the world’s major carbon dioxide-emitting nations can slash those emissions by mid-century. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the initiative aims to provide leaders with a plan of action in advance of a UN summit in September and climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015. Yale Environment 360 asked Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a key player in the decarbonization project, five questions about the initiative and the prospects for global action on the climate front.
Thirty-five years ago today, on July 12, 1979, Operation USA, then known as “Operation California,” launched its first-ever relief effort–aiding 44,000 Vietnamese “Boat People” refugees suffering on Pulau Bidong (a waterless and treeless rock island) in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaysia.
Richard Walden visits with Cambodian refugees in Thailand, 1982.
Only 29 days earlier a friend and I had dreamed up the idea for a relief airlift while sitting on the beach in Venice, California. We never dreamed that what was to be a one-time effort would continue on to a second flight carrying supplies to Cambodian and Lao refugees in camps in Thailand, and then a relief flight directly into genocide and famine-ravaged Cambodia, which had been cut off from the world for more than three years under Khmer Rouge rule. As 1979 turned into 1980 we sent aid to Somalia, and a year later to Central America, followed by the delivery of aid to victims of civil unrest in Poland and Lebanon in 1982… and so it has gone.
Now, 35 years later–having sent disaster aid and/or having created development projects in 100 countries–I look back in wonder, and with profound gratitude to all those who have taken part in this adventure.
Richard Walden with founding board member Julie Andrews, 1983.
From the construction of schools in China to the delivery of medical supplies and equipment in Africa to long-term disaster recovery in Haiti and the United States, Operation USA has successfully developed programs around the world. We continue to offer material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, education, health services, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people–with more programs being developed with each passing year.
Still, there is far more to be done by our organization (which I’m proud to say is 100% privately-funded)–and by the larger and growing nongovernmental and governmental sectors–but I rejoice at the challenges we face and the possibility to attract new and “fresh eyes” to our work in the months and years ahead.
Richard Walden visits school children in China, 2014.
We truly are “the little ship that gets in the harbor where the big ships cannot go” (so says Julie Andrews, a founding board member), and I could not be more proud of how far Operation USA has come since that first relief flight 35 years ago today. I look forward to all we are able to accomplish–with your continued support–in the future.
To learn more about Operation USA’s full history, click here.
To make a donation in support of our work, click here.
Girl Scout conventions only happen every three years. This year we will be celebrating at Girl Scouts’ 53rd national convention in the spectacular Salt Lake City, Utah, October 16–19, 2014. This is your year to reunite with friends, deepen and share your knowledge of Girl Scouts, and help invigorate a global movement of girls, women, and men around the theme "Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World."
We’re delighted that so many incredible speakers and entertainers—news makers, leaders, and policy makers from across the country and around the world—are joining us to celebrate and advocate on behalf of girls. You also won’t want to miss out on the many stimulating and entertaining activities, from theme dinners and parties to the Hall of Experiences to conversations on issues important to girls and society. You can make it even more amazing by adding in some attractions and adventures unique to Utah.
Learn more about attending, including discounted travel arrangements and special gatherings that start a few days before convention's official kickoff (including Girl Scout History Conference 2014 and several learning opportunities). Then registerby July 15 to save big—$70 on our four-day alumna and visitor packages—invite your friends and get ready to celebrate all the great things Girl Scouts do. Let’s convention!
Starting July 9th, John Legend, RYOT and the Burkle Global Impact Initiative are teaming up to launch the #OperationGirl Charity Challenge, a fundraising campaign for charities focused on women and girls.
Among the painful lessons that Operation USA has learned in 35 years in the field is that women and children are disproportionately victimized by natural disasters, warfare, violence and poverty. They are the hardest hit, the least prepared and, invariably, those who experience the greatest difficulties in recovering from disaster and devastating traumas. That’s why Operation USA supports programs designed to help women and their children pull themselves out of the prisons of gender discrimination, physical brutality and generational poverty.
The funds we raise during this Challenge will support programs aiding women and girls both abroad and here in the United States. In the US, funding will be directed to partners in the South providing skill-building, leadership training, emotional support and much more for at-risk young girls affected by poverty and displacement from disaster; and to Native American partners in the Midwest providing skill building and career training for teenage girls living on reservations. Internationally, funding will be directed to partners in Cambodia and Vietnam providing micro-loans, livelihood training, and health and mental health programs to women and children living in rural areas.
The best part of participating in the #OperationGirl Challenge is the opportunity to win up to $50,000 in bonus challenge prizes! The team that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $50,000 donation. Second place gets $20,000, third gets $10,000, and, there will be weekly Bonus Challenges for charities to win up to another $20,000. Every donation to Operation USA’s fundraiser–large or small–brings us one step closer to thousands of dollars in funding for women and girls around the world.
Will you help us get there? Give today.