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Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, D.C.

I am very fortunate to be able to work for a great organization and also do some private consulting on the side. Generally I spend three days a week at my main work-place. Tuesdays and Thursdays I try to keep open for my consulting projects. From time to time I also volunteer on those days if I have a light workload. Recently I had the opportunity to volunteer for my employer on one of my days off.

IMAG0102World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was hosting the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) annual meeting for North America at our headquarters. They needed a note-taker for the session and I signed myself up!

GFTN’s mission is to eliminate illegal logging while creating a new market for environmentally responsible forest products. To do this WWF works with corporations and other nonprofits with similar interests. Some of the nearly 300 participating organizations are household names like Williams Sonoma and Proctor & Gamble while others are names we might not recognize but who have a tremendous impact on our world’s forests.

I sat in the corner of the room taking copious amounts of notes and hoping that I was recording something that would be of value to the group later when they reviewed them. The participants pushed through their agenda – stopping only for a very short break for lunch. After grabbing some food people filed back into the meeting room and continued the discussions.

I couldn’t help but leave the meeting wondering about where the wood and paper products that I buy come from. Are they being sourced properly? How much more would I pay for a product that I knew was manufactured in accordance to the guidelines created by GFTN?

What about you? Does it matter to you how companies behave – are you willing to reward those who act as responsible corporate citizens with your business even if it costs you a little more?

Don’t forget – if you live in the DC area come out tomorrow night to One Lounge to meet and support David – my $10 recipient from Day 258. I hope to see you there!

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Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, DC.

Don't be a litter bug

Plastic bags liter the banks of a river in Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia. Photo: CJETTE

Today’s post is a microblog post. I feel that’s only appropriate since today’s post is about a microvolunteering experience.  I logged on to Sparked.com and helped a UK nonprofit called Funky Junk Recycled.  In developing countries where plastic bags collect and choke drains and even animals, Funky Junk takes an innovative approach to turning this trash into beautiful, long-lasting items while providing fair trade income and training for local producers.

Here's a bag made from recycled plastic bags turned into yarn, or "plarn."

They needed help on how to recruit a British expat volunteer in Cambodia.  Click here to see my advice.  Oh, and while you’re there, why not try to do a project yourself.  I promise it doesn’t take long.

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Blog post by Reed from Washington, DC

Today is Earth Day and I can’t think of a more appropriate volunteer resource today than the Earth Day Network (EDN) website.  They have an entire list of events happening all around the United States and even some international countries as well.  Punch in your zip code and start browsing for events near you.  They need a lot of volunteers.  And remember, there are still plenty of events happening after today!

Earth Day started on this day back in 1970 when 20 million Americans brought the environmental concerns of our Earth to the streets in protest.  Check out this news footage from 1970! These efforts along with those of conservation pioneers like my employer, World Wildlife Fund, served as a catalyst for future conservation efforts and legislation around the world.

More than 1 billion people are expected to participate in Earth Day activities this year according to EDN, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

While you’re on EDN’s website, check out the section called A Billion Acts of Green®.  This is their initiative to collect over one billion commitments for a greener world from average Joes like us as well as organizations.  They hope to reach their goal before the global Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Tomorrow’s environment is far too important to ignore and we owe future generations the very same benefits of the rich biodiversity that we enjoy today.  What will you do to help?

Keep a look out in the coming weeks for my blog post about my volunteer project for Earth Day!

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Today is the first day of my new job at the World Wildlife Fund.  It’s ironic that I am starting on the same day that I write the blog for Day 197.  Read more and you’ll see why.

The progression of these signs show how people's moods have changed toward BP and the oil spill (Photo: Dr. Darron Collins)

So you know that I am raising money for those who have lost their jobs due to the oil crisis in the Gulf.  I have received very few donations so if you are able to spare just $10 I encourage you to click here and make a donation to help someone out.  When I make the donations I will post photos and videos of the people that you have helped!

Dr. Darron Collins (photo courtesy of http://www.worldwildlife.org)

I have been following a blog that is written by Dr. Darron Collins, a scientist for the WWF and former resident of the Gulf region.  Dr. Collins has been in the Gulf region after the oil spill supporting the work of some of the WWF’s local partners who have actively involved in front-line efforts to protect and restore the wildlife and wildlife habitats in affected areas.  Through his writing you meet some of the people directly affected by this catastrophe.  His blog is part of what inspired me to try to help some of the individuals who are out of work there due to the spill.  To be clear, my efforts to help the Gulf are in no way related to the work that I am doing at WWF.  I wrote Dr. Collins a note one day to congratulate him on his work and find out a little more about the situation of the residents of the Gulf shore.

To my surprise, Dr. Collins responded to my email a few minutes after I sent it to him and said he would be delighted to talk to me.  We tried to connect on Thursday and Friday of that week but weren’t able to.  He then wrote to me saying he was going to be here in DC the following week and offered to meet me for breakfast one morning.

Dr. Collins in Georgetown after our breakfast meeting (photo: Reed)

I met him on Tuesday, the same day I let the WWF know that I was accepting their offer (Again, I hadn’t mentioned to Dr. Collins that I was also applying for a position with the WWF because they were completely separate issues).  I walked in Le Pain Quotidien in Georgetown and found Dr. Collins already there enjoying some coffee.  We shook hands and I sat down at the long wooden communal table where he was sitting.  Before we began talking, I said, “Hey, I got to tell you something.”  I explained how I was accepting a position with the WWF and he looked at me and said, “I know.”  Apparently he was so impressed with my project that he shared it with colleagues at the WWF.  As it turns out someone he shared it with reported back and informed him that I was joining the organization.  What a coincidence that I end up posting this day’s blog on the very day that I finally start my job there! 

So you have got to check out Dr. Collins’ blog.  It is amazing.  He is a great writer and includes stunning photographs with each post.  Some of the images of this oil disaster will blow you away. 

Dr. Collins gave his $10 to Joey T, an out of work shrimper due to the oil spill (photo: Dr. Darron Collins)

I asked Dr. Collins if he would be my 197th recipient and he gladly accepted.  He tells me immediately what he plans to do with the $10.  “I am going to give it to a guy named Joey down in Grand Island, Louisiana who is an ex-shrimper who lost his job due to the oil spill,” he recounts.  “He took me out on his boat while I was there.”  I remember reading about “Joey T” in Dr. Collins’ fifth blog entry.  Joey has faced some unbelievable challenges.  He lost his left leg due to a staff infection that spread as a result of mackerel attack. Then a year later he lost his right leg in a car accident.  On the blog Dr. Collins writes, “Joey T was one of the best guides I ever had.  He had fished every corner of those waters for flounder, redfish and speckled trout and named and loved every tiny inlet and every bend in the land.”

Dr. Collins received a BA in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic and a PhD in anthropology from Tulane University.  His studies and his professional work with the WWF all have focused on the relationship between people and the environment; helping society answer the question: “How can we meet the needs of human communities while improving the ecological integrity of the surrounding ecosystem?”

The ten-year veteran of the WWF tells me that he started out his career with the organization in Latin America.  He shares an absolutely amazing and hilarious story with me here:

Among his many projects right now, Dr. Collins is working on a special 50th anniversary film for the WWF which celebrates this landmark occasion on December 1, 2011.

Oil-covered marsh grass (photo: Dr. Darron Collins)

I want to share with you one of the stories that Dr. Collins shared with me.  Back in February he was working with a gentleman from Namibia named John Kasaona.  Mr. Kasaona is the deputy director for Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation in his country.  It’s a group that turned poachers into the very people who now protect the environment.  He gives a great speech at TEDx and it almost didn’t happen as they came very close to being stranded here because of the snowpocalypse.  He said Mr. Kasaona had never seen snow before and his first experience was a three-foot blanket of the stuff that brought DC to a standstill!

When he is not working, Dr. Collins enjoys fly fishing, mountain biking, adventure racing and of course spending time with his wife of nearly 12 years and two daughters; one nine and the other seven.

Well, I am off to work now!  It’s been 285 days since I last spoke those words and it feels awesome!

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