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Earth Day, 2012

It is once again time to celebrate Earth Day! If you haven’t been saving the environment for free, why not start today? Today is also the perfect day to plant trees and donate to a worthy charity, like The Conservation Fund.

Want to do more for the environment? This list of fifty ways to help the planet should offer plenty of inspiration.

At the very least, get out of the house and spend some time outdoors today. It’s a beautiful day today! And, if it isn’t, stay indoors and watch this video.

The Internet is Going Dark

One by one, sites across the whole internet are going dark in protest of two US Bills, PIPA and SOPA, which will essentially give the US entertainment industry the power to censor entire websites, remove them from search engines, and cripple their revenue for hosting copyrighted content (even the music playing in the background of your latest vacation video) or just not doing a good enough of job at blocking copyrighted content (say goodbye to YouTube). If you think that’s good for us, ask yourself what “a good enough of job at blocking copyrighted content” means to you, then ask if you think a judge would feel the same way. Can’t guarantee an answer? That’s the problem with PIPA and SOPA. They put the wrong power in the wrong hands.

This blog will be going dark along with many other sites from 8am to 8pm EST in what should hopefully be a powerful representation of what the future of the censored web could look like. If you want a taste now, head on over to Wikipedia, WordPress.com, or WordPress.org.

Take a minute to tell Congress that you won’t stand for such ridiculous actions. There are better ways to stop piracy than censoring one of the largest venues to freedom of speech that the world has ever known. If you have a WordPress.com blog, you can easily join the protest, and self-hosted WordPress.org bloggers can grab a plugin to join in as well.

If you want to know more about PIPA and SOPA, watch the video below.

Why I Chose The Conservation Fund

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the environment and nature, so every year I like to split up the bulk of my charitable donations between two conservation charities; The Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy. This year, however, I am dumping all of that into The Conservation Fund and bypassing The Nature Conservancy. The answer to why is one simple question. How is your charity spending your money?

Last year, I made an honest mistake and forgot to donate to both charities. Since then, I have received one mailer, gift, and/or magazine each week from The Nature Conservancy asking me to donate again. By my calculations, the costs of printing, labor, and mailing this year have far exceeded what I donated in the past. In short, everything that I have donated to The Nature Conservancy has been spend trying to get me to donate again. Why should I donate to an organization that spends so much on something other than its core purpose?

To put it plainly, The Conservation Fund does not do that. All I have ever received from them has been a donation receipt at the end of the tax year with a nice little letter about the fund’s progress, and a biannual brochure about some of the fund’s ongoing projects. When I forgot to donate last year, I simply received nothing. In fact, The Conservation Fund only devotes 1% of their budget to fundraising and 2% to administration and other costs. That leaves 97% of their budget to the core purpose that you really care about. This is no doubt why Charity Navigator has awarded The Conservation Fund its top rating for the past 6 years, a rating held by only 4% of the charities they track.

From now on, I’ll make sure that my money only goes to charities that will ensure the majority of my donation is used towards the programs that I intended to fund in the first place.

Provide Clean Water for Free

Three years ago, I published Save The Environment for Free, a post detailing some of the novel ways that you can help save our environment without having to spend a dime. Today, I’d like to talk about water.

Many of us are used to simply going to the kitchen for a cool and refreshing drink of fresh clean water, but over 800 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, and over 3 million people die from water-related disease each year.

Various charities are collecting donations to provide wells and water filtration to communities in need, but Children’s Safe Drinking Water is taking a new approach by providing two ways for you to provide clean water for free.

If you’re on Facebook, visit PUR’s Daily Drop to donate 10 liters of clean water for the cost of nothing more than a few clicks. If you aren’t already on Facebook, this may be the perfect reason to join.

If you have an iPhone or Android-powered phone, get the CauseWorld app. You’ll gain an average 5 karmas for every store you log visiting. Once you’ve gained 100 karmas, you can cash them in to provide 50 days worth of clean water for a child. 50 days worth of clean water for every 20 stores that you visit is not a bad deal at all, and you aren’t obligated to spend anything more than the effort (and perhaps gas) that it takes to visit the stores.

Want to provide more than just a few liters of clean water per day? Please consider making donations to Children’s Safe Drinking Water, Water.org, and Charity: Water.

Earth Day, 2010

It’s April 22nd, and that means that it’s time to celebrate Earth Day again! If you haven’t been saving the environment for free, why not start today?  Today is also the perfect day to plant trees and donate to a few worthy charities, like The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund.

Want to do more for the environment? This list of fifty ways to help the planet should offer plenty of inspiration.

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President Obama

It’s official!  Barack Obama was sworn on January 20, 2009 as the 44th president of the United States.  His Inaugural Address, given on a cold morning in Washington DC, was filled with the promises of hope and change that our country is is such dire need of.  Shortly after his inauguration, the new WhiteHouse.gov went live, launching the most transparent presidency in our nation’s history.  Change has come to America, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Donate to Support Wikimedia for 2009

The Wikimedia Foundation needs your help to cover their expected costs for 2009. Please keep in mind that the Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization which operates several multilingual and free-content projects. Please donate to the Wikimedia Foundation to keep Wikipedia and the rest of their free services alive and online for us, our children, and our children’s children.

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President-Elect Obama

The election ended almost a week ago, and by a commanding lead of 365 to 162 electoral votes (Missouri is still too close to call, but not essential), Barack Obama is now the President-elect of the United States. He will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

Well on his way to the White House, President-elect Obama has launched the most transparent transition in our country’s history. I hope he continues the trend and leads the world’s first transparent presidency.

I must admit that it is really nice to see some positive remarks about our choice in President from our friends in other countries. With that said, I’d like to remind everyone here in the United States that Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States for at least the next four years. No matter who you voted for, change will come to America. Let’s see what happens next.

If you have not yet seen Barack Obama’s presidential acceptance speech, I strongly recommend that you set aside a few minutes to do so.