Jeanne Roy Center for Earth Leadership
You've probably heard about Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for low-income families around the world. But did you know that many Habitat for Humanity affiliates operate home improvement stores and donation centers, "ReStores," to support their home building programs?
Habitat ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Building materials and other sale items are donated by individuals or companies; sale proceeds go toward the affiliate's home building, home repair, and neighborhood revitalization programs. ReStore sales benefit local communities, but they also benefit the environment by saving hundreds of tons of building materials from U.S. landfills.
There are three ways to help your local ReStore:
Donate! If you've recently completed a home improvement project or done some spring cleaning and have excess items you'd like to offload, consider donating them to your local ReStore.
Purchase! ReStores are open to the public, prices are low, and most ReStores have a wide variety of items. Because items are donated, you really never know what you'll find! Here are some examples.
Volunteer! Skilled volunteers are always welcome, and you don't have to know anything about construction (or retail) to volunteer with your local ReStore. It's a great place to meet people in your community.
Our newest host, Danielle Della Valle, brings spunk and vigor to our How To/What Is series. Danielle is quite knowledgeable on most sustainable living topics, and puts them to practice in her everyday life. She has graciously agreed to appear in our Greener Good short film series. The photo above shows her filming in the studio with Pandora, the founder of Greener Good.
In addition to being eco-savvy, Danielle is also health-savvy. She is a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Her love of environmentalism comes from her passion for wellness. You can visit her wellness website at biowellnutrition.com.
The Green Ration Book is an online resource with articles about the carbon and environmental footprint of transportation, food, building, and technology. Based in the United Kingdom, its Fishergate Environmental Panel considers environmental issues, and makes practical judgments on how sustainable each item considered is. GRB makes decisions on items that are hard to measure with the standard carbon footprint model to make it easier for you to decide what to buy without having to add up all the possible variables yourself.
Their resources page has a list of links to individual resource pages for things like concrete, air travel, steel, sugar, freight transportation, and many other pages on carbon footprint and environmental impact analysis. Clicking on the links takes you to the carbon footprint and environmental analysis for the items listed, and to their list of outside resources used. This could be a great resource for any organization trying to put together a sustainability report.
They also have a links page with links to other web pages that calculate carbon footprint and other topics that affect the health of our environment. The front page of Green Ration Book sports articles about their findings, and links to other pages on and off their site. You can also click on the topic tabs that run down the left side of the pages to get to the food, building, transportation, and technology category pages.
Some of the pages give a carbon offset equivalent. You can use this to buy carbon offset points, or, even better, to reduce your impact by just buying cleaner products. The site doesn't have a lot of visual interest in the way of photos or drawings. It is meant for you to word-nerd out on statistics and studies, and facilitates a way for you to create a carbon reduction lifestyle plan. Neat!
PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human) is an organization that promotes advocacy for people to have access to toilets.
Their mission and values statement is:
"Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems. Toilet availability is a human right, and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters, and our soils."
PHLUSH concentrates their efforts on making public toilets available to everyone, even in disaster situations. Disaster sanitation plans are not being adopted by local governments everywhere. It is in their best interest to have a plan B so that drinking water does not become contaminated by human feces.
Simple composting toilets are the most practical, and instructions are being handed out in brochures at local fairs and festivals so that neighbors can be prepared ahead of time. The simplest toilet can be made with a 5-gallon bucket and a scoop of wood chips.
To help spread the word about public toilet advocacy, download their Public Toilet Advocacy Toolkit.
Edited by Lisa Charles, MPH
The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization that started in 1996 in San Francisco, California. Its mission is to preserve our human history in digital format. Many historical collections stored on paper or film have been lost because of fire, decay, or lack of physical storage space. The Internet Archive's mission is to preserve all of these delicate artifacts in digital format. They have recently expanded their collection to include modern digital collections.
Some of the goals of the Internet Archive are:
1. Internet libraries can change the content of the Internet from ephemera to enduring artifacts of our political and cultural lives.
2. Protecting our right to know about history.
3. Exercising our right to remember things as they were.
4. Establishing Internet Centers internationally.
5. Tracing the way our language changes.
6. Keeping track of the web's evolution.
7. Reviving dead web links.
8. Understanding the economy.
9. Finding out what the web tells us about ourselves.
10. Looking back in history with the Way Back Machine, which is their archive search engine.
Many organizations and individuals have contributed to this project. Their website also has a great list of links to related projects. You can access their Way Back Machine at archive.org. You'll find collections of music, movies, books, software, concerts, photos, audio recordings, TV shows, old web pages, and more.
Edited by Lisa Charles, MPH