“People feel good about donating to Greenpeace.” This is a quote by Paul Watson who is an environmentalist and co-founder of Greenpeace. I am sure some of you have donated to this organization and know what he is talking about. However, do we completely know how this donation is used? Not really.

In one of my classes, we were discussing how Greenpeace and other nonprofits working for a more sustainable Earth are not always straightforward and so I decided to research more about it since I have been donating 20$ every month for the last two years.
Greenpeace fundraises through different means. According to Greenpeace 2014 financial report which was accessed on October 24, 2015, Greenpeace has earned around 7million dollars through fundraising and donations. There are a lot of different ways to collect donations so I will going over a few of them.
The first one is street fundraising. Those are the people in the street or on campus trying to stop you and get you to donate. I interviewed one of them when he was trying to persuade me to donate. His name was Peter, he had been standing in that street for about three hours and he was happy to take a break for a while. They are trained to be educated about whichever campaign Greenpeace is working on to be able to answer any question you may have but also to fill their quota. Peter mentioned that when the street fundraisers do not reach their monthly quota, they get fired. This makes for an efficient way to get donations
The second way is table fundraising. This is when someone holds a table at an event catered to environmentally conscious people that are usually already interested. The public is more receptive to this according to an article from the French magazine “Figaro” . People who engage themselves to monthly donations get stickers and other to thank them for their donations.
The last method I will be talking about is phone fundraising. This is usually done when someone donated in the past and cancelled their subscription or made a one-time donation instead of a monthly one. According to Gail Perry, who writes the internet blog “Fired Up Fundraising,” this is one of the most efficient fundraising method along with face-to-face fundraising but a bit tricky. People do not want BAD phone calls so Greenpeace gives intensive training to their employee to increase their chances.
Last month, I tried cancelling my subscription and asked the person on the phone to tell me where my money is going. My donations are used on lobbying, renting a boat if the activists are protesting against overfishing (for example), organizing protests, and also marketing and advertising which helps with fundraising as well. 18% go to encourage donor relations so that they will keep helping Greenpeace and to keep them informed as to what is going on. 9% is organizational support which is designed to help employees be committed to the organization and perform well. The last 4% goes toward administration which is management and other functions that keep the organization running.

Greenpeace uses a lot of different means to fundraise and uses the money earned in many ways across the whole organization. This is important to know since a lot of people choose to donate to more well-known organizations such as Greenpeace or WWF but don’t get informed about what happens behind the scenes! So get informed and support an organization focused on an issue you see as a problem!


Gratuity of Public Transport

In Paris, the threshold for air pollution has been exceeded for the fifth consecutive day and still could be increasing this weekend … or even next week. Over thirty departments around the capital were affected Thursday by maximum alerts to air pollution. To reduce the rate of pollution, measures more or less pleasant, exist. The “Nouvel Observateur” highlights the main one, which I read and thought was interesting.
There is talk to make public transport on days when the pollution is high..It is the flagship measure put forward by the Minister of Ecology, Philippe Martin. The objective is simple. Pushing, when pollution peaks, the inhabitants of French cities to choose public transport instead of the car.
Paris, Caen, Rouen, Reims, Lyon and Grenoble (major French cities) offer free transport some weekends. The President of the Ile-de-France region Jean-Paul Huchon, head of the transport authority in the region, said that this gratuity would be ensured in the Ile-de-France “throughout the duration of the expected peaks of pollution. ” There will not, however, discount on weekly or monthly passes. In some cities, free should only expected for Fridays unless otherwise specified.
The challenge is to be able to absorb these additional users who have agreed to leave their cars at home. Another challenge would be getting the companies managing public transport to agree to make public transport free throughout certain weeks when pollution is high. Public transport is mostly used during the week to access work and so it would minimize pollution on those days.
In America, the use of cars is more frequent because of the lack of accessibility to public transport in some states. I think it would definitely encourage people to use the metro and the bus if there were some days when it was free to ride.

I went vegan for a day and here’s what happened

Veganism is something that is very dreadful for a lot of people, myself included. I did a small research before writing this and most people I asked said that being vegan involved being stigmatized, it’s expensive and it limits your choices. That scared me a bit but hey, I was only doing this for a day so why not try it on campus. With a limited access to a kitchen and $10 in my wallet, I went on to look at a list of my choices.

Well, there is the obvious salad bar and stir fry. The pasta and sandwich stand might be a choice for some if you don’t add any protein.

Johnson Center:
This was definitely where there was the most choices but it is not very accessible to most meal plans. I have freedom so I could go wherever I wanted and ask for a dish without meat or animal by-product in it. I felt that I had the most freedom to customize in Freshens which is a place inside the Express. The menu includes different rice bowls, crepes, salads, and smoothies.

The Globe:
There was a salad there and different cooked veggies and carbs such as rice and pasta. There wasn’t any plant-based proteins the day I went but it was still very good.

I only investigated those three dining options but I her Ike’s is also very good. My only concern about on-campus vegan options would be for someone who has limited meal plan. I have “freedom” so I can choose to eat wherever I want but for someone who can only go to dining halls, the options might be a lot more limited and boring. There’s only so many times you can eat stir-fry.

Behind-the-Scenes of grant seeking

In our LLC, we volunteer with many non-profits but we do not get an understanding of how they actually work and what is going on behind the scenes. I had the opportunity to go to the DC Foundation Center which allows you to research and use their resources to understand or create a non-profit. If you donate money to any non-profit organization, you can also gain information about they use their money and what they have accomplished. I personally was looking at grants to apply for and what foundations’ criteria were.
On September 15, 2015, I went to the Foundation Research Center in DC. I was welcomed by an older woman at the front desk. She asked me what my inquiry was and asked me to sign in. I was surprised to see computers in the room and even more surprised to see people actually doing research. I chose a computer and the woman who welcomed me proposed to give me a tour of the research center. She showed me the magazines and books, but also let me know about the tools I could use to find an internship or a job into a non-profit. I was shocked at all the tools that were actually offered. From the workshops to the websites, it was astonishing to see how resourceful it was. I then sat down at the computer and the same woman instructed me onto how to make my research and gave me helpful tips.
I was very interested into the environmental field so I decided to take a look at what was being more frequently being granted funded and I wanted to get informed about environmental non-profit that the organizations I am part of could partner with. In class, it was mentioned that it was rather recommended to reach out to a local foundation. However, in my research, most of the foundations were in another state than the organization they gave grants to. It was also interesting to see what were their focus and limitations. Also, The National Wildlife Federation got a grant from the Cleveland Foundation in 2012 to organize a conference. I looked at the current limitations of the Cleveland Foundation and they were limited to Ohio so it made me realize that the limitations were changeable, meaning that it was important to look at them again when applying for a grant.
Looking at the executive board of each foundation was also interesting. I did not really know who would be holding a position into a non-profit organization or a foundation. I saw that there were professors but also people without a title and I appreciated the diversity. I accomplished my goal since I found several organizations located in Virginia that have been doing interesting work such as the Galapagos Conservancy in Fairfax, VA that has been educating the public about the importance of preserving the ecosystem in the Galapagos Island. It had gotten a grant from the Tinker Foundation Inc. in New York to do so.
This visit educated me about the process of grant seeking. I was not knowledgeable about the resources available for fundraising and I learned a skill that I can apply not only to non-profit work but in my life in general.

Hokkaido’s Blue Pond

I was recently just browsing the internet when I found pictures both heavenly and horrible. It depicted a pond that was as blue as a swimming pool in a certain light going to a greenish color. It certainly looked beautiful with contrast between the pale leafless trees inside the water and the striking hues of the pond. I was shocked and mesmerized by the photograph and decided to research more about it.
There was not much information about Hokkaido’s Blue Pond. It was described as a touristic site and a beautiful sight to see. These words irked me as I felt that there was something more to the pond. After countless water tests, the cause of the colors was still not sure. However, widely accepted hypothesis is that it is due to an abnormal amount of aluminum hydroxide which reflects blue particles easily. This led me to question the origin of the pool. I found out that it was created by the erection of a dam to prevent mudflows in region. The water collects in the Blue Pond. While I could not find detailed information about the influence of aluminum hydroxide in water, I found a World Health Organization research showing that aluminum hydroxide is not poisonous to humans. It just means it is not harmful to animal organisms which might be the reason for the lack of interest in the Blue Pond component. But does that mean the Blue Pond is completely safe?https://sustainabilityllc.wordpress.com/wp-admin/options-general.php
The Blue Pond does not have living organisms inside of it. There are no fish or algae inside. It might be due to the fact that it is not a natural pool but overtime algae should have developed. The pH of the pond cannot be found. After researching reasons for pollution such as factories, all I could find was farming sites and a cheese factory. The farming sites could have polluted the pond but the usual signs are eutrophication and there are no signs of over fertilization of the site. Looking at the pictures, it seems like there might be some signs of sediment pollution as the borders of the pond are a reddish color. However that might just be clay and the way the photograph was taken.
The Blue Pond is certainly ethereally beautiful and attracts lots of tourist which is beneficent to the Japanese economy. It also is a small water space without a lot of current. The lack of aquatic movement could explain the higher concentration of aluminum hydroxide. My reasoning is that it just accumulates and does not evaporate. While I could not prove that the Blue Pond is polluted, it is not a natural watercourse and the colors cannot be explained.

Toothpaste in Pills!!

Last semester, I ordered toothpaste in pills. I bought it on Lush.com and I was not aware it even existed until I saw them on the website.
It is presented in a pretty little cardboard box that hides the 40 pellets of “Toothy Tabs.” The main reason I purchased Toothy Tabs? The tabs are packaged in a little box made recycled cardboard which helps participate in the plastic packaging reduction or aluminum thrown in mass. There is also no waste since no toothpaste gets stuck inside the packaging so there is no waste. It is fully recyclable and allows the pellets to conserve moisture. As this box does not take space and that it is still a little resistant to blow, it can easily be transported safely and is very travel friendly. The opening of this box works like those of matches: just push one side to break through the pre-cut hole and dropping a pellet in hand.
I bought the”Chou Chou…I Love You” toothy tabs. They are handmade, like all lush products, and I even had the name of the person who made them inside the box( Hi Oscar, if you are reading this!) The toothpaste is a small tab of sand color that must be put in mouth and then chewed. Then the user just brushes and foam will form. The tabs I picked smelled and tasted mainly like roses, but there was some lemon in it. It’s a pretty girly scent. Besides these three ingredients, these tablets also contain baking soda and cream of tartar, and kaolin which are the cleaning ingredients.
As it is marked on the package: just chew a tab and start brushing your teeth to create a fine mousse and it taste very nice, in my humble opinion. It’s a little sweet indeed! This Toothy Tab has a somewhat gritty, grainy which is pretty special to have in your mouth. Do not chew too much because it gets a little uncomfortable, as if chewing sand. I do not mind it at all but that is not the case for everyone. Once rinsed, the teeth are incredibly smooth thanks to the fine exfoliating particles in the tabs!The breath is fresh but not minty. After many uses, one can notice a significant whitening effect on the teeth which is a very good point!
In conclusion, I will never buy toothpaste again! I completely converted to Toothy Tabs and looking forward to finish this package to try another scent. It’s easy and fun to use, it tastes good and it whitens teeth! That’s all I ask. 40 tablets costs $ 4.95 which is cheap for once and that’s just fine.