Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Germany’s Green Energy Plan: “Laboratory of ‘Green Growth’”

In an article published on May 9th, Christian Schwägerl brings attention to the new Energy Plan being put forward by Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Merkel said the Fukushima disaster “has forever changed the way we define risk in Germany” and has now committed that country to a path that, if successful, would mean that by 2030 green electricity would be the dominant source of power for German factories and households.

 
Given that Ms. Merkel is from the “conservative” side of Germany’s political spectrum, this is especially astounding and heartening news!

 
Below are a couple of quotes from the article, which is well worth reading in its entirety. (Thank you to Paul ray for bringing this to my attention.)

 

“In mid-March, Merkel stunned the German public and other governments by announcing an accelerated phasing out of all 17 German nuclear reactors as an immediate reaction to the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The chancellor now says she wants to slash the use of coal, speed up approvals for renewable energy investments, and reduce CO2 emissions drastically. That means that the 81 million Germans living between the North Sea and the Alps are supposed to cover their huge energy needs from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass within a few decades.

 

… That makes Germany the world’s most important laboratory of “green growth.” No other country belonging to the G20 club of economic powers has a comparable agenda.”

 
What will it take to get every country’s leader to take a stand like this one? Yep. It will take the united vast collective will of humanity standing up and saying, “We aren’t going along with business as usual! We refuse to be manipulated into continuing on the path to collapse. We choose to live for the future of all life, not just for a selfish moment of wealth for a few.”

 
What a time to be alive! Together we are exploring what it means to self-generate the turning toward a Just, Thriving and Sustainable Future!

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.

I.D.E.A.S.–Educating, empowering and engaging communities in environmental sustainability

Organization: I.D.E.A.S. (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions)
Website: http://www.facebook.com/IDEASforUs
Email: ideasforus411@gmail.com
Author: Chris Castro

Student activists Chris Castro and Hank Harding had searched for a club that suited their ‘green’ needs, but never found what they were looking for.

So they started their own.

Castro and Harding, both environmental studies majors at the University of Central Florida, wanted a club that not only walked the talk but was active as well. The friends decided to start their own club—Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions, better known as I.D.E.A.S.

I.D.E.A.S. is a national non-profit organization founded to educate, empower and engage students in environmental sustainability by offering innovative solutions through research (R&D), action and environmental awareness.

With a focus in outreach, I.D.E.A.S. provides service learning and volunteer opportunities through hands-on, action based practices which focus on environmental education, stewardship and conservation. In addition, we perform scientific research in advanced biofuels, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

As a proactive organization, we provide the initiatives that link peers with issues affecting our local environment and surrounding communities.

Currently, we have ten chapters across the United States, and we continue to expand.

Chapters

University of Central Florida (UCF)
Florida International University (FIU)
University of Miami (UM)
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU)
University of Florida (UF)
Washington, D.C.
Penn State University (PSU)
Texas Tech University (TTU)
University of Huston (UH)
Coral Reef High School (CRHS)

Leaders

Chris Castro
Henry Harding
Viktor El-Saieh
Sydney Smith
Sebastian Church
Samantha Ruiz
Meg Ryan
Dave Oswald
Zak Marimon
Tina Bechtold
Doug Middleton
Brandon Chase
Arturo Romero
Rio Tazewell
Adam Zabowski
Marta de Tuya

Throughout our two and one-half years, we’ve been a family. We’ve won a National Best Campaign of the Year award; placed eighth in the nation, in a field of 1200, for Clean Energy Advocacy; generated over 2700 members; partnered with federal, state and county government, as well as private, public and non-profit sectors; educated K-12 students; cleaned more than ten types of ecosystems weekly; participated in energy competitions; held clean energy bike rallies; created community gardens; and created solutions for issues we face on a daily basis.

This team of proactive leaders has changed communities across the United States, and we strive to expand this movement as far as possible.

Please join us in making the changes we need to see.

Blog Action Day: Working together to solve the water crisis

Organization: Water.org
Website: http://water.org
Author:
Erin Swanson

It’s easy to glaze over when hearing vague, general phrases like “the global water crisis.” So what? you might think. What is being done? What can I do?

We are thrilled to share some good news as millions on the web rally to talk about all things water for Blog Action Day. We’re not waiting on a magic cure to help those without clean water or a toilet. The solutions are simple and cost-effective. And Water.org has been delivering these solutions in sustainable ways for 20 years. For only $25, Water.org can bring someone access to clean water for life.

Why blog about water today?

Water projects in the developing world have disturbingly high failure rates. For example, in Africa, it is more than 50 percent. Through the past few decades, well-intentioned groups and organizations have appeared in poor communities, wanting to help them get clean water for the first time. Unfortunately, this has too frequently resulted in more harm than good, disillusionment, and confusion for everyone involved.

We all want to make a difference. We all want to make the greatest impact — with our lives, our time, and our money. It is all limited and valuable, after all.

But here is where the opportunity lies. We can be intentional with all the things we have to offer and learn from others’ mistakes.

This is precisely the vision that motivated our co-founder Gary White to start Water.org. Through his travels in the developing world and experience as an engineer, he was convinced there was a better way to help those in need in practical, sustainable ways.

The good news: Solutions to water crisis are simple and cost-effective

Here, we find the good news. Solutions to the water and sanitation crisis are simple and cost-effective. And by creating a model that focuses on a holistic approach to helping people get water and a toilet for the first time, sustainability can be achieved.

What does this look like? Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned that it is through a combination of high-quality, local partner, community ownership, locally available technology, and integrated projects involving sanitation and health and hygiene education that make the most impact—for the long term.

Transformation does not come with the flip of a switch. It is only with hard work, dedication, and empowerment of those in need of the solutions. These forces help to drive Water.org’s programming. Gary said it best: “”People on both ends–the poor and the powerful–must believe that the poor can meet their own needs. I know I do; I’ve seen it over and over again first-hand. This is why I believe every person can have access to safe drinking water in my lifetime.”

Be part of something big today

And so, today on Blog Action Day, we invite you to be a part of something big. We invite you to make an impact that lasts a lifetime. Because it’s not just about a well. It’s about what is best for those we’re trying to help. It’s about lifelong change. It’s about a holistic view and approach that allows those we’re trying to help thrive and take control of their situation so they can break the cycle of poverty.

We’re honored to be working beside you.

Erin Swanson
Water.org

P.S. For only $25, Water.org can bring someone access to clean water for life: http://donate.water.org

P.P.S. Donate your voice for Blog Action Day! Here is a resource page with good photos, video, facts, and quotes to get you started on your blog post, Facebook note, or status update: . Thanks for joining us!


Schumacher Society hosts Zero Carbon Britain October 16

Organization: Schumacher Society, UK
Website: http://www.schumacher.org.uk
Author:
Nick Hart-Williams

October 16, 2010, is the date of this year’s Schumacher Conference, held in Bristol, in the UK. This year, in partnership with the Centre for Alternative Technology, we present ZERO CARBON BRITAIN, the most exciting prospect yet for our country, and for everyone.

The prospect of a zero carbon world is inspiring–and achievable. Our one-day Zero Carbon Britain event in the UK is one way of bringing people together around such a prospect, and a way to empower us all to take take action. It is a day of keynotes and workshops, of forming friendships and alliances. See our web site for full details: Zero Carbon Britain.




Biomimicry for Activists: COP10.org & Big Medicine Work to Magnify Global Activist Impact Exponentially

Organization: COP10.org & Big Medicine
Website: http://cop10.org
Email: info@cop10.org
Author: w. david kubiak

Defending Biodiversity with Biomimicry
– A Brief Introduction to Corporism, Immuno-activism and Eco-Social Germ Theory

“Let us raise our vision high enough to dominate the problem.” — Teilhard de Chardin

Big Medicine and COP10.org hold three odd truths to be increasingly self-evident: COP10, the tenth Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), could be the most critical UN conference in eco-treaty history; activists have a lot to learn from their own immune cells; and big corporate bodies now cause or worsen most of Earth’s deadliest ills.

Together they suggest a truly daunting crisis, but they also help redefine our challenges in ways that give activists, native peoples and Nature herself a plausible chance to prevail. COP10.org and Big Medicine are working to launch “Corporism and Biomimicry for Activists,” a memetic initiative to revolutionize the way we look at corporate bodies, activist campaigning and the evolutionary future of our world.

Premise I

COP10 may well be the most important environmental conference the world has ever seen in terms of scope, potential impact, and repercussions for future eco-treaties.

Scope: The CBD’s unprecedented purview includes the entire web of life, climatic health and sustainable economics as well as the future of medicine, agriculture and indigenous rights. No other eco-gathering has ever had more life and death issues on the table all at once.

Impact: COP10′s accomplishments or lack thereof will affect every major ecosystem in the biosphere and the lives of billions of the poor. We are not talking about distant Seventh Generation impacts. COP10 actions or omissions will wreak fateful changes in the next twenty years.

Treaty implications: After the collapse of the Copenhagen climate talks last December and the CITES debacle in Doha this spring, the relevance, efficacy and thus legitimacy of global treaty efforts are facing their third strike. It is not just species and ecosystems facing danger at COP10; if this conference also fails, the entire future of the UN treaty process is deeply imperiled as well.

Premise II

Activists really are the planet’s immune system and our win/loss record could improve a lot if we studied immune strategies. Our immune cells are always vastly outnumbered, attracted to trouble and pretty impossible to organize. They are also diverse, creative and incessantly communicating. In other words, immunocytes and activists share many things in common, but these tiny watchdogs seem to defend our bodies rather more effectively than we protect the living earth.

Immunocytes’ big edge over immuno-activists is that they don’t obsess on specific symptoms. Their primary shared mission is to seek out and disable whatever class of pathogens is causing an entire symptom array. Once they incapacitate the background disease agent, scores of different troubling symptoms can fade away at once.

Activists tend to converge around specific symptoms and form separate teams to deal with them. We can thus grow very divided very fast, not just in broad arenas like war or health or ecology, but in narrow single issue groups devoted to nukes or GMOs or dying reefs.

Among biodiversity activists especially there are a bewildering variety of single issue groups fighting for polar bears, koala bears, plankton, whales, orangutans or a hundred other besieged creatures in the rainforests, mountains and ocean depths. Since such diverse concerns breed more competition than synergy, immune wisdom might lead some of us to look upstream for common causes to these threats instead devoting all our energy to specific symptoms on the ground.

Premise III

Huge corporations constitute a new class of being that now cause or exacerbate most earthly ills. Many now see these corporate leviathans–the collaborative fraternity of Big Energy, Big Pharma, Big Agrobiz, Big Arms, Big Finance, etc.–as the lethal common denominator behind a host of plagues we face. Some indigenous leaders even call them an alien invasive species and the biggest single threat to planetary health.

“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” — Sophocles

Taxonomically, this Big Body species includes the monstrous conglomerates, multinationals and banking firms that rule most of the world’s economy and determine the policies, media content and conventional wisdom of our age. They are the primary drivers of war, pollution, over-consumption and eco-devastation, as well as intensifying oligarchy, tyranny and human rights abuses worldwide. Most are publicly listed corporations, many are global in reach, but all are dangerously over-sized and out-competing human beings for planetary control.

This is not about capitalism, communism or socialism, by the way. It is about toxic organizational scale within any socio-economic system, and how big bodies inevitably turn cancerous when they exceed a certain size. Once such bodies incorporate more than a thousand members or start to diversify promiscuously, their own growth in any direction becomes more important than their avowed utility to the body politic—and malignancy is near.

Focusing on these big bodies and their destructive influence on our politics, global treaty-making and the biosphere as a whole can birth powerful new strategies and collaborative possibilities for NGOs of every stripe. Beyond just organizing and lobbying on behalf of a wide diversity of symptoms, which always tends to divide and weaken us, we can also emulate our immune cells and look upstream to the malignant corporate entities that cause so much of our suffering worldwide.

We simply must start asking ourselves such fundamental questions as, “How large and powerful should humanity allow commercial bodies to become?” Or, “Can peace, justice or ecological well being ever really be achieved as long as they pursue endless growth and dominate our governance?” Or, “How can we downsize, decentralize and democratize monstrous corporate bodies back to benign scale and human control?”

Highlighting such issues can kindle a truly radical debate that exposes the deepest corporate roots of eco-social malaise. If we hope to transform the Earth and human life swiftly, we must move beyond conventional single issue activism and finally join hands to miniaturize and disempower the mega-corporate parasites that now disease (and rule) our world.

Reorienting just ten percent of activist attention toward this challenge could revolutionize the impact of grassroots politics, renew democracy locally and globally, and pave the way for a new life-affirming evolutionary renaissance. In sum, it offers one of the few credible ways we could ever meet the 2014 goal.

For more info see:
Shrinking Corporate Tumors with Immunogentility
Evoking Earth’s Immune Response to Mega-Corporate Maladies (pdf)

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The Switch: Educating and Inspiring Individuals to Make the Switch to Sustainable Living and Whole-Earth Consciousness

Organization: The Switch
Website: http://www.theswitch101010.com
Author: Paula Orozco
Contact: info@theswitch101010.com

The Switch is an environmental initiative which will join 350.org’s campaign on 10/10/10 with screenings of environmental documentaries to educate and inspire individuals to make the switch to sustainable living and whole-Earth consciousness.

The Switch’s mission is to increase awareness and inspire action through screening events of today’s most powerful environmental documentaries, followed by notable guest speakers and group discussions. By featuring these moving films from around the world, we weave threads of hope and collaboration. Through our yearly initiative we aim to create a venue through which the public can gain awareness and engage in dialogue intended to facilitate social action.

Three environmental documentaries will be screened simultaneously at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 10, 2010:

Themes explored in the documentaries include global warming, over-reliance on oil, over-consumption, clean energy, indigenous rights, personal responsibility and global society.

All proceeds from the screenings on 10/10/10 benefit the following three organizations:

This year’s events are a launch for The Switch’s yearly initiatives including NYC’s own environmental film festival on 11/11/11. Fundraisers will also be held throughout the year. Yearly initiatives will continue to expand through development of partnerships for educational environmental film programs in NY and NJ schools and via community organizations.

350.org’s Global Work Party day: 10/10/10 is a global day of action in response to the climate crisis with over 1,400 groups from over 100 countries taking action to raise awareness and to send a pointed political message to leaders: if we can get to work, you can get to work too-on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.

Climate Crisis Fact: 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in “Parts Per Million” in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it’s the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

Sacred Passage & The Way of Nature offers awareness training, wilderness rites of passage and sacred site protection

Blue logoOrganization: Sacred Passage & The Way of Nature
Website: http://www.sacredpassage.com
Author: Bud Wilson

People protect what they love

Sacred Passage and The Way of Nature, provides awareness training and wilderness rites of passage to help modern day humans rediscover their love for the natural world. Through our work, individuals receive what we call an “Earth Empowerment,” thus energizing and inspiring their commitment to the Four Years.Go. initiative.

Sacred Passage gently guides people to rediscover authentic connection with the natural world. Nature sensing and mindfulness practice in pristine wilderness open pathways for the transformational healing power of Nature. Sacred site preservation is a key focus of our work.

John P. Milton on The Value of Solo Time in Nature – 2 of 4

Why settle for virtual reality?

We learn from and in nature. The Way of Nature features “Sensing Exercises” to reconnect with our environment through smell, touch, taste, hearing, sight, movement, balance, thought and energy. This is the best antidote for “nature deficit disorder.”

Imagine recapturing the wonder and awe you experienced as a child in nature. Rediscover joyful balance and harmony through the direct experience of a non-dual unification of inner and outer nature as one continuum. Learn more about this concept in this two-and-a-half minute video with John P. Milton.

John P. Milton on Ecological Spirituality – 4 of 4

Immerse yourself in pristine wilderness

Direct immersion in pristine wilderness provides opportunities for individuals to genuinely relax, be present and open their hearts to the beauty and mystery of our natural world.

Discover deep ecology

Through a set of 12 simple, yet powerful principles, supported by numerous experiential practices, people are gently guided to cut through their perception of separation. This inaccurate perception of separation denies the principles of deep ecology, which informs us that everything is interdependent and interconnected. In the video below, John explains how “Our spiritual traditions have to shift … to give people that experience of all life as family.”

Sacred Land Trust Appeal

Protect sacred sites

As the developed world and our technological societies continue to hit the wall environmentally, it is increasingly important to protect Sacred Sites throughout the entire world. We must not only protect them but we must “re-learn” how to relate to them. At this very moment, The Way of Nature is facing a challenge from developers and a potential gold mining operation. We must raise funds to preserve and protect the southeastern border of our Gaia Sanctuary and Sacred Land Trust in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of Colorado. You can help us NOW – Contact: sunshine@indra.com or wayofnature@cox.net.

We invite you to view the following eight minute appeal from John P. Milton and supporters.

Any help that you can give to us in the protection of this land will play a major role in bringing our culture back into balance and harmony with the rest of life. – John P. Milton

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

Bamboo Bridge and Anthony Nguyen

By Anthony Nguyen
supercrunkalated.blogspot.com

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 anthony.nguy@gmail.com or you can visit his blog at http://supercrunkalated.blogspot.com


Legacy Center builds backyard solutions for a sustainable future

Organization: The Legacy Center Inc
Website: http://www.extremegivers.com
Author:
Dr. Lori Todd

In July, an intrepid group of visionaries, part of the Legacy Center’s Leadership Program, built a groundbreaking model for backyard sustainability in Asheville, NC. The Legacy Center project, an outdoor sanctuary where abundant food and water is produced, is a “living laboratory” that will demonstrate the interconnection of all life and teach people creative ways to sustain their families and communities. Using methods that support a healthy, vibrant, and constantly renewing planet, the project planners hope not only to make a profound difference in the Asheville community but to build a  model other communities can bring home to their neighborhoods and tangibly shift the cycle of harm of our planet.

The project leaders stand for love and freedom in the world and believe that the cycle of environmental degradation on our planet will be reversed when people feel loved and know that they are truly free. This can create a new culture of people who are connected to their planet and each other and begins in our local communities, where circles of connection between humans, their resources, and the whole web of life are understood and strong.

Project Site Description

The Ashevillage Institute is an eco-urban education center that promotes sustainable solutions in action. Ashevillage Institute is host to educational programs and a demonstration site that models ecological design for backyard resilience, namely integrated water and food systems. The site provides a space for community members to learn about aquaculture, permaculture, and environmentally friendly techniques they can use on their property no matter how big or small.

Project Specifications

The project was completed by enrolling everyone involved in donating all supplies and labor.

Completed project serves multiple functions

In addition to providing a sanctuary and source for food and water to the community, the project serves as a model for the Asheville area and to other communities and provides the following.

For information on other Legacy Leadership projects, visit our website at http://www.thelegacycenter.com.

Making Bamboo Bikes in Africa

See how cargo bamboo bikes have been introduced to villages in Ghana to help transport heavy loads. Watch the video to see how the bikes are built using bamboo for the frame and even to reinforce the wheels.

Comment below to engage in the discussion.

Making Bamboo Bikes in Africa

Green Shaman: Again From the Tap

“Phil learns that just because his water is pure it is still not green. Spirit Manatee chimes in and sings about the ecological virtues and tastiness of tap water.”

Comment below to engage in the discussion.

Green Shaman: Again From the Tap

Brazilian Nonprofit’s Efforts to Reduce the Use of Water

SOS Mata Atlantica in Brazil works to protect the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlantica), one of the richest sets of ecosystems and also one of the most threatened. This is the video of their campaign to encourage people to reduce their use of water!

Name of the campaign: Xixi no Banho. Website: xixinobanho.org.br (English translation available)


2010 Floods in Pakistan: Ways to Help from Huffington Post

In what U.N. Secretary General called the worst natural disaster he’s ever seen, floods in the northwest regions of Pakistan have devastated millions of communities, leaving families with nowhere to go. The floods have already killed 1,500 people and left seven million in need of emergency assistance, including medical attention, food and shelter.

flood victims

Pakistan needs our help; it is urgent. International Aid is arriving, but slowly and not enough. The UN’s central emergency response fund has given a total of $27m from the fund so far, but the emergency calls for over $459m to be fully attended.

As in many other occasions, people and groups from all around the world are hearing the call and stepping up. The magnitude of the disaster is so big every effort and donation counts. The international community has made a call to everyone, and many organizations have been working endlessly in trying to get life saving supplies to the flood victims.

The Huffington Post has compiled a great list of ways to get involved and organizations that are receiving donations for Pakistan. We encourage the FOUR YEARS. GO. community to get involved and help, in whatever small way you can, our fellow human beings I these times of urgent need.

View the full article with list of ways to help at Huffington Post >>

A Mother and Daughter Reduce Their Use of Oil and Fossil Fuels with the 50% Now Pledge

Jeniffer Hamilton and Osie, her 6 year old daughter, are committed FOUR YEARS. GO.ers, that like others, unceasingly continue to inspire us. Their passion and initiatives are extraordinary examples of compassion, determination, and living proof of the simple things we can do to shift humanity onto a sustainable, just and fulfilling path! Thus, we decided to let Jennifer herself tell us about what she and Osie have been up to this summer.

1. What is 50% NOW?

50% NOW is a pledge for individuals, organizations, businesses and politicians to reduce their use of oil and fossil fuels by 50%, starting NOW.

2. How did you get started?

The development of the 50% NOW pledge was actually sparked as a result of online conversations to create a pledge to hand out to participants during the Hands Across the Sand event held on June 26th. However, the original idea at the time was for a 10% reduction.

As we began discussing the pledge…I stated that the 10% target was hard for me to conceptualize, in that I do not know what 10% looks or feels like, and those who I asked could not really tell me what a 10% reduction would look like either. I later suggested that we raise the percentage to a clean 50%, in that it is easier to say, “Okay, to honor this pledge I need to cut my driving habits in half, decrease my use of electricity powered by coal by half, etc. etc”.

And thus… the 50% NOW pledge was born!

3. What have been the main challenges so far?

Getting around town without a car has been my main challenge so far.

I know this sounds silly but I have a huge fear of public transportation due to a bad experience where I got hopelessly lost in a new-to-me city by getting on the wrong bus.

So my only other option besides my own two feet is my rusty $15 bike; it’s a bit small and has only a single speed, with a persistent squeak – but hey, it gets me to the library and back, and in no time I will have some super sexy legs from all that pedalin.

p.s. I am saving up for a Long Tail bike which will make getting around the city a lot easier!

4. What have been the most common reactions to your initiative?

It is funny but the two main reactions I get are…”Wow 50% is a bit steep” or “50% is not enough.” These reactions, I think, speak to our confusion about how to move forward toward getting away from our addiction to oil and fossil fuels. We are in the midst of a challenging transition, and many people I speak with feel overwhelmed.

When I hear these responses, I try my best to listen deeply and then speak from my heart about why my daughter and I have taken the 50% NOW pledge, explaining that the percentage is not really the important part. The pledge is our way of acknowledging our role in the current crisis and our dedication to being a part of the solution.

5. Kids play an important role in your efforts. How do you integrate them and what can we learn from them?

Yes they do…I strongly believe that kids are POWERFUL change agents. In fact, two 6yr olds (my daughter, Osie and her friend, Joy) helped design the pledge we have for kids.

My daughter is amazing at reminding me about our pledge and at coming up with creative solutions to meeting our needs without the use of oil or fossil fuels. Her enthusiasm for life reminds me every day to honor the pledge we made together.

6. What would you tell other FOUR YEARS.GO.ers to inspire them to take the 50% NOW pledge?

The idea of the 50% NOW pledge is to begin right NOW, where you are, with what you have and what you know.

As more and more people take the pledge to reduce their use of oil and fossil fuels by 50%, starting NOW, the more momentum, support, and fun we all can have as we share the joy of being in action to ensure a livable world for all living things!!!

And as one of my blog posts states… “That’s right folks…going “green” is not always fancy! ; – ) But it sure is super cool!!”

You can learn more by visiting the 50% NOW Facebook page or blog.