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Jane Austen Sequels

Some Websites That Have
Nothing Whatever To Do With Jane Austen

Organizations Working for a Better World*

(The Short List)

Center For Public Integrity - Conducts meticulous investigative research and objective analysis on public policy issues in the United States and around the world; a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

Commercial Alert - Works to restrain rampant commercialism in our culture, 'to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.'

Earth Island Institute - Serves as an incubator for diverse projects aimed at conserving, preserving, and restoring the global environment. Founded in 1982 by environmental elder David Brower, EII supports more than 30 projects worldwide.

Fair Vote - FairVote seeks to strengthen U.S. democracy by promoting electoral reforms such as instant runoff voting, proportional voting, direct election of the president and automatic voter registration.

Global Fund for Women - Makes grants to support women's rights groups around the world, with the aim of ending gender-based violence & building peace; ensuring economic & environmental justice; advancing health and sexual & reproductive rights; expanding civic & political participation; increasing access to education; and fostering social change philanthropy. Since 1987, the Global Fund for Women has granted over $40 million to more than 2,700 women's groups in 161 countries.

Green Belt Movement - Founded by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai. 'What began as a grassroots tree planting program to address the challenges of deforestation, soil erosion and lack of water is now a vehicle for empowering women... Today, more than 40 million trees have been planted across Africa. The result: soil erosion has been reduced in critical watersheds, thousands of acres of biodiversity-rich indigenous forest have been restored and protected, and hundreds of thousands of women and their families are standing up for their rights and those of their communities and so are living healthier, more productive lives.'

Heifer Project International - Works to end hunger and poverty while building sustainable communities and caring for the earth. Provides livestock to poor families and trains them in agroecology & animal care. Recipients in return 'pass on the gift' to others in their communities.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance - Programs and resources to support the re-vitalization of local communities and economies.

Noise Pollution Clearinghouse - Seeks 'to create more civil cities and more natural rural and wilderness areas by reducing noise pollution at the source.'

Oxfam America - In partnership with local groups around the world, Oxfam provides development programs and emergency relief services, and campaigns for changes in the global policies that keep people in poverty.

Ploughshares Fund - Funds initiatives to prevent the spread and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and other weapons of war, and to prevent conflicts that could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction.

Pro Publica - An independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Its work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

Save Our Environment - An environmental alert service offering periodic emails with quick & easy ways to take action on critical environmental issues.

Scenic America - 'The only national non-profit dedicated solely to protecting our nation's natural beauty and distinctive community character.'

State Public Interest Research Groups - 'The state PIRGs' mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented activism that protects the environment, encourages a fair marketplace for consumers and fosters responsive, democratic government... Each state PIRG is independent and locally based, but State PIRGs work together nationally to share ideas and resources and cooperate on regional and national issues.'

Trees for the Future - Since the early 1970s, Trees For The Future has been planting trees throughout the world to protect the health of our planet, improve the lives of people and communities, and create a more sustainable world.

*There are many groups doing good work in the world; these are just a few of my favorites. Check up on charities and non-profits before you give: visit Charity Navigator. The Better Business Bureau and Guidestar also offer data on charities and nonprofits. These sites don't show the whole picture - they can't tell you whether a charity is truly effective at fulfilling it's stated purpose - but they do provide helpful information on each group's finances. In addition to an organization's mission statement, I look particularly at executive compensation, both the dollar amount and the percentage of total budget (see more at Charity Navigator's annual CEO Compensation Study), and also at what percent of a group's expenses goes to programs, versus what percent goes to administrative and fundraising costs. For additional info, see CN's Donor FAQ.

NOTE: Are you getting too many fundraising solicitations in the mail? Send this handy FUNDRAISING REDUCTION NOTICE from Charity Watch to offending organizations. For more advice on dealing with overly aggressive charities, read Charity Navigator's articles on How to Stop Solicitations by Mail, Is Your Charity Selling Your Name?, and What To Do When A Charity Calls.

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Eco & Fair Trade Shopping

Fair Trade Federation - 'An association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.' The website includes directories of online stores, retail stores, and mail order catalogs.

Global Exchange Online Store - 'Global Exchange is an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political and social justice... Our Online Store implements the principles of socially and economically responsible business by operating according to Fair Trade Criteria.' Sells coffee, chocolate, clothing, jewelry, home accessories, instruments, toys, books, and more. For coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, and chocolate, see also Equal Exchange and Equal Exchange Retail Store.

Green America's Green Pages - A searchable directory of stores and businesses 'operating in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems.' Formerly Co-op America.

SERRV International - 'Fairly traded handcrafts and foods from around the world though a network of alternative and natural food stores, churches, nonprofit groups, our direct mail catalog and our online store... Our goal is to alleviate poverty and empower low-income people through trade, training and other forms of capacity building as they work to improve their lives.' Formerly A Greater Gift.

Mama's Earth - A Mom & Pop 'environmental general store' offering 'reasonably priced, earth-friendly basic goods and apparel for the home and family... the web site is an information source and clearinghouse for ideas to make the environment cleaner and more sustainable, and the people in it calmer, more serene and more at peace with themselves and the world around them.' Another good online store selling a variety of eco-friendly and/or organic products is Tomorrow's World.

MarketPlace of India - A not-for-profit organization supporting economic development for disadvantaged women in India. Rather than dispensing charity, MarketPlace gives artisans the opportunity to build their own viable and sustainable businesses. Sells unusual handcrafted clothing, accessories, and home decor items.

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Green Living Tips

Conscious Consumer - Tips and tools for 'using your power as a consumer to create change,' with 'choices that protect the environment and the well-being of people at the other end of the production line.' Offers an online Alternative Gift Registry, which makes it easy to give and receive non-material, homemade, second-hand, and environmentally-friendly gifts. Site may be slow to load and navigate (Center for a New American Dream). For more practical advice on greener living, see Green Living Tips [Updated link] (Yes Magazine), This Green Life (Natural Resources Defense Council), Green Tips & Real Green (Green America) Sustainable Consumption (Sierra Club), UCS Green Tips (Union of Concerned Scientists), and Grist Magazine's Ask Umbra & Green Guide to Holidays & Gift Giving offer lots more advice on living, buying, and investing greenly.

Local Harvest - Locally grown food tastes better, is better for the planet, and supports your local economy. Click on the map or enter your zip code for place where you can buy locally-grown food. See also Sustainable Table and Food Routes, and check out the Slow Food Movement. You can buy organic flowers, too!

Find Green Electricity - We can break our addiction to fossil fuels with renewable energy: my own electricity is now from 100% renewable sources! Click on your state to find out if certified green electric power is available where you live (NOTE: Some green energy suppliers may not be included in this directory).

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) offers a Home Energy Checklist for Action, lists of the most energy-efficient appliances and more good advice on home energy savings.

Good Stuff? A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy - 'Have you ever wondered where chocolate comes from, if antibacterial soap is good for your family, or how to recycle an old computer? ...Good Stuff... contains many of the tips, facts, and links you'll need to start making more informed purchases that benefit your health and the environment.' (Worldwatch Institute)

Greener Cars - Cars are an environmental nightmare, but unfortunately most of us can't survive without one. If you're shopping for a new car, this site will help you choose the most efficient, eco-friendly vehicle to meet your needs. Driving Green offers tips on driving and maintaining your vehicle to increase fuel economy. (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)

Support Local Independent Businesses - 'Community character is being threatened by increasing dependence on absentee-owned businesses with formulas that dictate everything from the look of the building to who does the printing to where the money gets deposited... Local businesses are integral to healthy neighborhoods and strong city centers. They are human-scaled, impose less distress on the environment, and help create a distinct local identity.' Includes a good links page (American Independent Business Alliance).

Recycling:Earth 911 offers lots of information about where and how to recycle all kinds of products. See also Recycling A to Z (Rodale). See E-Cycling Central to find the nearest reuse, recycling, and donation programs for old PCs and electronic products. Includes a Links section with additional resources for recycling batteries or mercury-containing lamps (Electronic Industries Alliance). See also EPA E-Cycling Info, which includes links to major retailers and manufacturers committed to collecting, reusing, or recycling old electronics (U.S. EPA). Cell Phones for Soldiers will provide prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas in exchange for your donated cell phones, chargers, batteries, accessories, Blackberry PDA's and pagers. Or you can opt for Recycling for Charities, which will recycle your old cell phone, PDA, digital camera, iPod, ink or toner cartridge, to benefit the charity of your choice. Another great idea for recycling all sorts of items is Throwplace®, 'the Internet's landfill alternative': 'List excess goods on Throwplace to give to Charities, Individuals and Businesses to reuse, recycle & refurbish. Before you throw it away, post it here!!' The Freecycle Network™ is a similar organization with thousands of local groups run by local volunteer moderators. For tips on how to reduce waste, see Reduce.org: 'When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don't have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later.' (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency).

Mother Earth News - How-to articles on homesteading and sustainable rural living, from the Granny of back-to-the-land publications. Includes an online discussion forum. Rodale's Organic Gardening offers lots of gardening advice. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers a Gardener's Guide to Recycled Products [Updated link].

Turn the Tide - Offers nine simple actions almost anyone can take and then instantly learn the positive impact of each reported action in the quantities of carbon emissions prevented, trees saved, water conserved, and more. You’ll also see the cumulative impact of all participants across North America. (Center for a New American Dream)

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Inspiration and Fun

Ariel Collage [Updated link] - Exquisite original art and poetry exploring themes of love and mythology.

Doris & Rock Photo Gallery - Photos of those incomparable stars of Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, by Leo Fuchs.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report - Because sometimes you have to laugh about the state of the world just to keep from screaming.

Equal Exchange chocolate - Organic and fair trade certified, and uncommonly delicious. The Very Dark chocolate bars are my favorite.

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors - Click on 'Listen to the Frog Chorus' (American Museum of Natural History). Or you can choose from among 400 short audio recordings of wildlife and soundscapes on Listen to Nature (British Library). Better yet, if you can find a quiet place outside -- go and listen to it live!

Jack Russell Terrier Photo Gallery - Need I say more? And if you're in the mood for a lift of the feline variety, I recommend a look at The Daily Kitten.

Public Radio Market - Public Radio Music Source has now been sucked into the Amazon vortex (like just about everything else), but all your purchases (not just music) here still benefit public radio. You can no longer specify support for your local station, unfortunately.

Web Gallery of Art - 'A virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture from 12th to mid-19th centuries.' Free e-postcards.

Yes! Magazine - More inspiring stories of people working - and playing - to create a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world.

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RECOMMENDED READINGS

  1. How do our kids get so caught up in consumerism? by Brian Swimme

  2. The Innate Drive to Possess, by Robert G. Hardies

  3. The Boredom Machine, by Marylaine Block

  4. Why Are We Devouring The Earth? by Andrew Bard Schmookler

  5. A Question of Beauty, by Michael Ventura

  6. Beyond Efficiency and The Cradle to Cradle Alternative, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

  7. How Much Can We Give for All We Get? by William McDonough

  8. Corporate Personhood, from Reclaim Democracy

  9. Keep It Down (and Rediscover Silence), by P.M. Forni

  10. What Is Enough? Fulfilling Lifestyles for a Small Planet - More thought-provoking articles for those anyone who is concerned about the future of life on earth (Adapted from IN CONTEXT #26, Summer 1990).

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Mansfield Park quote

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updated 11/10