BLOG: Looking Back on ‘Because We Care’ – OpUSA’s Star-Studded Benefit Event – 35 Years Later

Operation USA - February 03, 2015

Early in 1980, Operation USA (then called Operation California) was just finding its footing in the nonprofit sector. Just six months earlier, a friend and I had been inspired to launch our flagship relief effort aimed at providing relief to the Vietnamese “Boat People” refugees in Malaysia. As we gained momentum in the US at the start of the new year, thanks in large part to the involvement of founding board member Julie Andrews, we saw an opportunity to host a television special to raise funds for our cause–and “Because We Care” was born.

Filmed on January 29, 1980 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, “Because We Care” aired on February 5, 1980 as a 2-hour special event on CBS and featured numerous celebrities who had a passionate interest in aiding famine victims in Cambodia. Funds were generated by selling tickets to the taping of the special and by public donations made during a phone-a-thon when the concert aired on television. Over $1.1 million was raised to aid Operation USA’s relief efforts, sending medicine, food and supplies to southeast Asia.

Looking back on “Because We Care” now, 35 years later, I am still proud of the celebrity talent we were able to bring on board as part of our fundraising effort, and am grateful for all the help and support we had in putting the event together. To this day, the special remains one of our most successful fundraising efforts ever, and the money we raised made such a meaningful impact on those people suffering in Cambodia at that time.

With the rise of the internet and social media, celebrities now have an endless supply of platforms on which to call attention to causes like ours, and the fundraising landscape has changed quite a bit. But, I will always remember that special day when superstars like Julie Andrews, Michael Jackson, Jane Fonda, Ed Asner, Natalie Cole, John Travolta, Bob Newhart and many more all came together for the television special in support of Operation USA, ultimately leading to 35 years of successful humanitarian aid worldwide.

To donate to Operation USA’s ongoing relief and recovery work, visit give.opusa.org.

Categories: Environment

Keystone Pipeline: Oil Price Drop Will Worsen Climate Impact, EPA Warns

The EnvironmentaList - February 03, 2015
Falling oil prices could mean higher carbon pollution for the controversial pipeline, a finding that gives Obama new cause to reject the project
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Vital role for local councils to make 2015 a good year for bees

Friends of the Earth - February 03, 2015
Positive action from businesses, land owners, farmers, conservation groups and local communities is urgently needed to reverse the worrying decline in Britain’s bees. Local councils also have a pivotal role to play. They own land and contract others to manage our parks and streets. And they also make local planning decisions and other policies which can affect bees and their needs. That’s why this year we are asking councils to do all they can to help save our bees and other pollinators. Measures should include: Creating and linking bee-friendly habitat across their area; Reviewing
Categories: Environment

Nine of 10 Cities in China Do Not Meet Air Quality Standards, Government Says

Yale Environment 360 - February 03, 2015
Roughly 90 percent of China's large cities did not meet national air quality standards last year, according to the country's

Smog over the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. environment ministry. Only eight of the 74 cities monitored by the ministry met standards for pollution metrics such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and fine particle concentrations, according to a report published on the ministry's website. The poor results actually represent an improvement over 2013, when only three of the 74 cities met air quality standards, Reuters reports. Last year, after residents grew increasingly alarmed about air quality in metropolitan areas, China promised to "declare war on pollution" by slashing coal use and closing heavily polluting factories. Still, the government does not expect the national average for fine particle pollution to reach official standards until 2030 or later.
Categories: Environment, Health

In Conservation Work, ‘Reptiles and Amphibians Are the Underdogs’

The EnvironmentaList - February 03, 2015
A conversation with herpetologist Dr. Jenny Daltry
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

5 Small Ways to Make a Meaningful Difference in Your Community

Girl Scouts of America - February 03, 2015
Do you love to help others? Is there something about your surroundings that you’d like to improve, but you’re just not quite sure how to go about it? The solution is simple – start small, and work up to the rest!
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, and we can begin to feel like whatever we can get done on our own or with a small group of friends and family will not be meaningful enough to make any real difference. But that’s not true! It’s the sum of many small acts of kindness that really add up to a whole lot of change and good vibes.
Come on. Get inspired! Here are 5 small ways to make a meaningful difference in your community – with very little more than an open heart, a big smile, and lots of NICE.
Reach out to your neighbors. Do you have an elderly neighbor who could use a friend? Reach out to them and ask if they’d like to visit with you on a weekend afternoon. Maybe they need help cleaning their home or organizing the attic. Or perhaps all they need is someone to check in on them once in a while, or share a cup of iced tea and a snack on the porch. Sometimes just being there for a neighbor can make such a huge difference in their spirits. You can give that to them simply by being yourself! How awesome is that?
Organize a food and clothes drive for the homeless in your community. Many of us have one or two cans of food in our pantries to spare, but others aren’t so lucky. This weekend get the family together and check out that pantry to see what’s in there that you can do without. Take a couple of hours to clean the house and figure out what clothes and other items you and your family might have outgrown. Fill up a box (or two, or three!) with everything you find, and call up your friends. Let them know what you’ve done, and encourage them to take a look in their own pantries and homes too. Then it’s time to share and take action! Make a big batch of fun snacks, and invite everyone to bring over all of the cool stuff they want to donate. Sit in a big circle (snacks in the middle!), and take turns sharing what helping others means to everyone. Before your donation party, find a local homeless shelter and coordinate a carpool to take everything over there yourselves after the sharing session. But don’t stop there! Maybe you can coordinate a small drive every month that can add up to a ton of donations over time. What a simple way to make such a huge difference in the lives of those who need a little NICE the most! 
Always be polite and helpful. Opening a door for someone. Saying please and thank you. Offering to help with grocery bags when you see your neighbor struggling to make it up their porch steps, or babysitting for a neighbor desperate for a last minute sitter free of charge. All of these things sound so simple, so small, right? But they’re the complete opposite! Making an effort to be polite and helpful wherever and whenever possible is powerful, and it can make a huge difference. Often we can inspire others to be a little more polite and helpful just by setting an example ourselves. And when everyone in a community begins to pay just a little more attention to these small everyday acts of kindness, something amazing starts to happen. We all help each other more. We start to feel better, happier and less alone. And little by little, life becomes just a bit easier. You can start that incredible change today simply by acting with kindness! 
Smile. Just like small acts of kindness can create powerful change in your community, so can something as simple as smiling at each other more! When we smile, we create positive energy that can turn even some of the worst days around. It costs nothing, and it’s so, so simple. Want to make a difference? Smile more, and brighten up someone’s day every chance you get. Even on a bad day, a simple smile can help others feel more positive and in turn encourage them to smile at someone else that will then smile at someone else, and well, you get the point!
Recycle, never litter, and encourage others to do the same. What better way to make a difference in your community than by helping to keep it clean, and encouraging others to do the same? If you don’t already recycle in your home, this is the perfect time to figure out how you can start. Ask your neighbors what days the recycling pick-ups happen, and start thinking about your trash before you toss! Recycling helps us minimize waste and keep the environment safe, plus it’s a great way to make a small, meaningful difference every day. Making an effort to never litter (or throw garbage out in the street), is another great way to keep your community clean and welcoming. Always wait until you get to a trash can to throw away your garbage, and if you see friends, family or neighbors littering, politely encourage them to do the same.
And if you have an idea for an awesome volunteer project, but you’re overwhelmed or not sure where to start, don’t give up! Share your ideas with friends, and brainstorm together. Working as a team, you will be able to figure out a game plan and make it happen.
Most importantly, always remember that what might seem like a very small gesture can really help turn someone’s day and even life, around. No amount of NICE is ever too little, and simply by making it a point to spread kindness wherever and whenever possible, you can make your community a better, happier, more positive place for everyone. And that is pretty awesome.
Categories: Environment


Costa Salvaje - February 03, 2015
Categories: Environment

Girl Scouts Celebrates Black History Month

Girl Scouts of America - February 02, 2015
(Photo credit: Forbes.com)
“Once you have attained knowledge you cannot go back to ignorance.” –Admiral Michelle J. Howard
February is Black History Month, and all month long we’ll be highlighting African American women who have defeated the odds, dreamed big, and paved the way for girls and women to follow in their footsteps. The best part? They’re all Girl Scout alumnae!
We’re kicking things off today with the amazing Admiral Michelle J. Howard, who has served in the United States Navy since 1982 and is the highest-ranking woman in American naval history. Michelle also has countless “firsts” under her belt: not only is she the first woman in the U.S. Navy’s 236-year history to be promoted to four-star admiral, but she also, in 1999, became the first African American woman to command a naval ship.
Over a span of three decades, Howard has continuously shown perseverance and bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Her shining example has helped change perceptions about what women can accomplish when they follow their passions, never give up, and always strive to be their best.
Admiral Howard attributes many of the values that helped her succeed to her time in Girl Scouting.
"For me, Girl Scouts was about friendship and learning—mostly learning about ourselves and that we could do anything if we worked as a team," she says.
"My favorite camp memory was an orienteering weekend. Our troop split into two teams, and we laid a 10-mile trail and put three distinctive markers (that we made) at waypoints. The next day, we traded routes and had to hike the other team's trail and find the markers. There is no end of satisfaction knowing that, with a compass and friends, you don't have to get lost in the woods."
And that's the lesson that has stuck with Admiral Howard.
"In life, with a moral compass and friends, you can find your trail to success."

Note: The views expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy.
Categories: Environment

Doing Good is Priceless

Girl Scouts of America - February 02, 2015
If you have kids, chances are you know that we are in the midst of Girl Scout cookie season – and if you have a daughter, you may have young cookie entrepreneur of your own.  There is no shortage of options for consumers when it comes to purchasing a snack, but there is something about Girl Scout cookies that causes them to rise to the top. 
Perhaps it’s their limited availability (cookie season is just three to four months a year); perhaps it’s because of their unique flavors.  But the real reason is this; buying Girl Scout Cookies is good for the world. When you buy cookies from a Girl Scout, you are investing in so much more than a box of treats – you are investing in her future, and the future leadership of our country.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a vitally important program for girls. A cornerstone of the Girl Scout experience, it’s the largest, most successful girl run business in the world.  Through this program, girls not only learn goal setting, but decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—key 21st century business and finance skills.
So perhaps that’s why buying Girl Scout cookies feels so satisfying.  After the boxes are empty and the cookies are gone, you’re left with a feeling of fullness and fulfillment; knowing that you played a small part in helping a young girl – a young leader – reach her truest potential.  In a world that too often throws up roadblocks for girls, you helped tear them down. The cookies? That’s just the dessert, your prize if you will, for a job well done.
Categories: Environment

Many California Farms and Orchards Idled By Drought, NASA Maps Show

Yale Environment 360 - February 02, 2015
In 2014 — the driest year ever recorded in California — farms and orchards in the state's Central Valley took a major hit


Status of CA farms in 2011 (left) and 2014 (right). and many agricultural plots were left fallow, as shown in these maps based on NASA satellite data. The maps depict the status of crop cultivation in California in August 2011 and August 2014. Brown pixels show farms and orchards that have been left fallow, or “idled,” since January 1 in each year. Green pixels show plots where at least one crop was grown during the year. The most recent year with average or above average precipitation across the state was 2011, and, as the map shows, relatively little agricultural land was left fallow that year. In 2014, a much higher proportion of farms and orchards were idle.
Categories: Environment, Health

First National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest Launches, Sponsored by Taste of Home!

Girl Scouts of America - February 02, 2015
Today Girl Scouts of the USA announced the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, Sponsored by Taste of Homethe world's leading food magazine.  Through March 2, Girl Scout Cookie enthusiasts can create and submit their favorite dessert recipes using the iconic cookies as ingredients, for the chance to win prizes ranging from$250 to $500, plus a spotlight feature in Taste of Home.
Chefs of all levels, from home cooks to established professionals, are encouraged to submit Girl Scout Cookie-inspired entries in one of four categories: (1) cakes, pies, cupcakes, (2) cookies, brownies, bars, (3) pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts, and (4) candies. The experts in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen will review and test the recipes, selecting the top 16—four from each category—based on taste, visual appeal, creativity, and crowd appeal.
From March 30 to April 14, the public will have a chance to vote for their favorite finalist recipes here. The recipes with the most votes in each category win and winners will be announced in mid-April.
"Each year, we see so many excited cookie fans share their own recipes using Girl Scout Cookies via social media and more, so we figured it was high time to do something with all this positive energy," said Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "The creative possibilities are endless, just like the number of ways girls use their cookie money to give back to their local communities."
Taste of Home Editor-in-Chief Catherine Cassidy is equally enthusiastic about the contest and the opportunity to collaborate with Girl Scouts. "Fostering a sense of care and community in homes across America has always been part of the fabric of Taste of Home," she said. "As a Girl Scout alumna, I'm thrilled to lend a helping hand in and outside of the kitchen. We are pleased to work with an organization that encourages young women to put their skills and creativity to positive use."
Participating in the National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, Sponsored by Taste of Home, could be a fun activity to do during this year's National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (February 27 -- March 1, 2015). The weekend will celebrate the positive impact girls make on their communities through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The Girl Scout Cookie Program aims to teach girls five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
Categories: Environment

Climate Consensus: Signs of New Hope on Road to Paris

Yale Environment 360 - February 02, 2015
After years of frustration and failure, a more flexible approach to reaching an international strategy on climate action is emerging – and it could finally lead to a meaningful agreement at climate talks in Paris later this year. BY DAVID VICTOR
Categories: Environment, Health

Can Seven Billion Humans Go Paleo?

The EnvironmentaList - February 02, 2015
Advocates of this meat-rich diet trend need to grapple with its impact on the environment
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Deflategate Solved: Video!

Girl Scouts of America - February 01, 2015
Spoiler Alert—Team Thin Mint may have had something to do with it.
Categories: Environment

Katy Perry and Thin Mints: A Brief History

Girl Scouts of America - January 30, 2015
Stay tuned to track how this story develops.

Categories: Environment

Thunderstorms Move Ozone Toward Surface of the Earth, Research Shows

Yale Environment 360 - January 30, 2015
Thunderstorms move a significant amount of ozone from the stratosphere down toward the earth's surface — a process

Thunderstorms transport ozone toward earth. that could have important impacts on climate, according to a recent study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Ozone shields the planet from the sun's ultraviolet rays when it's in the stratosphere, the second-lowest layer of the atmosphere, but ozone acts as a powerful greenhouse gas and pollutant when it's nearer to the earth's surface, in the troposphere. The study found that massive thunderheads, which can rise 50,000 feet above the ground, disturb the atmosphere and allow ozone to pour into the troposphere. Scientists had not previously known that storms play a key role in transporting ozone. The new findings could impact climate models, researchers say, especially since storms are expected to become more frequent and intense as the earth warms.
Categories: Environment, Health

White House Unveils Plan to Open Atlantic Waters to Offshore Oil Drilling

The EnvironmentaList - January 30, 2015
Move to lease large swaths of ocean along east coast and double down in Gulf of Mexico oddly comes in wake of attacks against right for climate change denial
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Internet spying threatens people and the environment

Friends of the Earth - January 30, 2015
But does snooping on people’s Internet conversations stop those intent on killing? The Guardian revelations about US spying activities suggest not.  On the contrary. Making it easier to intercept private correspondence could endanger people – particularly those who expose environmental wrongs and human rights abuses. Is David Cameron right, do we need to regulate the Internet? Sign up to our mailing list for more articles like this. School teacher Soni Sori was imprisoned for more than 3 years on false and politically-motivated charges. She was
Categories: Environment

Iceland Rising as Climate Change Causes Glaciers to Melt, Researchers Say

Yale Environment 360 - January 29, 2015
The crust under Iceland is rebounding as climate change melts the island's great ice caps, researchers report in the

GPS stations measure Iceland crust movement journal Geophysical Research Letters. The current rapid rising, or uplift, of the Icelandic crust is a result of accelerated melting of the island's glaciers and coincides with a regional warming trend that began roughly 30 years ago, the scientists said. Some areas in south-central Iceland are moving upward as much as 1.4 inches per year — a surprisingly high speed, the researchers say. Whether the rebound is related to past deglaciation or modern glacial thinning and global warming had been an open question until now, said co-author Richard Bennett, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona. "What we're observing is a climatically induced change in the earth's surface," Bennett said.
Categories: Environment, Health

Natural Gas Boom Brings Major Growth for U.S. Chemical Plants

Yale Environment 360 - January 29, 2015
The surge in U.S. production of shale gas is leading to the rapid expansion of chemical and manufacturing plants that use the gas as feedstock. But environmentalists worry these new facilities will bring further harm to industrialized regions already bearing a heavy pollution burden. BY RACHEL CERNANSKY
Categories: Environment, Health
Syndicate content