Posts Tagged ‘community’

Ask The Science Guru: A voice to the stories of science that inspire, inform & educate


Organization: Ask The Science Guru

Ask The Science Guru is a platform that offers you the opportunity to inform the world about your research, publications or projects that have an impact on improving the quality of life for all that share this world. You can also contribute by giving your input on the topics featured by us and that interest you the most!

Ask The Science Guru comes to you from the pristine but threatened coastal community of North East Arnhem land in the NT Australia. Many Authors and researchers have already showcased their work through us, and we want to invite all to join them by submitting your expressions of interest related to science and the environment.

Sailing Beyond Knowledge: Exploring uncharted waters, unfolding an evolving humanity

Sailing Beyond Knowledge

Organization: Sailing Beyond Knowledge
Find us on: Podomatic and Facebook

An exciting portal to navigate humanity

Sailing uncharted waters, we bring to you the last voices of Gaia! Sailing Beyond Knowledge is a community portal created to explore the evolving consciousness of humanity. In it, we have discussions with visionaries, ecologists, travelers, indigenous people, shamans, healers, artists, writers & creative individuals from all walks of life around the world.

Sailing Beyond Knowledge is a venue to learn about interesting adventures and stories from people that we meet on our sailing voyages, circumnavigating Central and South America & various island communities. Our goal is to bring to you people who want to share valuable insights captured while navigating through chaotic times and mapping a new sustainable future for humanity, as we make a transition from dependence to independence, community & self sustainability in balance with Earth.

Hosted from the ocean by a passionate & competent environmentalist

Carlita is an Environmental Biologist, Artist & Qigong practitioner who has interviewed, met and been inspired by some of the most powerful speakers, movers and shakers in environmental & humanitarian issues, scientists, eco-warriors, earth healers, rainforest experts, sustainability engineers and human rights campaigners such as Rex Wyler, the founder of Greenpeace, Nick Gordon, George Monbiot, John Pilger & many more.

She is the founder of several international environmental not-for-profit organizations and is currently working on myriad sustainability projects in Central America, but in this particular project, Carlita is leading during her sailing voyages. In addition to this, Carlita has taught environmental education and created recycling projects with rural indigenous people in Guatemala. Lastly, she is a regular participant at the European and World Social Forums, has been a Greenpeace activist and continues to dedicate her life’s work to sustainability, human rights and the preservation of biodiversity on planet earth.

Let nature be the classroom! Sierra Institute Wilderness Field Programs reconnect students with outdoors

Organization: Sierra Institute
Author: Doug Streblow, Sierra Institute Outreach Coordinator

Let nature be the classroom!  Sierra Institute tours Northern California Colleges, Fall 2010

This fall, Sierra Institute will pull on its backpack and hit the road with a Northern California College Tour, promoting the organization and the wide variety of fantastic academic field courses currently offered. Sierra Institute has been a leader in Experiential Wilderness Education for over 30 years, offering college level courses in the Humanities and Sciences for students interested in having hands on educational experiences where nature is the classroom.

While Sierra Institute is affiliated and accredited through Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA., to its legion of passionate alumni the Sierra Institute is better known by the open air, the night sky, the community living and the opportunities that only the wilderness can provide. Sierra Institute currently offers courses in Chile, Argentina, and Mexico, as well as in wilderness areas all over California.

Testaments from alumni

Says one alumna: “Sierra Institute allowed me the space to connect with myself on a very deep and truthful level. My anxiety of post-school life path questions were soothed by feeling of the earth’s support beneath our feet as we traveled for miles on foot, with everything we needed on our backs. As I experienced living so closely connected to the Earth, I felt as if I was returning to the root of my true self, something that had somehow become lost along the way of years of education, jobs, family traumas, and stress.

Also in the stillness of the land and open sky, I was able to connect with myself and my surroundings through my camera. I have loved photography since I was a very little girl, but never had I the space and time to develop my love and skill for natural photography in this way. Sitting with the trees, the river, and collecting beautiful photographic treasures was profoundly healing. My artist’s eye was able to re-awaken after years of being dormant, and now I am a successful photographer.”

Another explains, “I was a participant in the CA Wilderness Program. There was an academic focus, and many of us relearned the joy of truly being engaged in our education, something that is often lost over years of grades, stress, and an impersonal education. The academics came naturally, the real challenges and learning were in personal growth.”

How to find out more

The Northern California College Tour will be visiting UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Sonoma State College. People affiliated with college organizations, students, faculty, administrators or other college groups in the greater Bay Area who are interested in having a Sierra Institute representative visit at their college for a presentation this fall are encouraged to contact Outreach Coordinator Doug Streblow to set up an appointment at

Hello Holistic–the new sustainable lifestyle social network

Author: Karlie Cole

Are you interested in a healthy lifestyle? Alternative and complementary medicine? Healthy, organic, local food? Sustainable community and green choices? Spirituality and personal growth? Want to know where to find practitioners, eco-friendly businesses, great food, life changing events and more?

Then, HelloHolistic is THE social network for you!

Ho·lis·tic [hoh-lis-tik] -adjective:

HelloHolistic is new. It’s a holistic approach to connecting people and resources locally using all the best social networking tools. HelloHolistic goes way beyond the Yellow Pages style of finding what you’re looking for in your community and provides the online tools for building connections in our local communities in new, integrative and evolving ways.

As a member, you’ll be able to connect, converse, and collaborate with your family and friends as well as local practitioners and businesses that share your holistic lifestyle values.

If you are familiar with Facebook, the learning curve for using HelloHolistic will be very quick. Even if you’re not, it’s set-up is quite intuitive. On a healing journey? You can keep family and friends updated easily, and they can connect to the people and places you love, too. Working on a lifestyle change? Connect with your friends and family for support.

Ever wonder why, if it’s so easy to find current listings of movies and sporting events online, it’s not that easy to find events that are a bit more enlightening–a meditation class, yoga or one of those great life-changing events. As HelloHolistic builds, you’ll be able to quickly find out about the great events that interest you in one place. Going to a great event? Post it on HelloHolistic and invite your friends and family easily. And, keep up to date on events from your connections as they’re posted.

Every one of us has gained wisdom on our journeys, so on HelloHolistic, everyone is invited to share their wisdom. As HelloHolistic grows, you’ll find interesting articles on various healing modalities, healthy food, exercise, home remedies. You’ll stay up to date on the latest local news on creating a sustainable, green future and much more. If you like what someone is sharing, you can subscribe to them with one click and anytime they add a new article, you’ll know about it. Your connections, events, shared wisdom and more will all be there for you, saved on your profile, whenever you return.

As HelloHolistic grows, you’ll not only be a part of helping your community build an awesome directory of local holistic resources, you’ll find yourself feeling more connected and less isolated in your own local, live-and-in-person community.

Join us today! Personal membership is always FREE! Practitioner and business members provide financial support for Hello Holistic through low-cost memberships.

Shred Francisco: building community and fitness through skateboarding

Organization: Shred Francisco
Author: Diptesh Soni

Diptesh Soni: My story

My name is Diptesh Soni, but the kids call me Mr. Diptesh. I’m an Americorps member currently working at the Mission Dolores School in the heart of San Francisco’s predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. I spend most of my time assisting teachers in the class and tutoring kids. When I’m not doing that I’m working on getting Shred Francisco – Mission Dolores’ after-school skateboarding and arts camp – off the ground.

I grew up all over the place. I was born in Durban, South Africa and spent much of my childhood moving between South Africa and England. My family and I eventually moved to Mystic, Connecticut when I was 12.

That’s when I started skateboarding.

To be perfectly honest, the main reason I started skating was to be cool. No joke. While my middle school buddies were all pretty nice, it wasn’t much fun being the foreign kid in the post-9/11 era. They all found my British accent hilarious and my sister and I were pretty much the only Indian kids in the whole school.

Skateboarding became my solace. It provided me with a competitive way of being accepted by my peers. Not to mention that it was a much better alternative to vegging out in front of the TV playing video games in my free time.

How Shred Francisco began

I was reminded of this on my first day at Mission Dolores. As I walked out to the playground after school, with my skateboard in hand, I was quickly approached by a group of apprehensive 7th graders. They all loved skating, but some of their parents didn’t approve of the hobby, and some of them just plain couldn’t afford it.

It was a pity. Skating, a physical activity I had come to know and love so much over the last ten years, was being limited by the misunderstanding of an older generation and a lack of money. It had allowed me to make friends, it had given me endless hours of fun, and it had turned into my main mode of transportation. Why couldn’t these kids experience the same rewards?

It was with this in mind that I started Shred Francisco. I wanted to bring the joys and benefits of skateboarding to a new set of people. This was a way of bringing a community together through both physical fitness and art, and I wanted to dispel the idea that skating was just a pastime of hoodlums and misfits – to prove that it can be creative, constructive, and relatively cheap.

Challenges and successes along the road

So far we’ve been having a great time. The first half of the program consists of a board-painting workshop in which kids plan out their own skateboard design and eventually paint it on their brand new decks. We’ve been able to solicit help from local artists throughout the process and many people – parents, teachers, and children, among others, have been very receptive to the idea.

The biggest problem has been, predictably: money. While skateboarding started off as a cheap diversion for disenfranchised California youths, commercialism has brought it to the world stage and made it a profitable and expensive enterprise. A good quality complete skateboard can cost anywhere between $100 and $200, not including pads, helmets, shoes, ramps, rails and other accessories.

These costs are just not practical for most of the families at Mission Dolores. That’s why the next step is to hold fundraisers and gather donations so that by the time spring semester rolls around we’ll have enough money to get the kids on some wheels, cruising down the asphalt and shredding the gnar!

Not only do we plan to have a mini skatepark set up in the school playground mid-way through next semester, I hope to make the program a transportable model that can be implemented in other locations, including developing countries.

Our vision for the future

In many ways, skateboarding combines positive qualities of American culture and society that can be usefully applied in other parts of the world. Through the process, children learn a diverse array of skills – from painting and fundraising, to the use of digital media and new modes of communications to promote a cause they feel passionate about.

International outreach programs such as the Rhythm Road – a State Department-funded jazz exchange project – and Skateistan – a skateboard and arts camp in Kabul – prove that aspects of American society once considered marginal and dangerous can be used as powerful tools for cross-cultural interaction and global change at large. By engaging, educating, and empowering the youth of today I hope Shred Francisco can do the same.

Want to support Diptesh’s work?

To learn more about Shred Francisco and how you can help, check out their blog and consider making a tax-deductible donation.

MiniMonos: Fun-filled virtual world inspires kids to sustainable real-world action

Organization: MiniMonos
Jonathan Collins

The children on MiniMonos are showing adults how it’s done when it comes to real-world action. MiniMonos—a virtual world for kids focused on sustainability, generosity, community and fun—has become a creative incubator for child-instigated green initiatives.

Sustainability isn’t ‘taught’ on MiniMonos; it’s normalized. Kids quickly realize that if they don’t clean the lagoon, the fish don’t come back. If they don’t do their recycling, their tree houses get messy. These concepts are in-built, not preached—and the kids pick them up and run with them.

One of the kids, on his own initiative, started Pick-up Trash Fridays, through which other children have visited a recycling centre, cleaned up their school, and are regularly picking up trash. Another member picked up over 1,800 cigarette butts from her local beach.

MiniMonos was created so that children have an online place to explore without the constant pressure to buy stuff–a place that embodies core values like sustainability and generosity, without turning those values into a boring lecture.

Last month, MiniMonos held a Green Halloween competition, again initiated by one of the child members. The ‘spooky season’, which is often a high time for consumerism, is a catalyst to explore how recycling can be applied to real-life situations relevant to children. What will they come up with for the holidays?

To find out more about MiniMonos visit

Put your hoes down; Bay Area farm celebrates harvest and community

On Saturday, October 3, 2010, I attended Full Belly Farm’s annual Hoes Down festival at their beautiful farm in Capay Valley, CA. What a magical day. The sun was shining all over the polyculture farm, the pigs were eating muck, and delicious, responsibly-raised hamburgers were grilling. Children of all ages were everywhere: weaving baskets, running through the fields, exploring the hay maze structure. There was no end to the delectable food options; I walked around wishing I had five stomachs to fill instead of just one, small, generally vegetarian stomach. There were bike-powered smoothies, crunchy seaweed snacks, grilled oysters with garlic and butter, and fruit of all sorts.

This was a day of celebration, when local residents and not-so-local fans of the farm came together to celebrate the harvest. It also marks the seasonal transition into lower production that October brings on a farm like Full Belly. Many camp overnight at the farm and wake up in the morning to a hot or cold community breakfast and more workshops.

What I loved most about being at the farm for this event was how thoughtfully every aspect had been planned. There was little guilt or worry in attending. We used reusable dishes for the food. There was recycling, composting, and very little landfill (if any). Attendees short on cash got more at a solar powered ATM. There were plenty of opportunities to spend responsibly on locally produced products at various booths. Water containers were positioned all over the farm so we could fill our canteens on this seriously hot fall day. Old and young delighted in the horse-drawn carriage that ferried them from the parking lot to the festival. The organizers at Full Belly thought of everything. Participants chose from dozens of workshops throughout the day, where they learned skills ranging from herbal medicine to beekeeping to how to raise temperamental chickens. There were discussions on eating seasonally and on the leading role women are taking in the food movement.

For those of us who live in the city, this day was a special way to support the amazing people who grow our food. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the changing of the seasons, an occurrence that is easy to forget in sunny California. Thank you to all those at Full Belly Farms who put together this beautiful, inspiring day of dancing, music, food and fun. I’ll see you next year!

Photos by Janet Frishberg.

Westbourne Community Magazine urges support of local shops, cutting carbon emissions

Organization: Westbourne Community Magazine
Author: Tom Faull

The Westbourne Magazine, a community magazine serving an area of Bournemouth in the UK, wants to see an increase in local trade over the coming years. Editors and contributors to the publication are behind the project, which is garnering huge support from area residents and businesses.

The magazine promotes community shops and services. By urging people to walk to nearby shops rather than driving to out-of-town centres, Westbourne Magazine hopes to foster cuts in carbon emissions while supporting local trade.

Another benefit: Supporting local and independent traders puts money in communities rather than multinational companies. Westbourne Magazine offers a discount to members of the local trade organisation and only promotes businesses in the area.

Building Bridges: A Global Shift One Bamboo Tree At A Time

Bamboo Bridge and Anthony Nguyen

By Anthony Nguyen

It was only a couple decades ago when I was born into the world and my parents gave me a middle name who’s Vietnamese to English translation meant “little bamboo.” I had been puzzled with why they chose such a name, but I eventually grew into it as my interest in bamboo was sparked a year and a half ago. It was then I ran across a video on CNN featuring a lady from Bali, named Linda Garland. She was convinced bamboo will play a big role in saving the planet. Since, I have discovered many of the applications for perhaps the most versatile and resilient plant in the world and how it fits into my life and the legacy I’d like to leave behind.

Why Bamboo?

Bamboo is used for food, medicine, construction, textiles, musical instruments, arts & crafts, water processing, irrigation, transportation (bamboo bicycles & trailers). It can replace wood in any application including paper & charcoal. It prevents soil erosion, has higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel, rapidly regenerates after being cut in a matter of 3-5 years (unlike trees which can take more than 30), and has a higher CO2 intake/oxygen output per unit of mass than trees’ per unit of equal mass.

The Person and The Action Plan

As an Economics major, environmentalist, and a business minded person, I immediately started to think of how to apply these uses/benefits to a Western world facing a plethora of challenges. My primary goal has been to implement bamboo propagation into my real estate business. Then for the future, my aspirations are to create other businesses that promote further bulk growth and sale of bamboo for construction purposes as a substitute for the wood harvested from our precious rain forests. These businesses would address the challenges we face with our depleting resources and the global climate crisis.

These ideas, of course, are a picture slowly being pieced together by an idealist. The realization of my dream is contingent upon many things working out favorably for a number of years. However, part of the philosophy behind 4YG is to take action NOW. Even though I don’t currently own acres upon acres of land, I know what little steps I can take in the present so that together we can head in the right direction. Some of which include: germinating/planting seedlings of timber bamboo in pots and gifting them to family & friends to increase their level of consciousness on environmental sustainability, propagating more mature bamboo and planting on my company’s investment properties, and happily sharing my story with the great people at 4YG. Small things really do all add up, more than you could ever imagine.

Anthony Nguyen

To Make Change Happen

Our society throughout history has proven to advance itself leaps and bounds when we inspire dreamers bold enough to formulate a seemingly out of reach vision to solve massive problems. Each leader had enough patience to approach the journey ahead: left foot…right foot…left foot…right foot. The momentum was then fueled with the immense passion and motivation put forth in his or her convictions to make the vision a reality. Finally, support was rallied and the faith that doing the right thing would ultimately pay good dividends for their fellow man was never lost. I am affirmed every day that it’s my destiny to fulfill my mission to better this world to the best of my ability. Each person ultimately creates his or her own path. But it takes us collectively walking in the same direction to be able to live in harmony with the world and one another.

Anthony can be reached at or you can visit his blog at

Transition US – People and Communities Taking Action

Organization: Transition US: Engaging People and Communities
Author: Carolyne Stayton

The Transition movement represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. These re-localization efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable than the one we have today.

The Transition model is based on a loose set of real world principles and practices that have been built up over time through experimentation and observation of communities as they drive forward to reduce carbon emissions and build community resilience.

Underpinning the model is a recognition of the following.

The Transition Movement believes that is up to us in our local communities to step into a leadership position on this situation. We need to start working now to mitigate the interrelated effects of peak oil, climate change, and the economic crisis, before it is too late. Together we can make a difference.

You can get involved today by joining your local Transition Initiative or starting a new initiative by hosting a Training for Transition event in your own community.

The Cool Community Movement: Tackling Climate Change One Household and Community at a Time

Organization: Empowerment Institute
Author: David Gershon

The political leaders of the world who gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, had the unenviable responsibility of forging a strategy to pull humankind back from the brink of a dire future. What ultimately will come from this meeting is uncertain, but what is certain is the immensity of the challenge ahead. The speed and magnitude of change required goes well beyond anything political leaders have ever had to contemplate. And, unfortunately, the Social Change 1.0 tools at their disposal — command and control and financial incentives — were designed for slow, incremental change.

Empowerment Institute The dilemma we face is what systems theory calls second-order change — change that requires a system to transform and reorganize at a higher level of performance. When the easier-to-implement solutions prove inadequate, the system goes into stress and must evolve, or it will break down.

We as a human species are being called on to reinvent not only our world but also the process by which we achieve this reinvention. If the current social change tools of carrots and sticks alone are not able to meet our needs, what else do we have? Are there assumptions we might rethink about what motivates people to change? Taking a page from Thomas Jefferson’s playbook, might we be able to motivate ourselves to change because of a dream that inspires our imagination, enlivens our sense of possibility and lifts our spirit as human beings?

My three decades of behavior-change research have taught me that we human beings are willing to change when we have a compelling vision and the necessary tools to help us bring it to fruition. To stay motivated, we need others of like mind going on the journey with us. And, with a well-designed change platform that is replicable and scalable, these behavior changes can be widely disseminated throughout a community, country and across the planet. I call this approach “Social Change 2.0.” Here’s what a Social Change 2.0 strategy looks like applied to climate change:

America represents 20 percent of the planet’s carbon footprint, with half of these emissions coming from the fossil fuels we use to power our homes and cars. At the community level, our collective carbon emissions are between 50 and 90 percent. If, as U.S. households, we were able to reduce our carbon footprint by 25 percent and take this to scale community- and nationwide, we could significantly lower America’s carbon emissions in the short run and buy ourselves the critically needed time for the more incremental solutions to scale up. This would also provide us the moral authority to ask more of other countries, such as China and India.

Furthermore, by engaging the citizens of a community to lower their carbon footprint, we would be stimulating demand for the green products and services needed to grow a local low-carbon economy. And as we aggregate these low-carbon economies nationally, we see the path forward toward the green U.S. economy on which the country is pinning its future.

In 2006 I began testing this solution by creating a community-based environmental behavior-change program called Low Carbon Diet. The program consisted of 24 steps to reduce one’s carbon footprint by at least 5,000 pounds in 30 days and to help others do the same. It was based on my experience working with 20,000 people organized into neighborhood-based peer-support groups — EcoTeams — who reduced their environmental footprint 25 percent in cities ranging from environmentally progressive Portland, Ore., to middle-of-the-road Columbus, Ohio.

The program empowered the movement that had been building around personal action and community-based solutions, and immediately took off. It was driven by the many local governments committed to the issue of climate change that were wishing to engage their citizens; environmental groups, like Al Gore’s Climate Project, which gave the book to the 1,000 people he trained to lead his “An Inconvenient Truth” slide show; and faith-based groups like Interfaith Power and Light, representing some 5,000 congregations, wishing to engage congregants. This interest resulted in the development of a strategy to scale up the program community-wide, creating what came to be called a Cool Community. Four years later, there are now over 300 Cool Communities in 36 states across America, with participants achieving on average a 25 percent carbon footprint reduction. And the movement has also now spread to China, Japan, Korea, Australia and Canada.

The Cool Community movement is building Mount Everest base camps in communities across the nation for the long climb we must make to address climate change. It is also providing fire for the soul to inspire community leaders to reach for new visions of what is possible. Nelson Mandela, an exemplar of taking on large, epic challenges, describes the journey this way: “It always seems impossible until it is done.” But the journey must begin somewhere, with someone. That somewhere is our homes, neighborhoods, towns and cities. And that someone is us.

David Gershon is the author of Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds, and recently published Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World. He is CEO of the Empowerment Institute and founder of the Cool Community movement.