Give a Little: Green Microgiving
Spare some change? This past Thursday, the New York Times ran a special section on giving, the big front page story of which was all about giving small. You know, small giving? Like little-ish donations in the $1 to $200 range, that people who aren’t Bill or Melinda Gates can make without breaking the bank.
“After years in the shadows,” writes NYT’s Stephanie Strom, “the everyday donor is emerging as philanthropy’s newest hero, the driver of a more down-to-earth approach to charity. Sure, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Bono and other celebrity mega-donors still have their place, but now high-profile charities are homing in on smaller donations, while new charities are being organized around the principle of modest giving.” Even Fidelity Investments, notes Strom, is hip to the small-gift trend; the company dropped the minimum for donor-advised funds from $100 to $50 in October 2008.
The article was a nice Thanksgiving-ish reminder, and its message is worth applying to green non-profits, businesses, and charities. Does small green giving make a difference?
Well, take public broadcasting, one of our best sources of environmental reporting. Small member donations are NPR and PBS’ bread and butter. And think about the huge collective impact of consumers’ “wallet voting”: spending a teensy bit more for recycled toilet paper, non-toxic dishwashing liquid, non-VOC paints for home renovations, unbleached coffee filters. Or consider the lobster – I mean, consider the impact of contacting your local electric company and asking if they offer the option to switch to wind power. It takes five minutes of your time and maybe a couple extra bucks a month, but you’re paving the way for a better renewable energy infrastructure for future generations. And what about Sierra Club membership? The “regular” level of membership is only $35. What’s that, a grass-fed hamburger and a movie? Pretty manageable, yet membership fees taken collectively play a big role in keeping the organization going – not to mention keeping their outdoor excursions, lectures, and movie screenings coming.
Speaking of small sums, by the way, Energy Secretary Steven Chu says we can avoid the very worst of global warming with what practically seems like nothing when you break it down to a per-person, per-day sum. If you had to guess, how much would you say it’ll cost over the next decade to get the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere down to 450 parts per million (we’re really aiming for 350ppm, but 450ppm is the number listed in 2007’s IPCC reports)? The Congressional Budget Office, the EPA and the EIA have all done their own math and calculated slightly different numbers, but Chu estimates that we’re looking at 44 to 20 cents a day. Chump change.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
Be glad your name isn't attached to any of these bad ideas.
- Some inventions can be celebrated during their time, but are proven to be devastating in the long run.
- The inventions doesn't have to be physical. Complex mathematical creations that create money for Wall Street can do as much damage, in theory, as a gas that destroys the ozone layer.
- Inventors can even see their creations be used for purposes far different than they had intended.
The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.
- Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
- The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
- Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
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