Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Donate your baby's cord blood.

Are you pregnant? Is someone you love? If so, then check this out: Your baby may be able to save someone's life just by being born. When you give birth, you have three options for what to do with the placenta and umbilical cord blood:

* Trash it. This is what usually happens. What a waste.
* Store it for possible use by you, your child or a member of your family.
* Donate it for public storage so that it can be used for research or to treat or save the life of an unrelated person.

Cord blood contains hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, "Each year thousands of patients are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that can be treated by rebuilding the patient's hematopoietic (blood cell producing) system with blood-forming cells. Umbilical cord blood is being studied as one of the sources of blood cells." So why throw cord blood away when it can be put to good use treating life-threating disease? Consider,
• Donating cord blood is medically safe. The cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord after your baby is born.
• Donation does not change the birth process.
• Donating cord blood is free to you and completely confidential.
Here's how to get started:

--> Learn more about cord blood donation. The NMDP has tons of information including an FAQ, eligibility guidelines, participating cord blood banks and hospitals and more.

--> Register to donate between your 28th and 35th week of pregnancy.

--> Contact Cryobanks International if there is no hospital in your area. Donations to Cryobanks are accepted from anywhere in the Continental United States. They'll come and pick it up, and remember donating is free. Cryobanks can be reached at or 1-800-869-8608.

Some expectant families may be considering storage for private use. Cryobanks has a quiz that can help you make the choice between private storage and public storage (donation).

Think about it. Talk about it with your partner. Pray about it. And consider what a blessing your child's birth can be to some other mother's child. Regardless of your decision, remember that there are many ways you can donate life.

"The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." - William Gibson (1999)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dream locally.

Want to make a difference in your community? Short on cash to do so? Then this may be just the opportunity for you. New American Dream is offering five $1000 mini-grants to promote the Buying Wisely Locally Project.
Buying wisely (which sometimes means not buying) particularly calls for a local fingerprint, so we decided to start there. In the coming year, our team of organizers will personalize the tools from New Dream’s Buy Wisely and Conscious Consumer websites to develop a pocket guide to help members of their communities:
Buy Less – remembering that the most economical and earth-friendly purchase is often the one never made;
Buy Local – choosing products and businesses that support your neighbors, your downtown, and all the best parts of your community;
Buy in Line (with your values) – choosing products that are good for people, the planet, and everything you hold dear.
There are two ways to participate:

--> If you have a great idea, and have at least two to five hours a week to make it reality, apply for a mini-grant.

--> If you don't have at least two to five hours a week to spare, but still want to participate, apply to become a local advisor.

Visit New American Dream to complete either application. Hurry, the deadline for submission is March 20th. If you have questions, write New American Dream at . If you like, leave us a comment about your great idea. Maybe it will catch on! Even if you don't get a grant, you can still buy wisely locally, and encourage others to do the same.

"All that you touch you change. All the you change changes you." Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents (1998)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Do right by those you love.

Love does it's best. But sometimes it can be hard to do better or do your best even though we know we should, or know we can. When you get stuck in a place that is less than your best, and you know you need to do better but you can't, won't, don't know how, or are afraid to make a change, GET HELP. Click the links below to find the resources to improve your life.

--> If you are hurting or neglecting someone you love, your spouse, your partner, your child, your parent, your friend, yourself, or someone else, physically or emotionally, GET HELP. If you are being hurt, abused, or neglected by someone you love GET HELP.

--> If your emotional state or mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.) is causing you to hurt or neglect someone you love, your friend, your child, your partner, your parent, your spouse, yourself or someone else, physically or emotionally, GET HELP. If you are being hurt, abused, or neglected by someone you love, GET HELP.

--> If your addiction(s) is causing you to hurt or neglect someone you love, your partner, your friend, your child, your parent, your spouse, yourself or someone else, physically or emotionally, GET HELP. If you are being hurt, abused, or neglected by someone you love, GET HELP.

Sometimes we need help to do our best. And since those you love deserve your best, do all you can to improve yourself and your relationships. If you need a little help to do so, ask for it. There's no shame in getting help to be your best. It's what love demands. Honor those you love, including yourself, by being the best person you can be.

"Love feels no burden, regards not labors, strives toward more than it attains, argues not of impossibility, since it believes that it may and can do all things." - Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471), German monk

Monday, February 13, 2006

Click to donate.

If you click the icons at the bottom of the sideview, you will find lots of usage statistics about So what can I do. For example, earlier today, someone found So what can I do while google searching the phrase "how can i help the poor as a christian while i have so little resources?". Regular readers know that this blog is full of answers to that question. Here's just one:

Click to donate sites may constitute the fastest, easiest, most inexpensive, way ever to make a charitable contribution. Here's how they work: Advertisers on the sites make a charitable donation based on the number of clicks, which represent people who've seen their ads. More people clicking, means more viewers, means more money to support your favorite causes. To have the greatest impact, you should click every day. I do, as soon as I turn on my computer. It's a habit now.

Here are some click to donate sites you may want to patronize:

* Donation Junction has links to over 40 click to donate sites supporting a wide range of charitable organizations and good causes, from hunger to HIV. It's one stop clicking! You can visit their site in Italiano, Svenska, Suomi, Russkiy, Français , or English. Thanks for the tip, Red Elephant!

* Clicks on trigger contributions to support eight different causes from AIDS to the arts, education to the environment. Read more here.

* Visit and click to make a 25 cent donation towards a microloan. It may not sound like much but it adds up quickly when you click everyday. Learn more here.

* Click the button on to feed a child one school lunch. Imagine, a child will eat (and learn!) because of your efforts. This site is sponsored by OxFam. Read more here. Thanks for the tip, Meg!

* Gear that Gives hosts six different click to donate sites, including ones on literacy, breast cancer, hunger and rainforest preservation. Learn more here.

Choose your favorites, then click now, click daily and spread the word. Use the white envelope below to send this post to a friend. even offers free daily reminders to click. Clicking every day won't solve all our problems, but it will help. Remember, you can give more than just money. Give regularly of your time, talents, and resources. We can all contribute, and the different ways we give will help get the job done.

"The smallest light in the darkest conditions can give you all you need to get where you are going." - Juan Lane

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Be a fair trade valentine.

Valentine's Day is almost upon us. This year, why not treat yourself or your sweetie with some fair trade goodies? Fair trade (not free trade) ensures that the people who grow, manufacture and produce goods are paid and treated fairly. Fair trade allows workers, farmers, craftspeople and others to earn a living wage, support themselves and their families. Sometimes fair trade products may cost a little more, but remember there's often a high cost of low price.

Thankfully, lots of fair trade vendors are making it easy for you, just in time for Valentine's Day. These are just a few of your options:

* Ten Thousand Villages markets cards, candles, jewelry and more.

* No Sweat sells chocolate hearts and other products for your sweet.

* Global Exchange offers a Fair Trade Valentine's Day Action Kit with chocolates, cards, and more.

* Organic Consumers Association has a Valentine's Day buying guide and free Valentine's PDFs you can print out for cards.

So show your love for yourself, your honey, and your fellow human beings by purchasing fair trade products. Make global interdependence work for everyone. Enjoy!

"Before you've finished your breakfast this morning, you'll have relied on half the world." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Win $2000.

Time again for a trip to the mailbag. Natasha called my attention to a contest being sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions, a non-profit organization working to build "a future in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone."
Citizens for Global Solutions is holding a contest for students, budding artists, multi-media designers, and activists who are interested in making some cool flash videos.  The top contenders will be published on our website for voting and the winners will get cash! We're looking for short flash movies that can inspire, amuse and activate people out there who believe a better world is possible.

Answer this question: Why do global problems matter to Americans and what do you think America should do about them?

Americans get mostly bad news every day about the rest of the world, given the media’s heavy emphasis on wars, conflicts, and humanitarian and natural disasters and the lack of emphasis on solutions. It can seem that global problems are too scary, too big and too numerous to handle. Well, there’s plenty of blame being thrown around for what isn’t working, but no one seems to have a positive vision of what can be done. You have a chance to inspire listeners with your vision of how America can work with other countries to make the world safer and better!
Registration and entry are free, and the top prize is $2000! So get your creative juices flowing and start making your flash movie. The deadline for submission is April 1, 2006. By inspiring others to make the world a better place, you'll become part of the solution.

"Lying is done with words and also with silence." -Adrienne Rich, writer and teacher (1929- )

Monday, February 06, 2006

Do good every day.

My friend Dawn alerted me to a book that should sit quite well with readers of So what can I do. 365 Ways to Change the World is subtitled "How to make a difference... one day at a time" Well, that's something I can get on board with!

Author Michael Norton suggests 365 ways you can make our world a better place. There's one for each day of the year. If you need extra ideas for leap day, just visit So what can I do! You can check it out from the library, order it online, or find it at your local or locally-owned bookstore. If you can't find it, just visit the website ( for more information and sample suggestions.

Between Norton's book and this blog, there's no excuse for not making a difference every day. Thanks for the tip, Dawn!

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Share a ride.

Alexis sent a great tip today about
We are a rideshare matching service that is free and works anywhere in the US. Once you save your trip in the "My Trips" section, you can search our map - based interface to find other users making similar trips. You can message other users through the site, and give them a rating after you have completed a rideshare with them. Personal information and exact travel addresses are never disclosed. We also have a list of safety tips. Ride sharing is such a win - win situation. It saves gas and money and reduces pollution and traffic.
Sounds great! Here's how to get started sharing rides:

* Post your trips so fellow hitchhikers can find your trip. (They will not see your exact travel addresses.)

* Search to find rides in your area.

* Contact your ride sharing matches without revealing your personal information.

As the site says, "Ride sharing is the best way to save gas and reduce traffic and pollution. Unlike the rigid schedules of public transportation, ride sharing is a flexible way to travel to the store or across the country." Remember, you may also be able to share rides with people you already know. Try a carpool or vanpool. Or consider transit, biking or walking. Thanks for the tip, Alexis!

"Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." (There is no path. The path is made by walking.) - Antonio Machado