World Water Day Draws Attention to Our Most Valuable Resource

World Water Day

In honor of World Water Day, learn how to help preserve safe water for future generations. Although March 22 may not ring a bell as a significant date of celebration, it happens to impact every human on the planet: World Water Day. As part of the United Nations and Sustainable Development Goal 6, World Water Day focuses on “access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems...essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.” World Water Day 2018 explores nature’s models of sustainability to ensure future water safety. Knowledge Is Power While entire societies, government departments and environmental groups are dedicated to protecting the state of water, the average consumer in developed countries might view water as an infinite resource. Most houses are equipped with faucets that open and release clean water. In grocery stores, shelves are full of clean bottled drinking water. Yet        …read more

Inside Jane Goodall’s Tireless Fight to Save the Environment

Jane Goodall documentary

Jane Goodall explains why she still has hope the environment can be saved, and why we all need to be active participants. Renowned primatologist, anthropologist, activist and feminist icon Dr. Jane Goodall is now 83 years old, but to say that age hasn’t slowed her down would be the understatement of the century. Goodall spends approximately 300 days each year traveling all over the globe, keeping up a steady schedule of speaking engagements that educate people about threats to the environment and the steps we can take to be part of the solution. On March 12 the documentary Jane premieres on National Geographic. Drawing from over 100 hours of footage that had been forgotten for decades, the documentary brings viewers back to the very beginning of Goodall’s career. She arrived in Gombe, Tanzania, in 1960 at the age of 26, with no formal scientific training or education. But what Goodall        …read more

Kicking Ass & Taking Names: The Strength & Spirit of Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly, International Women's Day

On International Women’s Day, the world remembers breakers of glass ceilings throughout history. Among them: the bold journalist Nellie Bly. Each International Women’s Day, the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. One woman who made great strides toward equality is known to the world as Nellie Bly. The year is 1885, and a woman’s place is in the home, says Erasmus Wilson in his Pittsburgh Dispatch article “What Girls Are Good For.” Chastising women for seeking an education and career, he calls the working woman a “monstrosity.” That doesn’t sit well with 21-year-old Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a single, working woman of little means. Demonstrating her intelligence and grit, she lets the newspaper’s editor, George Madden, know in an angry letter signed Lonely Orphan Girl. He’s impressed and offers her a job. Cochrane, taking the pen name Nellie Bly, accepts, but she won’t settle for “women’s        …read more

6 Important Causes to Recognize on World Day of Social Justice

World Day of Social Justice

On World Day of Social Justice, these human rights issues deserve our attention. The United Nations General Assembly has designated February 20 as World Day of Social Justice. The date is an opportunity to recognize social and economic injustices in the world — and to find ways to help those affected. World Day of Social Justice aims to break down the barriers created by gender, class, race, sexuality and religion to create a world that promotes health, opportunity and justice for all. The following six causes deserve our attention on February 20 and every other day of the year. World Day of Social Justice offers the perfect opportunity to become informed and then take action to create change. I spoke to experts on these issues, and they shed light on each and offered simple steps we can take each day to promote social justice at home and abroad. 1. Access        …read more

How 6-Year-Old Ruby Bridges Helped Topple Segregation

Ruby Bridges’ bravery inspired Norman Rockwell’s famous civil rights painting. She continues to stand for equality today. Throughout history, the U.S. Supreme Court has made rulings that impact the lives of citizens across the country. Its rulings are inevitably praised by some and criticized by others. In 1954 during the civil rights movement, when the court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in schools is unconstitutional, the nation — primarily the South — erupted with shock, outrage and defiance. Now, not everyone in the South was against desegregation, but those who were got plenty of attention for their beliefs. And when desegregation of schools began, those opposed to racial equality came out to express their opinion, often violently. That didn’t stop a brave six-year-old girl — Ruby Bridges — from being the first Black student to attend her all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. She made        …read more

What’s the Holdup with Legal Marijuana?

legal marijuana

While citizens of a few states now have access to legal marijuana, most of the U.S. isn’t there yet. Over the last few years weed lovers have finally gotten the break they’ve been waiting for. Legislation has gradually been rolled out across the United States decriminalizing and even legalizing cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes. And not just for smokers either: plenty of new and creative ideas abound in this thriving young industry. From “Mary Jane massages” to hemp-infused doggy treats, pot is undergoing a nationwide makeover. However, the number of states that have not legalized cannabis far outnumber those that have. Marijuana, along with a wealth of other substances, has a colorful history dating back centuries. But in the last 100 years or so, legal barriers have arisen preventing its free distribution and consumption. Unlike the drugs you can buy at pretty much any grocery store, from aspirin        …read more

Human Trafficking: 5 Important Things You Should Know

human trafficking

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Here’s what you should know and how to help victims. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is the ideal opportunity to educate ourselves on an issue that receives far too little attention. Globally human trafficking is a $150 billion industry. But what many people don’t know is how widespread it is in America. In February 2017 the FBI partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Operation Cross Country XI. Eighty-four children were rescued in cities including Denver, Detroit and Tulsa. The youngest victim was just three months old. I spoke to three experts in the field: Dr. John DeGarmo, leading foster care expert and director of The Foster Care Institute; Melissa Breger, professor at Albany Law School; and Matt Pinsker, lawyer and adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. DeGarmo, Breger and Pinsker addressed the most common (and harmful) misconceptions        …read more

7 Places to Take a Polar Bear Plunge for Charity on New Year’s Day

polar bear plunge

There’s no better way to fight a hangover on New Year’s Day than with an icy polar bear plunge, especially when freezing your tail off means supporting a good cause. On New Year’s Day, you can curl up in a ball chasing the hair of the dog, or you could partake in an alternative hangover cure: a polar bear plunge. It will require great fortitude and a strong heart because you’ll be jumping into a cold body of water — on purpose. The shock your system receives will surely make it forget how the room was spinning when you woke up. Granted, a polar bear plunge sounds like something reserved for masochists, but for the sake of charity, people — young, old and in between — do it on New Year’s Day. And they’re not all suffering from a hangover. Just in case “it’s for charity” isn’t enough to convince        …read more

Communal Living Is Back — For Some, It Never Went Away

Communal living opportunities are popping up nationwide, appealing to everyone from singles in their 20s to retired couples. Sky Blue loves communal living. And, yes, that’s his real name. “My parents were hippies,” says Blue, 37. And he appears to be following in their footsteps, quite literally. Blue’s parents met at Twin Oaks Intentional Community, a 350-acre piece of land stretching a mile up from the South Anna River in Virginia. The community currently houses about 90 adults and 15 children. Ages range from newborn to 80 years old. Here’s where it gets unconventional: they share everything, from clothing to the residences, which house 10 to 20 each, to their 18 vehicles. They also share income, which goes to a collective. They’re all dedicated completely to communal living. “In some respects, it’s like a 100-person family,” Blue said. These strangers-turned-families who live in intentional communities are popping up throughout the        …read more

‘Wonder’ Infuses Kindness into Culture

Wonder movie

Featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, the ‘Wonder’ movie based on R.J. Palacio’s best-selling book could shift our daily interactions. “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably much worse,” says 10-year-old August Pullman, the protagonist in the New York Times best-selling middle grade novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Auggie, the main character born with a severe facial deformity, tells his story, and then the perspective shifts to his classmates, sister and sister’s boyfriend. Exploring themes of belonging, empathy, differences, kindness and resilience, Wonder is spreading empathy like wildfire and will debut as the adapted Wonder movie on November 17. The film, with Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson and Mandy Patinkin, was originally slated to release last April but did so well in test screenings that filmmakers pushed it to November for the increased holiday ticket sales. Beyond predicted profit margins, however, the underlying story        …read more