December 30, 2010

A Tail of Biodegredation

Time for the pooch to clean up its act, ditch the plastic and go biodegradable.

We're talking, of course, about poop bags. If my calculations are correct, in just one year -- depending on your dog's ...
prolificacy -- you could prevent anywhere from 365 to more than a thousand plastic bags from ending up in landfills.

I’ve done a bit of nosing around (ick) and tracked down a few companies that have the scoop on poop.

Olive Super Poop Bags (olivegreendog.com) are certified 100-percent biodegradable, available in two sizes, Unisex (small) and Super Poop (large), cost $12 for 50 bags, and best of all come in super adorable art canisters (refill bags available).

Poopbags.com offers 100-percent biodegradable, made in the USA, 8” wide X 12” long bags ranging in price from $20 for 100 bags up to $68 for 600 bags.

BioBag is the big daddy of biodegradable poop bags, not to mention lawn and leaf bags, kitchen bags, compost bags, shopping bags - everything but a colostomy bag (R&D needs to get on that - though they have come up with a "Toilet System" developed in conjunction with, I kid you not, the Norwegian military).

These 100-percent biodegradable bags are available in various sizes, forms (by the box, roll and even case) and prices, depending on where you purchase them (i.e. Amazon, Drugstore.com, ColeHardware.com). On average the bags cost around $17 for a pack of four, 50-count boxes (200 bags). Click here for a full list of BioBag retailers.

December 29, 2010

It Takes a Village

General Mills and leading humanitarian organization CARE want you to join their village - at JoinMyVillage.com - to help educate and empower women and girls in Malawi. Their goal is to raise $500,000 by May 2011, but they need your help (or rather clicks) to do it.

You don’t have to click to “like” anyone or anything; you just have to “click to commit.” Each click is worth a different amount every month; this month it’s $1 for every click. So far they’ve raised more than $4,600 (4,664 clicks to be exact), so they’ve got a long way to go in reaching the big 5-0-0-0-0-0-0!

Click here to commit to help fight global poverty and to empower Malawi girls and women through education and economic stability.

December 16, 2010

Who's Your Favorite Tree Hugger?

Miss Do-Gooder has done exactly zero polls (I actually fact-checked this one) since her humble launch back in August 2009. Call it laziness or lack of technical ability, there really is no reasonable explanation or excuse for my lack of poll skills. I promise to do better in 2011.

For the time being, I’m bringing you a cool poll from one of my favorite Web sites TreeHugger.com. You may have heard of them.

Click here to cast your vote for their 2010 TreeHugger Person of the Year. They’ve narrowed the search to just nine contenders ranging from mega heavy weight Jane Goodall to medium weights Michelle Obama and Jon Stewart (huh?) to newcomer Josh Fox, director of “Gasland.”

Who do you think did the most for trees and who would you most like to hug? Only you can answer that question.

And you must do so before December 17. Click here for more information and to see a full list of the challengers.

December 15, 2010

Old Gray Lady Seeking College Students, Seniors Interested in Current Affairs, Long Walks on Beach

I really, really liked the idea of entering this contest, but then I discovered that I'm both too young (yay!) and too old (hiss!).

The
New York Times is inviting citizens of two disparate age groups – students currently enrolled in college or graduate school, and people over the age of 60 – to submit entries for the paper's fifth annual “2011 Win a Trip with Nick” contest. If you’re wondering who this Nick fellow is, it’s none other than Nicholas D. Kristof, the estimable Times op-ed columnist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author.

Exactly when and where you’ll be going is a bit of a mystery, but the trip will definitely involve reporting, will probably be somewhere far, far away from the U.S., and will most likely involve “increasing awareness and understanding about the many complex issues and opportunities for the developing world.”

The trip will last up to two weeks. (I have to admit that at first I thought the goal was to win two weeks with conservative columnist William Kristol. My second thought was: What's the second prize, three weeks?)

You’ve got until January 18, 2011, to submit a video entry (three minutes or less) to Mr. Kristof’s YouTube channel at
www.youtube.com/nicholaskristof; or put your “Why I Should Win” argument in writing - keep it under 700 words, please - and submit it to WinaTrip@nytimes.com. It's not clear from the announcement here whether Nick's looking for signs of a burning curiosity about the causes of, and solutions for, the major problems that confront our global community. But "sparkling prose" and "excellent communication skills" would be great.

One winner from each age category will be chosen. To enter you must be at least 18 years of age and a student enrolled in full-time education, and/or (bonus points for "and"!) over 60.

Click
here for all of the info.

December 14, 2010

'Tis the Best Gift

First the bad news. If you’re one of the top 400 biggest charities, you’ve seen an astonishing 11 percent drop in donations over the past year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Full disclosure here: Miss Do-Gooder is a) not considered a charity, b) not on any top 400 lists that she’s aware of, and c) not in the habit of fact-checking statistics from the press releases she receives.

Now for the good news. The top four charity gift card providers –
TisBest.org, CharityGiftCertificates.org, JustGive.org and NetworkForGood.org - are challenging Americans to spend $51 (a measly 10 percent of what the average Joe is expected to spend on holiday “stuff” this year) on charity gift cards instead of conventional gifts. According to Jon Siegel, Executive Director for TisBest.org, “
If one in a thousand American holiday shoppers redirect $51 of their holiday gift purchases to buying a charity gift card for friends, family, clients, siblings or children, new charitable giving will top $10 million this year.” Are you up for the challenge?

Once you've signed up and spent and purchased $51 on charity gift cards, you’ll be allowed to invite all of your friends on Facebook to do the same.

There’s no monetary reward for this one, dear readers, just the joy of knowing you've done something extremely worthwhile this holiday season.

For more information on the challenge, visit
TisBest.org, CharityGiftCertificates.org, JustGive.org, or NetworkforGood.org.

December 13, 2010

Stamp-Ede For the Troops

Here's a riddle: How much does it cost to mail a stamp?

Time's up. It costs 88 cents. First you have to buy the stamp, then you have to buy a stamp to mail said stamp. That will be 88 cents, please.

Sounds like something Charles Ponzi might dream up, but this holiday mindbender actually makes complete sense.

You see, sending stamps to
Operation Care Package helps to make sure that our troops don’t go without mail this holiday season. Your stamps are effectively pre-paid airfare for the cards, letters and care packages that Americans send to the men and women serving overseas in our military.

All you’ve got to do is send a first class stamp (or as many as you’d like) to STAMPS, c/o Operation Care Package, 611 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435. Click here for more information about Operation Care Package or call 815-723-6960.

If you’d rather send cookies to the troops – without having to bake and/or ship them yourself – you can join The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson (a former airwoman in the US Air Force) and Kenmore (the appliance people) for their “Baking for the Troops” promotion.

Not to sound like a broken record, but all you’ve got to do is “like” Kenmore on Facebook – specifically the
Cookies4Troops tab – and they’ll send 250,00 cookies overseas to our troops. Once that goal is achieved, Kenmore will donate $50,000 to Heroes At Home Gift Registry, a non-profit organization that takes care of military family members in need.

Click
here to join the cookie crusade.

December 10, 2010

The Goats of Christmas Present

Save the Children is offering an eclectic range of gift ideas for the holidays, from giving goats to gifting funds for girls’ education. Every donation benefits children in the U.S. and more than 120 countries on seven continents.

Let’s start with the goats. For $40, the gift of a goat will provide a struggling family with much-needed food and dairy as well as a valuable source of income for the future. Save the Children is even offering a too-quirky-to-resist holiday
special: “Buy one goat, get a second goat free.” Go find that at Wal-Mart.

Moving on to girls’
education. A gift of $65 provides books, educational materials and teacher training to help a young girl attend – and stay – in school for an entire year. According to the Web site - which I’m going to trust because I don’t have a calculator handy – that’s just 20 cents a day.

Save the Children has even partnered with Swedish furniture icon
IKEA to offer adorable stuffed toys for under $10 (no word yet on whether assembly is required, or if changing the cuddly critter's name from Koeshgenfertt is permitted). For every toy sold, $1.35 will go to Save the Children and UNICEF to extend and start new children's educational programs in 22 countries.

Last but not least, if you’ve got a little more money to spend on bling ($370 to be exact), Save the Children can get you a beautiful sterling silver and ceramic ring courtesy of its partnership with luxury jeweler
Bulgari. For each ring sold, Bulgari will donate $75 to Save the Children’s unique Healing and Education through ART program, which helps emotionally distressed children cope by helping them discover their own, unique artistic voices.

Click
here to Save the Children this holiday season.

December 8, 2010

Do You Believe?

It’s been an awfully long time since I communicated with Mr. Claus via letter or lap visit (get your minds out of the gutter!), but Macy’s might just change all that this year. The retail giant has teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for its annual holiday “Believe” campaign to encourage folks of all ages to write a letter to Santa and help make children’s wishes come true.

For every stamped letter Macy’s receives in its “
Santa Mailbox,” it will donate $1 (up to $1 million) to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far the retailer has received more than 544,000 letters to Old St. Nick, enough to grant a whole lot of wishes.

Click
here to create your letter online – complete with dozens of different decorations - or print out a template to make it at home. Make sure to address it to The North Pole, add a stamp and click here to find a special Santa mailbox in your area. Macy's will make sure each and every letter makes it to Santa before Christmas.