm greetings.

It's already November, time to get holiday cards! This year, choose cards that support good works around the world. Here are some ideas:

* Unicef (The United Nations Children's Fund) sells cards and gifts, the purchase of which supports health and education for children around the world.

* Cards from the Child Health Foundation are sold to support children's health services in the US and abroad.

* St. Jude's Children's Ranch sells recycled cards to provide support and homes for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. St. Jude's also accepts used donated cards for recycling. (I'll post more on card recycling later.)

You cards will not only send your greetings to your loved ones, but will also support good works that will help change the world. Order some today!

Invest responsibly

Many mutual funds will allow you invest your money in socially responsible businesses. Your money can grow (ideally) and do good at the same time. Here are some examples:

* Pax World offers funds in socially- and environmentally-responsible ethical companies and offers a low $250 minimum investment.

* Shore Bank invests your CDs, money markets, and IRAs in business that work in development and help create economic equity.

* RSF Community Investment Fund IRAs support socially-constructive projects in education, health, and sustainable development.

* Green Century Funds offers environmentally-responsible mutual funds.

Please note that this is not an endorsement of any particular investment, nor are specific returns guaranteed on these or any other investment unless insured by the FDIC.

Choose wisely. Choose with you head and your heart, and let your money work for you and for others.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Drink fair trade coffee, eat fair trade chocolate. Yum!

Most coffee is grown by small farmers who need to get a decent price for their coffee to ensure a livable wage. You can support fair trade by buying it for yourself and encouraging retailers to sell it. Learn more about fair trade, the coffee campaign and the chocolate campaign at Global Exchange. Then send an email or fax to Starbucks or M&M/Mars to encourage them to buy fair trade products. Global Exchange will even provide a sample letter.

Everything tastes better with fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate. Buy some at Global Exchange. Mmmm, chocolate!

PS: This might be a way to subvert the IMF and World Bank!

Learn about Life and Debt

Recently, I watched the independent film Life and Debt. It's an excellent piece on how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are destroying Jamaica's economy, while simultaneously supporting, stabilizing and encouraging the growth of larger economic communities (like the US).

Unfortunately, there seems to be no way out of the mess these organizations create and mandate. If anyone has any ideas about how to resist or subvert these world financial organizations, please let me know. Perhaps we can collect such thoughts here and use them to reduce the existing economic disparities.

In the mean time, watch Life and Debt. It will change the way you think about 'developing' countries, and give you a new view on that trip to Jamaica.

Life and debt on a more personal level

Sometimes it doesn't take the IMF or the World Bank to get us into financial trouble. We can do it to ourselves. Fortunately, there is also a lot we can do ourselves to improve our financial situation. Here are a few things to help you get started:

* Read about how ways to save money, reduce debt, invest, and plan for retirement.

* Check your credit rating with the three major credit reporting agencies:

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
To order report: 1-800-685-1111
To report fraud: 1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW)
National Consumer Assistance Center
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
To order report: 1-888-397-3742
To report fraud: 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion LLC
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
To order report: 1-800-888-4213
To report fraud: 1-800-916-8800

* Learn how to choose a credit counselor. Don't get taken by a scam!

There's lots more information out there. But be careful. There are no quick fixes. In the long run, you have to spend less money than you bring in. There's really no way around that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


'Nuff said.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Consider organ donation

Every day about 70 people receive an organ transplant. However, another 16 people on the waiting list die because not enough organs are available. There are 79,000 U.S. patients waiting for an organ transplant, and almost 3,000 new patients are added to the waiting list each month. 10 percent of those are children.

We can change this. Organ donation from just one person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 people. Think about it. Pray about it. Learn more at Then, if you are so inclined, sign your donor card (your driver's license in most states) and tell you family. Doctors won't retrieve organs unless your family consents, so it's important that your family members know and understand your wishes. Perhaps you can talk to them about donating too. It's something we all should consider.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Appreciate nature's beauty: Total lunar eclipse tonight!

Tonight, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from much of the US (weather permitting). Unlike solar eclipses, these can be viewed and enjoyed with the naked eye. So look up!

Moon enters penumbra (slight shading) 8:06 PM (Eastern time)
Partial eclipse begins (moon enters umbra) 9:14 PM
Total eclipse begins (moon totally within umbra) 10:23 PM
Total eclipse ends (moon begins to leave umbra) 11:45 PM
Partial eclipse ends (moon leaves umbra) 12:54 AM
Moon leaves penumbra (slight shading gone) 2:02 AM

Lunar eclipses happen when the earth's shadow blocks the light of the sun from shining on the moon causing the moon to darken. For more information on eclipses and viewing conditions in your area, click here and here.

Eclipses are beautiful! So enjoy the show the heavens will put on, and be grateful for the small things.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Join the marrow registry

Have you every known anyone with leukemia? This cancer affects children and adults and can be cured with a bone marrow transplant. The National Marrow Donor Program maintains a list of people who might be willing to donate marrow if their tissue matches what a patient needs.

A person of any race, ethnicity or gender who is 18 to 60 years old and qualifies medically can become a volunteer potential marrow or blood stem cell donor. Please consider it. I did, and am on the list. People of color and multiracial people are especially needed. If you are interested, read some patient stories, read some donor stories, check the eligiblity requirements and donate the small sample of blood that is necessary to get on the list.

If you are pregnant, you can also donate your baby's umbilical cord blood. It too is life-saving.

If a patient is matched to you, you are under no obligation to donate. You may never be called, but without registering you will never know how much good you can do. You might even save a life.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Election Protection Coalition: 1-866-OUR-VOTE

The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition was organized in response to the 2000 elections in which more than four million voters and potential voters were disenfranchised. If, on or before election day, you are someone you know has their voting rights violated, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or visit to report the case to the Election Protection Coalition. If you are harassed or intimidated while voting or trying to vote, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. If there are irregularities at your polling place, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. If you have technical difficulties while voting or attempting to vote, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. If you are denied the right to vote, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

In addition, volunteers are needed to work before, during and/or after Election Day. There is a special need for lawyers, law students, clergy and Spanish-speakers. Please consider donating time or donating money to make sure that what happened in 2000 does not happen again. Click here to volunteer.

Click the envelope below to e-mail this post to people you know. Spread the word. Let's ensure that the results of this election reflect what we the people want. VOTE!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Try A Lipstick Brush

Lipstick tubes are packed with extra lipstick so that the twisting mechanism works. Get at the extra below the rim (usually enough for 25 or more applications) by using a lipstick brush. You'll get 30% more out of each tube by not thowing away the extra.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Vote early, vote thoughtfully.

In many states, you can vote early, without a reason. Here in Georgia, early voting starts on Monday, October 25, while in other states (Arkansas, for instance) early voting is already going on. For information on your state's voting regulations, click here. This site contains information on traditional and in-person absentee voting and on early voting (which does not require a reason) for each state.

Check it out, and don't let a previously scheduled trip or unexpected emergency keep you from voting.

Give blood, give life.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. You can help meet this need by donating a pint of your own. Blood donation only takes hour or so, and it's something most of us can spare. Your body will make more and you'll be able to donate again in 56 days. Blood drives happen everywhere, all the time. Contact local hospitals and blood banks for a drive in your area. Or for more information, including donation locations, call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit

Think of your family, think of your friends, think of yourself, then give. It's just an hour, just a pint and it just might save a life. Donate regularly.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Walk with a purpose

Many thanks my mother for schooling me on this one. She taught me to walk with a purpose. A few months ago, I realized that my favorite grocery store, library, bank and ice cream stand are all just a mile away. So now I walk when I visit them. It's good exercise and allows me to justify the ice cream. :)

Although I have to go to the store more often, I buy less since I have to carry it home. Plus, I can listen to my Twi tapes during the trip. I also enjoy meeting my neighbors while I walk.

Look around, you may be able to walk with a purpose. If not from home, perhaps from work on your lunch hour. It's a healthy way to save money, and it's better for the environment and better for you!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Online subscriptions to periodicals.

To reduce waste, consider reading your periodicals online. Many newspapers and magazines will support web subscriptions. Note that some specialty and trade journals allow you to donate the hard copy to someone who cannot afford it, while allowing you to retain online access. Make the switch and make fewer trips to the recycling bin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Carter Center works to eradicate Guinea Worm

Guinea worm disease is a painful, crippling parasitic infection that has caused suffering around the world for millennia. Thankfully, it will soon be the next disease eradicated from the earth and the first to be overcome without a vaccine or treatment. You can support the Carter Center in their work to eliminate the last one percent of this awful disease.

Just $10 buys 200 portable, reusable pipe filters to enable people to filter their drinking water and help eliminate Guinea worm disease. Click here to donate now and support this work and the Carter Center's mission to "Wage Peace, Fight Disease, and Build Hope."

Imagine the difference you will make!

Test yourself for hidden bias

Most of us will admit to having at least some biases. However, you may have prejudices you don't even know about. Test yourself for hidden bias at This site is run by by the Southern Poverty Law Center. While you're there, check out their ideas for parenting and teaching, along with 101 ways to fight hate and 101 tools for tolerance. Let's use them, to treat each other with the dignity and respect we all deserve.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Freecycle Network

The worldwide Freecycle Network is a grassroots movement of people who give and get things for free in their home towns. Individuals and nonprofits join a local e-mail list and post descriptions of things they're giving away or seeking. Everything posted must be free. After contact is made, the freecyclers arrange a convenient time and place for pickup.

This is a free and easy way to get things you need, get rid of things you don't, and keep usable items out of landfills. At the time of this post, there are over 1,500 cities represented with over 500,000 people who freecycle. That's lots of good stuff that's up for grabs! Check out to join and get started!

Worldscopes - Stethoscope donation

Worldscopes is a project of the American Medical Association. They collect stethoscopes for distribution to medical schools, clinics and hospitals around the world. Medical professionals can donate new and lightly used stethoscopes. In addition, financial donations are accepted. Just $15 will purchase a stethoscope that will greatly assist physicians and health care workers as they care for their patients.

Perhaps you can organize a stethoscope drive at your hospital, medical school, office practice, or medical society. And remember, your equipment or financial donation may be tax deductible.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Encourage voting on November 2.

This in from a friend:

"Check around your neighborhood to see whether anybody needs a ride to the polling place in November. We have a lot of older people in our neighborhood; it turns out that one of them wasn't planning to vote because she wasn't sure how she'd get to the polls. Now, she's going with me. If your neighborhood has a lot of families with young children, perhaps what's needed is somebody to watch the kids while mom goes out to vote." Thanks Laurie!

We'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not to offer assistance to people who do not support your favorite candidate. This is a simple way encourage voting, and meet your neighbors. See you at the polls!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Cell phone recycling

Lots of us have them, old cell phones we no longer use. Don't trash them. Recycle them, and help your favorite charity (and maybe get a tax write-off) in the process. Salvageable phones will be fixed and given to victims of domestic violence or to various charities that will make use of them in their work.

Send phones to

Collective Good, Inc.
4508 Bibb Blvd., Suite B-10
Tucker, GA  30084

or visit the Wireless Foundation. Also check with domestic violence shelters in your area. They will reprogram donated cell phones to dial emergecy numbers. Your old phone could help save a life.

Even if you choose not to donate, it is important to recycle because mobile phone and other rechargeable batteries contain several toxic materials such as lead and mercury, that poison the environment. Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off for recycling at local electronics or cell phone stores.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Compare the platforms, decide who's best, then VOTE

It's easy to get caught up in all the sound-bites and media blitz that make up the 2004 presidential campaign. Get to the core of the matter by comparing the platforms for the two major parties.

To read them, click below. Both documents are PDF files and require Adobe Acrobat:

Democrat platform
Republican platform

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Reduce unwanted bulk mail

Tired of all the unwanted bulk mail? Put a stop to it! Add your name to the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference list and eliminate up to 80 percent of bulk mail. The service is free.

Just send a card with your name, address, and signature to:

Mail Preference Service
DMA, Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

"But I like bulk mail!" That's fine, just recycle it when you're done. Please let us know about the best recycling centers in your area. In Atlanta, I recommend Your Dekalb Farmers Market which recycles magazines, white paper, newspaper, plastics, glass, and aluminum.

Click to support free mammograms

The Breast Cancer Site was developed to raise money for mammograms for women who cannot afford them. Early detection saves lives. So visit the site and click the big pink button.

The advertisers donate money in exchange for increased visibility. Click here for more information on how it works. You may also want to support The Hunger Site, The Child Health Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site.

You are already on-line, so click now, click daily, help save a life.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Donate old glasses for Sight Night 2004

Through the Gift of Sight program, the Lions Club and Lenscrafters collect eyeglasses and sunglasses of all styles, sizes and colors for distribution in North America and abroad to those with vision problems.

To participate in the annual Sight Night drive by collecting glasses while trick-or-treating this Halloween, visit

Or if you prefer, just drop off your eyeglasses and sunglasses at any Lenscrafters or Lions Club.

All that, and your gift may be tax deductible. Now go round up those old Gazelles for donation. Halloween is right around the corner!

Leadership for a Changing World Awards

The Leadership for a Changing World awards have just been announced. Among the winners are Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers, SisterLove, (both in Atlanta, and Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center (BGACDC) in Marvell, Arkansas.

Leadership for Change writes:

"Beatrice Clark Shelby [BGACDC] spreads hope and nurtures leadership in one of the most impoverished and isolated corners of the United States."

"Sandra Barnhill and Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers promote self-development, responsibility, and a better way of life for troubled families."

"SisterLove [Dazon Dixon Diallo] brings education, support, understanding – and love – to women of color caught up in the H.I.V./AIDS crisis."

It's nice to see this work get acknowledged. Their contributions are an inspiration. Congratulations to all the awardees, and thank you for the work that you do!

UPDATE (9/19/05): After my first visit to Sapelo Island last week, I am inspired and excited to include Carolyn Dowse and Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) who "work to preserve and revitalize the last viable Gullah/Geechee community in Georgia's Sea Islands." Thanks for the much needed work that you do!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Claim unclaimed money

There is great site that allows you to check for unclaimed money and other assets that may belong to you or your family. On my first visit there, I put in a family surname and found that the children of two of my deceased cousins have money waiting for them. I got in touch with them immediately to let them know.

To start your free search, visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a nonprofit organization. You never know what you might find! And if you happen upon a windfall, there are many worthy organizations that would be happy to receive a donation.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Recycle your tennis shoes.

Whether you call them tennis shoes, runners, sneakers, or gym shoes, your old ones can be recycled. Just send old athletic shoes (any brand) to

Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse A Shoe
26755 SW 95th Avenue
Wilsonville, OR 97070

You old shoes will be ground up to make surfaces for tracks, basketball courts and the like for underserved communities. They won't end up in landfills (often in those same communities). For more information, visit Nike Reuse-A-Shoe.

Friday, October 08, 2004

MedShare International

Tomorrow morning, a group of us is going to MedShare International. We'll spend the morning sorting medical supplies for shipment to clinics and hospitals all over the world. It's a great organization since federal regulations compel hospitals in the United States to discard more than $6.25 billion worth of unused medical supplies. Most of that material (which is useful!) would end up in landfills. MedShare reclaims a portion of that to give to people who need and can use it.

"So what can I do?"
* join us on Saturday.
* join us for our next workday, December 11.
* notify a hospital or clinic of MedShare's services.
* send money. They're in the midst of a fundraising drive right now.

Unfortunately, there aren't many other organizations like MedShare around. Perhaps one of you is interested in starting one?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Working Assets - phone and credit card services

My AT&T phone bill just went up over $6. Without warning, they raised the charges on all their services. Ugh! So now I'm on the lookout for a less expensive local phone service.

I hear good things about Working Assets and they donate part of their profits to several nonprofit organizations. I know they provide long distance, but do they provide local service as well? Any thoughts?

If you need long distance, wireless, or credit card services, check out Working Assets. They allow you to help others as you help yourself.

Some recycling at WalMart - Update

This afternoon, a manager at the WalMart (I-20 and Panola) called in response to the recycling question I sent in. Evidently, they've tried newspaper recycling several times, but people fill the bins with trash. (Tsk. Tsk.)

The good news is that they accept plastic bags for recycling and they recycle their own cardboard (customers can't bring theirs in though). I got the impression that all the stores accept the bags. So bring your plastic bags to WalMart. I have a whole cabinet full of them and am glad to know where I can take them.

When he asked me if I knew of contacts for glass and plastic recycling, I referred him to the Dekalb County Farmer's Market, which is where I do all my recycling now.

To write your neighborhood WalMart, click here.

Some recycling at WalMart - Update

This afternoon, a manager at the WalMart (I-20 and Panola) called in
response to the recycling question I sent in. Evidently, they've tried
newspaper recycling several times, but people fill the bins with trash.
(Tsk. Tsk.)

The good news is that they accept plastic bags for recycling and they
recycle their own cardboard (customers can't bring theirs in though). I got
the impression that all the stores accept plastic bags. So bring your
plastic bags to WalMart. I have a whole cabinet full of them.

When he asked me if I knew of contacts for glass and plastic recycling, I
referred him to the href="">Dekalb County
Farmer's Market, which is where I do all my recycling now.

To write your neighborhood WalMart, click href="

Crisis in Sudan

Diaspora Professionals sponsored a great panel discussion last month on the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. I learned a lot about Sudan's history and current situation, and about the Sudanese population in Atlanta. The frustration I felt regarding the enormity of the situation was a real impetus in my starting this blog. Kudos to Diaspora for putting this together!

A representative from CARE was in the audience and suggested that organization's website as a place to find information and donate money. Visit CARE at, and if you are interested, I'll send you the names of some organizations that work with Sudanese refugees in Atlanta. Donations of money and household items are often needed. And volunteers are needed to teach English, urban life skills, etc. Peace and blessings to my brothers and sisters in Sudan.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Recycling at Wal-Mart?

A friend and I were talking about Wal-Mart. She's trying hard to resist the temptation to shop there. I understand. Although it's an Arkansas company (and I'm from Arkansas), I just can't support them. Their labor practices are simply awful (

She suggested that the least they could do is have a recycling facility. I thought that was a great idea. So let's write them and request recycling at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Here's the site: I figure it can't hurt, and it might just help. Let us know what you hear.