non-profit organizations

Part I: Action Lists, Groups, Online Tools, and Other Resources

Many of us are seeking effective ways to take action, to counteract, offset, mitigate, neutralize, resist, and fight the impending damage that will be done by members of the DT/Pence Administration and their attempts to corrupt and dismantle U.S. democracy. Many of us recognize that “business as usual,” the status quo, and complacency aren’t going to cut it anymore. We need to redouble our efforts, go beyond the edge of our comfort zones, take some giant leaps, speak out, refuse to accept the unacceptable—to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” and become our own heroes, rather than expecting other people to step forward and save us.

To get through these dark times without losing our minds, we need to make it a regular practice to take care of ourselves and find constructive ways to cope, and also to offer and request support from our friends and loved ones. We have to recognize that we are not alone; we are all muddling through this together. But in addition—to maintain our self-respect and act as compassionate humans and citizens—we should also find some way(s) to support and protect people from vulnerable and targeted groups, and to protest and take positive actions within our neighborhood or community, our town or state, and our country and world.

sleeping giantsIn the next couple of weeks, I will be adding a list of several specific steps and actions that you can take (in Part II, a separate post). In the meantime, please check out the existing tools and resources listed below. They include action lists, action campaigns, guides, articles, advice; as well as a list of trusted news sources; key organizations; people to follow online; and tools for staying sane and fostering hope.

Don’t feel obligated to explore all of these links. Just check out a few at a time; select a couple of them to follow or participate in, and if those end up not feeling useful to you after you’ve spent some time with them, pick a couple of other sites or groups (from this list or elsewhere) to follow or join. Note: I have not done a thorough vetting of all of these sites yet, so cannot vouch for every single one (and am not endorsing them), but I put a couple of my favorites in bold type. I’ll be adding more links regularly, as I discover new ones.

Useful articles

News sources

It’s important that those of who can pay something for real journalism actually do so, so that real news outlets can survive and not be entirely driven out by the world of profit-driven, sensationalist media (and “fake news” or lie-spreading websites). Choose at least one legitimate (truth-seeking, fact-checking, investigative) news source to subscribe to (as a paid subscriber), to show your support and to help keep them afloat. We can’t expect competent journalists and writers to work for free, and we don’t want them to be reliant solely on their major advertisers, who might expect publications to alter (or censor) their content to serve the advertisers’ special interests. Here are a few media sources that, to date, have regularly produced sound, informative journalism:

Key organizations

Here are some suggestions of the types of local, state, national, or international organizations that you might want to consider donating to, becoming a member of, or getting actively involved with.

Environmental:

Your state’s League of Conservation Voters; local and statewide renewable energy or climate initiatives (e.g., California’s Center for Climate Protection); local land conservation groups (e.g. a Land Trust in your county or region) and local habitat/wildlife protection groups;  Earthjustice, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Bold Alliance (Bold Iowa, Bold Nebraska, Bold Louisiana, Bold Oklahoma), Nature Conservancy, Earthworks, Greenpeace, Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fossil Free, WeForest, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, The Greening of Detroit

Societal:

Local food banks, shelters, homeless/housing groups, child abuse prevention and foster care organizations, non-profit health clinics and mental health services, education groups, senior services and veterans services groups; ACLU (including state chapters), SPLC, Teaching Tolerance, National Lawyers Guild, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, VoteVets.org, Common Cause, PFAW, Children’s Defense Fund, NARAL, Planned Parenthood (including your state’s group or a PP in a “red” state), Population Institute, Global Zero, Ploughshares Fund, VerifiedVoting, Carter Center, International Rescue Committee, UN Refugee Agency, Center for Media and Democracy, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), Compassion & Choices, Meals on Wheels, MoveOn, Emily’s List, and California’s Courage Campaign; Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), DSCC, DCCC, and Democratic Governors Association; Animal Legal Defense Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), SPCA

Also, if you grew up in or currently live in a Republican-governed or Republican-leaning state or county (or a low-income state or county) and you have the means, please consider donating to (or volunteering for) local organizations in your home state or hometown that will help protect people there (and their health and their land/water/environment) from the state or local government’s regressive policies. And consider getting involved in your local Democratic Party or other political organizing group.

Also see:

People to follow online

The people listed below have shown integrity, courage, intelligence, and/or leadership in their writings and their actions. Some are names you may already be familiar with, and others probably aren’t. While I don’t always agree with everything these individuals say or have said, I have often found their commentary to be informative or interesting. I will probably add more people to this list (and maybe remove some) over time. Take a look at what these individuals are saying on social media, and consider following some of their pages:

Rebecca Solnit, Dan Rather, Robert Reich, Van Jones, Reverend Dr. Barber, Bill McKibben, Nicholas Kristof, John Pavlovitz, Lawrence Lessig, Ari Berman, Sarah Kendzior, Jane Kleeb, Dallas Goldtooth, Antonia Juhasz, Laurence Tribe, Paul Krugman, Shaun King, Charles Blow, Nick Hanauer, Leah McElrath, Ian Milhiser, Sherilynn Ifill, Peter Daou, Tony Schwartz, Mark Ruffalo

It’s also important to support and praise principled conservatives with a conscience, whenever they speak up for democracy and civil rights, challenge the DT Administration or the GOP, and show compassion. A few conservatives who have shown that they have a backbone and think for themselves include:
Evan McMullin, David Frum, David Brooks, John Weaver, Andrew Sullivan, Colin Powell, Ana Navarro, John Dean, Chris Suprun, and Charlie Sykes. (Even some right-wingers like Bill Kristof, Peggy Noonan, and George Will speak out against DT!)

And Republican politicians (current and former) who have sometimes spoken out against DT and who periodically demonstrate that they have a backbone or a conscience include: Jon Huntsman, John Kasich, Bill Weld, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jeb Bush.

 

Tools for staying sane / retaining and creating hope

Try not to let yourself get so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed by the depth and breadth of the challenges and the many different ways there are to be of service to your community and world. Start by identifying one or two specific ways that you are most able to be involved (or groups to get involved in), and dedicate yourself to those. Pick something to do each day or each week or at least each month. Take sanity breaks when you need them, to avoid burnout, and you may find that you are gradually able to build your capacity over time. Regardless, the point is: Do something. Start where you are. Acknowledge your frustrations and the limitations of your individual impact, but remember that you are part of a widespread and growing, collective effort (even if other people’s efforts are not visible to you).

Here are a few resources for maintaining emotional balance, regaining perspective, or finding inspiration and motivation when you start to feel overwhelmed:

I have found that going for a long walk or a short hike can really help me regain the perspective that I need to move forward. What are some of your favorite strategies or readings for grounding or motivating yourself or coping with adversity?

Do take care of yourself and take a breather every now and then, but never give up. Please never stop trying to make the world and our country a better place. And remember that you are not alone.

 

To be added soon:

  • Part II: Suggested actions to take
  • Relevant quotations
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January 13, 2017
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This is the second part in my series of posts related to the upcoming election.
[Click here for Part I: Important Election and Voting-related Websites & Organizations.]
[Click here for Part III. Specific Ways to Help.]

logo_lcvVarious environmental groups make endorsements of candidates for Senate, House, and President. Some groups endorse a lot of candidates, and others focus their endorsements and advocacy on a smaller set. For example, the Sierra Club endorses candidates in many races, at all levels of government. NRDC Action Fund and NextGen Climate have only endorsed people for some Senate races and for President; not for House races. Climate Hawks Vote endorses a select set of candidates who have been especially strong climate leaders. Some groups limit their endorsements mainly to candidates in tight races, while others don’t. Each group has its own criteria, which you can learn about via the links to their sites (see the key below). Some groups will be adding additional endorsements as we get even closer to the election.

6a00d83451b96069e2019103a359ae970c-600wiTo find endorsements for Governors, state legislators, and local-level candidates or issues, find your state’s League of Conservation Voters and your local Sierra Club chapter and look up their endorsements. A few of their Governor endorsements are listed at the end of this post.

Below you can see which candidates (for Senate, House, and President) received endorsements from one or more of the following groups (as of 9/29/2016).

[11/16/16 UPDATE: Candidates who won their races have been identified in the listing below. “Won” has been added after their names.]

Key:

  1. League of Conservation Voters endorsement
  2. ActionFundLogo.v2Sierra Club endorsement
  3. NRDC Action Fund endorsement
  4. Climate Hawks Vote endorsement
  5. NextGen Climate endorsement

Senate

CA:            Kamala Harris (2, 3, 4see key) -Won
CO:            Michael Bennet (1, 2, 3) – Won
CT:            Richard Blumenthal (2, 3) – WonCHV_Logo2
FL:            Patrick Murphy (1, 2)
HI:            Brian Schatz (2, 3, 4) – Won
IA:             Patty Judge (1)
IL:             Tammy Duckworth (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won
LA:            Foster Campbell (2) – TBD
MD:          Chris Van Hollen (1, 2) – Won
MO:          Jason Kander (1, 2)
NC:           Deborah Ross (1, 2, 5)
NH:          Maggie Hassan (2, 5) – Won
NV:           Catherine Cortez Masto (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won20140429100313132_nextgen-climate-logo
NY:           Charles Schumer (2, 3) – Won
OH:          Ted Strickland (1, 2, 3, 5)
OR:          Ron Wyden (1, 3) – Won
PA:           Katie McGinty (1, 3, 5)
VT:           Patrick Leahy (1, 3) – Won
WA:         Patty Murray (1, 2, 3) – Won
WI:          Russ Feingold (1, 2, 3)

House
(in alphabetical order, by state and then by candidate’s last name)

AZ:           Ruben Gallego (2) – Won
AZ:           Raul Grijalva (1, 2) – Won
AZ:           Matt Heinz (2)

CA:           Pete Aguilar (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doug Applegate (1)
CA:           Nanette Barragan (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Karen Bass (2) – Won
CA:           Xavier Becerra (2) – Won
CA:           Ami Bera (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Julia Brownley (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Salud Carbajal (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Bryan Caforio (1, 2)
CA:           Tony Cardenas (2) – Won
CA:           Judy Chu (2) – Won
CA:           Susan Davis (2) – Won
CA:           Mark DeSaulnier (2) – Won
CA:           Michael Eggman (1)
CA:           Anna Eshoo (2) – Won
CA:           John Garamendi (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Honda (2)
CA:           Jared Huffman (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Barbara Lee (2) – Won
CA:           Ted Lieu (2, 4) – Won
CA:           Zoe Lofgren (2) – Won
CA:           Alan Lowenthal (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doris Matsui (2) – Won
CA:           Jerry McNerney (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Grace Napolitano (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Bao Nguyen (2)
CA:           Jimmy Panetta (2) – Won
CA:           Nancy Pelosi (2) – Won
CA:           Scott Peters (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Lucille Roybal-Allard (2) – Won
CA:           Raul Ruiz (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Linda Sanchez (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Adam Schiff (2) – Won
CA:           Brad Sherman (2) – Won
CA:           Jackie Speier (2) – Won
CA:           Eric Swalwell (2) – Won
CA:           Mark Takano (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Thompson (2) – Won
CA:           Norma Torres (2) – Won
CA:           Juan Vargas (2) – Won
CA:           Maxine Waters (2) – Won

CO:          Morgan Carroll (1, 2, 4)
CO:          Diana Degette (2) – Won
CO:          Ed Perlmutter (2) – Won
CO:          Jared Polis (2) – Won
CO:          Gail Schwartz (1, 2)

CT:           Joe Courtney (2) – Won
CT:           Rosa DeLauro (2) – Won
CT:           Elizabeth Esty (1, 2) – Won
CT:           Jim Himes (1, 2) – Won
CT:           John Larson (2) – Won

DE:          Lisa Rochester (1) – Won

FL:            Kathy Castor (2) – Won
FL:            Charlie Crist (1) – Won
FL:            Val Demings (1) – Won
FL:            Ted Deutch (2) – Won
FL:            Lois Frankel (2) – Won
FL:            Alcee Hastings (2) – Won
FL:            Al Lawson (1) – Won
FL:            Stephanie Murphy (1) – Won
FL:            Frederica Wilson (1, 2) – Won

GA:          Hank Johnson (2) – Won
GA:          John Lewis (2) – Won
GA:          David Scott (2)  – Won

HI:            Tulsi Gabbard (2) – Won

IA:            Dave Loebsack (2) – Won
IA:            Jim Mowrer (1, 2)
IA:            Monica Vernon (1, 2)

ID:            James Piotrowki (1)

IL:             Cheri Bustos (2) – Won
IL:             Danny Davis (2) – Won
IL:             Bill Foster (2) – Won
IL:             Luis Gutierrez (1, 2) – Won
IL:             Robin Kelly (2) – Won
IL:             Raja Krisnamoorthi (1, 2, 4) – Won
IL:             Mike Quigley (2) – Won
IL:             Bobby Rush (2) – Won
IL:             Jan Schakowsky (2) – Won
IL:             Brad Schneider (2) – Won

IN:            Shelli Yoder (1)

KY:           John Yarmuth (2) – Won

MA:         Michael Capuano (2) – Won
MA:         Katherine Clark (2) – Won
MA:         Bill Keating (2) – Won
MA:         Joseph Kennedy III (2) – Won
MA:         Jim McGovern (2) – Won
MA:         Seth Moulton (2) – Won
MA:         Richard Neal (2) – Won
MA:         Niki Tsongas (2) – Won

MD:        Anthony Brown (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Elijah Cummings (2) – Won
MD:        John Delaney (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Steny Hoyer (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Jamie Raskin (1, 2, 4) – Won
MD:        Dutch Ruppersberger (2) – Won
MD:        John Sarbanes (2) – Won

ME:         Emily Cain (1, 2)
ME:         Chellie Pingree (2) – Won

MI:          Paul Clements (1, 2)
MI:          John Conyers (2) – Won
MI:          Debbie Dingell (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Gretchen Driskell (1, 2)
MI:          Lon Johnson (1, 2)
MI:          Dan Kildee (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Brenda Lawrence (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Sander Levin (2) – Won
MI:          Suzanna Shkreli (2)

MN:        Terri Bonoff (1)
MN:        Angie Craig (1, 2)
MN:        Keith Ellison (2) – Won
MN:        Betty McCollum (2) – Won

MO:        Emanuel Cleaver (2) – Won
MO:        Lacy Clay (2) – Won
MO:        Bill Otto (2)

MT:         Denise Juneau (1)

NC:          Alma Adams (1, 2) – Won
NC:          G.K. Butterfield (2) – Won
NC:          David Price (2) – Won

NH:          Ann Kuster (2) – Won
NH:          Carol Shea-Porter (1, 2) – Won

NJ:            Josh Gottheimer (1) – Won
NJ:            Donal Norcross (2) – Won
NJ:            Frank Pallone (1, 2) – Won
NJ:            Bill Pascrell (2) – Won
NJ:            Donald Payne (2) – Won
NJ:            Albio Sires (2) – Won
NJ:            Bonnie Watson-Coleman (2) – Won

NM:        Michelle Lujan Grisham (2) – Won
NM:        Ben Ray Lujan (2) – Won

NV:          Ruben Kihuen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Jacky Rosen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Dina Titus (2) – Won

NY:           Yvette Clark (2) – Won
NY:           Joseph Crowley (2) – Won
NY:           Colleen Deacon (1)
NY:           Mike Derrick (2)
NY:           Eliot Engel (2) – Won
NY:           Adriano Espaillat (1) – Won
NY:           DuWayne Gregory (1)
NY:           Brian Higgins (2) – Won
NY:           Hakeem Jeffries (2) – Won
NY:           Nita Lowey (2) – Won
NY:           Carolyn Maloney (2) – Won
NY:           Sean Patrick Maloney (1) – Won
NY:           Grace Meng (2) – Won
NY:           Kim Myers (1)
NY:           Jerrold Nadler (2) – Won
NY:           John Plumb (1)
NY:           Jose Serrano (2) – Won
NY:           Louise Slaughter (2) – Won
NY:           Tom Suozzi (1) – Won
NY:           Zephyr Teachout (2)
NY:           Paul Tonko (1, 2) – Won
NY:           Nydia Velazquez (2) – Won

OH:          Joyce Beatty (2) – Won
OH:          Marcia Fudge (2) – Won
OH:          Marcy Kaptur (2) – Won

OR:          Suzanne Bonamici (1) – Won
OR:         Peter DeFazio (1) – Won

PA:           Brendan Boyle (2) – Won
PA:           Bob Brady (2) – Won
PA:           Matt Cartwright (1, 2) – Won
PA:           Christina Hartman (1, 2)
PA:           Steve Santarsiero (1, 2)
PA:           Kerith Strano Taylor (2)

RI:            David Cicilline (2) – Won
RI:            Jim Langevin (2) – Won

SC:           Jim Clyburn (2) – Won

TN:           Steve Cohen (2) – Won

TX:           Joaquin Castro (2) – Won
TX:           Llloyd Doggett (2) – Won
TX:           Pete Gallego (1, 2)
TX:           Vicente Gonzalez (1) – Won
TX:           Al Green (2) – Won
TX:           Gene Green (2) – Won
TX:           Eddie Bernice Johnson (2) – Won
TX:           Sheila Jackson Lee (2) – Won
TX:           Marc Veasey (2) – Won
TX:           Tom Wakely (4)

UT:           Doug Owens (1, 2)

VA:           LuAnn Bennett (1, 2)
VA:           Don Beyer (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Gerry Connolly (2) – Won
VA:           Suzan DelBene (1)
VA:           Jane Dittmar (2)
VA:           Donald McEachin (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Bobby Scott (2) – Won

WA:         Suzan Delbene (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Denny Heck (2) – Won
WA:         Derek Kilmer (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Joe Pakootas (2)
WA:         Adam Smith (2) – Won

WI:          Tom Nelson (1)

WV:         Mike Manypenny (2)

 

President of the United States

Hillary Clinton  (1, 2, 3, 5)

I think it’s worth noting that none of these five environmental organizations (or any other national environmental organization that I am aware of) have endorsed the Green Party candidate. There are a number of good, sound reasons for this, beyond just viability (ability to win). For one thing, outside of a handful of local races, the U.S. Green Party has not shown itself to be an effective organization; it does not have any traction or outreach to speak of, and it has not been an effective or outspoken advocate for environmental causes. It’s telling that, in between presidential elections every four years, no one (including those of us who have long been deeply involved in the environmental movement) hears anything about or from the Green Party. While the Party’s platform is strong on environmental issues, a platform is useless if there’s no organizational acumen or political clout or credibility to get that platform implemented.  But even more importantly, many of us remember what happened in the 2000 election: People who voted for Nader instead of Gore kept Gore from winning FL and NH—he only needed to win one of those states—(and Nader votes almost cost him Oregon, as well), and Bush ended up winning the election by a very small margin. People who don’t know or remember history are often doomed to repeat it. Please don’t repeat this travesty. Learn from history. Use hindsight and foresight. There is no such thing as a “safe” state for playing with your vote.

The stakes are even higher now than they were in 2000. DT is a neo-fascist, wannabe dictator with no regard for or understanding of democracy and zero interest in addressing climate change or environmental issues; if he were to be elected, it would be, as Andrew Sullivan put it, an “extinction-level event.”

 

Lastly, here are some state LCV organizations’ endorsements of a few state Governors:

MT:  Steve Bullock – Won

NC:  Roy Cooper – Won

OR:  Kate Brown – Won

VT:  Sue Minter

WA:  Jay Inslee – Won

 

Also see:
2016 Eection and Voting Information (Part I): Important Websites & Organizations
and
2016 Election (Part III): Specific Ways to Help

 

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September 30, 2016
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We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. But if you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. You are welcome to comment on the posts and we hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last few months:

  • Native American movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, #NoDAPL
  • New federal emissions rules for heavy-duty trucks
  • CoolEffect.org
  • VerifiedVoting.org and ElectionProtection.org
  • GoodGuide.com app
  • CivilEats.com
  • Climate Ride
  • Organizations: The Greening of Detroit, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Grid Alternatives, Honor the Earth, Animal Legal Defense Fund, WildEarth Guardians
  • Books: Beyond Words; Frackopoly
  • Films: A Dangerous Game;  You’ve Been Trumped Too (coming soon)
  • Quotations, graphics, photos, videos, etc.
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August 31, 2016
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A few months ago, I posted five TED talks on this blog. As promised, here’s another set of recommended TED talks given by knowledgeable and compelling speakers:

A Guerilla Gardener in South Central L.A. / Ron Finley

Why Climate Change is a Threat to Human Rights / Mary Robinson

The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture (TEDxLincoln) / Mary Pipher

A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx / Stephen Ritz

Are Mushrooms the New Plastic? / Eben Bayer

 

Related post:  TED Talks to Watch (Part I)

And here are some other collections of environment-related TED talks:

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February 12, 2016
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Online activism is sometimes disparagingly called “slacktivism.” While it’s true that more direct actions (e.g., phone calls, marches, protests, boycotts, face-to-face conversations, and personal letters) can sometimes be the most effective ways to effect change, online petitions and information-sharing through social media are essential parts of grassroots communication and participation these days. And well-crafted petitions that get a lot of signatures do get noticed by their recipients and can be very effective.

I often sign at least one or two online petitions a day. It only takes a couple of minutes, and I’ve been heartened to see that many of those past petition campaigns have been successful in effecting their intended changes.

takepart_logoIf you’re not already on the mailing list to get emails from the organizations and websites listed below, you might want to check some of them out. The first set of sites feature petitions that are focused primarily on environmental campaigns, while the second set have petitions on a variety of social, economic, environmental, and political causes. On a few of the sites (including Care2, Change.org, MoveOn, and The White House’s We the People site), you can also create your own petitions.

These sites are focused primarily on efforts in the United States. If you know of good environmental petition sites for other countries or international issues, please mention those in the Comments!

Note: This is not an endorsement of all of the petitions that appear or have appeared on these sites. While I have often found many of their petitions to be sound, I don’t necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in every petition from these sources.

Earthjustice
http://earthjustice.org/action

Union of Concerned Scientists
http://www.ucsusa.org/action-center

350.org
http://350.org/campaigns

NRDC
http://www.nrdc.org/action

League of Conservation Voters
http://www.lcv.org/act
Also look up your state-level Conservation Voters group; for example, this is California’s LCV:
http://act.ecovote.org

Sierra Club
http://sierraclub.org/take-action
AddUp
https://www.addup.org

The Rainforest Site / GreaterGood
http://therainforestsite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/trs/take-action

 

TakePart
http://takeaction.takepart.com

SumOfUs
http://sumofus.org

Change.org
https://www.change.org/petitions

Care2 / The Petition Site
http://www.thepetitionsite.com

CREDO Action
http://credoaction.com

MoveOn
http://petitions.moveon.org

The White House’s “We the People” petition site
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions
(You can filter the petitions by issue, or look at the most popular or most recent petitions.)

Courage Campaign  (for California)
http://couragecampaign.org/take-action

 

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January 15, 2016
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We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. But if you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. You are welcome to comment on the posts and we hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last few months:

  • Costa Rica now uses almost 100% renewable energy
  • Uruguay uses almost 95% clean energy
  • Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, and Greensburg, KS use 100% renewables
  • San Diego plans to shift to 100% renewable energy
  • The island of Bonaire is switching to 100% renewables
  • Community solar for groups and neighborhoods
  • Ireland rules out fracking
  • COP21 Paris Climate Summit Commitments
  • CatalogChoice free junk-mail opt-out service
  • Organizations and Initiatives: Earthworks, Center for Environmental Health, Story of Stuff Project, Politifact, FactCheck.org, Solar Ready Vets, Troops to Solar
  • Books: Voices of the Wild, The Heart of Sustainability
  • New films: Time to Choose, Racing Extinction, Medicine of the Wolf, Last Days of Ivory
  • Quotations, photos, graphics, cartoons, etc.
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December 28, 2015
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“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”Anne Lappe

Here are a few ideas and suggestions for less materialistic, more beneficial and values-driven gift-giving—for the holidays or any other occasion:

  1. Think about some non-commercial or non-material things you would like, and think about or ask your family and friends what types of non-material things they would like. On sokind_logothe SoKind Registry, you and others can create your own wish lists, which can include anything (not just new stuff), such as experiences/activities, time/assistance or services, handmade/homemade or homegrown goods, donations to charities (see #2 below), etc.
  1. Donate to charitable organizations in honor of the people on your gift list. You could pick a cause that you know they support. Some of our previous posts list various environmentally and socially beneficial organizations, including: broad-based sustainability orgs, and other lesser-known environmental and non-environmental orgs. You can also go to our Links page, or scroll down this blog’s sidebar to see lists of additional non-profits. And here are some other types of organizations you might consider: a refugee rescue organization (such as the IRC or UNHCR), wildlife conservation/protection group, animal shelter or animal rescue group, food bank, homeless shelter, women’s shelter, foster child or other children’s organization, seniors support organization, Meals on Wheels, a tree-planting organization, or a public radio/TV station. You could also give the TisBest Charity Gift Card, which allows the recipient to spend the funds on a charity of their choice (among 300+ options).
  1. When buying products, buy from small, locally owned businesses, green businesses, and/or businesses that are certified B Corporations or benefit corporations. A few B Corps that sell consumer products include: Patagonia, The Honest Company, Indigenous Designs, W.S. Badger, Alter Eco, Atayne, Better World Books, Saul Good Gift Co., Seventh Generation, Method, and Ben and Jerry’s. A couple of other socially and environmentally conscious companies include: PACT (apparel) and Newman’s Own Organics.
  1. 9780300206319Give the gift of information and inspiration: books! There are so many great books (and e-books) on sustainability topics. Here are a few recently published books you should check out:

Voices of the Wild: Animal Songs, Human Din, and the Call to Save Natural Soundscapes, by Bernie Krause (who also recently wrote The Great Animal Orchestra)

The Heart of Sustainability: Restoring Ecological Balance from the Inside Out, by Andres Edwards

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert9780865717626_p0_v2_s192x300

Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home, by Pope Francis

The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience, by Toby Hemenway

You can find a wide selection of other books on green topics from Chelsea Green Publishing and New Society Publishers and Island Press, among other publishers.

 

Whatever you give as gifts, do your best to avoid buying cheaply-made, sweatshop-manufactured (labor-exploiting), toxic, disposable, or wasteful products and packaging. Instead, consider alternatives to buying new Things, and when you do buy products, look for Fair Trade or locally made, well-made and durable (or consumable), efficient, non-toxic, and needed or at least useful goods made by ethical companies, using organic, recycled, or natural materials and minimal packaging, whenever possible.

To get off of mailing lists for unwanted catalogs and junk mail, check out CatalogChoice.

 

For some additional green-gift suggestions, see these posts:

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November 27, 2015
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Here’s a selection of five good TED talks related to the environment, energy, public health, nature, and other relevant topics. The engaging speakers who have given these talks are experts in their fields. Check out these free videos of the following brief and fascinating talks.

The Business Logic of Sustainability / Ray Anderson

The Voice of the Natural World / Bernie Krause

Biomimicry in Action / Janine Benyus

A 40-Year Plan for Energy / Amory Lovins

Protect Our Oceans / Sylvia Earle

 

UPDATE: We’ve now posted a second set of talks: More TED Talks to Watch (Part II)

And here are some other collections of environment-related TED talks:

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September 29, 2015
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Ever since Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was published in 1962 (sparking people’s awareness of health threats from chemicals, and leading to the ban on DDT 10 years later), an array of scientific studies have shown that various toxic chemicals and pollutants—in our air, water, soil, food, yards, indoor environments (homes, schools, and workplaces), and household and personal products—are causing or contributing to a myriad of public health problems. Such problems Basic RGBrange from asthma, allergies, headaches, and skin and respiratory conditions to serious reproductive/endocrine (hormone) problems, neurological problems (including learning disorders and lower IQ), birth defects, infertility, heart conditions, and many types of cancers. Recent studies have also linked chemical exposure to diabetes and obesity. Children and babies are particularly vulnerable to toxins, including through pre-natal exposures. And people in certain occupations (such as janitors, farm workers, nail salon staff, and some factory workers)—who have jobs in which they are regularly exposed to a stew of toxic chemicals—suffer from higher rates of certain health conditions than the general population.

Unfortunately, many toxic chemicals remain virtually unregulated, and existing regulations are not adequately enforced. Most products and chemicals that are used in products are considered “innocent until proven guilty;” they are assumed to be safe until it’s proven that they’re dangerous. But even when there is strong scientific evidence of the toxicity and harmfulness of certain substances, they are not always banned—or it can take many years of battles to get them banned. Known, probable, and suspected carcinogens and other harmful chemicals are in products that we all use every day. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the main chemical safety law in the U.S., but it is weak and outdated; it desperately needs to be updated and strengthened, but some members of Congress are currently trying to weaken it further, putting the profit interests of the chemical industry over public health.

A few of the most toxic chemicals/elements, many of which are still commonly found in products, CradletoCradleCertified-NoLevelinclude: mercury, lead, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, PVC (poly-vinyl chloride—dioxin is a by-product), phthalates (plasticizers), flame retardants (PBDEs, TDCP, TCEP), cadmium, chromium, hexane, PFCs, trichlorethylene (TCE), and asbestos. And there are many other toxic chemicals and ingredients. See the Cradle to Cradle product certification’s Banned Lists of Chemicals.

Bear in mind that chemicals and pollutants that have negative effects on human health usually have (even worse) negative effects on other species (pets, wildlife, fish, etc.) and on environmental health overall. Our air and water and soil are shared resources, and all living things depend on them for their survival and health. Some of the worst chemicals are classified as PBTs: Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic; these are toxic chemicals that are known to persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in people and/or wildlife (increasing in concentration as they go up the food chain).

All public health—and especially preventive health—efforts should start focusing on reducing environmental (and fetal) exposures to toxins, which means minimizing the production of toxins and pollutants at their source. The World Health Organization estimates that outdoor air pollution alone causes 7 million premature deaths (of humans) each year. If something else were killing that many people, it would be considered a public health epidemic.

The following organizations focus on health issues related to environmental exposures to toxins. Visit their websites to learn more about their efforts and ways that you can get involved:

Center for Environmental Health 

Collaborative on Health and the Environment logo-ewc2

EWG (Environmental Working Group)

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Silent Spring Institute

Coming Cleanschf_logo_site

Physicians for Social Responsibility

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX)

EPA’s Safer Choice product label

EPA’s Green Chemistry information

HealthyStuff.org

Union of Concerned Scientists

Several other broad-based sustainability organizations—including Earthjustice, EDF, Greenpeace, and NRDC—also address health and toxics issues, among other issues.

Among the many types of toxins that people are exposed to on a regular basis, some of the worst sources include:  power plant emissions, and other oil, coal, and gas industry inputs, by-products, and emissions (including fracking chemicals); nuclear radiation; pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides (including atrazine and Roundup/glyphosate); building materials, finishes, furniture, and furnishings; electronics (manufacturing and disposal hazards); and personal care products (e.g., shampoo and other hair products, sunscreen, toothpaste, nail polish, etc.).

These groups are working to reduce harmful exposures to chemicals from the following, specific sources:

Pesticides / food:

Nuclear radiation:

Building materials:

Interior products (and building materials):

Electronics / tech:

Healthcare:

Cosmetics:

 

Books and Films

Living Downstream (book and film; book written by Sandra Steingraber)

No Family History (book and film; book written by Sabrina McCormick)

Other recent films on topics related to health, toxins, and the environment include: The Human Experiment, Unacceptable Levels, Toxic Hot Seat, The Atomic States of America, Hot Water, Blue Vinyl, and A Will for the Woods. You can find links to these and other films via the following posts:

 

Other health-related posts:

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March 16, 2015
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