Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Reflections on the Great Lakes Awareness Event

Great Lakes Awareness Event Patagonia ChicagoRecently, I spoke at the Great Lakes Awareness Event hosted by Patagonia Chicago.

The workshop and ensuing panel discussion was incredibly helpful to the people in the audience. Based on conversations I had with audience members, the point they found most interesting was the amount of pollution caused by the sewer water overflow that is created every time it rains. Most people are unaware that our stormwater systems are combined with our sewer systems and untreated sewer water is dumped into our local water ways when it rains.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes received a $10,000 grant from Patagonia for restoration efforts.

Panel members include:

• Mary Lammert Khoury, aquatic ecologist and conservation planner, Great Lakes Project, The Nature Conservancy;

• Tom Barrett, a nationally recognized speaker and authority on sustainable solutions and owner of Green Water Infrastructure;

Tom Barrett at the Great Lakes Awareness Event

Tom Barrett presenting stormwater issues to a standing room audience at the Great Lakes Awareness Event at Patagonia Chicago

• Jessica Dexter, staff attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization

Refreshments were provided by Goose Island with live music by Laura Glyda.

I am look forward to my next speaking engagement with the USGBC-IL on June 16th on Water Efficient Landscapes at the Ball Horticultural Center in West Chicago.  Here is a link to the Event:

Great Lakes Awareness Charity Event with Patagonia

I am excited to be participating in the Great Lakes Awareness Event with Patagonia, the sportswear and outdoor apparel retialer in Chicago.
Have a Voice in the Future of the Great Lakes and Award a $10,000 Grant. Click here to read more….

Thursday, June 2, 6:30pm
Patagonia Chicago

Did you know there is a movement to privatize the Great Lakes, that they are plagued with invasive species, that raw sewage is regularly dumped into Lake Michigan from the city of Chicago?

Join us and the Alliance for the Great Lakes at Patagonia Chicago for a workshop and panel discussion by local experts about these issues and others surrounding our Great Lakes, and help us to decide which environmental group should receive a $10,000 Patagonia grant for restoration efforts.

Panel members include:
• Mary Lammert Khoury, aquatic ecologist and conservation planner;
• Tom Barrett, a nationally recognized speaker and authority on sustainable solutions and owner of Green Water Infrastructure;

• Jessica Dexter, staff attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization

This event is free. Refreshments will be provided by Goose Island with live music by Laura Glyda.

Patagonia Chicago
1800 N. Clybourn Ave.

Click here for directions to the store:


Majora Carter Talks About Community Sustainability

At a recent TEDxMidwest presentationMajora Carter (@MajoraCarter) talks about three individual who made a difference in their communities. These three individual who implemented practical solutions to community improverishment issues.

It is time to work together to embrace and repair our land, repair our power systems and repair ourselves. It’s time to stop building the shopping malls, the prisons, the stadiums and other tributes to all of our collective failures. It is time that we start building living monuments to hope and possibility.”

Majora Carter

Charity Does Not Equal Sustainability


Brenda Palms-Farber was hired to help ex-convicts reenter society and keep them from going back into prison. Currently, taxpayers spend about $60,000 per year sending a person to jail. We know that two-thirds of them are going to go back. I find it interesting that, for every one dollar we spend, however, on early childhood education, like Head Start, we save $17 on stuff like incarceration in the future. Or — think about it — that $60,000 is more than what it costs to send one person to Harvard as well . . .

Los Angeles

Water is a big issue for Los Angeles. On most day Los Angeles does not have enough water and too much to handle when it rains. Currently, 20 percent of California’s energy consumption is used to pump water into mostly Southern California. Their spending loads, loads, to channel that rainwater out into the ocean when it rains and floods as well. Now Andy Lipkis is working to help L.A. cut infrastructure costs associated with water management and urban heat island — linking trees, people and technology to create a more livable city. All that green stuff actually naturally absorbs storm water, also helps cool our cities. Because, come to think about it, do you really want air-conditioning, or is it a cooler room that you want? How you get it shouldn’t make that much of a difference . . .

West Virginia

Judy Bonds is a coal miner’s daughter. Her family has eight generations in a town called Whitesville, West Virginia. If anyone should be clinging to the former glory of the coal mining history, and of the town, it should be Judy. But the way coal is mined right now is different from the deep mines that her father and her father’s father would go down into and that employed essentially thousands and thousands of people. Now, two-dozen men can tear down a mountain in several months, and only for about a few years-worth of coal. That kind of technology is called mountaintop removal. It can make a mountain go from this to this in a few short months. Just imagine that the air surrounding these places — it’s filled with the residue of explosives and coal. When we visited, it gave some of the people we were with this strange little cough after being only there for just a few hours or so — not just miners, but everybody . . .

Bloggers Unite! – WaterAid’s Clean Water for All

How many children did you see today? Children in car seats on your way to work, your own children, or perhaps you are a teacher and you see hundreds of children each day. Consider this, one out of every six children on this planet die (that is one every 46 seconds, according to UNICEF) as a result of unsanitary water conditions. Few if any of the children you saw today will meet that demise, however, in the world there is a large number of children meeting their deaths due to something we take for granted – clean water.

It’s not about thirst . . .

Until I really read some of the articles from the WaterAid website ( and the links I discovered there, I had an unclear understanding of what precisely causes these deaths. While it sounds as though people are dying of thirst that is not usually the case. The greater problem – the overwhelming problem, is that children are unable to get clean drinking water, and therefore die from complications due to diarrhea. Because there is no clean water nearby, people and the things they use every day cannot get washed.

. . . it’s about sanitation!

Since the sanitary conditions in these areas are practically non-existent, water is collected from the nearest source. Often times the water collected is not clean, but it is water, and no living thing lives long without water. That means people are spending hours traveling to and from dirty wells and other water sources to collect water to drink to stay alive and that water is contaminated with fecal matter. Because the drinking water is contaminated, it causes illness and often death. This is a cruel and a completely reversible cycle.

How can you help?

By contributing to WaterAid, BloggersUnite, and other water conscious action groups you can help build wells for clean water. Reading their blogs and reposting them or blogging about them will create an awareness of this electronic call to action. Those of us who watch the water run down the sink as we brush our teeth, and stand in the shower letting gallons of potable water run down the drain as we relax, must consider – if nothing else – contributing money to help this humanitarian cause. As you decide what you want to do this weekend during your free time, remember the mother who must spend 5-6 hours a day traveling to the closest filthy well to fill a jerry-can with water to take back to her waiting children. Make a difference because you can. Pass it on and commit to helping those much less fortunate than ourselves.

charity:water What’s wrong? It’s so right.

charity:water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe water to people in developing nations. Sounds simple enough, but it’s hard to put a finger on which part of this charity is most amazing. The founder, Scott Harrison, is a former self proclaimed New York City social “influencer” making thousands of dollars a night encouraging the rich and famous to purchase the products he pushed – typically beer and vodka. After tiring of his over the top lifestyle, and coming face-to-face with real world poverty, he decided to make a difference and give back.  Join the club, right? Trump, Madonna, and anyone else with billions to spend will throw money at a less fortunate area of the world and smile and nod as they breathe a sigh of relief when the tax man leaves.  But this is different. Way different. Scott Harrison and his team are doing far more than throwing money at a problem.  After spending some hard time with other altruistic volunteers in Africa via a humanitarian organization called Mercy Ships, Scott decided to really make a difference.

…more than water

charity:water does more than “provide” water to the over 1 billion people who go without clean drinking water on a daily basis. Most Americans cannot fathom going a few hours without running water or a clean shower, when most of the world would be happy with less than one thirtieth of what we use ON A GIVEN DAY.  According to the many statistics available on the charity:water website (, unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. Ninety percent of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old. While the statistics are staggering, the photographs of victims of unclean water are beyond what many of us in the Western World could ever imagine or feel comfortable seeing.  


The brilliance of this charity is both in its acquisition of money and its use of those funds. Private donations provide 100% of the cost to run the organization.  Everything from plane fares to paper clips are donated or paid for by private donors.  That frees up 100% of all public donations to actually go to the source.  The water source. As if that weren’t phenomenal enough, once at the source, men and women are taught how to create their own well systems, install them, implement their usage, and govern the rights to them, empowering many (most significantly women), to find themselves for the first time in their lives in a place of significance in the community.  

Everyone — rich or poor, happy or sad, regardless of where or how you live, if you are a living thing, you need water. This hits home very quickly. Water is the great connector of human life. Knowing that, everyone can help. There is no donation too small, because even a penny, nickel, dime, or $20 bill is more than nothing, and relatively insignificant compared to saving a human life. Want to know exactly where your money goes? No problem. When you raise enough money to purchase a well, ($5,000 to be exact), your well will be mapped online, and you can actually see where in the world your money went to help not just one human, but an entire community. Add to that the most cutting edge marketing strategies and technical social networks available, stir in some personal challenges to make a difference, and create ownership with donors by encouraging creativity and stewardship, and you have a real success story.

The old saying goes, give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Give a community the opportunity to help themselves discover their value and help them survive and thrive through the ability to access clean water and a healthier lifestyle, you’ll change the world.

Did you take a shower today?  Did you brush your teeth?  If you enjoyed the benefit of clean water today please help…