Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Recycle rechargeable batteries.

A few months ago, I got rid of a old laptop that is now woefully out-of-date. Knowing how important it is to recycle rechargeable batteries, I remembered a post I'd done on Call 2 Recycle, a corporation that recycles cell phones and rechargeable batteries "to benefit the environment and charitable organizations". I need an easy and responsible way to get rid of the battery that's been in my back seat since last year, and Call 2 Recycle has it!

Here's how you can participate:

* Click to find a drop-off site near you.

* Call the consumer helpline, 1-800-8-BATTERY or 1-877-2-RECYCLE, to find the retail collection site nearest you.

* Visit a retail collection site. This is new since my last post.
In the US: Alltel, Batteries Plus, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Lowe's, Milwaukee Electrical Tool, Office Depot, Orchard Supply, Porter Cable Service Centers, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Target, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless.
In Canada: Battery Experts, Battery Plus, Bell World, FIDO, Future Shop, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, London Drugs, Makita Factory Service Centers, Personal Edge/ Centre du Rasoir, Revy, Sears, The Sony Store, The Source by Circuit City, Telus Mobility and Zellers.

* Teach students, yourself and others about the benefits of recycling rechargeable batteries. This is new too! "The lesson plan uses batteries as the basis for developing student's math, science and history skills. By offering a series of interactive experiments and thought-provoking exercises, the program teaches students' about the merits of battery power, safety tips, and how to properly recycle batteries to keep our environment clean and livable." And it's free!

The website is available in Français , Español , Chinese, and English. So round up all your unused rechargeable batteries that may no-longer hold a charge and drop them off at a recycling site near you. It couldn't be easier!

"Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence." -Henri Frederic Amiel philosopher and writer (1821-1881)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Donate your fur.

Do you have a fur in your closet that you no longer wear? Is the fur not your style anymore? Do you no longer wear your fur for moral reasons? Did your great-aunt give you a fur you just don't like or will never wear? Did you just move to Ghana, St. Thomas, or some other always-warm place? If you have a fur you want to get rid of in a socially-responsible way, you've come to the right place.

The Women's Bioethics Project just started fur recycling program:
Beautiful keepsakes are created from donated furs and auctioned to fund Women's Bioethics Project programs: research, education, and community building. Your donation is tax deductable.
To donate your fur, call 206-200-1101 or visit It's all for a great cause. Thanks for the tip, Linda!

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

Friday, January 27, 2006

Act for change.

One of the first posts on So what can I do was on Working Assets, a company which "helps busy people make a difference in the world through everyday activities like talking on the phone. Every time a customer uses one of Working Assets' donation-linked services (long distance, eireless and credit card), the company donates a portion of the charges to nonprofit groups working to build a world that is more just, humane, and environmentally sustainable. To date, over $50 million has been raised for progressive causes." Almost $4 million was raised in 2005 alone! Good work, Working Assets!

Their donations focus on five areas: economic & social justice, environment, civil rights, peace & international freedom and education & freedom of expression. Working Assets helps you contribute to progress in these areas in several ways:

* Act for Change "allows individuals to speak out on urgent issues of the day found on our news site such as gun violence and environmental degradation. We give you a direct link to the decision-makers who can make a difference on these issues-free of charge." Visit the site regularly to make your concerns known on the issues that matter to you. It really works!

* As a customers of Working Assets, you can nominate your favorite nonprofit group to receive funding in 2007. What a wonderful way to support your favorite organization! Submit your nomination by June 30, 2006.

* A portion of the profits from long distance, wireless, and credit card services offered by Working Assets is donated to nonprofit groups working in the US and around our world. If you need these services, consider getting them from Working Assest. You'll be helping your self and others.

* Working for Change "is an online journal of progressive news and opinion published by Working Assets." Read it regularly for news and commentary on today's important issues.

These are just a few of the ways you can support socially-responsible businesses. Enjoy!

"Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives." - Albert Einstein

Monday, January 23, 2006

Take folic acid BEFORE getting pregnant.

Here in Atlanta, Baby Noor has been getting a lot of attention. She's the Iraqi child with spina bifida who was brought to Atlanta for a life-saving surgery. Thankfully, she's recovering well. Neural tube defects, like spina bifida, form during the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before the woman even knows she's pregnant. That's why it's important for all women who could become pregnant to take folic acid regularly. Since half of pregancies are unplanned, this is important for all women who may become pregant. Folic acid is a B vitamin that when taken before and during the early weeks of pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects.

There are at least two easy ways women can be sure they are getting enough folic acid:

* Many cereals are fortified with 100% RDA of folic acid. Check the label, and eat a bowl a day.

* Most multivitamins have at least 400 ug of folic acid. Check the label and take one a day.

Look for foods and supplements that contain 100% of the recommended daily allowance (400 micrograms). Unfortunately, many of the world's people don't have access to such foods (perhaps including Baby Noor's mother), but those of us who do, should take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. Now is the perfect to start because January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - Constitution of the World Health Organization

Friday, January 20, 2006

Make all hands safe.

Many of you already know the sad statistics about domestic violence:

--> 31% of women report abuse by an intimate partner at some time in their lives.
--> 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.

So, if you are in danger, need help or do not feel safe in your home, dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Click here to quickly exit this page.

In response to the violence, the Allstate Foundation recently launched Safe Hands: The Allstate Network for Empowering Women . They hope to reduce the incidence of domestic violence by:
Direct services: Providing programming and funding support through a financial empowerment curriculum and training materials; community volunteerism by Allstate employees, agents and agency staff; and a grant program to allow service providers to address the complex, broad and often immediate range of survivors’ needs.
Thought leadership: Supporting domestic violence advocates and service providers through
national conferences and other events and cutting-edge research. The Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence Program will conduct an annual, national research poll to determine current awareness and perceptions about domestic violence in the United States. The findings of this poll, conducted among a representative sample of adults in the U.S., will be used to continue to build the program and track progress over the coming years.
Public awareness: Creating a national effort to raise public awareness and change societal attitudes about domestic violence. This component of the Program will be phased in beginning in 2006.
Here's how you can get involved:

* Send a email to yourself and your friends. For each person that clicks the purple button in the message $1 is donated to the Education and Job Training Assistance Fund of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. This is a fast and free way to help women who have survived domestic violence. Most everyone reading this can make this contribution.

* Spread the word about Safe Hands and other programs working to end domestic violence.

* Participate in the good work by donating time, money or supplies to a women's safehouse, applying for a grant to support your work against domestic violence, volunteering at a safehouse,

Join Allstate and the numerous other people and organizations around the world who are working to end domestic violence. Thanks Jessica, for the heads up on this!

"Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance." - Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), German-born U.S. political philosopher.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pick up where King left off.

When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated on Apr. 4, 1968, he was in the midst of planning the Poor People's Campaign. This so-called "second phase" of the civil rights struggle, was to focus on economic injustice and poverty. Unfortunately, for all of us, he was killed before the Poor People's March on Washington, DC took place. There is still much work to be done, so we can pick up where King left off. Take time on this King Holiday to promote economic justice, tolerance, and respect. Here are some ways to get started:

* Consider class and how poverty and economic disparity contribute to our social problems.

* Teach tolerance and fight hate. Remember the best way to teach is to model the behavior you expect.

* Live an ethical and just life. As King once said "The time is always right to do what is right." Even when it is hard. Even when it is unpopular. Even when it is inconvenient. Even when it is unexpected.

* Serve. Give liberally of your time, talents, money and other resources to improve our world.

On this the 20th anniversary of the US King Holiday, and the 77th anniversary of his birth, REMEMBER, CELEBRATE, ACT and honor the legacy of Dr. King.

"Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" to serve. You don't have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Voice your concerns about healthcare.

The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has just formed the Citizens' Health Care Working Group ( They write:
It's time to do something about Health Care. We have much to be proud of but there are also serious problems with our health care system; they are getting worse and we need to do something about them. That's why Congress and the President created the Citizens' Health Care Working Group - to hear what you think and then send to the President and Congress a citizens' roadmap about how to make health care work for all Americans. By participating with the Working Group you can have an inside track to influence the deliberations of Congress and the President. Don't miss your chance.
Here's how you can get involved and make your concerns known:

* Share your thoughts, concerns, suggestions, and stories about health care in the US. Contact the Working Group at, or fill out the online questionnaire.

* Attend a community meeting. These are being held all over the country starting January 2006.

* Contact the Working Group to let them know your concerns, opinions, and suggestions. They can be reached by mail at Citizens' Health Care Working Group, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 575, Bethesda, MD 20814; by phone at 301-443-1502 and by email at

* Host a community meeting of your own and deliver the thoughts of your group to Congress. For help in engaging your organization or group, contact Jessica Federer at 301.443.1521 or

* Learn more about healthcare through the The Health Report to the American People and other resources.

The US health care system offers lots of good services, but it is also expensive, wasteful, and inefficient. In addition, because of geographic, economic, cultural and other barriers, millions of people don't have access to health and medical care. For example, over 45 million people have no health insurance.

Here's yet another opportunity to hold your elected officials accountable and push for the changes that will benefit us all. I am hopeful that our participation in this project and others will improve access to good health care. Participation certainly won't hurt, and it's the right thing to do. Let your voice be heard.

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Recycle everything.

The mission of Earth911 is to make every day Earth Day. To do so they provide free community-specific environmental information. You'll find resources on

* Recycling centers - They'll help you recycle everything from concrete to carpet to cell phones to car batteries. With their help, you may be able to recycle everything!

* Green shopping - Make sure you spend your money in ways that reflect your personal priorities.

* Energy conservation - You'll "find simple things that consumers, businesses, and children and teachers can do to help reduce energy consumption."

* Household hazardous waste - Protect yourself, your family, your community and our environment with these tips for storage, disposal, and recycling.

* Composting - One of my favorite activities! With this information on starting and using a compost pile, you can join me in this backyard fun.

Just call 1-800-CLEANUP or 1-877-EARTH911 or enter your ZIP code at to get started. They even have a section for kids. provides a wealth of information, you'll use again and again. Truly, every day is Earth day.

"To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night—brothers who see now they are truly brothers." - Archibald MacLeish (1892–1982), U.S. poet on the first pictures of the earth from the moon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Make trade fair.

I've written before about fair trade: coffee, tea, chocolate, clothing, shoes, and more. (That's fair trade, folks, not free trade. There's a big difference.) Until now, my posts have been about individual products. Now, I've found several fair trade clearinghouses that enable you to support many more fair trade practices and products. Check these out:

* TransFair USA is "the home of the Fair Trade certification agency for the US." Their site allows you to "find the nearest café or grocery store near you that carries Fair Trade food products. You can also shop online at participating retailers and roasters as well as add a retailer if you don't find them on our list."

* The Fair Trade Foundation in London is home to the Fair Trade Mark which indicates that the product meets standards set by the International Fair Trade Labeling Organization (

* The Fair Trade Federation "is an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide."

* "finds the best ethical, Fair Trade and environmentally friendly products and services available and brings them together in one easy-to-access place."

Learn more about fair trade and why it's important at, a project of OxFam. They provide the resources you need to shop responsibly, promote fair trade, educate yourself, and more. You've got to buy stuff, so make the choice that benefits everyone. Choose fair trade.

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." - Chinese Proverb

Monday, January 09, 2006

Make and honor a pledge.

Sometimes it's easier to get started with your good work if you have a friend or two who's in it with you. is here to help make that possible. Just submit your pledge, spread the word, honor your pledge, and watch the good works grow. Check out some of the pledges I started:


Feel free to pledge with me. And just for the record, I do the things I promise regardless of how many people pledge to do them with me.

If there is some action about which you feel strongly, make a pledge, gather support, and, together, honor your pledge. And let us know about your success. The is a great way to generate interest and action on the things that matter most to you.

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." - Naguib Mahfouz

Friday, January 06, 2006

Recycle printer cartridges.

Ink cartridges are just like razor blades. They make the initial purchase (printer, blade holder) inexpensive, but they get you with the refills (ink cartridges, razor blades). And the refills get used up so quickly! Recycling the cartridges may not make them less expensive, but it will help reduce waste and preserve the environment. Consider these facts from EnviroSmart :
* Producing one new laser cartridge consumes nearly a gallon of oil and generates almost 2.5 pounds of industrial waste.
* Producing one recycled laser cartridge uses less than half the oil of a new one.
* Two and a half ounces of oil are used for every ink jet cartridge produced.
* Over 86% of all inkjet cartridges sold in this country are thrown away, and over 50% of laser cartridges are deposited in landfills every year.
* Of the 1.2 billion new cartridges sold this year worldwide, only 100 million will come from remanufactured sources.

Thankfully, organizations like EnviroSmart are helping change that statistic. EnviroSmart is the largest recycler of inkjet and laser cartridges in the world. "In the last 10 years, the EnviroSmart program has generated over $17 million for participating businesses, schools and charities." Many offices have rolls of postage paid envelopes addressed to EnviroSmart. Just drop in your empty cartridge, seal and drop it in the mail. They make it so easy!

So if your office supply store doesn't accept your cartridges, or they don't give a discount or free paper in exchange for an empty cartridge, try recycling with EnviroSmart. By the way, they also recycle cell phones. Contact EnviroSmart today!

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Save three lives.

I made my regular bimonthly blood donation yesterday at a Red Cross blood drive. I was pleased to be seated next to a first time blood donor. This young woman had just turned 17, the minimum age to donate. I asked her why she wanted to donate, and she replied that she'd wanted to help during the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina but was too young to donate blood at the time. I commended her on her willingness to donate now. Since blood cannot be stored for long periods of time, the blood supply must constantly replenished. I am so impressed that that young woman was willing to donate, and I hope she'll do so again and again. Good job!

Won't you consider donating blood? 60% of Americans can donate but only 5% do. It only takes about an hour, and each pint of blood (the amount of one donation) can save up to three lives. Who knew it was that easy to be a hero? Donate blood today and donate life. You never know whose lives you will save.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Monday, January 02, 2006

Use your wood.

Have you ever wondered what happens to beautiful old trees the are knocked down by tornados, high winds, hurricanes, cars or something else? Most often they are burned as firewood, chipped for mulch or simply dumped in a landfill. But what if we could use the trees once more before the wood is destroyed? CitiLog to the rescue!

CitiLog's mission is "reduce tree waste by encouraging consumers to use good wood." To do so, they "use a combination of salvaging methods and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-certified) wood to produce high-quality custom millwork. An industry leader, CITILOG™ is vertically integrated, which means it can remove trees from a site, process, mill, and ship them back as finished product."

If you lose a large tree, consider the ways you can make use of the wood without destroying it. If you use the wood from your tree for new hardwood floors, cabinets, or moulding, that means fewer other trees will have to be cut. As CitiLog says, “good wood should never go unwanted.”

"The tree the tempest with a crash of wood
Throws down in front of us is not to bar
Our passage to our journey’s end for good,
But just to ask us who we think we are...."

- Robert Frost (1874–1963), from “On a Tree Fallen Across the Road.”

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Celebrate Kwanzaa: Imani.

On this, the seventh and last day of Kwanzaa, we focus on imani (faith) and "believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."

I spend a lot of time writing So what can I do posts about physical health and mental health, but it is just as important to cultivate spiritual health.

For me the spiritual health piece is most important, since give me peace and purpose, and informs how I develop and maintain my physical and mental health. suggests:
Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some find it through music, art or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles.

For me, spirituality and spiritual health comes through my personal relationship with God. Regardless of how you "find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life," make sure you do so. Be healthy, mind, body and soul.

As humans, we are all members of that first African Diaspora. And accordingly, the principles of Kwanzaa apply to us all. Manifest the Kwanzaa principles today, this week, and all year long.

What a way to start 2006! A blessed new year to you all!

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm X