Saturday, April 25, 2009

World Malaria Day: April 25

Got 5 bucks? That’s all it takes to contribute a malaria-fighting bed net for a person in a vulnerable country. April 25 is World Malaria Day — a perfect day to head over to, give $5, and add yourself to their Honor Roll. Check it out!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Click for a Cure: The Breast Cancer Site

The Breast Cancer Site
The Breast Cancer Site is trying to qualify for a matching grant. If clicks on the site in April can fund at least 200 mammograms, Greater Good will contribute an additional $10,000 toward breast cancer research. The Breast Cancer Site is a free click-to-give site, where sponsors donate a small amount of money for each visitor’s daily click on the site. The money raised goes to fund free and low-cost mammograms to women without health insurance.

There is no cost to you: simply visit the site and click on the pink box. Advertisers make a small donation for each click — and this month your clicks do double duty by helping the site reach the additional $10,000 matching goal.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Concluding the Fast

12 April 2009 – Day 46
“Replace the light bulb you removed at the start of the Carbon Fast (make sure it’s an energy saving one!) Finish the Carbon Fast by contemplating to do next. What do you want your lifestyle to look like in five years? Commit to doing one or two new things a month.”

Happy Easter! Another Carbon Fast for Lent ends today. I hope this has provided good reading and some useful suggestions and links. In our own house, I’ve redoubled my attempts to save water and become more aware of the cleaning products we’re using. I had started moving away from petroleum based laundry detergent for last year’s Carbon Fast. This year I’ve followed by revamping all our household cleaners, which are now 99% petroleum-free. And we’re continuing our commitment to our utility’s Green Power Tomorrow program, as well as bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery.

Today’s mitvah: What about you? What lifestyle changes can you take with you moving into the post-Lenten season?

Photograph © 2008 by 13 Delancey Street.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Pay It Forward

“‘Love does no harm to its neighbour’ Romans 13:10. Help others to cut their emissions.You could buy an energy saving light bulb or something else mentioned in the Fast and give it away to someone to help them on the way to cutting their emissions.”

This activity is new this year, and I really like it. I’m still mulling what to give, but I’ll post whatever I come up with by the weekend. What about you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Save some paper today

“Save paper today. Don’t print unless you need to and when you do, print double-sided onto recycled paper.” — Carbon Fast for Lent

Today’s activity is a nice opportunity to plug Tamara Krinsky’s Change the Margins campaign, in which she is urging Microsoft to reduce the default margin width in Word. She also encourages colleges and universities — big paper users — to do the same —a and had some success recently when students at Western Washington University to change the default margins on campus computer lab printers.

The plan is simple: wider margins require more paper; narrower margins mean less paper. Easy savings!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Unemployment Lifeline"

Working America has launched a web site for unemployed workers. Called Unemployment Lifeline, it’s a central place to find resources in your community, navigate government benefits, learn about legal resources, get support from others, and more. I thought the resource search section looked especially useful, with searchable information on unemployment compensation, nutritional assistance, utility assistance, emergency medical assistance. Working America is a political advocacy and community organizing group, so it has activist links as well, but it looks like a solid choice even for those who are just interested in its resources.

Today’s mitzvah: The NYT recently ran an article about how those with jobs can help friends who have lost their jobs. See Johnson Jots for details and a link, and think about what you can do to help. Or if you need help, check out Unemployment Lifeline.

Carbon Fast for Lent: What Size is Your Footprint?

“Calculate your carbon footprint today at and find out what more you can do about climate change. Order Tearfund’s green guide ‘For TomorrowToo’ at for ideas on cutting emissions.”

I wanted to find a carbon footprint calculator that didn’t immediately ask one to buy an offset. The one below seems to do the trick. If and when you are ready to offset, I’m a fan of, which is a nonprofit (offsets are tax deductible) and has its own calculators, too. TerraPass is another good choice, although they’re a for-profit and contributions aren’t deductible.

My score was 12 tons, equivalent to 29 barrels of oil and planting two acres of forest. That was sobering: I assume my numbers are on the low side since I live in a small apartment and don’t own a car. How was your score?

Today’s mitzvah: Calculate your carbon footprint, and consider purchasing an affordable offset at one of the resources above. Or get started right away — for free! — and offset; one lb. of carbon (about the amount of electricity for your computer usage today) at Care2’s click to give Global Warming page.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: One if by Land . . .

Day 41 – Monday 6 April
“Turn your central heating thermostat down by one degree.”

This is a Carbon Fast perennial, yet it’s always a good reminder. While most models suggest 3°, even one degree down in winter (or up in summer) is do-able yet also effective. A 1° change can save about 3% on an annual bill. According to the nifty calculator I found, that’s for a single-family home that’s an annual savings of about $74 and 1330 lbs. of C02. For an apartment, it’s about $19 and 336 lbs. of C02.

Today’s mitzvah: Try a one-degree change!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Save $20 at the grocery this weekend

Coupons have limited life spans, but you should be able to save about $20 with the coupons we've gathered so far via the Great $100 Coupon Challenge. I’m hopeful this will make it a bit easier to buy organic and natural products (or just stuff I like). For this installment I decided to check out a new brand that’s getting a lot of shelf space at my local grocery. Wild Harvest Organics distributes (under its own label) organic foods made by well-known brands, and is positioning itself as the kinda-affordable and ubiquitous “store brand” of the organic world. It’s certainly working locally; their products — milk, eggs. crackers, cookies, cereal. canned food, frozen food — are all over the grocery stores here in town. I thought hey might be popping up in your store, too (and happily there’s no registration required to print), so here’s a coupon to start off this installment:
Happy saving!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Bag the Plastic Bags

Day 38 – Friday 3 April 2009
“Reduce the number of plastic bags you use. Get a fabric or reusable bag instead and take it with you when you shop.”
The Carbon Fast for Lent

This is another suggestion that finally nudged me into action during last year’s Carbon Fast. I’ve backslidden a bit (if that’s a word) after I used up all the spare plastic bags I’d been stockpiling for trash bags. But overall this has become second nature, with my little Baggus always in my purse or backpack. And I know that family members with cars, including my mom, just keep the fold-up square bags in the car so they’re at hand for any shopping trip.

Whether you’re using square-bottom bags made from recycled soda bottles like those above, neat fold-up bags the little Baggus, or a sturdy cloth tote, this is an easy way to cut down on plastics. As a bonus: check out an alternative for filmy plastic produce bags. The cute produce bags at left — light as a feather — are available on Etsy, the handmade site (mine are from DaisyDots, or you can just search “produce bags”). I tuck one in each of my Baggu pouches so I always have them with me.

Today’s mitzvah: Cute reusable bags abound. Check out your local grocery or Whole Foods, Reusable Bags, or
the Baggu siteto get started,Find some that work for you and bag the plastic bags!

Top photograph © 2008 by Daily Mitzvah, with a shout out to Community Car!
Bottom photograph © 2008 by DaisyDots.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Get on the Bus

“Travel light. Think before you drive: cycle, walk the school run, share lifts with colleagues, use public transport. Find out more about cycle routes in the UK at [And find out more about planning public transit in the U.S. at]”

Have you taken public transit lately? Times have changed — it may not be what you think! One improvement since the days of the
omnibus: better real-time tracking. Our local system has just launched a Transit Tracker that lets one get real-time info on where a bus is on a map and when one can expect it to arrive. Unfortunately this isn’t integrated with Google Transit, but I hope Madison Metro will move in that direction soon. (Milwaukee, Green Bay, Racine, and Appleton are already onboard.) I used Google Transit extensively the last time I was in Chicago — it was very handy for figuring out the next bus no matter where I was in the city.

Today’s mitzvah: In 2008, American public transit ridership was the highest in more then 50 years. Help make 2009 another record-breaking year. Visit Public Transit Takes Us There for public transit options in your own community.

Image: G.W. Joy, Bayswater Omnibus, 1895. Collection of the Museum of London.