Thursday, May 24, 2007

Philanthropy through your food!

Here's an interesting way of thinking of local foods: as a way of spending your money wisely.

Those with philanthropic tendencies can use the local food market, through shopping farmer's markets or demanding local foods in grocery stores, as a way of giving to their community and supporting healthy neighborhoods. This has the added bonus of helping philanthropists eat better, too!

This is one of many ways that shows that you don't have to be rich to be a philanthropist -- it's all about the choices you make in life. For more articles about philanthropy and areas we care about, visit

Friday, May 18, 2007

ExxonMobile's still denying global warming...

...and funding it too! The Mother Jones blog announced that ExxonMobile claimed to have stopped funding the denial of global warming but is continuing to do just the opposite. According to Greenpeace, "Exxon spent $2.1 million last year on 41 groups who are leading the climate sceptic industry" last year. It has dropped funding for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), it continues to fund The Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the George C Marshall Institute, the American Enterprise Insitute, and many other groups at the heart of Global Warming denial who have participated a plan to eliminate the Kyoto Protocol.

Mother Jones deems it "pseudoskepticism" and compares it to the strategy used by those in the tobacco industry to "cast doubt over the danges of smoking." Luckily, the government didn't let the tobacco industry get away with it, and now they are not letting ExxonMobile either. The chairman of the House Science oversight committee Brad Miller requested a list of "global warming skeptics" it has funded yesterday.

The most important thing is keeping these lies in the public. We cannot stop bugging ExxonMobile, and other gas companies of the like, about whom they are funding. We cannot allow gas companies to fund the denial of global warming just because they might get a better profit off a misinformed public.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wedding Crasher - Finally!

A new book by Rebecca Mead, a staff writer at the New Yorker, explores the garish ceremonies that American weddings have become. One Perfect Day: the Selling of an American Wedding talks about what a huge monster the wedding industry has become and why it's become that way. More in this New York Times article.

Here's something new I didn't know: the average wedding costs $27,000! A big enough number to crash your wedding, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bill McKibben is hopeful too!

Bill McKibben says we're stuffed | Salon Books: "Unfortunately, the science on global warming has grown steadily worse and the situation is much grimmer now than it was 20 years ago. But there have been changes in the last couple of years that have made me hopeful. We're figuring out that the endless increase in our consumption, which drives global warming more than anything else, actually isn't making us very happy. That seems to me a very powerful idea. If it were making us happy, we'd be out of luck, because no matter how much trouble it was causing we'd just keep pushing the lever."

Bill McKibben is one of my favorite environmental writers. In his new book, Deep Economy, he argues for a return to more local economies, where the main goal isn't to increase productivity and profit, but to make enough profit to make a living while building community, maintaining durability, and meeting environmental commitments. I have heard forward thinking economists and companies call this the "triple bottom line." Here's hoping that many, many more CEOs jump on the bandwagon. I know that John Mackey, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market, is working on a book called "Conscious Capitalism." Maybe it will be a roadmap to show the way to both build relationships (supporting local and artisinal growers), and make a difference in the environment (building a market for organic growers, offsetting 100% of carbon emissions), while still providing a product that people are happy to pay for.

Consumption: A Big Role in Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently published their report on the costs and benefits of various methods of offsetting the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, which are up 70% isnce 1970. The IPCC chair, Rejendra Pachauri, told reporters: "Human society as a whole has to look for changes in consumption patterns." BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Climate change 'can be tackled' Well, thank goodness consumption is no longer the elephant in the room! Changes in how we transport ourselves, what we eat, what we build, and what we buy must be made to reduce climate emissions. Now, will the government listen???

Things are looking considerably better than at this time last year, before the Step it Up movement rallied support around the magic number of 80% emissions reductions from 2000 levels by 2050. Decision makers around the US are joining the chorus of voices signing loudly for solutions. For a look at the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, click here, and also see what US mayors have been up to. I am cautiously optimistic, how about you?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Patenting Yoga

The US Government has decided to tap into Indian culture by patenting Yoga. According to Suketu Mehta's OP-ED in The New York Times today, "The United States patent and Trademark Office has issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories, and 2,315 yoga trademarks," producing "$3 billion a year in America alone."

The issue of who owns what regarding Yoga has also been brought in question in India with regards to Bikram Chowdhury's Bikram Yoga. The Indian government is creating a library of the asanas in order to prevent people from patenting different aspects of the ancient practice, and this library would be available to the US. Apparently, that's not enough for the US Government though. We'd rather own it because then we can make money off of it.

When will we, as Americans, learn that all of life is not about money? Sometimes life is about feeding your soul and helping better the universe. Instead, e have managed to strip the soul right out of Yoga by turning it into a commercialized profit-industry, just like everything else in America.