I neglected to mention yesterday that another gift we received was a bicycle purchased through World Bicycle Relief for an AIDS care worker in Africa. My parents purchased it in my late Grandfather's name. He was always heavily involved in charity work during the holidays. Here is some info I lifted from the website to explain more about the organization...
"Currently, World Bicycle Relief has partnered with a coalition of relief organizations to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia. We will provide 23,000 bicycles to community home-based care volunteers, disease prevention educators and vulnerable households. We are also training and equipping more than 400 bicycle mechanics in the field. The program will reach more than 500,000 adults, orphans and vulnerable children."
I can't think of a more worthy place to send funding through to! Thanks to my Mom and Dad for supporting WBR and thanks to my Grandpa Biehl for instilling a healthy vein of charitable empathy in our family.
On that note I also want to talk about something we purchased for my Mom. She drives a lot with her work and her vehicle is an Escalade. It's not exactly fuel efficient. She has driven this type of vehicle for years because it comfortably seats her clients and coworkers on their numerous outings and she finds piece of mind in it's safety on the road and she of course enjoys the luxury aspect of it as well. Anyway... through TerraPass, a company which invests our monies to reduce our individual carbon footprints we purchased a carbon offset for my Mom's vehicle and the amount of emissions she produces in a year driving it. You can calculate your emissions on their website. So buying a pass for a vehicle eases the footprint you leave over the course of a year. You can also buy passes for your home or for someone who does a lot of airline travel. Why buy a TerraPass? Because as I read one reviewer write... "you can't exactly mail a personal check to a wind farm in an effort to support clean energy." They also have a program to recycle old cell phones which I am about to participate in. I can mail my old cell (aka my piece of junk Razor) in to them postage paid and they issue me a TerraPass. Here is some info lifted from the TerraPass website in regard to cell phones...
People buy and toss out cell phones at an astonishing rate. RIPMobile estimates that there are 850 million unused cell phones in the U.S. Since cell phones contain lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium and arsenic, they become toxic waste when they end up in a landfill.
By recycling your phone you help to protect local water and food supplies from toxins, while making industry less dependent on destructive new mining for metals. You are also getting functional phones into the hands of people in the developing world who need them.
Reselling a used cell phone is far more energy efficient than manufacturing a new one. And when you purchase a TerraPass with the proceeds you are fighting climate change to boot!
So... my phone is worth $24 in this exchange. A $24 TerraPass that is. You can look up what your old phone is worth by clicking through to the site HERE. I am going to use this amount to begin to pay for a pass for our F250. Of course driving a much more fuel efficient vehicle would be a better answer... but until they build a hybrid that can tow 10,000 pounds we are stuck with the big old truck.
Why should we care about any of this? Because of Bumblebee Bats, that's why. Bumblebee Bats are the world's smallest bat species. They live in Thailand and they weigh about the same as a dime and can rest comfortably on your thumb (although they would probably prefer to rest else wear.) They are endangered. What do they have to do with cell phones, bicycles and carbon emissions? Well, I don't know enough to be able to construct an intelligent answer to that question but I can say that I am sure there is a viable connection in there somewhere. If it were not for our crazy consumption and current indifference to the planet's and our own wellness I am sure the dear little Bumblebee Bat would have nothing to worry about. So do your part for the world's smallest mammal and recycle your old cell phone the next time you need a new one!