Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Every Little Bit Helps

I love dragonflies, I love The Hunger Site. The other day they advertised on my Facebook wall a mug that is right up my alley. It's ceramic, yet able to travel - so it's more eco-friendly in my book than plastic travel mugs, plus it is beautiful, AND with a great message: "Everything happens for a reason. Just Believe."
Plus it funds 25 Cups of food!
There may have been a few other things I bought through the hunger site. It's hard to stop when you know your purchases are helping to feed people.

Here's How Rich Every U.S. State Really is — In One Eye-Opening Map

By: Tom McKay
You knew the U.S. was rich, but did you know just how rich?
On Saturday, Redditor Phaenthi posted this map showing us the countries that each state's GDP overtakes. The result is compelling, and oddly troubling when you mull the results.
For example, this map is not adjusted for population size. That means that "Minnesota has a population of ~5.5 million and Nigeria has a population of ~175 million," or in other words, that the statistically average Minnesotan has at least the same wealth as around 32 statistically average Nigerians.
Texas' 2012 GDP of $1.4 trillion is considerably bigger than Mexico's $1.18 trillion. But Texas had an estimated 25,145,561 people in 2012 to Mexico's roughly 116,900,000. New York's 2012 GDP was $1.2 trillion (turns out hosting the world's center of finance has its benefits), beating out the entire nation of South Korea's $1.12 trillion.
Some other surprises: The tiny state of Maine is more wealthy than Uzbekistan, while California beats out the entire nation of Canada. California's $2 trillion in in 2012 far exceeded our neighbor to the north's 2012 total of roughly $1.82 trillion. Illinois ranks very highly, beating out oil-rich Saudi Arabia, but that's because Chicago happens to be one of the richest cities on earth.
Looking farther South and Southwest, though, the comparisons are a little less impressive. Utah beats Angola, while Mississippi beats Oman and Louisiana overtakes Pakistan. And Florida's GDP per capita is $40,231, while Switzerland's GDP per capita is $78,925 (seventh in the world), meaning that it's actually not a very impressive showing.
What you can take from this map is that the U.S. remains very, very wealthy, and its productive capacity outranks much of the world put together. But at the same time, this map doesn't track more useful statistics like Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) — a measure that is essentially an adjusted cost of living measurement. Alternatively, median household incomewould be a more telling measure. While this map shows us just how much wealth each state is capable of generating relative to the rest of the world, it doesn't tell us very much about how the people in those states are faring.

Here are some other organizations and projects I would like to spread the word and get other people to donate:

Catholic Relief Service 

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching as we act to:
  • Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and,
  • Serve Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world.
As part of the universal mission of the Catholic Church, we work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.

The Catholic Values of CRS

Catholic Relief Services is a pro-life organization dedicated to preserving the sacredness and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Catholic Relief Services is a manifestation of love for our brothers and sisters around the globe by the Catholic community of the United States. We protect, defend and advance human life around the world by directly meeting basic needs and advocating solutions to injustice.
As a part of the Universal Church, Catholic institutions are our partners of preference in our work. To reach all those who need our help, we also participate in humanitarian initiatives undertaken by a wide range of groups, such as governments, other faith communities and secular institutions. Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS' association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching. Furthermore, CRS neither facilitates, endorses nor enables any violation of those teachings. CRS and its board of bishops and laypersons have a careful review system to ensure fidelity to Catholic moral teaching and to ensure that all funds under CRS' direct control are used only for purposes complying with that teaching.

Archdiocese for the Military - if you are Catholic and serve in the Military, I believe that it is essential that we help support the Archdiocese for the Military Services to through tithing to help keep our service members with this essential service.

Our Mission

The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church's full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 countries. Numerically, the AMS is responsible for more than 1.8 million men, women, and children.

Our History

Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan was named and installed as the first ordinary of the Archdiocese for Military Services in March 1985. In January 1986 he created the administrative headquarters of the newly independent jurisdiction in the Washington, DC area. When Archbishop Ryan retired in 1991 the Most Reverend Joseph T. Dimino, who had been an auxiliary bishop, was appointed the second ordinary for the Military Services. Archbishop Dimino retired in 1997 and was succeeded by the Most Reverend Edwin F. O'Brien, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Archbishop O'Brien was installed as Archbishop of Baltimore on October 1, 2007.

AMS Today

On November 19, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, as Archbishop of the Military Services. Archbishop Broglio was serving as Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico. Archbishop Broglio was formally installed as Archbishop for the Military Services on January 25, 2008, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

The Archdiocese serves as the sole endorser (certifier) of Roman Catholic chaplains to the United States government. A Roman Catholic priest cannot serve within the United States Military as a priest without the express permission of the Archdiocese. As of 2008, 285 Roman Catholic priests were endorsed by the Archdiocese for active-duty military service. These chaplains serve on loan from their diocese of incardination or religious order/society and are released for a term of military service. Chaplains never become members of the Archdiocese; instead, they always remain subject to their home bishop/religious superiors. The only clergy incardinated into the AMS are its archbishop and auxiliary bishops.

Once a priest receives the endorsement and the subsequent faculties of the archdiocese, he becomes a commissioned military officer of the United States. A priest's assignments are provided by the Office of the Chief of Chaplains of each respective branch of the U.S. military.

The Archdiocese is the sole endorser of chaplains for the Veterans Administration hospitals. In 2008, 242 priests were endorsed for service in the Veterans Administration. Approximately 1.5 million Catholic men and women are served by the Archdiocese. To meet the needs of the faithful, the Archdiocese has three auxiliary bishops to assist the archbishop in his pastoral duties. All are former chaplains; Bishop Richard Higgins from the Air Force, Bishop F. Richard Spencer and Bishop Neal Buckon from the Army. The Archdiocese is currently headquartered in the northeast section of Washington, DC, adjacent to The Catholic University of America.

Unlike a conventional diocese, the Archdiocese has no parishes or parish registries. Chapels are property of the United States government. Although the Archdiocese exercises jurisdiction over the religious education programs and the celebration of Catholic Liturgy, it maintains no legal jurisdiction over the physical property of the chapel. Because base/command chapels are United States government property, all records of sacraments performed on U.S. Military installations are maintained by the Archdiocese in its Office of Sacramental Records. This starkly contrasts with the model used in conventional parishes, where all sacraments are recorded in the parish registry. The Archdiocese currently maintains more than 2.5 million records of sacraments performed on military installations.

The Archdiocese receives no funding from the United States government. Rather, the Archdiocese is solely funded by the generosity of its chaplains, men and women in uniform and private benefactors.

Heifer International

Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.

Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary soldiers once a day was not enough.
And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?
That "teach a man to fish" philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.


We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps brings sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.
When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital


The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.


Our vision is to be the world leader in advancing the treatment and prevention of catastrophic diseases in children. This vision will be pursued by providing outstanding patient care; by conducting basic, translational and clinical research designed to elucidate biological mechanisms, understand disease pathogenesis, improve diagnosis, enhance treatment outcome, prevent diseases and minimize adverse consequences of treatment; and by educating health care and scientific research professionals. Through these efforts we seek to cure and enhance the quality of life for an increasing proportion of children who come to us for treatment, and by expanding and sharing knowledge, to advance treatment of children with catastrophic diseases worldwide, while developing strategies to prevent catastrophic diseases in children.


Our foremost responsibilities are to the children with catastrophic diseases, their families, and to the donors that have committed their personal resources toward our Mission. To fully meet these responsibilities, we are committed to an explicit set of values. These values are the standards of behavior that we use to guide our daily actions and decisions. We will ensure that these standards of behavior are adhered to through ongoing training of all personnel working at St. Jude, and by annually evaluating the executive leadership, faculty and staff in their adherence to these values.
Our values of ethical behavior are an important part of who we are, and their incorporation into the fabric of the institution directly impacts our ability to make progress toward achieving our Mission, while simultaneously strengthening our reputation.
  • A commitment to provide our patients with the highest quality of medical and supportive care, and their families with the level of information and support necessary for them to make informed decisions and to become active participants in the care of their children.
  • A commitment to respect the ethnic, cultural, religious and lifestyle differences of patients, their families, our colleagues and our supporters.
  • A commitment to our donors that every dollar donated will be wisely spent toward achieving our Mission of advancing cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic disease through research and treatment.
  • A commitment to a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity, not only in our research, but in everything we do.
  • A drive and a sense of urgency to succeed.
  • Honesty, integrity, and accountability in our actions and decisions.
  • A culture of trust and teamwork.
  • Respect for the employees under our supervision.
  • A commitment to the continual development of our employees.
  • A commitment to diversity.
  • A commitment to social responsibility and institutional citizenship on a local, state, national and global level.

To effectively live up to these ideals, institutional leaders and all employees must maintain a culture that promotes adherence to these values in all that we do.


The Challenge

Today, over 1.5 billion people - about 21% of the world's population - have no reliable access to mains electricity. In several countries, the grid is failing to keep pace with population growth, which mean the number of people without reliable electricity will continue to grow. These people rely instead on biomass fuels - predominantly kerosene - for light.

Hazardous and polluting, there is a real need to replace kerosene with a safer, sustainable and affordable light that eliminates the many negative impacts of kerosene lights:
Fumes: The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children breathing kerosene fumes inhale smoke equivalent to 2 packs of cigarettes every day. 60% of adult female lung-cancer victims in developing nations are non smokers. These fumes kill an estimated 1.5 million women and children in Africa every year.
Injury: In India alone 1.5 million people suffer severe burns each year, primarily due to overturned kerosene lamps.
Sight: Poor quality of light and fumes that cause eye infections and cataracts.
Poverty: Fuel burns quickly and is comparatively expensive, so individuals have a never-ending high overhead burden, in many cases equivalent to 10%-20% of their income.
Sustainability & Climate change: not only does burning kerosene deplete our finite fossil fuel resources, it also has a huge cumulative contribution to CO2 emissions: Used for 4 hours a day, a single kerosene lamp emits over 100kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year.
Deciwatt is a product development initiative with a mission to explore how to do more with less; in turn empowering people through sustainable and affordable low power solutions.
This approach led Martin and Jim to create GravityLight.
Faced with the charity SolarAid’s challenge to create an LED lantern under $10 to replace damaging & ubiquitous kerosene lamps, Martin & Jim quickly realized the need to look beyond solar and battery power.
They took a different approach to benchmarking the amount of power and light needed asking “is it better than a kerosene lamp”. Along with the ever-increasing efficiency of LED lights, this led them to explore what much lower levels of power could deliver.
GravityLight only generates a deciwatt or two of power but has a superior light to the majority of kerosene lamps used by those without electricity, as well as being significantly more sustainable, safe and healthy. With no running costs, at $10, a GravityLight would pay for itself within a few months, freeing people from fuel poverty and the increasing costs of kerosene.
As LEDs continue to rapidly increase their lumens per watt and – as Koomey’s Law predicts – the energy efficiency of devices doubles every two years – this has huge implications for low cost, off grid lighting as well as computing and communication equipment. This is the driving force behind Deciwatt’s mission to explore how to do more with less.

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