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Archive for April, 2008

Today Is World Malaria Day

Posted on April 25th, 2008 by Casey in advocacy, international relief, malaria, world health + AIDS 0 Comments

One of the world’s deadliest diseases – malaria – is an indiscriminate killer, affecting all age groups and primarily found in the worlds poorest nations, whose populations are least able to combat it. WORLD MALARIA DAY was established in order to raise awareness for and understanding of malaria as a global emergency that is both preventable and curable. It replaces ‘Africa Malaria Day’ which has been commemorated on April 25 since 2001.

Africa Malaria Day was a day that was set aside by African governments committed to rolling back malaria and meeting the United Nations malaria-related Millennium Development Goals. But now Member states of the World Health Organization agree that greater awareness is needed. It is hoped that with an internationally recognized WORLD MALARIA DAY, communities and organizations worldwide will mobilize and get involved in this continuing battle.

You can help by shopping online here and choosing The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as your nonprofit. The Global Fund provides more than two thirds of all international malaria funding.

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20 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Recycling

Posted on April 21st, 2008 by Corine in behind the scenes, earth day, environment, itunes, lonely planet, recycling 0 Comments

There’s no way we could let Earth Day go by without saying something of note – however – with the hundreds of thousands of articles, blogs and events already out in the e-sphere to commemorate the day, we didn’t feel like we had any new or unique content to contribute. We hope you’ll take the time to visit our Shop Green section and purchase something you need while at the same time acknowledging those retailers and products that are good for you and the planet as a whole.

In the meantime, I found this article written by Jocelyn Rice and Amber Fields in Discover Magazine called 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Recycling, which I found to be both strangely fascinating and just a little disturbing. I’m sharing it for just those reasons and hope you’ll forgive me if you find it a bit too weird for your tastes. This is a cleverly written piece and flows well, especially when read in order.

  1. Drink up: It takes three months for a recycled aluminum can to make it’s way back on the shelf in reincarnated form.
  2. Or build a bridge: In 2002 researchers from Rutgers University built a 42-foot-long bridge over a river using plastic beams made from polystyrene cups and polyethylene milk jugs.
  3. Or construct a boat: During World War 1, enough metal was salvaged from corset stays to build two warships.
  4. As of press time, the boat Earthrace was being prepared for an attempt to break the maritime around-the-world speed record. It will use biofuel, some of which comes from liposuctioned human fat.
  5. No fat here: During Britain’ 2007 Recycle Now week, svelte models strutted down Brighton beach wearing swimsuits made of steel cans.
  6. These boots were made for flooring: Nike gathers old athletic shoes and turns them into raw material for “sports surfaces” like tennis courts or running tracks.
  7. Meanwhile in China, more then 1 million unsold copies of British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams’s latest CD will be used to resurface roads.
  8. Last year Chinese hair salons caused a stir by unlawfully recycling used condoms, possibly donated by local nightclubs into hair ties.
  9. Elsewhere in Asia, an enterprising dental technician established the Japan Denture Recycle Association in 2006 to cash in on the precious metals in discarded choppers. Proceeds go to UNICEF.
  10. Each year Americans junk more than 80 million dollar’s worth of copper, gold, silver, palladium and platinum in the form of retired cell phones.
  11. Cell phones, laptops, and, um, personal massage devices: New British laws mandate that old electronic appliances-including sex toys-cannot be dumped. They must be recycled with other so-called e-waste.
  12. E-waste is for the birds: An Australian nut orchard converts the shells of vintage Macintosh computers into houses for pest-eating birds.
  13. Humans need house too: when Luiz Bispo built his house in Rio de Janeiro slum out of construction waste last year, city authorities threatened to destroy it. Now the house-which floats atop a junk-filled river on a base of plastic bottles-is being touted as an icon of sustainable development.
  14. Cities have long been goldmines for recyclers: Beginning in ancient times, tanners collected human urine to use in turning animal skins into leather.
  15. In the middle ages, urine was also used to make saltpeter, an essential component of gunpowder.
  16. Cities get recycled too: Masonry from Roman settlements made a handy source of stone for medieval church builders.
  17. But enough is enough: In 1821 Turkish soldiers surrounded Greek forces holed up in the Parthenon and started stripping lead from the temple columns to make bullets. The horrified Greeks promptly sent the enemy a fresh supply of ammunition to discourage further recycling.
  18. Using every part: There are now sheep-poo air fresheners. Sterilized sheep droppings are turned into packets stuffed with grass-or daffodil- scented material.
  19. Green to the end: The Doggone Project in Mannheim, Germany, can recycle deceased pets into fertilizer.
  20. You, too: Ecopods, a British company, sells stylish coffins made from hardened recycled paper, available in a range of colors including indigo and silver leaf.

Unofficial Earth Day Flag by John McConnell

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Autism Speaks in April

Posted on April 1st, 2008 by Corine in advocacy, health + human services, people who care, volunteerism 0 Comments

For those of you unfamiliar with autism and its varied spectrum of disorders, take this month to learn more, as April is Autism Awareness Month. Additionally, through a UN resolution passed in 2007, April 2 is now officially World Autism Awareness Day. This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world’s attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. A random disorder, autism crosses all racial, ethnic, and social boundaries equally and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Across the globe, the autism community is celebrating its members and holding special events to raise awareness and money for research to find answers to the questions of its increasing prevalence in children in all regions of the world. One of the most successful events bringing this community together is the Autism Speaks Walk Now For Autism – Virtual Walk sponsored by Toys R Us.

This month we offer an introduction to this growing global health crisis and its premier advocacy organization, Autism Speaks. In our interview with actor John Schneider, whose roles span from television’s Dukes of Hazzard to Broadway’s musical hit, CHICAGO, Schneider offers insights to his personal experience with autism and talks about his greatest role, as a father with an autistic son.

As a former Development Director for Special Olympics Southern California I have had many opportunities to interact with children and adults affected by varying degrees of autism. I am amazed at the progress that Autism Speaks has made in the short years since its inception and hugely impressed that the organization has been able to galvanize so many of the major autism nonprofits to act with one voice in its efforts to find answers to autism’s cause and to support the research efforts in discovering a breakthrough.

I’m also happy to highlight two of our retailers in conjunction with our focus on autism – please take a couple of minutes to see how they each support Autism Speaks


This April, more than 500 Barnes & Noble stores around the country will host special autism Storytimes. Everyone who has been touched by autism should know about them. A complete listings of all the event times and locations can be found here.

We’ll have more on these retailers and others in our April newsletter – watch for it on the 6th. We’ll also introduce some of our new partners, keep you posted on our financial, tax and insurance services and give you the scoop on how to stop junk mail AND save trees at the same time.

Please make a commitment to become a do-er and keep Do Something in mind when looking for volunteer opportunities for teens, young adults and you this summer. We thank our gracious hostess Emme for her support here and her ongoing dedication to awakening the spirit of giving inherent in each of us.

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