Author Archives: maxwellk1

Nothing but nets, not your typical basketball organization.

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Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. I participated in raising money for this organization as a freshman sorority member at Northern Kentucky University. Of all the philanthropic endeavors I have participated in, in my time at NKU (which has been a lot as a sorority member) this fundraiser sticks in my mind. I truly believe that my time and hard work went to helping a global cause, where my small contribution made a HUGE difference.We had a silent auction along with chances for students and faculty alike to make a basket for a free Skyline Chili coupon. We raised thousands of dollars while having fun spreading the word about” Nothing but Nets.” The message we were sending was clear, help us send a net and save a life.

While the UN Foundation has been working with the UN to fight malaria for years, it was Rick Reilly’s column about malaria in Sports Illustrated challenging each of his readers to donate at least $10 to send anti-malaria bed nets, that led to the creation of the Nothing But Nets campaign in 2006. In five years, the Nothing But Nets campaign has engaged hundreds of thousands of individuals to help achieve the UN goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015. The great thing about this campaign is that is has such a diverse array of people helping it reach its goal. From sorority girls to the NBA to The Boy Scouts of America the donations of these individuals come together to raise $10 contributions that goes towards the cost of purchasing a long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed net, the means to distribute it, and the necessary means of educating communities on its use.

Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against deadly malaria carrying mosquitoes that bite at night. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for three years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than protecting those sleeping underneath them. The insecticide woven into each net makes entire communities safer – killing and repelling mosquitoes so that they can’t go on to bite others who may not be protected by a net. Bed nets can reduce malaria transmissions by 90 percent in areas with high coverage rates. Although $10 for a bed net may not sound like much, the cost makes them out of reach for most people at risk of malaria, many of whom survive on less than $1 a day. According to the 2011 World Malaria Report, 96% of people with access to a bed net, use it. Nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but we need your help to provide them to those in need.

With the thousands we raised we were able to send over 200 nets to those in need. This gave us a sense of accomplishment, knowing 200 people would sleep safer. You can have that same feeling by donating here.

 

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The tiny killer

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Worldwide a silent killer is causing illness that claims more than 650,000 lives each year, the vast majority are children in sub-Saharan Africa.

The killer?

Yes, this inch long mosquito infects the red blood cells of 216 million people a year with malaria.

Symptoms for malaria include fever and headache and if untreated can result in coma or death. Warmer climates keep mosquitos around, which is why they are so prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. A simple net or insect repellent can keep help keep them at bay, but poorer countries do not have the luxury of even that. The World Health Organization says one-third of the global population lives in malaria-endemic countries. Which only furthers the interest in fighting this endemic. This disease while not curable yet can be prevented and if caught a patient can receive medications, but like a lot of other illnesses in these parts of the world, it cannot be stopped because the countries worry about barley having  enough water and food to feed their populations let alone provide medical help to its citizens.

Malaria and this tiny killer aren’t a threat to a lot of the Western world, so it is often forgotten and left for poorer countries to deal with. Did you know that a World Malaria Day exists? It is today (April 25th) but most I would assume are unaware of its existence. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – marks a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control. Whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites, depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one-third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.

This fight is different from any other in my opinion. It can be fought, the statistics show that. We as a global society need to continue flowing to national malaria control programs to ensure widespread population access to life-saving and cost-effective interventions. That takes the knowledge that this problem exists and the knowledge that a box of nets and insect repellent can be a possible solution for a village in these countries.

Subscribe to the Malaria No More YouTube channels for some compelling stories.

Earth day on college campuses.

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So why is Earth Day on April 22nd?

The story is that April 22 was chosen because college students would be likely to be available. It falls between spring break and final exams. Which would go along with Gaylord Nelson’s idea that environmental progress could occur with student voices, as it did with the Vietnam protests. Today in 2012, the student voices and events are still the backbone to Earth Day. Universities and education groups are pushing for an Earth Week, vs. only an Earth Day. One event is not enough, one day isn’t enough, and so now a weeklong celebration on college campuses has become the norm. College campuses come up with innovative programs and ideas to celebrate. See this video of Western Kentucky Universities 2011 festivities:

These students made a remix to the song “Friday” and incorporated things that we could do to become more earth conscious:

The following is what the schools in the Kentucky/Cincinnati area have planned:

NKU: At NKU they are celebrating Mother Earth April 16-20 ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students) has informational events planned a long with the planting of trees, listen to music and learning what you can do to reduce your own and NKU’s carbon footprint.

UC: The University of Cincinnati sponsors a clothing swap, a lecture and film series of environmental topics, and a workshop series where one can learn how to grow vegetables in a container at your home, and is even taking a tour of the Rumpke facilities.

Xavier: At Xavier one can rent a bike to go to classes for $10, attend a session with a locavore speaker (one who commits to eating food grown or produced locally), and participate in a Recyclemania competition.

UK: University of Kentucky hosts “Car free day and “Party for the Planet” to allow the campus to promote sustainability, responsible global citizenship and the power of local action.

UL: The University of Louisville will host a sustainability fair and a Park Clean up this year among other Earth Day events.

We should pay attention to how college campuses celebrate Earth Week and borrow some of their innovative events and energetic spirit for preserving the Earth. If organizations celebrated Earth Week, it can create a more cohesive working environment and provide a cause that anyone can participate in. Coming together to make a difference benefits a campus community and can do the same for other groups and organizations.

Earth Day 2012. Let us Mobilize the Earth!

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Next week marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, a day in which over 175 countries in the world reflect and hold events that hope to increase awareness about the worlds dwindling natural resources. April 22nd, 1970marked the first earth day celebration.

The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson saw the powerful effects the student anti-war movement made surrounded the Vietnam war in the 1970’s, and came to the conclusion that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. On that day millions of Americans came together from groups that were fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife.  Suddenly realized they shared common values and for at least one day, they could share a voice and really make a difference in the politics.

Earth day brings together republicans, democrats, poor, rich, gay, straight in order to pull for one issue; our earth.The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Each year, EDN provides new campaigns and events for people around the world to participate in on April 22nd. They also provide the public with information in order to increase awareness about the natural resources that are affected and how we are harming (or helping) the environment.

I took a footprint calculator test on the Earth Day Network’s website.  I highly encourage you to take this interactive (and child friendly) quiz. I learned that if everyone lived like me, we would need 5.3 planet earths to provide enough resources and to support me it takes  23.5 acres of land.

It then gave me the following things I could personally do in order to reduce my carbon footprint:

  • Eating less animal-based food products
  • Using more locally grown food products or products that use recycled materials
  • Don’t take my yearly vacation via airplane

The campaign for Earth Day 2012 is “Mobilize the Earth” The theme surrounds the notion that ” the earth won’t wait.” The world is facing a global recession and often environmental issues are put on the back burner. Earth Day provides a chance for people of different nationalities, countries, and backgrounds to unite in order to provide a sustainable future. One voice and one message will come from April 22nd 2012, the world cannot wait, so we need to mobilize in order to make a difference. Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington DC will be the centerpiece of Earth Day in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of environmentally conscious people from all walks of life and all parts of the country will be joined by civic leaders and celebrities for this special event to galvanize the environmental movement.

Water changes everything.

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Every morning, I wake up to the same routine, a simple routine that we take advantage of everyday. I wake up (after hitting the snooze button a couple of times of course) use the restroom and brush my teeth, eat breakfast while gulping down a giant glass of water, then take a long hot shower to wake myself up for the day. Can you imagine not being able to wake up and not follow this simple routine so many of us follow?  Because most of the world is forced to live in a world without a hot shower, a working toilet or even a clean glass of water.  In fact, 1.6 billion people lack access to clean water in the world, or ¼ of the world’s population! Without clean water the human population cannot exist, making it vital that society pay attention to the scarcity of this resource and provide ways to protect it. Only 2.53 percent of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. There are plenty of ways we can conserve water, here are just 100 that include ideas such as, “Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time” and “Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.”

Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon, therefore the water problem isn’t just a problem of scarcity but of access. There is enough freshwater on the planet for six billion people but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and poorly managed. Poorer countries don’t have the monetary resources to put an infrastructure in place that promises citizens sanitary water. See the following chart that tells us which areas of the world have/don’t have adequate water supplies.

You notice that the underdeveloped countries are the ones struggling with water shortage. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. So while we enjoy our 15 minute morning showers, 1 child is dying every 20 seconds in these countries because the water they are forced to drink water is filled with disease. People in these countries don’t have the economic ability to provide appropriate ways to discard waste, which is the world’s biggest cause of infection.

While conserving water going to help us preserve this natural resource for the future, we also need to think about what we can do for these under-developed countries today. Water.org gives us plenty of ways to get involved:

  • Fundraise using tips from the website. Communities around the world can he helped by the money that you earn. In fact, households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Follow water.org projects in real-time. After you choose a community you can watch first hand the progress they make
  • Donate your voice. Which allows Water.org to post facts and stories about water sanitation to your twitter and Facebook feeds, which will help spread the word.

Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology. If we can help provide an adequate water supply to these countries, the health and overall status of their communities will improve. We are living in a global society and it is our duty to help ensure that this happens, so that one day lesser developed countries can be self-sustaining and live the kinds of lives we are used to (and take for granted I might add).

Happy World Water Day! Cheers!

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Did you know that today, (March 22nd) is world water day, and has been since 1993 when the UN proclaimed it as such in order to spread the word about the water shortage the world is facing. The public is encouraged to forget their water bottles, and instead use the tap in order to quench their thirst.There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet currently and that number is said to increase another 2 billion by 2050 according to the offcial UN Water Day website. ” By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions. The lack of water limits farmers’ ability to produce enough food to eat or earn a living.” These areas are already struggling to feed and provide enough water to it’s citizens and their populations continue to skyrocket.

Here is a video provided by the UN that provides an overview of the campaign they are trying to share with the public.

Each year, World Water Day has a new campaign focus. The focus for 2012 is, “2012: Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry.”

The campaign includes:

We cannot beat the fight against hunger without protecting the resource that allows us to grow that nutritious food that is necessary for survival. One in eight people will wake up today unable to secure even one glass of clean water.

Water.org provides us with a way to make monetary donations in order to give communities clean water. Matt Damon is a spokesperson for their campaign.

The UN campaign provides us with things we can do on World Water Day to help the cause:

  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
  • consume less water-intensive products;
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • produce more food, of better quality, with
    less water.

So pour a class of tap water and help me celebrate this sacred and scarce resource! I personally take H2O for granted and I am proud to celebrate saving it! I challenge you to do the same.

Quiz your body, quiz your mind.

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Interested in knowing more about how your chakras? Like how weak or strong they are or even how in the heck you can help yourself open them in order to achieve the mind, body balance everyone craves? We’ll the world-wide web can in fact provide you with those answers put proceed with caution, you are getting spiritual results over the web.

The following are the chakra tests that I have taken and I have them ranked in the order I found most helpful.

1. The 3 minute chakra test: by Carol Tuttle, author and creator of energy healing 101. She also has a series of YouTube videos relating to different aspects of holistic healing through the use of the chakras. Here is just one of her videos on “3 tips to get anything you want!”

This test literally took me less than a couple minutes to complete and receive the following results. I then put my email in for further results where they look me step by step into what it meant when it said “crown chakra was closed.” I was surprised at how accurate the results seemed when I realized what missing each chakra meant to my mind and body. I have received several follow-up emails that give me more thoughts on how I can improve and open these chakras.

2. Electric energies Chakra test: This test was 56 questions where you could answer from not at all to definitely. The test was a little more lengthy than the first and the option to see what this means just took me to an introduction to each chakra, which was information I already knew. It would be helpful though that this test would tell you if you are over-active in one or more chakras, since that can result in negative results as well.

 

3. The Color Chakra test: This test was only probably 10 questions but made the taker pick colors, pictures and situations during the test in order to get answers. The results told me that i was a spiritual nomad and that I needed to work on my communication skills, which I don’t see as “myself” as the other two results.

 

So try them out, see what chakras are strong, closed and weak. If you do please take my poll and tell me what you think! I know my results from these tests have me thinking about ways to improve my emotional/spiritual health.