Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Join the Carnival for Change - Booth 9.

Welcome to the Carnival for Change where we explore the web for interesting items relating to social justice, health, education, and opportunity.

* As a follow up from the last Carnival, consider applying for the Acumen Fund Fellows Program . "Our goal is to build an entrepreneurial bench of professional talent with strong financial and operational skills, experience in low-income markets, and the moral imagination to build enterprises that meet the needs of low-income consumers." Applications are due by noon on October 20, 2008 and February 10, 2009.

* Fast Company announces the 2008 Social Capitalist Awards. The list includes 45 nonprofits and 10 for-profit organizations working to make a positive difference in our world. I'm pleased to see that So What Can I Do has featured many of these organizations, including Heifer International, Teach for America, Better World Books, City Year, Donors Choose, Accion, Domini Social Investments, and Network for Good.

* Visit the one stop vote shop - register, get an absentee ballot, find your polling place: If you live overseas, visit to get and process your absentee ballot. Spread the word and make your voice heard.

* Apply for a "Each year, Echoing Green awards 20 two-year fellowships to entrepreneurs creating new social change organizations. Fellows receive up to $90,000 in seed funding and technical support to turn their innovative ideas into sustainable organizations." The next application deadlines are this fall, so start preparing now.

* Do you have a blog? If so, consider participating in Blog Action Day 2008. It will be October 15, 2008 and this year's theme is poverty. And be sure to check out So What Can I Do on Blog Action Day.

* Vote for So What Can I Do for the 2009 Black Web Award for Most Original Blog. Visit and vote as often as you like before October 5, 2008. Anyone can vote and there's no need to register to do so. Thanks!

* Wonder when the 2008 Blooker Prizes will be announced? "The Blooker Prize (formerly the Lulu Blooker Prize) is the world’s first literary prize for “blooks” – or books based on blogs, websites or other online content." While we wait for the 2008 prize, here are the overall winners from 2007 - My War: Killing Time in Iraq , and 2006 - Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting the Carnival for Change! If you'd like space at the next booth, send your items to me with "Carnival for Change" in the subject. See you next time! In the meantime, subscribe to So What Can I Do (see sidebar) or follow us on Twitter (@sowhatcanido).

"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vote, wherever you are.

The November elections in the US are just a few weeks away. Now is the time to make sure you are able to vote. This is particularly important if you are an eligible voter who does not live in the US right now. Here are two resources to help you out:

--> This is the site to go to if you are a an eligible US voter who does not live in the US. They have special resources for:

* Military voters . Perfect for uniformed service people and their dependents.
* Young voters ages 18-29.
* Low-bandwidth. Reduced graphics for slower connections.

If you live outside the US and want to vote, START NOW. It takes significant time to send and return ballots, and the ballots have to be received long before the November election day. Don't lose your chance to vote in this historic election.

--> US voters regardless of residence can use this site to

* Register to vote.
* Request an absentee ballot.
* Find your polling place.

Please forward this post. Democracy works best when everyone participates in the process. See you at the polls!

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." -John Wooden, sports coach

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tell your municipality about RecycleBank.

My last post focused on incentives for individuals to recycle. But what about community recycling programs? There are only three homes on our street that use the curbside recycling service. My mother's street has a similar issue - only she and one of her neighbors uses curbside recycling, and their curbside pickup is free! So what can we do to encourage recycling in our communities? The incentive program from Recycle Bank may provide the answer.

Recycle Bank forms partnerships with municipalities who want to encourage recycling in their communities. Recycling reduces landfill and waste disposal costs, in addition to providing a cleaner environment for residents to live in. Residents in the community put all their recyclable items in a single bin and when it is picked up the bin in weighed. Residents get rewards in the form of Recycle Bank Points Recycle Bank Points. These points can be redeemed for coupons for various goods and services, including shopping at CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, and 1-800-FLOWERS. Residents can also use their points to get coupons for food and other household items. Basically, the more you recycle, the more rewards you earn.

But what if you're at a college or university, or an apartment complex which doesn't have curbside waste pickup? In these cases, Recycle Bank Kiosks may provide the answer. After your organization signs up, you can recycle your materials, and then redeem the rewards points you earn.

If you think this is as great as I do, tell your municipal, school, organization leaders about Recycle Bank and encourage them establish a partnership. Forward this post to your officials, write them a letter, give them a call, or speak at an open meeting. It's a win for you, for your town, and for our world. Happy recycling!

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sell your old electronics for recycling.

Right now on our kitchen table is an old modem. It doesn't work anymore, but I refuse to throw it away and create more e-waste. I already know how to recycle cell phones and rechargable batteries, but what about MP3 players, digital cameras, laptops, GPS devices, gaming consoles, portable hard drives, and, of course, my old modem? Gazelle will buy these items and more from you and recycle them. That's right, you GET PAID for your old gadgets.

Are you making a list of all the stuff you'd like to get rid of? Good! Every item gets an offer, and they'll even send you a box and pay for shipping. It's a win for you and for the environment. Here are three ways you can get started:

* Visit to set up your free account. You'll be ready to sell in no time.
* Donate your electronics to raise money for one of over two dozen nonprofits. This is a great way to get your civic or religious group involved.
* Sell in bulk. This is a great option for schools, businesses, and others who have large numbers of recyclable electronics. Gazelle will make a personalized offer for your gadgets.

Electronic waste can cause real problems for the environment, and it reduces availability of valuable resources used in manufacturing. Recycling helps solve both of those problem and pays you for your efforts. Go Gazelle!

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Succeed in school and serve.

Now that school is in session, it definitely feels like fall, even though we haven't reached the equinox yet. There's so much to do to get ready for school and do well once you're there. Here are a few ways to help you succeed in school and serve others at the same time:

* Learn words and more. is a great way to improve your vocabulary and give rice to those who need food. Now they've expanded and users can be quizzed on a wide variety of topics, including world capitals (my favorite), famous paintings, words in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and English (with pronunciation), multiplication tables, English grammar, and chemical symbols. There's something for everyone, including the people who will eat because of your efforts.

* Learn words. works like with donations to World Vision instead of to the World Food Programme. Yet another way to improve your vocabulary.

* Change the margins. When you print out documents for your teacher, professor, or students, consider reducing the margins to .75 inches. This is just one of many ways to save paper, and money!

* Change the menu. It's hard to learn and perform well in school when you're hungry. So Stonyfield Farms has a great site on ways to improve school lunches - from recipes for you or your children to model legislation for healthier food in school vending machines.

* Publish. Graduate students and others know the importance of publishing their work. When your finished your thesis, dissertations, experiments, or paper, consider publishing your work in an open access journal. Your work will be available to anyone who can get online increasing readership, exposure, and citations.

* Pay back, give back. So you're finally out of school. Congratulations! Now it's time to pay back your student loans. Consider these ways to reduce your student loan debt while being of service to society. It's a win-win situation!

Have a great school year! Study hard, it's worth it.

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste." - United Negro College Fund motto

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Join the So What Can I Do Kiva Team.

Kiva, one of my favorite microloan agencies now has Team Lending. When you join the So What Can I Do Kiva Team you join other readers who understand the microloans are an important tool in sustainable development. You can make a loan for as little as $25, and together we'll make a big difference.

"Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." -Carl Schurz, revolutionary, statesman and reformer (1829-1906)