Category Archives: Community Investing

sports go green

Here’s my new piece on the efforts of several professional sports teams to make their stadiums and arena more environmentally sustainable. It ran in this morning’s The Valley Advocate.

Ah, sports …

SPORTS GO GREEN

It takes the viewing experience of approximately one commercial break of a televised sporting event to observe 90% of what defines sports culture in America: bad beer, big trucks, and scantily clad women. With only so many 24-hour ESPN channels, regional Comcast Sports networks, websites, fan blogs, sports sections in newspapers (yes, still newspapers), radio talk shows and glossy-print magazines, it’s easy to surmise that there isn’t room in our daily discussion of athletics for anything else. Just don’t tell that to Alan Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist for the Natural Resource Defense Council.

“If you want to change the world,” admits the crusading environmentalist, “you don’t emphasize how different you are from everybody else. You go to where Americans are at.”

A little environmentalism with your sports spectatorship, anyone? Just remember to recycle your Miller Lite can after washing down your Viagra pill, please.

It may seem unbelievable, but Hershkowitz is intent on infusing America’s spectator sports culture with an environmental ethic. And as the Senior Advisor to the Green Sports Alliance, a coalition of professional sports franchises, stadiums and arenas in the Pacific Northwest, he is attempting to do just that. And the environmental efforts are being felt far beyond the snow-capped Cascade Range.

Read on … 

 

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Activism, Community Investing, Consumerism

olivia’s organics supports the food project

Upon opening the top of this (Olivia’s Organics) plastic lettuce container the other day, I was surprised, and pleased, to see a large, inside-cover-like sticker about The Food Project, which has long been one of my top five favorite (non-profit) organizations, since I worked with them almost ten years ago(?!). It turns out that The Food Project is one of several organizations supported by Olivia’s Organics.

As the large, inside-cover-like sticker notes, The Food Project operates urban farm sites on formerly abandoned blocks in the Dudley Square neighborhood of Boston. “On these farms you’ll find teenagers composting, planting seeds, watering, weeding and harvesting the fruits and vegetables that they have grown.” The Food Project, state the folks at Olivia’s Organics, “taught us about the power of urban farming, and the transformation that local, sustainable agriculture can have on neighborhoods and the children who live there.”

In addition to the lots in Boston, The Food Project has a 30-acres farm field in (suburban Boston’s) rural Lincoln. Both sites, suburban and urban, are cultivated by teams of teens from both urban and suburban neighborhoods (hence their moniker, “youth growing together.”)

  Continue reading

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Filed under Community Investing, Philanthropy, Social Change

new orleans vs. bp

A few weeks ago I was in New Orleans with family to celebrate our recently graduated Tulane alum. I had never been to the Crescent City before, and I’m still slightly obsessed with its history and culture, and of course, recent catastrophic events (not just Hurricane Katrina, but the BP oil spill, as well) under which this impressive community endures. So, when I heard about a store selling “FU BP” t-shirts, I had to check it out.

These shirts are being sold at Crawdaddy’s, near Jackson Square and the French Market, in the French Quarter. As the photo below shows, “Crawdaddy & Co. will donate $1 for each shirt sold that is related to oil spill to The Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund!!!!”

Why not contact them (Crawdaddy & Co.), order a couple dozen shirts, invite some friends over, blast a little Rebirth Brass Band, break open the liquor cabinet, and throw an FU BP party?

Or, visit Spill Baby Spill, and participate in a more sober, if not more effective, activist campaign on behalf of the gulf coast.

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Activism, Community Investing, Philanthropy

the wisdom of david simon: economic intelligence from the creator of the wire

I may be a bit slow to the proverbial party here (or there, or everywhere), but it’s only in the past week that I’ve become aware of the astute societal observations of David Simon.

Simon is best known as the writer/creator of The Wire, the unbelievably excellent and roundly appreciated “cop  show” that Simon says is really “a show about the end of American Empire.” Which seems quite a lot to take on, for an hour-long primetime television show. And so all the more impressive for the honest attempt.

A self-described socialist (but not a Marxist, he is quick to note), Simon was a crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun for over a decade. Then he wrote a book, Homicide, which led to the cop show Homicide, which were both based on his journalistic observations working the beat in Baltimore.

As is portrayed with his shows, he has seen the ugly underbelly of our uber-capitalist society. And he is dead set on sharing that story, so that it can’t be (as easily) ignored.

In commenting about The Wire (and his new show Treme, about post-Katrina New Orleans), Simon doesn’t mince words when articulating the unfortunate truths of our capital-obsessed social economy. “Every single moment, on this planet, from here on out, human beings are worth less. Not more, less,” he told a crowd at Loyola College. It’s a simple, stark truth with some revealing implications.  Continue reading

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Filed under Class, Community Investing, Economic Justice, Fair Taxation, Social Change

kobe’s fine should fund gay rights

The NBA Playoffs begin today. But like many hoops fans, I’m still reeling from the recent regrettable actions of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.

Earlier this week, during a highly-charged game against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers icon, 5-time champion and perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant received a technical foul (his fifteenth of the year) from referee Bennie Olsen. Bryant then went to the bench, and proceeded to punch a chair in frustration, before uttering the homophobic slur heard ‘round the sporting world. “Hey Bennie! F____n f____t.”

The league immediately fined Bryant $100,000 for his verbal indiscretion, a move that was applauded by GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” fashion czar and league commissioner David Stern stated. “Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

But while Commissioner Stern and the NBA should indeed be applauded for their swift handling of this beyond-unfortunate incident, they should not escape criticisms either.  Continue reading

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us uncut vs. bank of america

Nothing unites and divides Americans quite as effectively as the issue of taxes. We’re in agreement in not wanting to pay taxes. But completely divided as to who should have to pay.

Emerging non-profit upstart US Uncut has recently made waves picking a fight with one of the most egregious tax evaders out there: Bank of America. Why? Because, despite getting a handy dandy tax-payer-funded bank bailout, Bank of America has made a habit of not paying its taxes, and it looks like they are planning on doing the same for this April 15’s national un-holiday.

This Saturday (March 26), US Uncut is organizing a massive day of action. There are Bank of America franchises just about everywhere. So there’s a good chance there will be some good ol’ American protesting happening at a Bank of America branch near you.

Check it out, consider moving your money to another bank, and spread the word …

 

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Activism, Community Investing, Economic Justice, Fair Taxation

give me a 3! give me a 50! what does it spell? local economy!

The other day, walking around downtown, I came upon these small flyers about something called “the 3/50 project.” At the top of the flyers it reads “Save your local economy… three stores at a time. (Italics theirs.) (I always wanted to write that.) The project’s motto is “Saving the brick and mortars our nation is built on.”

Huh. Nice.

Living in Western Massachusetts, where we’re constantly urged to “be a local hero,” I’m not unfamiliar with the adage of shopping locally, and the economic and ecological reasons for doing so. But this flyer indicated an effort, a group, that was organizing the effort.

Pick 3 independently-owned businesses in your area. Dedicate yourself to supporting their bottom line. Try to spend at least $50 each month in each store/restaurant/whatever. “If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 dollars each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.” Why do this? (Other than being nice and neighborly, of course.) “For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.”

Huh. Nice.  Continue reading

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Filed under Community Investing, Consumerism