A Hero A Day: Day 2 — Paul Link

14 Aug

The Spill Isn’t Over for Wildlife

Don’t bother telling Paul Link the oil in the Gulf of Mexico has vanished. He knows better. Three days a week, Link, who works with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, heads out into the marshes and barrier islands near Hopedale, Louisiana, to rescue oiled birds. Link says the oil in the water has certainly changed consistencies, from thick rafts seen early in the disaster to lighter sheens that may be originating from subsea or suspended oil. But it’s these sheens that are now wreaking havoc on birds in the Gulf. “The birds do not appear to be oiled from a distance but are covered with a clear-coat-like varnish,” Link says. “They are unable to fly and lose most of their buoyancy.” There have been a couple of days in the past two weeks when Link and his team picked up fifty-plus live oiled birds and hundreds of carcasses.

Paul Link rescues an oiled juvenile laughing gull (Photo by John Gardner)

 

As we know treasured wildlife and wild places have been devastated by the BP oil spill. An estimated 186 million gallons have poured into the Gulf of Mexico impacting dolphins, brown pelicans, as well as threatened and endangered sea turtles. Some animals have been found dead. Others have been found dying or coated in the toxic oil that has polluted extensive areas of their habitat.   If you would like to donate & support Paul Link in his wildlife crusade please visit the National Wildlife Federation:  https://online.nwf.org/site/Donation2?df_id=16662&16662.donation=form1

A Hero A Day

13 Aug

After recently asking the question, ” Who Are Your Heroes?” on my Facebook account I was sad to see only a handful of my over 1,000 friends answer.  However it has come to me that the world seldom hears of heroes because their stories are often happening in remote parts of the world. 

So here I go, sharing about heroes of this century…

Sima Wali is a native of Afghanistan.  Sima heads Refugee Women in Development, an international non-profit focusing on women in conflict, post-conflict reintegration and human rights.  She was an advisor at the UN Peace Talks on Afghanistan in 2001, helping to ensure that women were represented in the post-Taliban government and were equal beneficiaries of Western aid.  Sima continues to work in Afghanistan and refugee camps in Pakistan to strengthen human rights, empower women, and construct democratic institutions in the wake of decades of violent conflict.   To learn more about Sima & her work please visit:  http://www.institute-for-afghan-studies.org

Sima Wali, President & CEO of Refugee Women in Development (RefWID), Inc

Katie Couric’s Global Cancer Campaign

24 Jul
Couric has recently broadened her campaign beyond

Loving The Discussion on Philanthropy w/ Katie Couric

colon cancer (her husband died of colon cancer in 1998) , told the Global Forum audience in South Africa during the World Cup that cancer has become “an equal opportunity disease.” While developed countries once accounted for 80% of the world’s cancer cases, developing countries now account for more than half. And by the end of the decade, Couric said, two-thirds of cancer cases will belong to the developing world.No place is hit harder than Africa, which will get a disproportionate share of the killer disease. While positive trends in Africa — like urbanization and greater longevity — lift cancer rates here, the continent is ill-eqipped to deal with the problem. In Africa, Couric says, for every 10 people who are diagnosed with cancer every year, eight people die!!!!

When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2004 I had no idea what that even meant — today I am happy to say I am cancer free & that now there is no time like the present to become informed & do routine check-ups, visit your doctor regularly & hey freakn start thinking about what you eat — we truly ARE what we eat!

And for the record, I have a crush on Katie 🙂

A HAITI SUCCESS STORY

22 Feb

I am beyond happy that this past Friday, Feb 19th we got the final paperwork into U.S. Immigration to have Menelick & Nesty (who are in Haiti) reunited with their political refugee father Ernst Montfleury living here in Orem, Utah!!

This reuniting is going to be *AMAZING*!!

Thank you Ken Murdock, Kristen Murdock, Monica Ord, & Eric Klein and Lorraine Clark!!

Expanding Your Philanthropic Toolbox

14 Nov

IMG00223-20091029-1540On October 29-30, Scott had the awesome opportunity to speak at the 6th Annual Conference on International Giving.  On a panel with Kat Woerner and Sharon Schneider, he was able to address the idea that philanthropy is more than money.  Much MUCH more.

Your philanthropic toolbox needs to include more than a check book.  Money is the first thing that often jumps into one’s mind when one commits to doing charity and philanthropic work.  But have you considered other things, such as your social network?  Do you have friends with special skills who can donate time and talent to charity?   What about your own personal skills?  Are you an educator?  Teach people how to make a difference.

There are so many ways to donate beyond cold, hard cash, and you can visit http://thephilanthropicfamily.com/ for a more in depth look on just how to do that.

Also present at the conference, was Paul Rusesabagina, of the Hotel Rwanda foundation.  Scott spent 2 days with this amazing man, the hero who helped save the lives of 1,268 people during the Rwandan genocide.  His foundation works to raise awareness and understanding about the preconditions of genocide.  His foundation also seeks to educate on the need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.  Genocide directly affects several of the MGD’s, and his Foundation is crucial to our cause.

Scott also was able to meet with Cheryl Musch, the Director of International Development at SERRV.  SERRV is an amazing non-profit fair trade and development organization that works with developing countries.  With the holidays approaching, now is a perfect time to do a little philanthropic gift giving.  Visit http://www.serrv.org and browse through all of the amazing, hand crafted items.  Make a purchase, knowing that your money is helping someone in a developing country to raise his or her standard of living.  No sweatshop garbage from exploited people on this site.  Completely guilt free gifting.

Scott also had the opportunity to meet with Judd Holzman from Link Community Development.  LCD works tirelessly to promote high quality education for children in Sub-Saharan Africa.  By promoting MGD #2 (achieving universal primary education) LCD’s work is also directly affecting completion of other MGD’s, as education is a crucial foundation.

To find out more about LCD, visit http://www.lcdinternational.org.

Here at Interface we are working tirelessly to expand our own philanthropic toolbox, by interacting with other charities.  All of the aforementioned charities are integral players in completing the MGD’s, and we are proud to be working with them.  Now, see what YOU can do.

6th Annual Conference on International Giving

26 Oct

This week, on October 29-30, Scott will be attending the 6th Annual Conference on International Giving, located in Chicago.  As much as aid is needed here at home in our own United States, the need for help abroad is so much the greater.

Since Interface has been involved with charities all over the globe, Scott has a great first hand perspective on the importance of international giving, and the way to go about it effectively.

Visit the Chicago Global Donor’s Network to find out more about ways you can help internationally.  http://www.chicagoglobaldonors.org/index.php

Take Action from Home

26 Oct

For the first time in history, global hunger has reached more than a billion people.  About 1 in 6 people on this planet are starving to death.  With rampant financial crisis occurring around the globe, food aid is at a 20 year low.  That makes YOUR contributions and OUR contributions more important than ever before.

On October 5-6, Scott was able to attend the Summit on Global Hunger.  This year the summit took place right in the heart of our nation’s Capital. Nestled next to the Supreme Court and the  Library of Congressl was the Stewart Mott House–ground zero for this year’s Hunger Summit.

For 2 days, Scott was surrounded by the leading experts on global hunger, such as Karen Sendelback, president and CEO of Friends of the World Food Program, and Frederick Tipson from the United Nations Development Program.  These people are on the forefront of the battle, and they know their stuff.

The main point that Scott took from the Summit, was the importance of taking action at home.  We can ALL do something.  The problem isn’t so big that all of you average, yet extraordinary people out there can’t make a difference.  Here are some ways that you can personally fight hunger:

Volunteer–No matter where you are, there are always charities in need of physical bodies to do the work.  Your contribution does not always have to be monetary–use your muscles!

Social Network Sites–If you claim that you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, you are probably lying.  Tell your friends about hunger.  Most of your contacts are probably ignorant of the fact that 1 billion people are hungry.
Contact your members of Congress–Fighting hunger is political.  Our dear members of Congress have access to money, and the ability to help on a large scale.  Weary them with your letters until they act!
Even though times are tough all over the globe, let’s make it our time to shine.  Ending hunger starts with you, and only ends with everyone has a full belly.

World Food Day

15 Oct

worldfooddayWith 1 billion hungry people in the world, every day should be World Food Day.  This Friday is the REAL World Food Day, which exists to raise awareness that although the task is daunting, you CAN make a difference.

The key to winning this battle–and it certainly can be won–is to tell your friends, family, associates, enemies, strangers, in-laws, co-workers, and EVERYBODY that hunger is not impossible to conquer.  That individuals absolutely CAN make a difference.  When a child can be fed for 25 pennies a day, anybody can make a significant contribution.

If you happen to be in the Phoenix area, Stop Hunger Now, Food for the Hungry, and Phoenix Rescue Mission are bringing Operation Sharehouse to Phoenix.  We invite you to join with them and hundreds of volunteers who will be packaging 100,000 meals for hungry children in developing countries and collecting food for local families in need.

With 16,000 children dying every day due to hunger related causes, 100,000 meals will make a difference.

If you aren’t in the Phoenix area, you can visit http://www.wfp.org/stories/10-things-you-can-do-world-food-day for ideas of things you can do on World Food Day.

How about spending an hour at freerice.com?  Invite your significant other to watch you define obscure words like ambuscade and legerdemain.  He or she will be wholly impressed with your genius intellect, and your vocabulary will grow while you feed the hungry.  I spent about 20 minutes today and donated 900 grains of rice, and now I’m feeling pre-tty darn replete with refulgence.  Don’t be a curmudgeon should your vocab prove indigent–soon enough you’ll be able to bloviate with even the most supercilious of folks.

Don’t let this World Food Day sneak by unnoticed.  Let’s make a difference and raise awareness–even if the you just mostly become aware that your vocabulary wasn’t quite as vast as you once thought.

If in Phoenix:

WHAT:    Operation Sharehouse Phoenix Launch Event

WHEN:    Friday, October 16th 2009, 9:30 to 12:00 p.m. OR 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: 4015 Milky Way, Chandler, AZ 85226 (Off the 202 and McClintock, near Stellar Air Park)

Second Annual Summit on Global Hunger in Washington, DC

1 Oct

We are living in a world rife with disaster and conflict.  Every single day there is something; major flooding in the Philippines, a tsunami in American Samoa, constant and ever present fighting throughout Africa, Afghanistan, and a plethora of other areas throughout the world.

But you know this.

We are living in a country that has been at war, yet every single day we are dwelling in relative peace and safety.  Where having “nothing to eat” in the house probably means one can not find anything but Ramen, bread, and peanut butter.  When natural disasters occur on our own soil, we have the means to help each other out.

You know this.

For a large part of the world, war and natural disaster exacerbate the already dismal hunger problem.

Conflict feeds hunger.

The World Food Program is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger.  Since 1962, the WFP has been working tirelessly to to feed the more than 1 billion people suffering from hunger world wide.

Friends of the WFP is a U.S.-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on building support in the United States for the World Food Program.

On October 5-6, Friends of the WFP will be hosting the second annual Summit on Global Hunger in Washington, DC.  I will be attending the  summit to participate in two days of in-depth workshops and presentations on global hunger, meetings with members of Congress to discuss hunger policy, panel discussions with leaders from the private sector to discuss best practices in corporate social responsibility, and strategic planning sessions to further develop and expand the WFP program.

This will be a phenomenal opportunity to work firsthand with the WFP, and see how we can plug Interface into the equation.

World hunger is not unconquerable.  Working with high impact charities like the WFP and Friends of the WFP, we can bring an end to hunger.

We know this.

Djimon Hounsou on Climate Change

22 Sep

A Larry King exclusive by Djimon Hounsou, the only professional actor involved in the Summit on Climate Change.

djimon-hounsou-for-web1

I have always been vocal on poverty issues and have championed humanitarian causes, but I never really considered myself an environmentalist. Sure I try to consume less and recycle more, but it wasn’t until I began to witness the truly cataclysmic effects of climate change on the poorest amongst us that I felt obligated to speak up.

For years, I’ve been advocating for the struggling farmers in my home country of Benin and in Mali in West Africa, where agriculture is more than a job. It is a way of life. Their very survival depends upon what they can grow, and unlike the economic crisis that we’re facing now where many people live paycheck to paycheck, these struggling farmers fight and scrape by on a meager existence from season to season. All across Africa, southern Asia, and other third world countries, farming is the only means of employment and survival, which is greatly affected by the climate changes taking place — droughts, flooding, and erratic seasons. Through my work with the international humanitarian group Oxfam, I have learned that a changing climate has the potential to dramatically impact them.

In 2005, when I visited a remote village outside of Bamako in Mali, I saw how dependent people’s lives were on rainfall. If the rain had not come in time, a whole season of planting would be wasted. Luckily, some rain did fall but not enough for most farmers to even turn a profit.

Because climate change will make seasons much less predictable, storms more frequent and conditions more difficult to manage, the poorest farmers around the world, such as the cotton farmers in Benin, are likely to suffer the most, despite their lack of negative impact to the crisis.

Lacking the information or resources necessary to understand, prepare for, and respond to the dire affects of climate change, many of the world’s poorest communities will experience unprecedented stress.

Without adequate support to adapt to the changing climate, the effect is a downward spiral into deeper poverty and increased vulnerability.

This could mean that millions would go without food, pull their children out of school, sell off cattle to pay for mounting debt, or migrate to other regions. Such dramatic consequences are not just a terrible tragedy; they can also threaten to undermine global stability and security.

I know all of this first hand. Growing up in Benin in West Africa, and having worked and traveled to many parts of the world, I know how important farming is to the livelihood of so many people.

And it’s not just the people in West Africa who feel the impact of climate change; it’s happening all over the world. Cities and villages that line the coasts are under threat from ever intensifying hurricanes, floods, and storms. Here in the States we have witnessed our eastern seaboard and gulf coast ravaged by hurricanes, while my home state of California continues to fight wildfires that grow out of control. The large river basins of the Niger River, the Senegal River, and Lake Chad have experienced a total water decrease between 40 and 60 percent.

The number of people affected by climate change will only increase; Oxfam estimates that it will affect 275 million people by 2015. That’s more than the entire population of the United States.

With this type of projected impact, it is no surprise that this global crisis, and its drastic effects on poor people around the world, will at last take center stage and get the attention it deserves. Heads of state from around the world are planning to come together in Copenhagen in December to work towards an agreement to tackle climate change. If global leaders want these negotiations to be a success, the agreement has to allow for both reducing global warming pollution and for investing in the resiliency of defenseless communities around the world. This assistance can help them to prepare for and respond to the impact of climate change.

Helping vulnerable communities means providing funding for those who are living in the most extreme poverty to adapt to climate change and prepare for the future. This funding can support innovations such as drought-resistant seeds or provide essentials like assembling food banks for times of shortage. Even coastal tree barriers and raised homes for floods and hurricanes can help. The bottom line is that the world’s wealthiest nations can and should help the neediest to plan ahead for the future, to avoid the humanitarian disasters that we have seen ravage these communities.

As an African, I have a responsibility to share the impact of climate change on Africa with the global community; but as citizen of the world I have a responsibility to speak out and do my part for all of humanity. The clock is ticking – now. World leaders have the chance to stop the clock. Let’s hope that in New York and in Copenhagen they take the lead to lift millions of people out of poverty. We don’t have the luxury to debate the issues, or question ourselves. We must stop second-guessing our duties. It is unequivocally our inherent responsibility to one another as humans to assist and find solutions for the poorest in our communities and around the globe.

Filed under: Global Warming • LKL Web Exclusive • Larry King Live