Thursday, January 25, 2007

Search the web.

How often do you use search engines to search the web? If you're like me, it could be dozens of times per day. What if each search could raise money for good causes? Now several new search pages now make that possible. Choose your favorite:

* Good Search - 50% of revenue donated to the charity of your choice. Powered by Yahoo.

* LiveSearch - For each search, "Microsoft will contribute to, a UN agency-led campaign providing education and sports programs for the nine million refugee youth around the world."

* - 50% of revenue donated to the charity of your choice. (UK based)

* Charity Cafe - 100% of profits go to Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and OxFam. Powered by

* ClicksCount - Donations to UK children's charities. Powered by MSN.

* - 50% of revenue donated to charity. Powered by Google.

* Do Good Toolbar - Download the toolbar and each search results in a donation. Powered by Google.

--> If you work for a nonprofit, consider adding your organization to the list of charities for these sites. And spread the word among your supporters so they can search and fund your programs.

It's great when something you do everyday can make our world a better place. Thanks Brian, thanks Michele!

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose." - Frederick Douglass

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Consider burial alternatives.

The cost of funerals is rapidly approaching $10,000, not as much as most weddings, but still pretty steep. The expense alone is enough reason to consider burial alternatives, but you may also be concerned for other reasons: land use, contamination of ground water by toxic embalming fluid, use of nonbiodegradable coffins and vaults, and the like. Thankfully there are many good alternatives for green burials that honor the deceased and comfort the bereaved. Here are a few of your choices:

* Natural burial "ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects.  Interment of the bodies is done in a bio-degradable casket, shroud, or a favorite blanket.   No embalming fluid, no concrete vaults." 

* Donation of the body for forensic research or medical training.

* Memorial reefs are an option for those who have been cremated. The cremains are used to create a "permanent living legacy that memorialize the passing of a loved one." Reefs are lowered into the sea to help restore the marine environment by creating artificial reefs and fish habitats.

* Cremation, a low-cost, widely-available alternative for those who are interested.

Many of us find it uncomfortable to think or talk about our own deaths, but having conversations about end-of-life care, organ donation, financial issues, and the like, can make things so much easier for your loved ones.

"One's death should mean something." - Edward Abbey

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Play. Pump.

That's all folks will have to do to have clean water when you support PlayPumps. Did you know that

* Unsafe water and lack of sanitation is now the single largest cause of illness worldwide.
* More than one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water.
* 40 billion hours are lost annually to hauling water, a chore primarily undertaken by women and girls.

PlayPumps is working to change all that. Theirs is an innovative and sustainable system that pumps water using the energy of children at play on an associated PlayPump merry-go-round. What a neat idea! This nonprofit organization installs pumps (and merry-go-rounds!) all over the world helping people have clean water.

Won't you support their work? It's so easy to make a long-lasting difference. Remember, we all need water.

"We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented
with ourselves."
-Henri Frederic Amiel, philosopher and writer (1821-1881)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Host a Souper Bowl party.

There are just 15 days left until the Super Bowl. Lots of folks watch it for the football. I like the commercials, and sometimes the halftime show. If you're having a Super Bowl party on February 4, why not make it a Souper Super Bowl?

"The Souper Bowl of Caring is a youth-led, grassroots movement of caring, the result of thousands of young people joining together to fight hunger and poverty in their communities. Since 1990, $33 million has been raised for charities across the country." Check out to find out how to:

* Register your community, religious, school or other group to participate.

* Donate to support the operating expenses of the non-profit Souper Bowl.

* Participate in the Service Blitz, by volunteering in your community on the Saturday before the big game.

Remember, each organizer gets to choose the agency to which to donate the money. I like Heifer International (for sustainable development), Potluck Food Rescue (for waste reduction), and Plant a Row for the Hungry (for healthy food), among others.

Have fun at your Souper Bowl Party!

"We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves." - Eric Hoffer, philosopher and
author (1902-1983)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Choose a refurbished computer.

Unused computers can create a lot of waste, not only of plastics but also of toxic metals used in the circuitry. Still, for many of us, computers serve an important need so we want to be sure we have a good one. Refurbished computers, made from machines returned shortly after delivery, work as well as new ones at half the cost and with a reduction of waste and damage to the environment.

You can help reduce e-waste by purchasing a refurbished computer instead of a new one. Here are two resources to help you choose a good one:

* Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool is "a procurement tool to help institutional purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes."

* Green Electronics Council has a mission to "inspire and support the effective design, manufacture, use and recovery of electronic products to contribute to a healthy, fair and prosperous world."

And remember, instead of throwing your outdated or nonfunctional computer in the trash, contact the manufacturer to see if they'll take it. Often the parts can be reused. Happy computing! (And happy 2007!)

"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough." - George Washington Carver