O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) was already a pretty darned ideal option for an active vacation…and now it’s even better. O.A.R.S. has been doing rafting, kayaking, hiking, and multi-sport adventures in National Parks, or archaeological sites, wine on the river trips, culinary trips, high and low adventure excursions, spectacular weddings and events, and more, since 1969. It is big adventure (or as big as you choose) out in the world’s most beautiful regions, across America as well as the Galapagos, Mexico, Fiji, Chile, Ecuador, and more.
Now, to add a level of eco-responsibility to your adventure vacation, for select trips, O.A.R.S. will buy your one-year membership in American Rivers (as well as donate 10% of your trip’s cost back to the charity). American Rivers is the leading conservation charity for stewardship of the country’s freshwater rivers and helping ensure we all have access to extraordinary outdoor experiences. American River is, in their own words: “Through our work in five key program areas – Rivers and Global Warming, River Restoration, River Protection, Clean Water and Water Supply – American Rivers is working to protect our remaining natural heritage, undo the damage of the past and create a healthy future for our rivers and future generations.”
THAT’s a vacation really worth taking (and giving…back)
Wow do I love this. This auspicious group has been working since 2007, but they are new to me. The Elders is a group of global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, to offer their influence and wisdom to the process of peace building and to address human suffering. In addition to Mandela, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel, Desmond Tutu, and Aung San Suu Kyi are a few others of the elders.The group was gathered and launched by Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel.
There are so few cultures that still revere the wisdom that comes with age, the life spirit and lessons passed down through generations–it’s almost as if we move too quickly and are so desperate to reinvent and improve that we end up re-inventing the wheel instead of building upon the knowledge of those who have gone before us. What a loss.
The Elders focus on international rights issues and take on new challenges as they arise. Their collective plate is currently full with initiatives focused on: the difficult and fraught transition to democracy in Burma; issues based on equality for women and girls and calling for an end to religious and traditional practices that discriminate (perhaps you heard that Jimmy Carter, after 60 years, recently left the Southern Baptist church over their institutionalized repression of women); the humanitarian tragedy in Sudan; the unrest and division on the island of Cyprus; the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe; and the Every Human Has Rights campaign—a wordlwide declaration.
Big, heady issues. Big heads taking them on. When was the last time you reached out to the generation before yours for guidance? Your parents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, family friends, business mentors, or anyone older needn’t be a world leader to have incredible gifts of wisdom that are yours for the asking.
I’ll admit I squinted a lot and was entirely skeptical the first time someone forwarded an email to me ages ago about this (and the similar bowl of rice for starving children, etc programs that seemed like a crock)
I don’t know why I am a doubter, but I come to it pretty naturally. I wish it wasn’t my default setting. The Animal Rescue Site is, actually, a way to help with almost zero effort on our part.
You can, actually, go to this website, every day if possible, click the purple button, and a donation of food and care is made to shelter programs for animals (find the partners here: Charitable Partners). OK–you’re right–it’s not like some evil Cruella deVil/Fagin character is sitting over a giant tub of kibble and saying “Sorry little adorable puppies–not enough people clicked on the website, so you’ll go to bed hungry tonight. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha”…but your clicking DOES actually provide food (and shelter care). Here’s how–companies pay to have their ads appear on the “click” page of the website. They are paying for eyeballs to see their ads. Based on the number of people who click each day (and you’re monitored so only one click per day can count) they are charged for their advertising. 100% of the advertising is donated to the animal charities…so it isn’t a direct equation of a click equals a bowl of food—but your clicking DOES feed the hungry puppies.
So click already, and tomorrow. and again.
Since so many of us are opting, willingly or not, to stay closer to home this vacation season, it’s worth doing a little digging around to broaden your family’s horizons beyond the amusement park or water slides. Rural Bounty is a nationwide website listing farm vacations where you can pitch in and help out, experience rural life at a blessedly rural pace, ride horses, care for barnyard animals, pick your own organic fruits and vegetables, and more. You can search by region or by things to do, from hayrides to petting zoos, California to Maine, and also find neighboring hospitality options, wineries, farmers markets, etc. Even if it’s not vacation time and you’re looking for something to do with the kids that doesn’t involve a joystick or modem, see what the options are close to home. http://www.ruralbounty.com
I’ll be traveling for the next couple weeks, without my normal boatload of technology and without consistent access to Internet, so I’m trying an experiment–I’m going to go back and post some posts from the wayback machine, from the days when most of you had probably not yet begun reading the blog. These won’t be time sensitive, just great places to consider, organizations to discover, inspiration to…umm…inspire, I guess…
Last weekend, we were “godparents” for our neighbors’ baby tortoises. Our tortoise-sitting duties were pretty low impact–they brought over an aquarium with two hamburger bun-sized, super adorable, shelled fellas and a bag of lettuce. All we had to do was plug in a heat lamp, change water, and feed lettuce a couple times a day…but boy, howdy, they sure were cute.
In the same shelled category (and markedly different but often confused) are their endangered water-dwelling cousins, sea turtles. There are seven species of sea turtle on our planet, and six of them are endangered or threatened. SEE Turtles has launched a new movement, Billion Baby Turtles, with the intention of bolstering their numbers and bringing populations back from the brink. In addition to the hands-on work of saving hatchlings from natural and mostly man-made hazards, they are also spearheading conservation education programs in prime turtle habitat regions around Latin America. One dollar saves a baby. It’s pretty simple math–even I can handle that. What a great way to get younger children involved in conservation and taking a stand–pretty much anyone can raise a buck, or many, many bucks. So far this year they have already saved over 30,000 endangered hatchlings at nesting beaches in El Salvador and Costa Rica. Just think…forego that latte on any random Tuesday, and you can save four turtles…probably more like five if you normally add flavored syrup!
The parent organization, See Turtles and SEE the Wild, specializes in conservation travel around the world–there are some truly amazing animal-focused trip opportunities here to add to your ever-growing list. Explore!
“We have to start acting as one species with one destiny. We’re not going to survive if we don’t do that…”
This film clip is nearly 20 minutes long, but you won’t regret hearing astronauts speak with such reverence about being in space and looking back at our planet. I wish we could get some folks to gain that perspective…like world leaders…