Saturday, 31 October 2009

Being Free

Image: YPI
© The Prem Rawat Foundation

Friday, 30 October 2009

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating

Ten to twenty thousand groups of children will hand chocolate back to adults during their regular neighborhood trick-or-treating rounds this Halloween. The children will distribute Fair Trade certified chocolate attached to a card explaining the labor and environmental problems in the cocoa industry globally and how Fair Trade provides a solution.

The event, Reverse Trick-or-Treating, was launched three years ago to raise awareness of the pervasive problem of child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa fields, to empower consumers to press the chocolate industry for more fair cocoa sourcing policies, to shift the industry toward sourcing Fair Trade certified cocoa, and to inform consumers about Fair Trade companies that are leading the way to industry reform.

The Reverse-Trick-or-Treating program has joined nonprofit organizations, such as Global Exchange, with Fair Trade Certified chocolate companies such as Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Sweet Earth, and local schools, faith groups and youth organizations to raise public awareness about Fair Trade Certified chocolate.

"Kids have a well-developed sense of fairness. I regularly hear stories of US schoolchildren who are really outraged to learn that mainstream chocolate companies are making them complicit in the enslavement of their peers," said Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Director of Global Exchange's Fair Trade Campaign, "Kids are eager to show solidarity and make it possible for their peers to do go to school and go out and play. That is why so many kids are thrilled to participate in Reverse Trick-or-Treating and make a difference. Now, it's up to the chocolate companies to listen to their important message."

The Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign is an initiative of the human rights advocacy group Global Exchange.

Nearly a quarter million Fair Trade Chocolates and informational cards have been provided in the United States by Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Sweet Earth, and in Canada by La Siembra, under the leadership of Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate and healthy snacks. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting over 30 small farmer cooperatives in 16 countries around the world.

The national organizations with a lead role in Reverse Trick-or-Treating are Africa Action, Fair Trade Federation, Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, Not for Sale, Oasis/Stop the Traffik, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the United Methodist Church.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Turning Air Into Water

Marc Parent and his company Eolewater, located in Sainte Tulle, France, have invented a fresh water wind turbine which makes water from ambient air and also generates electricity. This could be beneficial especially in dry, remote and arid regions that need both drinking water and electricity.

The wind turbine blade powers the generator, which in turn powers a cooling compressor that converts gaseous water in atmospheric air into liquid water. The largest eolewater wind turbine produces 4597 litres / 24 hr of water in desert conditions and 33,131 litres / 24 hr of water in coastal climates.

The wind turbine makes electricity and water with zero emissions and can provide sustainable drinking water to a huge number of communities. The three mobile versions of the turbine can be used in disaster relief situations to provide fresh water and electricity.

Via: Reuters

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Flexible Paving Stones Create Energy From People Walking On Them

A paving stone on a busy street is stepped on by more than 50,000 pedestrians every day and Laurence Kemball-Cook of Pavegen Systems Ltd has designed a way to harness that pedestrian power. Every time the rubber Pavegen stone is stepped on, it flexes 5mm and the dynamo technology stores the kinetic energy produced.

The Pavegen System could power lights, computers, automatic doors and ticket machines at tube stations information displays, street lighting, shop frontages, train and bus timetables and wayfinding solutions.

The slab glows when stepped on indicating that energy has been generated to users. Five paving slabs distributed over a section of a pavement will provide sufficient power to illuminate a bus information panel overnight.

The top of the slab is made from recycled rubber car tyres, and recycled aluminum is used for the inner surface. The exterior housing is done with marine grade 316 stainless steel. Each slab generates 2.1 watts per hour when located in an area with high footfall. The system requires annual servicing and is designed to withstand 5 years of use equating to 20 million steps in interior and outdoor environments.

Trials will take place in several locations throughout the UK in early 2010 with local authorities, schools and airports.

Via: World Architecture News

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Human Voices: a wake up call to climate change

Leading up to the international meeting in Copenhagen on Climate Change, Oxfam has created this video to demonstrate the human impact of climate change. Climate change is happening now, and is affecting the world's poor - wherever they are - first and worst.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Needy Argentines Receive Solar Stoves And Showers

The EcoAndina Foundation - a local NGO - has taken a green initiative and is installing solar showers and donating solar-fired stoves to the needy villagers in the llama-herding communities of Misa Rumi in Argentina. It will provide relief for the Andean communities who rely on forests for their energy requirements.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

350 Islands For Change

In Auckland, Pacific Islanders wade out into the sea and hang up 350 T-shirts on a giant washing line, signifying that the Pacific Islands are being hung out to dry. Each shirt has the name of a different island printed on it.

The event is part of the 350 International Day of Climate Action, a global call to bring greenhouse gas pollution back down to a level that is safe for survival.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Finding Peace Within

I've previously posted about Prem Rawat and his message of peace and would like to add here that he doesn't just limit himself to words. He offers anyone who is sincerely interested a practical way to find the peace he talks about within themselves. He calls this Knowledge and I, myself have been able to feel this peace in my life for many years now and would encourage you to discover this possibility for yourselves.

Prem Rawat, widely known as Maharaji, has produced a series of videos - The Keys - designed to clarify key points of understanding about this possibility.

If you would like to watch a video online introducing the Keys, then please go here.

You may also visit the website Words Of Peace Global to find out more details about his message of peace and the humanitarian initiatives of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).

Other post about Prem Rawat:

Be In The Moment Called Now
International Day Of Peace - Words Of Peace
You Breathe. You're Conscious
Wish For Peace And Contentment
What Is Peace?
Prem Rawat Speaks In Sicily And Israel

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Concrete Mushrooms: Albanian Deserted Bunkers To Be Converted Into Eco-Hostels

There are 750.000 abandoned concrete bunkers throughout Albania, serving as reminders of their recent dark history. Two Albanian graduate students of Politecneco di Milano, Elian Stefa and Gyler Mydyti, under the guidance of architect Stefano Boeri, came up with the idea to convert these deserted bunkers into appreciable tourist destinations.

The transformation will allow trekkers a shelter in the shape of these hostels, dubbed as Concrete Mushrooms. Other possible transformations include info points, kiosks, gift shops and cafes.While promoting eco-tourism, it will also let the dwellers have a look into the past of Albania.

Concrete Mushrooms Trailer - Albania's 750,000 inherited bunkers. from Concrete Mushrooms on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

World Food Day Is No Food Day For 1 In 6 People

October 15 was World Food Day, but as World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran said - World Food Day is actually No Food Day for almost one out of every six people around the world this year. As the number of hungry people reaches record levels, the UN WFP called on the world to remember the more than one billion urgently hungry people with inadequate access to food.

In the video below Ms Sheeran says that our challenge is to turn No Food Day back into World Food Day for the hundreds of millions without food on their table tonight.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

2010 Medals To Be Made By Recycling

The medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 will be made from recycled electronics. Vancouver company Teck Resources has joined forces with the Royal Canadian Mint to transform trash into medals for the athletes - by recycling old computer parts.

Monday, 19 October 2009

WaterAid Launch Global Strategy For 2009 - 15

This month, WaterAid launched their new global strategy for the years 2009 - 15. The 4 main aims are -

  1. To promote and secure poor people's rights and access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation

  2. To support governments and service providers in developing their capacity to deliver safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation

  3. To advocate for the essential role of safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in human development

  4. To further develop as an effective global organisation recognised as a leader in our field and for living our values
You can see an interactive version of the strategy here and watch a short video about the importance and necessity of WaterAids work below.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Generator Powered By Kites

An Italian company, KiteGen Research, is using an innovative technique to develop a generator that is capable of harnessing the wind through kites. The prototype recently created flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet. At such high altitudes, wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines, so a larger amount of power can be generated using the kite-powered generator.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Fragile: The Human Condition

World Food Programme Ambassador Against Hunger, Howard G Buffett in his new book, called Fragile: The Human Condition, brings together personal stories and compelling images of people for whom the world is a fragile experience.

Compiled in 64 countries as part of a personal journey that started when the author was five years old, Fragile paints a vivid – and sometimes painful – picture of what happens when the world fails to meet the basic needs of its most vulnerable people.

“Please don’t forget me. Please don’t let the world forget us," an old man said to Buffett, when he was in Chad a few miles away from the Sudanese border. This book is honouring this request. With contributions from Bono and Shakira, Fragile aims to raise awareness about those who face poverty, hunger and desperation, in the hope that knowledge will lead to change.

As Bono said after reading the poignant portraits in the book: "These portraits are the reason why we must not rest in the comfort of our freedom."

Friday, 16 October 2009

Design Green Buildings With Google SketchUp

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched an updated version of their plug-in for SketchUp, Google’s open-source 3D building modeling tool. It has several new features, which will facilitate architects to develop more detailed simulations of their design’s energy efficiency. NREL aims to provide advanced green building design tools that are readily available at low or no cost.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Hunger Bytes Video Competition For Hunger

Video competition

Hunger Bytes is an international video competition hosted by the World Food Programme, in partnership with YouTube. Starting October 16, filmmakers around the world are invited to submit short videos about hunger.

WFP says - We need you to make the edgiest, most provocative videos about hunger. Whatever it takes to make people think, and to change attitudes. The videos with the most views will be judged by a celebrity jury and the winner will get to travel to a WFP project.

Submissions begin on October 16th – World Food Day.

  • The closing date for entries is midnight, December 31st 2009.
  • The nominated videos in will be made into a playlist on WFPs YouTube Channel, where the 5 videos which receive the most views in each category will go on for judging by our panel of celebrity judges.
  • Celebrity judging begins February 14th 2010.
  • The winners will be announced on March 1st
For more information about Hunger Bytes go here.

One Of Last Year's Top Videos

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Add a Hunger Counter Widget to Your Site!

I previously posted about the World Food Programme's A Billion For A Billion here, trying to inspire the billion people online to help the billion people that are hungry in the world. Now, you can help by having one of these counters below on your site to help raise awareness. Just go here to grab them.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Emergency Blankets Made From Recycled Bottles

Volunteers at the Taiwanese recycling center of the Tzu Chi Foundation are transforming discarded plastic bottles into soft blue polyester blankets.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Tck Tck Tck - The World Is Ready For Climate Action

Join the call for a global climate deal at

Tck Tck Tck is a global alliance of civil society organizations, trade unions and individuals calling for a fair, ambitious and binding climate change agreement at the international meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The TckTckTck site uses the Open Campaign, where organizations or individuals can take the branding and toolset, for use in their campaigns to educate and encourage their supporters to demand action on a climate change agreement.

Partners of Tck Tck Tck range from some of the largest civil society organizations in the world, including the World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, and Amnesty International, to individual, local, and national partners, like Presencia Ciudadana Mexicana. It brings together faith groups, like the World Council of Churches, anti-poverty groups, like the Global Campaign Against Poverty, and science organizations, like the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

TPRF Gives $25,000 To St.John Of Jerusalem Eye Hospital

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has given a grant of $25,000 to the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital (SJJEH) to provide eye care for 30,000 children in the East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza area - where blindness is ten times higher than in the West. It is the second grant that TPRF has made to the hospital.

Chairman John Talbot said, "Congenital eye disease and disfigurement are rife amongst the younger generation in the Holy Land, and our work ensures that many young people grow up with more opportunity to learn and become productive adults in an already difficult environment.”

SJJEH is the only charitable pediatric ophthalmic provider across the West Bank, Gaza strip, and East Jerusalem and expects to treat over 30,000 children this year. Open to people of all religions and ethnicities, SJJEH serves the area with two hospitals, two clinics and two mobile outreach clinics.

St. John Eye Hospital states its goal: “For our patients, lives can be transformed through treatment and surgical intervention. Children’s sight will be saved, and many more will simply be able to lead normal lives, going to school and able to function in the adult world. Our goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in the Palestinian Territories.”

Photos: St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital

Other posts about TPRF:

Friday, 9 October 2009

20 Million People Need Food In Horn Of Africa

The World Food Programme has sent a warning that more than 20 million people in the Horn of Africa need food aid because of two years of poor rainfall. According to the WFP, people across Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti have been increasingly living on the edge, afflicted by natural disasters, wars, endemic poverty and malnutrition. The World Food Programme says an added problem is that congestion in Djibouti's port is holding up the flow of relief supplies.

For more information visit the WFP site.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Smart Trash Can

Above is a smart garbage can in Elgin, Illinois. It takes power from the sun to automatically compact trash. What is even more interesting is the fact that whenever it is full, it sends a signal to the garbage crew saying ‘Come pick me up’!.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Carlisle School Cuts Heating Bills With Wind-Powered Heat Pump

Stoneraise School at Durdar near Carlisle, England has brought in a heat pump that is powered by a wind turbine, producing nearly 5kw of heat for every 1kw of electricity consumed. E.On, a power company, gave a £4,400 donation allowing them to purchase a pump that is capable of cutting down the electricity consumption by 25 percent. The annual saving is estimated at £4,000.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

William Kamkwamba, 22, of Malawi is an amazing person. He lived in extreme poverty and yet in 2007, with no money and no experience, he studied a DIY book and built a wind turbine out of a tractor fan, shock absorbers, PVC pipes and a bicycle frame. His creation was able enough to light up four bulbs and a radio. He was invited to give a talk at TED after this. / CC BY 2.0

Later in 2008, he built a Green Machine windmill, pumping well water to irrigate his maize crops. Finally this year, he erected an actual size 5 metre windmill.

His next plan is to build a drilling machine. This is what he says. "Right now I am interested in building a drilling machine. I want to build a machine that can drill wells for water. With this problem of water in many places in Africa, we need to find a solution for how you can dig wells so you can be pumping water from deeper places"

Kamkwamba also states that while he's busy with school and can't help other people who want to create windmills, he has taught his cousin and plans to teach more people in Malawi how to build their own windmill so they can generate electricity on their own.

He has written is own autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and has his own blog. Below you can see a short video Moving Windmills.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Loulou - Musicians Have Unique Opportunity To Raise Awareness About Hunger

Loulou - vocalist with the band Thievery Corporation, believes musicians have a unique opportunity to raise awareness about hunger. She says Thievery’s partnership with the World Food Programme is one of the reasons she’s in the band.

Loulou says that musicians can create more awareness and build an ever wider community of people who want to help get the problem solved.

Fans of Thievery Corporation are often shown videos about WFP’s work and encouraged to take part in fund-raising initiatives.

“When you have an audience that is receptive to everything you have to offer, it’s nice to give them something more than music’s good vibrations – something that makes sense in this day and age,” she says, noting that hunger and poverty are a recurring theme in the band’s lyrics.

Loulou says the band’s involvement with WFP has affected her life in many ways. For example, her eight-year-old daughter and some friends have produced 12 paintings that they aim to sell to raise funds for WFP.

Thievery’s partnership with WFP started in early 2005, when the group’s founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton threw a fundraiser for WFP’s tsunami operations at Washington’s popular 9:30 Club. They have since recorded video and audio public service announcements for WFP and done other fund-raising events.

Garza says, “I think compassion for the hungry is universal … and yet the kind of hunger and poverty I’ve seen on my trips with WFP remains invisible to most people living in the developed world."

Other posts about WFP:

A Billion for a Billion - Help Eradicate Hunger
Bob Dylan Partners With The World Food Programme
Fatuma Omar - From Squalor To Scholar
Cooking Things Up - To End Child Hunger
Walk The World: End Hunger
Number Of World's Hungry Now Over A Billion
Monster Truck Madness In Congo!
Reaching The Hungry In Gaza
This holiday season, YOU are the perfect gift!
World Food Programme Delivers Food for 50.000 in Congo

Friday, 2 October 2009

Upcycling - A Growing Green Trend

So what's the difference between upcycling and recycling? Well, upcycling refers to reusing an object in a new way without degrading the material it is made from, whereas recycling involves breaking down the original material and making it into something else, using more energy.

Upcycling has been becoming popular in several countries, where there is an increased interest in eco-friendly products, particularly those that are both affordably priced and profitable for the manufacturers.

Upcycling is used on a range of products including jewelry, furniture and fashion items, such as making bracelets from old flip flops, lamps from blenders, and turning skateboards into furniture such as chairs and bookcases.

One British company uses industrial waste to make new luxury products, turning fire hoses into bags, belts, wallets and cufflinks.

A design store in Vienna in Austria called Gabarage lets customers look through trash like used plastic covers, old computer chips, and discarded X-rays and pick what they like to create their own individual bag. They also make other pieces of furniture such as couches from rubbish containers.

TerraCycle, set up in 2001 by U.S. college freshman Tom Szaky, turns drink pouches into backpacks and cookie wrappers into pencil cases or kites, paying schools and other groups a small amount to send them the old packaging to be upcycled.

TerraCycle also makes a line of clocks, coasters and picture frames from vinyl records and circuit boards, with major companies like Kraft and General Mills sponsoring the company's waste streams.

You can watch the short video below about fire hoses that have been upcycled.

Via: Reuters

Thursday, 1 October 2009

TPRF Provides Relief In Pakistan

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has given $30,000 to Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre to provide food and medication. In the village of Kahzano Dheri, Marden, 2,600 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will receive rice, beans, rice tea, and oil for one month. In the IDP camps in Kachi Garhi, Peshawer, in the Swabi and Buner districts, 5,000 women will receive medication and supplements for two months.

$36,800 was also given to ActionAid International USA to provide long-term food security and livelihood rehabilitation. Nearly 3,000 people returning to their devastated homes in three areas of the Buner district, North West Frontier Province, will receive seeds to replant their destroyed crops, construction and rehabilitation of reservoirs for crop irrigation, livestock, and fruit plants to help them rebuild their lives.

Thousands of families were displaced in May and June of this year due to the escalation of conflict between the Pakistani Army and the Taliban. Now they have returned to their homes to find waterways destroyed, crops and livestock gone, and no seeds to plant for the next harvest.

Two children at the Shah Mansoor IDP Camp in Pakistan
Copyright © ActionAid

The Prem Rawat Foundation

Shirkat Gah

ActionAid International USA

Other posts about TPRF:

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