Friday, February 28, 2014

Mindfulness Combats Discrimination Attacks

Our Mindful Mondays series provides ongoing coverage of the exploding field of mindfulness research.From Greater Good, University of California, Berkeley

Discrimination is often a painful and humiliating experience.

Indeed, past research demonstrates that people who experience prejudice are also likely to be depressed. While the responsibility for discrimination lies with the perpetrator, how might targets of discrimination see to their own mental health?

One strategy that researchers are considering is mindfulness—the practice of bringing non-judgmental awareness to each moment.

A growing body of research points to the benefits of mindfulness for a number of mental stressors. Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wondered if mindfulness could also be helpful for people who experience depression as a result of prejudice.

Adults in North Carolina filled out surveys, reporting on their experiences with discrimination and on their level of mindfulness. They also reported how often they experienced positive emotions, and whether or not they had symptoms of depression.

The results, published in Personality and Individual Differences, confirmed the researchers’ prediction: adults who reported experiencing discrimination had fewer symptoms of depression if they had high levels of mindfulness.

To learn more read: Can Mindfulness Help People Cope With Discrimination?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Garden Bridge" For Quiet Walking

"...an urban garden/footbridge project in London (is) brilliant, bold and well, absolutely fabulous. While the solar panel-roofed Blackfriars Railway Bridge may be viewed as the greenest structure to provide passage across the River Thames, another project that recently snagged £30 million in government funding will, once completed, be London's greenest bridge in a true literal sense. After all, what other bridge in the British capital city provides a crucial pedestrian link between the north and south banks and adds to 'London's rich and diverse horticultural heritage?'...Spanning a planned 1,204 feet across the Thames in a proposed location that’s roughly parallel to the pedestrian-unfriendly Waterloo Bridge, Lumley describes her Garden Bridge as being 'a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds are birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees, and below the steady rush of water.' The celebrated actress and human rights activist adds: 'There will be grasses, trees, wild flowers, and plants, unique to London's natural riverside habitat. I believe it will bring to Londoners and visitors alike peace and beauty and magic.' "

From Mother Nature Network

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Global Clothiers Contribute to Bangladesh Disaster Fund

From Bangladesh Garment Workers
The New York Times reports:

ROME — Five global clothing brands and retailers on Sunday became the first contributors to a new fund raising $40 million for victims of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, and activists are campaigning to pressure other brands to also make donations.

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building on April 24, killing more than 1,100 workers, was the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry... Compensating the victims has been an especially complicated issue, involving months of negotiations among clothing companies, labor groups, Bangladesh’s government and Bangladeshi factory owners. Those negotiations produced the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, which on Sunday night reported the names of the first five companies to contribute: El Corte Ingl├ęs; Inditex, which includes the brand Zara; Loblaw; Mango; and Mascot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Devoted to No-Cage, No-Kill Cat Sanctuary

Cat House on the Kings. Wikipedia commons photo
Yes, The Daily Prism has a soft spot for animals and the people who make extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of animals pushed aside or mistreated by other people.  A friend posted a video on her Facebook page about a woman who is not a cat lady, but truly a lady who devotes her time to rescue and providing safe and healthy housing for cats.

From the website: The Cat House on the Kings

The Cat House on the Kings is California's largest no-cage, no-kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption center. Our mission is to place rescued cats and kittens into loving, permanent homes; to provide a safe, happy and healthy home for unwanted cats and kittens in a unique, no-cage facility; to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering; and to educate the public about responsible pet ownership.

In a Nutshell

Lynea Lattanzio, who founded and runs The Cat House on the Kings, talks about how it came about and gives you a peek into our unique environment in this video created by Jack Perez.

The Cat House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, receives no government or public funding, and relies entirely on donations from the public to carry out its mission.

Since its founding 22 years ago, The Cat House on the Kings has saved over 20,000 cats and 6,000 dogs (not counting the 40,000 animals we have spayed and neutered!) and currently cares for more than 700 cats and kittens, a dozen or so dogs and a handful of goats, who earn their keep as lawnmowers!

Homeless Leave Tents for "Dollhouse" Living

: Quixote Village web photo
From the Quixote Village website:

Quixote Village grew from the vision of a self-governing tent camp of homeless adults in Olympia, Washington.  The Village consists of 30 tiny cottages, a large vegetable garden and a community building that contains showers, laundry facilities, a communal kitchen and living and dining space.  Village residents moved from Camp Quixote to the Village on Christmas Eve, 2013.

The Village is supported by Panza, a non-profit organization that grew out of the many faith communities that hosted and sustained Camp Quixote during its 6+ years of existence.
  • Quixote Village is a self-governing community of 30 previously homeless adults.
  • The Village consists of 30 tiny (144 sq. ft interior) cottages, and a community building that contains a shared kitchen, dining area, living room, showers, laundry, and office and meeting space.
  • The Village site is 2.17 acres, and includes space for a large vegetable garden and personal “door yard” gardens in front of each cottage.
  • The Village is staffed by a full-time Program Manager and a part-time Resident Advocate.
A recent New York Times story elaborates on the project:

"It is rare that folks who live on the street have the chance to collaborate on a 2.1-acre, $3.05 million real estate development. Nearly as surprising is that Quixote Village may become a template for homeless housing projects across the country. The community has already hosted delegations from Santa Cruz, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle; and fielded inquiries from homeless advocates in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Salt Lake City; and Prince George’s County, Md."



Thursday, February 20, 2014

University Offers $1Million For Best Way to Combat Dead Zones

From RedOrbit

In response to President Obama’s call for institutions and philanthropists to help find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues, Tulane University announced Monday that it would offer a $1 million prize to the researcher or entrepreneur who devises the best plan to combat annual “dead zones” in lakes and oceans.
In a statement, the university said that it was soliciting innovative solutions to battle hypoxia, or oxygen-depleted water caused by an excessive amount of river-borne fertilizers and other nutrients being carried into larger bodies of water as part of the “Water Innovations: Reducing Hypoxia, Restoring our Water” Grand Challenge.

The grand prize would be funded by Patrick F. Taylor Foundation President Phyllis Taylor, Tulane University President Scott Cowen said. The competition begins with a 30-day period for the submission of comments about the prize, as well as letters of interest, to the university’s Grand Challenge website.
[ Watch the Video: Asking Public To Combat 'Dead Zones' ]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

High Fashion & Recycled Ocean Plastic Waste Makes Denim

From Upwell:  

Musician and fashion designer Pharrell Williams is using his influence to draw attention to ocean plastic. He’s partnering with label G-Star RAW and Bionic Yarn to make jeans that actually incorporate recycled bits of plastic from the ocean into the fabric.

Mother Nature Network notes:  
... Williams debuted his latest project, "RAW for the Oceans," during a high-profile event last weekend in the midst of New York City's Fashion Week. 
 
The 40-year-old, who serves as the creative director of Bionic Yarn, will collaborate with denim brand G-Star Raw on the new collection, which incorporates the recycled-plastic-turned-eco-friendly-fabric..."We all should [have a higher consciousness]," Pharrell told the Wall Street Journal. "Look, I’m not a huge activist or anything. I’m just playing my little part because each drop counts. I’m happy to be a participant.”
 
 

Volunteers Pack 2-Million Meals Over Weekend

The Associated Press reports:

food,lunch boxes,lunch pails,lunches8,810 volunteers put together 2,029,536 meals to be shipped to El Salvador, Haiti and the Philippines. The mixtures of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 21 vitamins and minerals will provide one meal a day for a year to 5,560 children..."This has been an amazing experience because of the impact it's going to cause in the lives of every child and every person who's going to eat these meals," Brad Powell, who heads up NorthRidge Church, said shortly after the 2 millionth meal was packed Sunday afternoon. "But I think you can see from the energy in this room and all that's going on it's going to change more than just the lives of those who will eat this food."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Volunteers Raise Puppies For the Blind

Leader Dogs for the Blind is a 75-year-old nonprofit founded by a few Detroit Lions Club members in 1939 that "...provides guide dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired to enhance their mobility, independence and quality of life. Each year, over 270 clients attend our 26-day residential training program to be paired with a guide dog," writes the website

Volunteer  lead dog puppy raisers give a "12 to 15 month-long commitment of time, energy and love...to a Future Leader Dog. Through daily care and training, puppy raisers provide the foundation puppies need to begin formal guide dog training."

Leader Dogs for the Blind has provided "more than 14,000  guide dog teams from countries all over the world...All programs are offered free of charge, including room and board and travel to and from our campus within North America."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Music for Teens with Chronic and Terminal Illnesses

From The Pollination Project:

Monica Metzler is a musician and teacher in Portland, Oregon who worked as a Specialist in Children’s hospitals using therapeutic music with  patients. She works with My Voice Music to develop free workshops for teenagers living with chronic and terminal illnesses and who are facing depression, isolation, and low self-esteem.

 “Music is a positive therapeutic tool that teaches youth how to release emotions in a healthy, productive way. Having access to a program that involves mentoring, self-reflection, songwriting, and a supportive community helps build confidence and coping mechanisms.” says Monica.

Using both traditional and non-traditional instruments and methods, these workshops focus on music as an exploratory process of discovery and self-actualization. These workshops include weekly journaling, percussion jams, instrument instruction, songwriting techniques, sessions with guest musicians, and opportunities to perform and record original music. At the end of the workshop, students will showcase their original compositions in a performance open to the community. By recording the students’ songs in a professional studio, they will be distributed and available to the public through My Voice Music’s website and CD’s. Any teenager in the 9th-12th grade with a documented chronic, terminal, or mental illness will be eligible for this free music program.

The funds from The Pollination Project will be used for purchasing instruments and promotion for the project. To learn more about the Songwriting Workshop for Teens with Chronic & Terminal Illnesses, check out the My Voice website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dubai Students Combat "Water Poverty"

From one8one.com:

Photo from World Water Day Carnival
The local student-run charity, Water for Life, is organizing the annual World Water Day Carnival. The carnival aims to promote an awareness of the issue of World Water Poverty and moreover, to raise money for the cause. ‘World Water Poverty’ is the issue of the lack of clean drinking water in impoverished regions. The Water for Life club also aims to promote greater sanitation in impoverished parts.

The organization achieves its aims through money raised from the various activities held over the course of the year. All proceeds raised are sent to parent-organization, ‘The Aqua Initiative’, from where the money is distributed among several ongoing projects in different parts of Africa and Asia.

The carnival is being held at the Dubai International Academy, Al Barsha on the 20th February. It will begin at 2:30 pm and will proceed till late evening. Sponsors for the carnival include ‘Aqualyng’, a desalination giant, as well as, Subway, which will handle the catering. With bouncy castles, music, gladiator jousts, gaming stands and other activities, the carnival promises to be an enjoyable way to support the cause of fighting against World Water Poverty.

President, 17 year-old Siddarth Raj, says, “It’s amazing that simply through an event hosted here we are able to actually raise funds and physically help those in less fortunate countries through methods such as building wells, or improving sanitary facilities and providing life straws.”

Do You Love Your Partner Compassionately?

Continuing with our love theme, how much do you love your partner? 

UC Berkeley's Greater Good project asks, "You might love your partner truly, madly, deeply. But do you love compassionately?"

The page offers a compassionate love quiz created by researchers Susan Sprecher and Beverley Fehr.


To take the quiz, follow this link:  Compassionate Love Quiz.

From About.Com.Psychology: 


According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.

Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety, and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months.

Hatfield also suggests that passionate love arises when cultural expectations encourage falling in love, when the person meets your preconceived ideas of an ideal love, and when you experience heightened physiological arousal in the presence of the other person.

Ideally, passionate love then leads to compassionate love, which is far more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield believes that this is rare.


Love: Facebook's Most Popular Emoticon

 From Greater Good:

What’s the most popular emotion in the world? Well, on Facebook at least, the answer is clear: It’s love.
How do we know that? Because the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center worked with Facebook to develop a new set of animated emoticons to express a broad range of 16 feelings, from sadness to awe to amusement to that queen of emotions, love. They were called “finches,” in honor of the birds studied by Charles Darwin.









Monday, February 10, 2014

Rescued Whales Spotted With Newborns

Wikipedia Commons
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A whale once freed from a life-threatening entanglement was spotted Saturday in Cape Cod Bay.

The right wale, known to local researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies as "Wart," was saved in 2010 and then spotted again in January of 2014 with a newborn calf, something researchers say is rare, because whales typically like to give birth in warmer waters.

"This season we have identified a total of three right whales that are known to have given birth last winter," said researcher Corey Accardo in a statement. "The other two whales have been identified as Catspaw, sighted on Jan. 16 and 17; and Piper, spotted on February 1."

The Quiet, The Generous---Weathy Donors Undercover

The following is from Philanthropy Today


  • Robert Kern first came to the Mayo Clinic as a 5-year-old patient in 1930. It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and Mr. Kern’s father, a minister with little money, could not pay for his sick little boy’s treatment. The Mayo Clinic provided that care free.Today, Mr. Kern, 88, and his wife, Patricia, 85, are among the biggest donors to the organization.
  • Jeffrey Carlton, a businessman, who died in 2012 at age 61, left $212-million to create a foundation that will support four nonprofits: American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Hoag Hospital Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Principles Inc. (the nonprofit side of Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center).
  • Millicent Atkins, a farmer who was 93 when she died in 2012, shocked two colleges and a church when she left them $37.5-million to split.
  • John Boruchin, a homebuilder who was 93 when he died in 2012, left $72-million to the Jewish National Fund....As Holocaust survivors, Mr. Boruchin and his wife, Dora, came to the United States from Eastern Europe with no money and settled in Fontana, Calif. He worked in a steel plant, then joined relatives in a lumber business and eventually began building homes and purchasing real estate.Although the couple became wealthy over time, they lived in the same modest home (one of the first his company built) until Mr. Boruchin’s death.
  • Jack MacDonald, a Seattle lawyer, led a thrifty life to avoid attention and set aside as much money as he could for charity. When he died last year at age 98, he left $139-million to three nonprofits.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Community Stands Against Racism

When a family of  Pilipino heritage moved to a small California town, a few persons exhibited racial prejudice via hateful comments in public and anonymous hate mail.  The bulk of the community was outraged by this bigotry and welcomed the new family with private parties, positive letters to the editor and a community forum on racism and hate crimes.  Over 100 residents filled the hall where the forum was held.

A columnist for the local paper who revealed the  the local incidents said at the forum, "In 700 columns, over 20 years, I never had a response like this."

Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NEA Endowments Benefit All Americans, Study Concludes

The New York Times reports that National Endowment for the Arts benefits both rich and poor, contrary to sustaining arguments from  some U.S. politicians.

The academic report concludes:

By examining the community wealth characteristics of arts organizations that have received NEA grants, we found evidence that contradicts the claim of inter-community wealth transfer.NEA grants are not distributed to organizations in wealthier communities,
as measured by median household income.

Instead, the organizations receiving NEA grants tend to be in communities with greater income diversity – that is, a high percentage of wealthy and poorer households. We also presented evidence that questions the claim that those in wealthier communities benefit more from the arts: while median household income has no observable relationship with arts attendance, the proportions of wealthy and poorer households in a community both have positive relationships with arts attendance.

Thus, the arts benefit all Americans – the poor as well as the wealthy –and NEA funding of the arts is remarkably impartial to community wealth characteristics.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Teacher Leaves Multi-Million Dollar Fortune to Charity

Margaret Linder Southern, a former special-education teacher who lived modestly and loved her dachshunds, Molly and Nancy, left $8.4 million to the Community Foundation to establish an endowment.Greenville Online reports:

Margaret Southern taught special-needs children, cared for her ailing brother for almost a decade and doted on her dachshund Molly.

She would stay up late into the night watching her beloved Braves in her nice, but modest, townhouse in the Glenbrooke neighborhood on Edwards Road.

It was a life of simplicity and privacy.

And so, it was with some surprise that when she died at 94 in October 2012, she had amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune and left $8.4 million of it to the Community Foundation of Greenville to benefit children and animals.

It is by far the largest donation the Community Foundation has received.

The beneficiaries are:

$200,000
Humane Society
$50,000
Clarity,
The Meyer Center,
Project Hope
Foundation
$50,000
$50,000
$25,000
$25,000 Institute for Child Success, Child’s Haven

Monday, February 3, 2014

Creating A Generation of Peacemakers--Children

"Imagine" is a suggestion, a thought, a command that is used in the coaxing of people to support a nonprofit called Peace First.

In other words, imagine honoring young children who transform a community into a community of peace and justice. Imagine sharing those stories.  Imagine seeing young people as problem solvers and positive influences.

The Boston Globe calls Peace First and its peace award to children the "Nobel for young people."

The group's goals include:
  • Preventing bullying
  • Helping the homeless
  • Pursuing equality
  • Empowering girls
...and to  "to create the next generation of peacemakers. We view children as natural problem solvers and creative thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders." according to the website.




Bombs to Beauty for Peace

"Turn your swords into plowshares,and nations shall know war no more"

- Prophets Micah and Isaiah, the Old Testament

This California jewelry designer and retail store is committed to world peace.  Their unique jewelry is crafted from disarmed nuclear weapons systems and 20% of each sale  is "dedicated to peace and social justice organizations committed to transforming our world," states the website.

It further states, 

"From War to Peace is dedicated to creating a more peaceful world through the magic of transformation.

"We recycle copper from disarmed nuclear weapon systems to create a remarkable alloy called Peace BronzeTM, from which we cast stunning jewelry and art for those who share our commitment to a world without war."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mobilizing Science For the Good

"Scientists Without Borders is a worldwide community of changemakers collaborating to accelerate and share solutions to the world’s most urgent development challenges. Here, you can ask questions, offer answers and expertise, and help us grow and disseminate scientific insights crucial to addressing critical global needs," reads the nonprofit's website.

The online group defines its mission: 
"Scientists Without Borders is a public-private partnership led by The New York Academy of Sciences. We are a web-based collaborative community dedicated to generating, sharing, and advancing innovative science and technology-based solutions to the world`s most pressing global development challenges. Through our dynamic and free web platform, we harness the collective and creative problem-solving capacity of our worldwide community of experts and our strategic partner network to tackle specific scientific or technological challenges in areas of critical need. We enable our users to connect and exchange resources and expertise, and to forge cross-cutting collaborations and knowledge-sharing to accelerate progress and breakthroughs. We leverage technological connectivity to promote open innovation, collaboration, and transparency, so that solutions, information, and capacity can be accessed and sustainably deployed wherever needed.

"The Scientists Without Borders ecosystem includes individuals and organizations working on science and technology-based activities at all levels of academia, NGOs, government, and the private sector, across a variety of regions, disciplines, and subject matter areas. On our platform, we enable passionate and creative problem-solvers of every stripe to connect, collaborate, innovate and have an impact on our urgent and shared global challenges."

Featured projects include Global Health, Sustainability and Thought Leadership.