Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...

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Joie Jager-Hyman
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
2 Comments | posted April 13th, 2007 at 07:28 pm by Joie Jager-Hyman

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Over a year and a half after the levees were breeched in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this is what you see when driving through much of New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish (I took these pictures myself). Once vibrant neighborhoods now look like eerie ghost towns with an occasional construction site sprouting up from the wreckage as a reminder that there are families who still yearn, in spite of everything, to return home.

Government has failed these people at all levels. Amazingly, local citizens and charity organizations have risen up to help put communities, schools and homes back together.

What can you do? Here are some organizations that are doing really good work (some of which are public/private partnerships):
Greater New Orleans Foundation
New Schools for New Orleans
Unified New Orleans Plan
Foundations for New Orleans

For the time being, at least, the responsibility for rebuilding the Gulf Region lies in all of us.
If you have additional recommendations for how we can contribute to this cause, please share them.

Cristina Pippa
All the World: Here on Earth
7 Comments | posted April 12th, 2007 at 11:34 am by Cristina Pippa

Darfur“Oh,” a woman in a thick overcoat whimpered outside a market. She was covering her mouth as she look over a bed of lifeless tulips. I joined her at what might as well have been the seen of an accident, at which point she said, “I know how they feel.”

“Me too,” I admitted to this stranger, although I didn’t go so far as to tell her that I had once googled Seasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately nicknamed “SAD.” Surely there are bigger things to worry about than when the sun will come out and the temperature will spring up again.

Yesterday I discovered that Google Earth and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have teamed up on a project called Crisis in Darfur. 200 million Google Earth users (a group which can include you if it doesn’t already– since it’s free to download and you must have some access to a computer if you’re reading this) have the ability to coast over an almost 3-D depiction of our planet to Sudan. There, they will find a bevy of red flames, signaling which villages have been destroyed. They can also click on camera icons to see photos and read stories of genocide.

Read more…

Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: The Sky is Falling?
7 Comments | posted April 04th, 2007 at 10:14 am by Jennifer Gandin Le

No doubt, the climate change picture is bleak. A new UN report out this week says that 20 to 30 percent of all life on the planet could be destroyed within decades. Millions could go hungry. Fresh water could vanish. Blah blah blah death destruction, etc.

I don’t mean to minimize how much this sucks. But if we think we’re screwed no matter what, why would we bother to act?

Buried at the bottom of the CBS article (of course) is the good news. In May, the UN will issue a third report with strategies for how we can slow global warming. James J. McCarthy, a Harvard oceanographer and author of a 2001 report on climate change, says, “…Many of these [projections] can be avoided.” Says the article:

He said he is optimistic the worst won’t happen “because we can’t be that stupid.”

I agree. Read more…