Sustainable Living: 5 Best Ways To Beat The Heat And Spare Your Wallet

Heat like the sort the East Coast has been experiencing has many different effects but perhaps the most ubiquitous is just how lazy it makes us.  No one wants to tackle insulating the attic when its 100 degrees outside, even if it would make your home significantly cooler.  So let’s take it slow.  Here are our top five small, simple steps you can take to beat the heat: guaranteed to make a difference you can fell but the environment and your bank account won’t even notice!

1. Got AC?  Let it sit around 78 degrees.  While you might be tempted to set it to “arctic”- running your unit at temperatures lower than 78 will not cool things down any faster or more effectively.  What it will do however, is force the system to work harder, use more energy and force you to pay up more at the end of the month.  Think of your AC as a baseline tool to be used in conjunction with other tricks.
2. Fan of a good fan?  Try placing one or two frozen water bottles in front of your fan, it is effective, low-cost and low impact.  But the best part?  You’ll never have that panic-stricken moment of “did I leave the AC blasting at home?”  Frozen water bottles aren’t just low maintenance, they’re no maintenance.
3. Sheets to the wind. This is one old wives’ tale that you can trust.  Plus, we love it because its so simple; just hang a damp sheet in front of your window and the sheet will cool air entering your home.  It is also a great way to dry your sheets when they come out of the wash as using the dryer heats up small homes quickly. Which leads us to…
4. Unplug your life.  Turn off any heat-generating devices: the dryer, the iron, the hairdryer, the toaster and oven.  Even small electronics, like laptops, when used frequently can generate heat that you may not notice to the touch but contribute to rising indoor temperatures.  A great excuse to put down the tablets and phones and head out to a barbeque!
5.  Spice. Hydrate. Repeat.  We all know that body temperature can also be changed from the inside out.  Heatwaves are a great excuse to order delivery (you can’t use the oven after all) from your favorite Thai, Indian or Ethiopian place.  It is no coincidence that cultures originating from sizzling parts of the globe typically have equally sizzling native cuisines.  The wisdom in spicing up your insides is that it generates sweat – activating the body’s natural cooling system. In terms of your liquids it is also important to keep very well hydrated and drink much more water than you normally would.  A simple glass of ice water might be the most effective coolant of all, though a cold beer with your spicy Mexican food is also advisable!

Cheers to staying cool this summer.

Green Tech: Unlocking the Power of Play

Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman are on a mission to show the world that the value of play can not only be measured in smiles but in very real economic and social terms.  Both Harvard students had volunteered traveled extensively in Africa and also shared a passion for soccer: the continent’s (and the world’s) most popular game.  In an engineering class they got the chance to marry these two passions, capitalizing on an opportunity to improve living conditions in African through the continent’s love of soccer.
What does such an ambitious project look like?  A sOccket, a small generator cleverly disguised as a soccer ball that charges as you play with it!  Three hours of LED illumination is stored in the sOccket per every half hour of playtime.  It can also charge small electronic devices like a cell phone.

This ingenious solution isn’t just making an economic impact by delivering renewable light energy to many rural areas.  There are important health benefits as well because most of the developing world still relies on on kerosene lamps that pose huge safety hazards: the fumes inhaled by children in kerosene-light homes is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

The sOccett vs. huge public health threats is been a game that’s garnered the attention of an international audience.
Today there are more than 6,000 sOcckets “kicking around”, literally, from Africa to Mexico to Brazil.  Uncharted Play, the organization founded by Matthews and Silverman to distribute their product received overwhelming support from corporate sponsors principally because of how easily and effectively the tool integrates into daily life.  As Matthews explained, “Why don’t we give you something that you already like to do and get what you need.”

And sOccket has yet another a new fan, President Obama.  During his recent trip to Africa his team set to work distributing the item to many African nations and on a tour of a facility that manufacturers the ball he even showed off some of his soccer skills! A huge goal for the two Harvard girls who knew just how powerful play could be.

Green Living: The Surprising Truth About Urban Trees

Most city-dwellers operate under the assumption that, like binoculars and snow tires, the United States Park Service is simply irrelevant to their urban existence.  But, as it turns out, the Forest Service has been hard at work pounding the pavement of America’s major city centers to bring us the surprising truth about city trees: they’re saving our lives, quite literally.

In the first of two recently published studies, director Geoffrey Donovan and his team revealed a direct and dramatic correlation between loss of trees and loss of human life in city centers. According to the study, as deforestation of urban areas spread across the country there was an increase in mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness: 6,113 related lower respiratory system-related deaths and 15,080 cardiovascular-related deaths.

According to Donovan, the research warrants a value shift in popular opinion; rather than equating trees with recreation/decoration we need to think of them as pillars in the infrastructure of public health. We need to starting taking trees very seriously.

The second study surveyed the tree populations of 10 major cities (Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Syracuse) to determine how effectively they were filtering out air pollutants.  And guess what? They’re doing a phenomenal job, so much so that urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life per year per city. That means in New York City alone, trees save an average of eight lives annually.

We hope that this newly reveled super power will inspire city residents to get involved planting more trees in their communities.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, there are dozens of non-profits looking for volunteers.  Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco for instance has planted more than 47,000 trees since 1981.  They have also earned bragging rights by planting 43% of the city’s street tree canopy, and now, as it turns out, saving some lives along the way!

Sustainable Living: The Dirt on Footwear

sustainable living - OAT

When we talk about our carbon footprint maybe its time to get a little more literal, or, as OAT Shoes would argue, a lot more literal.  OAT Shoes is the force that is taking earth-friendly footwear to a whole new level: the soil.  Their shoes are made from 100% biodegradable materials which means that when you are done with your pair you compost them or even bury them in your garden!  But they don’t just hit the mark when it comes to sustainable living and materials, these shoes are hot.

OAT shoes

sustainable living

The simple, elegant and yet playful design is a departure from many style-sacrificing eco brands. Not here. Their fashion shows have even featured scantily clad models maneuvering wheelbarrows down the catwalk.  The centerpiece? A plant sprouting out of blooming shoe, pretty impressive. OAT is so fashionable in fact that the company walked away with the second prize at the Green Fashion Awards at Amsterdam International Fashion Week and have now branched out into bags and totes.

Blooming shoe - sustainable living

If, like most of us, you are just discovering the world of biodegradable shoes chances are you might have some footwear kicking around that just simply isn’t plantable but that doesn’t mean that you can’t recycle it.  For your fancy lady shoes you might consider transforming the prom experience of a girl in need by donating a pair to the Cinderella Project.  This non-profit aims to let girls in undeserved communities know “that they are not bound by personal or financial circumstances, and that the possibilities are endless for them.”

Cinderella project - sustainable living

For more practical, everyday shoes you might consider Soles 4 Souls.  The Nashville-based charity that has delivered over 19 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes to people in over 125 countries including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States. The non-profit also has a very strong disaster-relief force and coordinated efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

At ExchangeMyPhone we love the idea of eco-equality for all which is why we admire organizations like the Cinderella Project and Soles 4 Souls and also why we make it our personal mission to provide free cell phone recycling for everyone!  At ExchangeMyPhone recycling is a right, plain and simple, and we are always humbled to find ourselves in such great company in the world of reuse.

The Giants of Iowa: Reuse, Re-rigged

The world of reuse is sometimes relegated to all things tiny: tiny homes, tiny devices, tiny art.  But in Iowa reuse is going not just big, its going gigantic, 8 stories to be exact!  That’s because in the middle of Iowa’s rolling farmlands there is, surprisingly, a mountain climber’s paradise where a number of unused grain silos have been converted into ice climbing walls.

In the fall of 2001 Don Briggs, a professor and climbing enthusiast, was helping a friend till his farmland in the municipality of Ceder Falls when he made a bet that he could scale one of the silos looming in the distance.  In the end, he won the bet and discovered that the most workable way to reach the peak was to ice climb it.

Briggs has now developed an intricate icing process by rigging hoses at the top of the structure which slow-drip downwards creating a semi-malleable wall of ice that changes depending on wind and weather conditions.

Since the silo opened for business it has attracted both beginners and experts alike and exposed a community famous for their flat farmlands to a taste of mountain life, close to home.  To learn more check out Silo Ice Climbing.

Sustainable Madness

Posted on March 11, 2013 | environment, going green, sustainable living

Each year March brings with it an extra hour of sunlight, a hint of spring and, of course, a lot of madness.  The eyes of the country are on its universities as they gear up for the year’s most competitive season and a chance at the coveted title of (drum roll please) most sustainable school!

Environmental March Madness is the brainchild of a partnership between GreenBiz Group, Qualitrics and Eviance.  Since the first of the year these guys have been pouring over thousand of submissions to whittle down the competition to only the purest, greenest Sustainable 16. This means that some of the schools (like Colorado, Arizona and Ohio State) are on double duty.

The 2013 tournament’s panel of judges is a line up of heavy hitters in the sustainability world whose expertness runs the gamut from retail to academia.  They will evaluate the institutions on both their academic offerings as well as their internal infrastructures to find the school that truly practices what they preach.


“When we launched the Environmental March Madness tournament in early 2012, we never envisioned the amount of interest and competition it would spark among colleges and universities, large and small,” said Goldenhersh, judge and CEO of Enviance. “If last year’s tournament showed anything, it’s that you don’t have to be from the storied basketball conferences like the ACC or Big 10 to be considered a powerhouse, and even a small college in Maine—like Colby College, the 2012 National Champion—has a shot to cut down the nets come April. This year’s competition should be even more intense and wide open as new schools participate and we open the judging to actual environmental practices taking place on campus.”

The National Champion being announced on April 8, 2013 and in addition to their title will receive  $5,000 to enrich their environmental and sustainability department.

So what are you waiting for? Start filling out your bracket!

Making Valentine’s Day Sweet Again

Valentine’s Day puts many of us in a pickle. And it’s not just what to get, but but how to celebrate in a way that isn’t  harmful to the environment.  Bleached paper cards, imported flowers, conflict diamonds, unethically farmed coco products.  All the trappings of the holiday can leave a not-so-sweet taste in your mouth.  But it doesn’t have to! We are bringing you creative, green spins on the traditional Valentine’s Day gestures sure to make you feel good inside and out.

Gentle Greeting Cards
Bubby and Bean is perfect solutions to greeting cards that not only waste paper but also contain bleaches and chemicals along with your well-wishes.  All of their handmade cards are sourced from recycled paper, this one is re-purposed medium weight card stock.  These original designs below are, like all their creations, printed with archival inks. You can buy a whole set of their Valentine’s Day gems for only $20.00.

Flowers by Amy Merrick
Roses can not only be predictable but they are full of pesticides and must travel thousands of miles to reach most of us in chilly February.  But beautiful floral creations do not have come with a heavy carbon footprint attached.  Brooklyn florist Amy Merrick draws her inspired from the movement and texture often found in natural landscapes.  She pays the utmost attention to seasonally appropriate, locally sourced materials at every chance.  Her arrangements are anything but predictable and often incorporate seasonal fruits for an interesting and beautiful twist.

But why wait for someone to buy you flowers?  Just in time for Valentines day Amy is hosting a floral arranging class in her studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Tuesday February 12th from 6:30pm-9pm.  Students will create their own valentine’s day arrangements using the finest of the winter season’s flowers- ranunculus, anemones, poppies, flowering branches, parrot tulips, fritillaria and a host of other beautiful greenhouse material.

Lingerie
PACT Apparel goes to great lengths to make sure their entire supply chain, from the growing and harvesting of their organic cotton to the final sewing are as clean and responsible as possible. Their signature socks are made at an eco-concept factory in Turkey powered by wind energy. Every facility PACT goes through is GOTS certified by the Control Union.  And, if you weren’t already sold, all PACT packaging is printed with vegetable based inks on paper made from FSC controlled wood in a factory powered by wind energy and the carbon impact is off-set by Climate Partner.

The brand also has a social mission. This Spring, PACT along with Whole Kids Foundation and Indiegogo are teaming up to help build urban sustainable gardens across the U.S. that provide increased access to healthy food and communities to really experience how their food is grown.  The company donates 10 percent of underwear sales to organizations that help protect the planet.

Guilt-free Cupcakes
Winter Vallie soaps are a mother-daughter, home-made, labor of love.  And the soaps smell as yummy as they look! All their products are crafted with skin-loving oils, butters and cruelty-free products.  The price tag doesn’t hurt either; like the $8.00 cupcake bathbombs, a thoughtful Valentines Day gesture that doesn’t come close to breaking the bank or your healthy 2013 resolution.


Organic Chocolate
Sadly, there’s a not-so-sweet side to one of the world’s most beloved foods: chocolate.  Chocolate production destroys rain forests, spreads toxic pesticides and has been known to exploit children workers.  But there are alternatives.  Restoring the chocolate eating experience to its sweetest potential both in flavor and integrity is Divine.  The organization bills itself as the world’s only Fairtrade chocolate company.  It is 45% farmer owned, providing farmers with a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry.  All Divine’s products are produced in Ghana, Africa. Now that’s a product that tickles your taste buds and calms your conscience, there’s no better deal than that!

Sustainable Living – natural remedies for the flu & common cold

It is that time of year, there’s no avoiding it.  People around the office and dropping like flies, tissues are a coveted commodity and the flu and cold seem nearly impossible to escape.  To help you pull through ExchangeMyPhone is here with a Monday morning edition of flu and cold fighting remedies that are not only effective and natural but, also far and away more inspiring than the ordinary drugstore solutions.  Our sustainable picks are sure to leave your body and your imagination feeling nourished.

Influenza Rx Sorbet
Sick? Why not sorbet your symptoms away? According of Jeni Britton Bauer, the genius behind the Ohio-base company Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, taking your medicine does not have to involve puckered mouths and tortured taste buds.  In fact, according to Jeni sugar shouldn’t just help the medicine when it can be the medicine itself. She drew her inspiration for this now famous sorbet from a heated-up cough syrup concoction of whiskey, honey and lemon juice that her mother and grandmother used to make.

Here are her instructions from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home for 1 generous quart of her famous Influenza Rx Sorbet:

Ingredients
2 cups fresh orange juice (from 5 to 6 oranges)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
One 3-ounce packet liquid pectin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 to 4 tablespoons Maker’s Mark bourbon (optional)

Preparation
Combine the orange and lemon juices, sugar, honey, and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
Add the pectin, cayenne, and bourbon, if using. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold.
Freeze the sorbet just until it is the consistency of very softly whipped cream. (You can eat it now, if you wish; otherwise, proceed as directed.)
Pack the sorbet into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Elderberry Syrup
With high levels of vitamins A, B and C, black elderberries are help to both prevent the flu and speed in recovery.  Elderberry syrup is available at any organic market and can be easily ordered online for about $15 for an 8 ounce bottle (adult dosage is typically around two table spoons.)  It has become particularly popular among parents nursing children with the flu because it is very portable (no need to refrigerate) and has a much better taste than many flu-easing syrups out there.  It is also relatively easy to make in your own kitchen. No wonder Elderberry Syrup has been called nature’s Tamiflu.

Pour boiling water over 1/2 cup of dried elderberries, let liquid steep for 25 min.
Strain the berries
Bring the liquid to a steam not a boil (otherwise it will taste bitter)
Once it has reduced by half, let cool
Add 1/2 cup of honey

The Killer
The juice-cleanse mania may prove to be a passing phase but Liquiteria‘s aptly named cold zapping beverage, The Killer.  Made with fresh green apple, ginger, lemon and a boost of Immunity Now, The Killer works best when consumed at the first signs of a cold, spicy ginger- lemon combo get to work immediately clearing sinuses and letting easy and symptom free.  For those who want to take cold-fighting to the next level there is also The Killer XX, building on the original recipe by adding an double serving of lemon and ginger as well as a helping of cayenne.  And with free delivery you don’t even have to worry about leaving the comfort of your place when you aren’t 100% because The Killer can come to you!

Fresh Garlic & Honey Tea
Vampires are not the only evil things that garlic protects against, the healing herb is also well known for busting the immune system and guarding against contagions especially during the winter months when may of us have comprised defenses. The best way to take advantage of this herbs medicinal and preventative properties is by drinking fresh garlic tea.
Preparation:
Peel 2 to 3 cloves of fresh garlic
Lightly crush them with the side of a knife
Add garlic to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil
Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes
Strain the garlic and allow the tea to cool
Add raw honey, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and a dash of lemon juice

Sustainable Living – keep cozy with a winter cocktail

Last time ExchangeMyPhone brought you our favorite organic cocktails barbeques were fired up and the sundresses were on. If you are pining for those summer days and winter has you feeling like a weather wimp, never fear! We are here with the winter addition of EMP mixology sure to keep you warm and smiling throughout the snowy season.

Easy Eggnog
Don’t’ let eggnog intimidate you. There are some pretty complicated recipes out there but there’s no reason to slave over this classic holiday drink.  Here’s how you can do it in only 10 minutes!

Ingredients:
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups good quality bourbon or whiskey
1/4 cup spiced rum
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg plus more for garnish

Prep:
Whisk yolks with sugar until creamy and sugar begins to dissolve. Add cream, milk, bourbon and rum and stir to combine. Stir in nutmeg and vanilla and chill well. Serve chilled on the rocks with a sprinkle of nutmeg if desired.

Glögg (Swedish Mulled Wine)
If you want to fill your home with that typical Christmas smell Glögg is the way to go. This is a typical Swedish drink that I was introduced to in Stockholm and pretty much the only way I survived the depths of Swedish winter. Suffice to say, this is the real deal, and not for the faint of heart; it does pack a punch so be sure to serve it in small glasses!

Ingredients:
Aquavit (or brandy or vodka)
Burgundy or pinot noir wine
Port wine
Raisins
White sugar
Cinnamon sticks
Cloves
Cardamom seeds
One orange
One piece of ginger
Blanched almonds

Prep:
Step 1: Soak 1/2 cup of raisins in one cup of aquavit (a Norwegian spirit made with potatoes); Brandy or vodka can be used instead. Soak for 30 minutes before Step 2.

Step 2: Put a large pot on the stove, over high heat. Add one cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar to the pot, and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Step 3: Lower the heat to medium and add your spices – two sticks of cinnamon (each broken in half); four whole cloves; six whole cardamom seeds, crushed by hand; a thinly shaved orange peel; and one small piece of ginger, peeled and cut in half. Stir again with wooden spoon. Do not allow the mix to come to a boil from this point on.

Step 4: Add the aquavit-raisin mixture, two cups of burgundy or pinot noir wine and two cups of port wine.

Step 5: Sweeten and spice to taste.

Step 6: Strain, garnish with raisins and slices of blanched almond — and serve hot off the stove.

Note: The drink can be made a day ahead and kept covered, on the stove, at room temperature. Just reheat before serving.

Honey-Bourbon Toddy
No cold weather bar list would be complete without a Hot Toddy. Though etymologists may argue about the origin of the drink (some say it comes from India, others say the English foothills) everyone agrees a dash of honey and some Apple Bourbon is a great take on a traditional drink.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup hot water
6 tablespoons bourbon or Apple Bourbon (see below for recipe)
2 3×1/2″ strips lemon peel
Fresh ginger to taste
2 cinnamon sticks

Prep:
Stir honey and water in a 2-cup measuring cup until honey dissolves. Add bourbon (or better yet, Apple Bourbon, in which case you’ll use 1 Tbsp. honey). Divide between 2 Toddy glasses. Twist a strip of lemon peel over each drink, then add to glass. Stir each with a cinnamon stick and serve. To make Apple Bourbon, combine a 750-ml bottle of bourbon, 4 cored, sliced Fuji apples, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Cover; chill for 3 days. Strain and sip of use in recipe above.

Rosemary Lavender
During the holiday season many recipes call for fresh rosemary, a winter-durable herb. So why not save a few stalks for the bar? Many winter drinks can be on the heavy side so here’s something lemonade lovers can enjoy even when its chilly. It will perfectly compliment the smell of winter spices coming from the kitchen.

Ingredients:
2 ounces rosemary-infused gin
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lavender syrup
rosemary stalk for garnish
club soda

Prep:
Shake gin, lemon juice, and lavender syrup with ice, then strain into an ice-filled highball. Garnish with rosemary stalk and top off with club soda.

Rosemary-infused gin: lightly pound two stalks of clean rosemary with a muddler to release the oils, then insert them into a bottle of gin. (Skiba uses Damrak.) Infuse, sealed, until flavor is robust and the color begins to change (at least 5 hours, and up to 3 days.)

Lavender syrup: mix 3 tablespoons dried lavender with one pint water and one pint sugar and heat to a slow boil until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool and strain.

Dark and Stormy
Sometimes simplicity is best so in the minimalist spirit we bring you Esquire’s recipe for the classic Dark and Stormy to add some pathetic fallacy to your winter experience.

Ingredients:
2 ounces dark rum
3 ounces ginger beer
1/2 ounce lime juice

Prep:
Combine the rum,* the ginger beer,* and the lime juice, which is optional, in a tall glass full of ice cubes. Stir. The key here is nailing the precise ratio between the spice of the ginger beer and the richness of the rum. Depending on brands of each used, you may want to play around with the proportions. No true Bermudian would put lime juice in his D & S, but here in the States that’s how it comes (perhaps the Moscow Mule has something to do with that). Frankly, we prefer it with the lime — but we’re not Bermudian, now, are we? In fact, we’ve never even been to the “still-vexed Bermoothes,” as Shakespeare calls ‘em (sorry — couldn’t help slipping that in).

Sustainable living: How Peru, Ecuador & Bolivia are taking the lead in eco-policy

When it comes to green policy making and sustainable living there is a long standing myth that it is something to be tackled by the world’s wealthiest nations. This couldn’t be further from the truth and, with many of the richest nations seriously lagging when it comes to eco-reform, lesser developed countries are leading the way. Today ExchangeMyPhone explores what South American countries are becoming the new movers and shakers in defining the cutting edge of environmental awareness and mobilization.

South America map

First stop, the home of Machu Picchu, Peru where a 10-year ban on genetically modified food was recently instated. Fostering a healthier Peruvian population is only a secondary benefit of the ban that’s principal aim is to protect Peru’s agricultural diversity and safeguard against the cross pollination of non-GMO crops. And Peru is in good company globally when it comes to making this change: this year alone dozens of countries have taken a stand against genetically modified food. Russia and France have both banned the importation of Monsanto corn after studies linked the product to cancer. Switzerland extended their ban on GMO’s until next year and Egypt and Japan have recently joined the party.

The ban succeeded in Peru in great part thanks to pressure from local farming communities like the one in Parque de la Papa, Cuzco were the public was particularly concerned that Monsanto corn threatened the survival of native crops like giant white and purple corn as well as famous Peruvian potato species. No doubt the 6,000 residents of Parque de la Papa, as well as the entire consumer population of Peru, have cause to celebrate.

Peruvian local farming communities

Big things are also happening in Peru’s neighbor to the north, Ecuador, where heroic fundraising efforts are single-highhandedly saving the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini part of Yasuni national park (one of the most bio diverse areas of the planet) from potentially devastating oil drilling. The initiative, the Yasuni project, was launched by Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa at the U.N. General Assembly in 2007. The goal is not only to protect the wildlife, plant life and indigenous population, but also to avoid the emission of 410 million metric tons of CO2. The project has recently received some big donations: $300 million has been promised, $64 million has actually been deposited and the rest has been pledged. So far the money has come from sources as diverse as the are itself: Germany pledged $50 million over three years and a musician in Puerto Rico made a single donation of $50,000!

Yasuni national park

Our final stop, another Peruvian neighbor and home to some of Mother Nature’s most astounding wonders, Bolivia. Bolivians have been making leaps and bounds on the policy level towards rethinking environmental protectionism, starting with a law passed last year that gave nature equal rights to human beings. Mother earth or, Pachamama as she is known in South America, is now legally recognized as “sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organization.” This view is not only a step forward but a homage to the philosophy of native Bolivian culture and their profound respect for nature.

Bolivia