April 2011

Photo: Sandhill cranes along the Platte River

Sandhill cranes in Nebraska, United States.  Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic.

(ABC News)  Earth Day has been an American tradition for over 40 years now, and as we wrote last year, it has become a little less nonprofit and a little more corporate, much to the chagrin of some die-hard environmentalists.   Starbucks, for instance, is offering to fill up tumblers and washable mugs for free if you bring it in the store today, and last year’s Peat the Penguin plush toys caused mild outrage.  What happened to simply planting trees and raising awareness?  Why are we making ‘going green’ a commercialized trend instead of a noble goal? 

But alas, at the end of the day, if the news about our suffering earth is being spread, it’s being spread, nevermind in what mode.  So take heed and turn off the lights; recycle whatever you can, and switch off the tap as you brush your teeth–every little action helps.  And if you’re still scratching your head for ways to ‘go green,’ Earth Day Network , the nonprofit behind Earth Day festivities, is promoting A Billion Acts of Green–published pledges to keep the planet healthy. 

Happy Earth Day!


(New York TimesKanye West’s charity has closed suddenly and mysteriously, according to an e-mail from Joseph Collins, its former executive director.  The charity was established “to combat the severe dropout problem in schools,” as stated on its website.  The charity’s grant distribution was relatively solid, but when Mr. West’s mother and founder of the charity, Dr. Donda West, died in 2007, it dropped significantly.  Many phone calls and e-mails have gone unanswered, so the official reasoning behind the charity’s closure is still unknown.

(The Guardian) Violence remains one of the most reliable threats to many underprivileged countries, according to the 2011 World Bank Development Report.  Interestingly, the pattern of violence has shifted: Fatalities from civil wars have significantly decreased in the last 30 years, but drug trafficking and other cross-border crime has increased. 

Sarah Cliffe, a director from the report, noted that “Peace processes in southern Africa and central America have been threatened by criminal violence.  In Guatemala you have more people dying now from criminal violence and from drug trafficking than you did during the civil war.” 

This change in violence means change in development.  The World Bank is urging a stabilization of society to cut the violence; an emphasis on citizen security, justice, and jobs will promote the much-needed peace.