June 30, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Blog, Books, Community, Construction, Donations, Earthquake, Florida, Front Page, Fundraising, Haiti, Homes, Humanitarian, Nonprofits, Poverty, Slideshow, Social Action, Sustainability
There’s no doubt that Frank McKinney stands out in a crowd. His long, flowing, blond hair sets him apart from most business types he deals with. His daredevil actions put others in awe of his tolerance for risk-taking — and his successes. And his creative ways of approaching both his business and his charity work draw others to his door. Frank McKinney also knows how to market himself, his business interests, his books, and the Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF).
But everything that McKinney does these days is centered around a concept he paraphrases from the Bible: “From those to whom much is given, much will be expected.” In Part 3 of our interview, I talk with McKinney about how he puts that into action through CHPF and the homes he builds in Haiti, and about the messages he shares in his book, The Tap.
On his Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF) web page, author Frank McKinney writes, “In The Tap, I share the most important spiritual principle of my success in the business we are all in, the business of life. I explain how God has tapped me (and taps everyone) many times in life, answering prayers and presenting life-changing opportunities….Read Full Article
June 29, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Architects, Architecture, Blog, Books, Community, Construction, Disaster, Donations, Earthquake, Entrepreneurs, Front Page, Haiti, Homeless, Homes, Humanitarian, Profiles, Slideshow, Trees
“We are one global community,” says builder, author, entrepreneur, and humanitarian Frank McKinney. “There are so many places around the world that do not have the social service net to protect the indigent like we have here [in the U.S.]. So we took our ministry, if you will, to Haiti.”
This is Part 2 of a three-part interview with McKinney, author of the book, The Tap. He’s a complex individual living a dichotomous life, as described in Part 1. Using the sale of the mansions he builds, he funds the charity he founded, the Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF), which constructs villages for some of the world’s poorest people.
“We realized the dollars would go so much further by creating self-sufficient villages in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” Frank McKinney explains. “Commencing in 2003, and by the end of 2010, we will have built 15 self-sufficient villages in Haiti. We were there seven years before the earthquake took place. And we’ll be there many years after.
“We realized we could touch a life with shelter for about $500 internationally. So we sold two of the domestic houses [described in Part 1], kept one, and took whatever proceeds we had and stretched those dollars further internationally.” …Read Full Article
June 28, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Architecture, Blog, Books, Charity, Coast, Construction, Donations, Florida, Front Page, Fundraising, Homeless, Humanitarian, Poverty, Real Estate, Slideshow, Social Action, Volunteers
Frank McKinney isn’t just a man, he’s a full-fledged brand. His name is synonymous with the most expensive, most lavish homes built on speculation in the United States. In typical style, Frank McKinney’s Acqua Liana estate is a not only a $22.9 million masterpiece of architectural design and luxury, it’s also arguably the most environmentally friendly home for the super rich that’s been built to date. As you might guess, Frank McKinney doesn’t do things half way.
But this interview series isn’t about Frank McKinney, builder to the world’s elite. It isn’t about Frank McKinney, extreme athlete (he’s that, too, running an ultra marathon across Death Valley each of the past five years — in his mid 40s). It isn’t even about Frank McKinney, daredevil and showman, dressed as a pirate and descending a zip line at one of his luxury home unveilings. It’s about Frank McKinney, humanitarian.
Blue Planet Green Living interviewed McKinney by phone from his oceanfront home in Florida. This is part one in a three-part series about McKinney, his Caring House Project Foundation, and his book, The Tap….Read Full Article
Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.
Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”
When I first read EWG’s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale….Read Full Article
Humanity may well be running headlong into extinction. The news is grim in every part of the world. And the oil gushing out of the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico just keeps getting worse and worse. But human beings aren’t generally satisfied to sit back and let the world slip out of our grasp. People like you and me have ideas — lots of them — that can make the planet more habitable and more hospitable to all of us. But having ideas is worth little if you don’t share them.
The Gulf oil disaster (I refuse to call it a mere “spill”) has generated a groundswell of potential solutions. If you’ve had your hair trimmed at a salon recently, you are probably participating in one of them. Stylists around the nation are collecting and donating hair clippings to Matter of Trust, which stuffs the hair into pantyhose to make booms that absorb oil on beaches. Matter of Trust also collects wool, fleece, and feathers to create booms. (Now I know what to do with those lumpy, old feather pillows.) The booms they make certainly can’t solve the entire problem, but they are an important part of the solution.
The power of a shared idea is limitless. Sharing ideas to find solutions is the rationale behind a LinkedIn group called “Collective Creativity.” Deepak Chopra, the renowned author, physician, and speaker, began the group to connect people with ideas to each other. He started the conversation by asking, “How can we help the people affected by the current disaster in the Gulf? Let us come together collectively to create more proactive solutions and innovations to prevent problems like this from happening again.”…Read Full Article
June 23, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Blog, Books, Chemicals, Climate Change, Conservation, Contamination, Ecology, Environment, Events, Front Page, Global Warming, Hazardous Waste, India, Japan, Mercury, Pesticides, Slideshow, Sustainability, U.S., VOCs
As the Gulf of Mexico continues to fill with oil due to BP’s negligence and our own government agencies’ lack of oversight, we are experiencing an environmental disaster of catastrophic proportions. Tragically, this isn’t the first human-caused environmental disaster — and given our track record as stewards of this planet, it’s futile to fool ourselves that it will be the last. In his book, This Borrowed Earth: Lessons from the 15 Worst Environmental Disasters Around the World, Robert Emmet Hernan describes in detail 15 environmental disasters we must remember so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
In the book’s Introduction — penned merely months before BP’s so-called “spill,” Hernan wrote, “If we forget how and why these disasters happened and what horrible consequences emerged from them, we will not avert future disasters.” As a society, we seem to have done just what Hernan feared: We’ve forgotten. And so another disaster is upon us.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, writes in the book’s Foreword, “In an age where we’re once again ideologically committed to ‘loosening the reins’ on private enterprise, it’s sobering to remember what has happened in the past. In an age when new technologies are barely tested before they’re put into widespread use—genetically engineered crops, for instance—it’s even more sobering to contemplate a seemingly iron-clad rule: every new machine or system seems to fail catastrophically at least once.” …Read Full Article
What do you use to clean your toilet? You want it to be clean and look clean. But, since you’re concerned about the environment, you surely don’t want to use a toxic product that is bad for wildlife or one that pollutes the waterways.
Yet, it’s easy to fall for advertising hype that tells consumers the only way to really clean that toilet bowl is with heavy-duty chemicals. Of course, no marketer is going to admit that a product contains toxic substances. The story is always about how “sanitized” or “fresh” your bathroom is once you use Product XYZ.
But there are better ways to achieve a clean bathroom than to pollute yourself with VOCs and pollute your local waterways with bleach or other toxins.
Biokleen Soy Toilet Scrub is a non-toxic, biodegradable product that won’t leave your head spinning with fumes or send harsh chemicals down your drain….Read Full Article
June 21, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Architects, Architecture, Blog, Books, Community, Construction, Ecopreneurs, Entrepreneurs, Environment, Front Page, Green Living, Homes, Reviews, Slideshow, Solar, Virginia
When I started reading Sustainability by Stuart W. Rose, Ph.D., I expected to learn about the innovative community he and his wife, Trina, had designed and built in Poquoson, Virginia. And I did. But I also learned many more things about sustainable communities and futurism that I hadn’t expected.
The book is an easy read, but also sort of quirky. Rose has a habit of ending one thought with ellipses and trailing off into a new paragraph. He has an interesting idea about where to place commas (e.g., as the last character before closing parentheses) — not exactly standard English composition. But it’s kind of charming in its literary naiveté.
Rose, however, is far from naive. As readers learn at the beginning of the book, “Dr. Rose is a registered architect, and a graduate structural engineer. He holds a doctorate in organizational development, has been a professor at three major universities, and has worked for several decades as an educator and a consultant to architects, consulting engineers, and other design professionals. Sustainability is arranged in chronological chapters, beginning “Circa 1985” with the author’s professional and personal concerns about global sustainability.Read Full Article
Felicity Tepper is an author, eco-advocate and social network connector. A former government lawyer, Felicity has a background in environmental and human rights law and policy in several countries….Read Full Article
I first met Melissa Clark-Reynolds, the CEO of MiniMonos, online. We connected through a shared love of the environment and children, as we followed one another’s “tweets”. Dedicated and deeply generous, Melissa has poured her love and values into developing the children’s website MiniMonos, a place where she hopes that children will learn and share ideas about sustainability, generosity, and caring for one another, all while having fun together.
An eco-friendly children’s virtual world, MiniMonos is underpinned by the values of sustainability, friendship, and generosity. The children assume monkey avatars and play on a virtual island, where caring for their environment forms an intrinsic part of the experience. Their in-world living treehouses require nourishment and care, including recycling to keep their treehouse tidy, and capturing clouds to power their tree’s wind turbine. The appealing games across MiniMonos Island carry underlying cooperative and eco-themes, rewarding the children for such activities as cleaning up a lagoon, using strategy, and sorting recyclables accurately….Read Full Article
Like nearly everyone who sees the damage its caused, Nadilyn Beáto is upset about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But she isn’t just complaining, she’s doing something about it. A junior at Parsons – The New School for Design in Brooklyn, New York, Beáto has recently begun designing, making, and selling fashion jewelry to benefit the wildlife affected by the vast oil leak.
Beáto’s jewelry depicts some of the animals that she wants to save: sea turtles, orcas, dolphins, American oyster catchers, black skimmers, and more. She uses Super Sculpey to create her jewelry pieces, then paints them with nontoxic paints. Her creations include necklaces, charm bracelets, and earrings. Each individual piece of jewelry takes her about an hour and a half to make.
The turtles sell for $15 in Beáto’s Etsy store, with $10 donated to the Gulf Coast Response team at the Environmental Defense Fund. Her goal is to create and sell 150 pieces of jewelry, raising $1,500 for the rescue and rehabilitation of the wildlife in the Gulf.Read Full Article
Fauna Extreme publishes a coloring book targeted to young girls. But it doesn’t have a princess theme or a cute kitty or an adorable pony in it. This is a coloring book about power and strength and athleticism. And I’m going to tell you about it. But first, I want to go back into time and talk a bit about the world I grew up in. Please bear with me.
When I was a little girl (oh, about a million years ago), boys got to do all the cool things. They played with trucks. They played Army. They were daredevils. They even occasionally swore (swear words weren’t as commonplace among kids as they are today). I didn’t want to be a “girly-girl.” I wanted to be tough, too. I had opinions. I liked being physical and running and jumping. But I was frequently told, “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.” It didn’t always stop me, but sometimes it did.Read Full Article
Go on, admit it. You’ve had bad breath — and on more than one occasion. If you were lucky, you figured it out yourself and quickly brushed or rinsed or even chewed some gum. Or maybe a family member had the kindness to tell you before you went out in public. Worst-case scenario, you didn’t figure it out until people started backing away or covering their noses.
It’s an embarrassing situation, and I’m pretty confident when I say we’ve all been there. (If you think you haven’t, be really brave and ask someone who loves you enough to tell the truth.)
Tom’s of Maine is known for making quality natural products, and their toothpaste is no exception. Their new Wicked Fresh! fluoride toothpaste is specially designed to fight bad breath caused by VSCs — volatile sulfur compounds — created by bacteria in your mouth.Read Full Article
How many times a day do you brush your teeth? If you follow the advice of WebMD, you’ll brush twice a day – morning and night. (You’ll also floss once a day.) So, in a given year, you’re brushing at least 730 times. But when you count the strokes of the toothbrush in your mouth, you’re talking about a number in the thousands. Doesn’t it just make sense that you’d use high-quality tools for something you do so often to protect your oral health?
For years I’ve used whatever toothbrush my dentist gave me at my semi-annual checkups and with replacements from my local drugstore in between visits. They’re fine toothbrushes. Soft bristles. An relatively comfortable handle. Colorful and sometime even fancy, but certainly serviceable. And until recently, I thought of them all as disposable.
When I received a free sample of the Radius Source toothbrush, I got a whole new experience with dental hygiene. Once out of the package, its unique, molded shape fit my right hand perfectly….Read Full Article
I fell in love last weekend. Oh, it was a rash thing to do, I know. But love at first sight isn’t particularly logical. It doesn’t require scrutiny and deep consideration. And love at first sight is exactly what I experienced as soon as I entered Denver.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite attached to my own hometown, Iowa City. It’s a lovely place, full of the culture and history of famous writers who’ve lived here and walked the same streets I walk. Iowa City has a lively pedestrian mall that hosts concerts and street fairs. It’s friendly. And it’s a great place to meet like-minded environmentalists. I love living here. Yet, I have to admit, I am tempted by the charms of another city….Read Full Article
Recently, while Joe and I were visiting his brother, Jim, a neighbor rapped insistently on the front door. “Have you got a ladder?” he asked, breathless after hurrying across the road. “There’s a bird hanging by its leg from the eave of my house.”
As it happens, Jim does have a ladder. So he and Joe and the neighbor, Jake, headed over to see what they could do to rescue the poor creature. I grabbed my camera and tagged along.
At Jake’s house, we looked up to see a dark gray bird dangling upside down from the roof. It was held there by a string so thin that the bird appeared to be suspended in a rather crazy-looking, head-down flight. It was struggling to free itself, but there was no hope that it would succeed unaided. And with its wild wing-flapping, the young animal was in danger of having the string cut through its leg….Read Full Article
Blue Planet Green Living asked Carlyn Blake, Executive Director of Sustainable Futures, to respond to the two questions we ask everyone we interview. Sustainable Futures, based in Boise, Idaho, repurposes used wine and soda bottles to create beautiful and useful glasses, bowls, candle holders, and vases. The company also provides jobs for hard-to-place workers. Following are Blake’s responses….
1. Recycle everything you can. Take advantage of city, county, and state recycling programs, and do your part to recycle paper, plastic, and glass….Read Full Article
The “3 Rs” of Readin’, ’Ritin’, and ’Rithmetic have been replaced by the “4 Rs”: Reuse, Repair, Recycle, and Reduce.
For the past two years, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, based in Washington, D.C., has been teaching children these lessons through its musical puppet show, Junkyard Pirates.
“We thought, what can 3, 4, 5 year-olds understand?” says Mimi Flaherty Willis, Senior Director of Education at Wolf Trap Foundation. The organization commissioned some of their artists to create a show for children to teach the importance of recycling. All puppets are made out of recycled materials and pirates are the “good guys.” Their leader, Captain Spare Tire, is up against his nemesis, Land Fill….
“The arts are very powerful for children and adults,” says Flaherty Willis, speaking about why it’s so beneficial to teach lessons through musical performances. “As children, important messages are taught through games and songs — like the alphabet. We did the same thing to teach recycling.” …Read Full Article
Until recently, my research, work, and activities have been based in the Himalayas. I previously wrote three articles for Blue Planet Green Living, in which I discussed the impacts of climate change in my homeland, Nepal. My interest in climate change has grown deeper and deeper as I’ve started to look at mitigation measures rather than merely impacts.
It’s been two months since I arrived in Portland, Oregon, a beautiful place for forests and nature. At World Forestry Institute, I am investigating the role of the forest in climate-change mitigation by examining one community forest in Nepal and a small, private woodland in Oregon. My goal is to learn about the issues and find possible solutions that different countries can adapt for climate-change mitigation.
Forests are the second-largest source of carbon emission (17.4%) due to deforestation and degradation in developing countries like Nepal. So, it’s critically important that sustainable forest management practices should not add sources of emission and must strike a balance between maintaining carbon stock and earning a livelihood….Read Full Article
June 2, 2010 by Lindsay Render
Filed under 2010, Activists, Blog, British Columbia, Canada, Community, Events, Front Page, Health, Homeless, Nonprofits, Profiles, Slideshow, Social Action, Volunteers, Women
Survival sex-workers, drug addicts, and homeless women rarely have an opportunity to feel that someone truly cares about them or to experience human touch in a healthy way. But the volunteers at Beauty Night Society in Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) are striving to change that.
Caroline MacGillivray is the National Executive Director and Founder of Beauty Night Society. A 1995 graduate of Gastown Actors Studio in Vancouver, her interest in helping marginalized women arose while volunteering at WISH (Women Information Safe House) to conduct research for an upcoming role.
She explains, “My best friend from theater school married a gentleman who was going to school to become a preacher. They were ‘house parents’ at a transition home for sex workers who were trying to get off the street.
“When she would tell what she did, people sometimes seemed judgmental. She’d get questions like, ‘Why are you helping sex workers?’ ‘Why are you helping people with addiction issues? They have no discipline; they have no control,’ and those types of things….Read Full Article