We Need to Do More for the Earth than Change Lightbulbs

April 22nd, 2010

There is an excellent article in this month’s Body and Soul magazine about Earth Day and how it has, in some ways, become commercialized and lost its true meaning since it was founded 40 years ago. The article details ways in which we can truly honor the earth, truly make a difference in our every day lives, and eliminate the fluff in between. Check that article out here.

In other news, I recently got an email from a doctor friend of mine who has spent the last month in Borneo donating her time and skills to establishing a much-needed healthcare clinic. I was shocked to read this email as it detailed the horrific conditions of the island and outlined the terrible ways in which animals and the environment are being treated. Here is her email, in response to my inquiry about how saving the world was going:

We’re not saving the world by any means–more like watching it get destroyed from a front-row seat, as we hear chainsaws and see piles of rainforest wood everywhere we turn, as we see rainforest birds and monkeys caged in people’s front yards and drive past devastated fields that used to be jungle. But we’re trying. This clinic offers villagers the chance to pay for medical care with labor rather than cash, so they in theory don’t have to turn to illegal logging to pay when a big health problem hits a family. A lot of this precious wood goes to places like Home Depot and Lowe’s where clueless Americans, myself included, buy cheap plywood without asking questions. Except now I won’t go back to those places.

There are green alternatives to these products and materials that are destroying the environment, ones that are responsibly harvested. Avoid wood that is not certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means it has not been harvested from clear cutting forests and illegal logging.

What Can Go Wrong When You’re Trying to Do Right

April 5th, 2010

There is an excellent article on volunteering recently posted on Lessons I Learned.org, a blog by activist Daniela Papi on the lessons she has learned from her years of experience with NGOs and doing philanthropic work with various volunteer tourism companies around the world. The post offers a very specific discussion of mistakes that can be made when intentions are good, such as participating in a project that has little long-term impact on the immediate community. Check out the post here.

Fundraiser for Haiti

January 19th, 2010

Please join the students of Global Potential for a fundraiser this Friday, January 22nd to raise MUCH needed funds for Haiti’s victims of last week’s devastating earthquake. The details:

This fundraiser will serve as a means to assist local organizations, who will be sending very much needed supplies to Haiti, or will be working on the reconstruction efforts. It will also allow for our community to come together in support of our students and their families in Haiti.

It would mean the world to our students to have you present.  It will serve as a way to remind our students that, they are not alone–their community is there to help and support them in this very difficult time.

Friday, January 22nd @ 6 p.m.

The International High School @Prospect Heights in the campus cafeteria

883 Classon Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11225

Minimum $10 donation

Musical performances!

Help Haiti’s Victims

January 14th, 2010

Given the magnitude of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti, hundreds of thousands of people are in desperate need of help. With more than 80 percent of Haitians living at or below the poverty line already, this travesty has displaced hundreds of thousands of people who already have little to nothing. Since every dollar means something, please donate what you can. The easiest way to that is to text “HAITI” to 90999 and $10 will automatically be donated to the Red Cross and added to your next cell phone bill. In the wake of this tragedy, there are some heartless individuals and organizations that will inevitably attempt to collect funds and solicit donations. To avoid these people:

-Do not give money to any unsolicited caller or emailer.

-Do not click on any link in an email from an unsolicited individual or organization asking for donations.

For a complete list of recognized charitable organizations to give to, click here.

The Girl Effect

January 12th, 2010

THE WORLD IS A MESS. Agree or Disagree? What if you could change that by giving one girl one chance? With hundreds of millions of girls living in poverty around the globe, the cycle of life in poverty is perpetual. With The Girl Effect, we have the power to throw a wrench in the cycle and re-direct its entire movement. The concept is “the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate,” according to girleffect.org–the movement’s web site. Some of the statistics included on the web site are staggering:

-An extra year of primary school raises a girl’s lifetime wages by 10-20%; an extra year of secondary school raises wages by 15-25%.

-For every developmental dollar, girls receive less than 2 cents of that dollar.

-Studies have shown that girls will invest almost all of their income back into their family, while boys will reinvest less than half.

The stats speak for themselves on the importance of providing girls and young women with tools to improve their lives, as they have an incredible power to spread the effect and multiply the effect exponentially. For more information on The Girl Effect, visit their web site and watch the cool video!

World Aids Day

December 1st, 2009

Today is World Aids Day, an international day of awareness for HIV and AIDS. In many areas of the world including our own, HIV and AIDS pose serious threats to humanity and to the millions of innocent children, mothers, fathers, and families that contract the disease unknowingly and unwillingly each year. Today we also honor those who have succumbed to the disease as we continue to fight for a cure.

For stories, statistics, information, and ways to help raise awareness visit www.worldaidsday.org.

Global Potential FILMraiser!

November 18th, 2009

Come support Global Potential at the 1st FILMRAISER this Friday, November 20th in New York City. Global Potential is making a big difference across the world, and your help and support will continue to make this possible.

This past summer, some of our Global Potential (GP) youth from Brooklyn and the Bronx (of Dominican, Honduran, Haitian, Chinese, and Togolese origin) created films about their lives, work and cultural experiences in Batey 8 and Batey Cuchilla in the Southwest Dominican Republic. On November 20, 2009 these films will be showcased at the FILMRAISER.  Please join us for a first-hand look at the program, from the eyes of the participants.

Friday, November 20th

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Anthology Film Archives-32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St. NYC

$10 donation requested at door (for adults)

FREE ENTRANCE for GP members!
$4 for high school students

All proceeds will benefit GP programming and make additional trips possible for low-income, urban youth.

Global Potential (GP), (a project of Globalhood, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) provides urban youth from low-income communities with the skills and perspective that enable them to effect positive change in their lives, communities, and the global community. For further info go to: www.global-potential.org

Entire Country Sinks

November 12th, 2009

Believe it or not, this could be a news headline in the next few years.


We’ve all been hearing about global warming for years now, but recently its effects have become more tangible. From record degree temperatures 20-40 degrees above the norm, to icebergs the size of Manhattan inching closer to melting and the sharp decline in once populous species like the Polar Bear, we are now beginning to feel the effects of what the scientists warned about a decade ago.

According to “To the Lifeboats,” an article published in the November/December issue of Mother Jones, global warming is on its way to displacing millions of people, and creating “climate refugees.” The article quotes Bill Gates as saying “It is interesting how often the impact of climate change is illustrated by talking about the problems the polar bears will face rather than the much greater number of poor people who will die unless significant investments are made to help them.”

While the polar bears are undoubtedly of great concern, the article makes a good point. It states that the places feeling the most heat, in all senses of the word, are areas of Africa, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and many of the small islands of the Pacific that are barely noticeable on a map. Tuvalu, one of the world’s smallest nations with just under 20 square miles of land—none of which is more than 16 feet above sea level—is one of these places. The country has no significant valuable natural resources to generate income, and much of it is comprised of precious coral reefs which are rapidly becoming victims of warmer ocean temperatures.

According to the article, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that countries with low elevations, such as Tuvalu, will be subject to not only endangerment but complete submersion due to rising sea levels and increasingly violent storms. As the tides shift and wind and storm patterns become more violent and erratic, people living in these areas will be forced to flee their land because it will become uninhabitable. As less rain falls on valuable crops in some African countries, the less farmers will be able to produce food, and the less people will have access to food. 

So what can you do as an ordinary citizen to help alleviate the drastic effects of global warming? For one, you can visit http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/, an organization of nearly 1.5 million people taking action and encouraging the government to do the same. You can also encourage your local representatives to vote in favor of bills and actions to address and reduce global warming.

Global Potential A Finalist in Philanthropy Fund

October 13th, 2009

This week, the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund announced three finalists to receive funding in 2009. Out of 21 applications, Global Potential is currently in third place. The winner will be determined by the Fund’s members in November.

Venture Philanthropy Fund describes themselves as “a giving circle of individuals who invest in social entrepreneurs focused on tackling persistent social and economic problems in New York City. We seek to harness the vitality, ingenuity and incomparable resources of NYC for the benefit of all of its residents by raising awareness of critical issues, growing and educating a highly diverse membership about the power of collective giving, and by joining forces with thought leaders, activists and like-minded organizations.”

It seems Global Potential has met these impressive goals and is now in the running to receive much deserved and needed funding for 2009 to continue their path to changing the world! For more information on VPF, visit www.nycvpf.org.

The Weight of Silence…

September 8th, 2009

Writer Shelley Seale has a new book out depicting the real life stories of India’s children. According to Dog’s Eye View Media: “Shelley Seale’s narrative non-fiction book follows the lives of just such children as those brought to life in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India depicts Seale’s journey into orphanages and through the streets and slums of India where millions of innocent children live without families. During her three years of writing The Weight of Silence, Seale has befriended and told the stories of many such children – and has born witness to their struggles first hand. Foreword by Joan Collins.”

Visit http://weightofsilence.wordpress.com to purchase the book.