Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vetiver is Better For....

WHAT in the world is Osmosis talking about now? A revolutionary proven environmental solution for clean water and more.
The Vetiver System is low cost and efficient system for soil and water conservation, infrastructure stabilization, pollution control, waste water treatment, mitigation and prevention of storm damage and many other applications. Vetiver Grass, Vetiveria zizanioides, (recently reclassified as Crysopogon zizanioides) is the main component to all Vetiver System based bioengineering and conservation applications. The plant is unique. It can be used in the tropics and semi tropics, and areas such as Italy and California that have a Mediterranean type climate where there are hot summers, and winters are temperate. The roots of the grass have an average tensile strength of Mpa 75 and improve the shear strength of soil by between 30 and 40%.

STILL wondering why we're so amped about grass? Well maybe you should ask these rural women in Venezuala, who(thru Fundacion Polar)have a handicrafts industry using vetiver grass. This program includes the making and marketing of handicrafts. This image is of a mobile shop selling vetiver products and some of the women who have made the products

OR checkout the apartment building pictured below them, built on a once unstable slope which is now stabilized by Vetiver

VETIVER can make proud mountains out of what would have been unstable molehills by stabilizing its surface enough after deforestation to support farming endeavors!!! Ask the happy mountain below who now sports some fancy gardens bordered by stabilizing Vetiver borders, instead of the unstable and useless soil it had before!

Checkout a brochure here!
Find Vetiver's amazing website here!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


One of the most celebrated documentaries of the past year, SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALLSTARS tells the remarkable story of an inspiring group of musicians who form a band while living in a West African refugee camp. Set against the backdrop of a brutal civil war, the film details the group's heroic stories of survival and their daily struggle to keep hope and music alive. SIERRA LEONE’S REFUGEE ALL STARS is a unique tribute to the transcendent power of music and a triumphant celebration of the human spirit.

Online auction for AID DARFUR is amazing...

SEE if you can squeeze Chris Matthews in for a lunch meeting, or perhaps you have time for James Baker. Nothing to wear to that fabulous gala event again? What about that diamond necklace Angelina Jolie wore to the Golden Globes?

This is what you'll have to start saying if you're one of the lucky winners of this amazing ONLINE AUCTION( to benefit AID DARFUR. Not only could you attain something priceless but you'll also be helping the world be a better place by helping the ongoing crisis in DARFUR.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

ODE magazine, for optimists, innovators, movers n shakers!!

Yet another great magazine that I just found out about thanks to my great friend Noah at Another Limited Rebellion! ODE magazine ( presents inspiring stories of people doing amazingly great things for others, the planet, you name it, they got it! Wonderful blog on their website great photos, cool layout. Another homerun for humankind!! yay!

Darfurian Refugees in Chad celebrate World Refugee Day

Who would expect a Darfurian or Chad refugee to have much of anything to be cheerful about after the horrendous atrocities many have endured? Well, as a sign of their tremendous tenacity and endurance they are finding a way to do so as they celebrated World Refugee Day in 2 of the main refugee camps located in Chad.

Jorge Prantl who helps in both of these major Darfurian Refugee camps which are attended to by the UNHCR sent these photos out a few days ago. They come from a place called the Guereda Outpost where 50,000 Darfurians reside in either Camp Mile or Camp Kounoungomand, and had this to say to a friend:

Hello.. how are you doing?
I did not have time to see the news during the last couple of days.. the WRD was wonderful in both camps in Guereda.. the refugees really enjoyed and spent a wonderful time having an active participation... the most reiterated messages from all was the return to Darfur in peace.. hope the situation will improve with the hybrid force!!
see some pixs from the celebration..

cheers, Jorge

One can only hope to have such fortitude as all of these people as they refuse to let such adversities degrade their spirit.
Remember that helping can be as easy as educating others about the present war in Sudan, but you can also go one step stronger and donate to the many international aid agenices and ngo's working hard with the refugees right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tony Bennett supports aid for refugees:Focus on Darfur

LEGENDARY singer, and passionate activist TONY BENNETT lent his spectacular talents to this year's World Refugee Day opening ceremonies. A special event for a small lucky audience at the new Swedish Embassy in Washington DC one day,
and a short performance at the National Geographic Museum the next thrilled and delighted many. His very genuine and personal words during both events were heartfelt and brought many to tears. Mr. Bennett was awarded the Humanitarian Of the Year Award from the UN, and is spending his 80th year advocating heavily for DARFUR with commercials for AID DARFUR.
The human family is blessed to have such a shining light among it. Thank you Mr. Bennett.

YOU need NEED magazine!!!!

WHAT an amazing endeavor, sprouted by socially conscious entrepreneurs wife Stephanie and husband Kelly Kinnunen (along with a small yet dedicated network of hardworking people) have produced issue 2 already of a visible labor of love. Rightfully titled "NEED", their tagline says it all: We Are Not Out To Save The World, But To Tell The Stories Of Those Who Are.
A publication chock full of engaging, endearing and motivational stories of people helping people, it is a much needed platform for today's minds.
A snippet from one of the more personally intriguing stories follows female de-mining teams:

"Few occupations in the world require workers to tote metal detectors and whistles, don protective body suits and possess explicit knowledge of landmines and unexploded ordnance. Such requisites conjure up visions of militias or bomb squads – organized groups working to either cause destruction or keep peace. One peacekeeping vocation needing such apparel and expertise is landmine clearance: the process of seeking and safely destroying bombs and other explosive devices buried below the ground. This vocation in de-mining requires highly skilled workers who are extremely precise and above all, fearless.

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) trains and organizes de-miners. Their mission is: “[To help] people affected by the remnants of conflict through responsive, qualitydriven and progressive action. [To] remove the physical threat of injury and death and alleviate economic devastation. [To] provide clearance and education enabling an escape from the poverty and suffering caused by conflict.” MAG is funded by several sources including national governments, UN agancies, foundations and trusts, charities and individuals. Landmine clearance is just one of many projects that MAG orchestrates in order to establish safer communities. Headquartered in Manchester, UK, MAG has worked on projects in over 35 countries around the world."~Liz Werner:Need Magazine (photo of de-miner by Claudia Janke)
ALSO checkout, soon to be in BORDERS, WHOLE FOODS GROCERY, already gracing fine establishments and co-ops.
A subscription will enlighten you and your friends and family for sure!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Hey everyone, gearing up again to help bring the plight of refugees worldwide into the public eye and educate along with aid people globally!
WRD opening ceremonies will be kicking off worldwide, checkout:
for multiple listings of events and what you can do to aid the cause!!!

WARDANCE launches successful screening at Silver Docs in Silversprings, MD June 14th

So I was very proud and amazed to be in the packed crowd in the beautiful theater in Silver Springs, Maryland this past June 14th to watch the full length release of "WarDance". Completely gorgeous cinematography and storytelling juxtaposed the painful truths of the young child soldiers of Uganda as they deal with their traumas and grief from being forced to do the inexplicable. PLEASE go to and experience their amazing trailer, and look out for national theater release come this November 2007 (in Richmond,VA I would keep an eye on the WestHampton)!!!

New observations on Chad/Darfur situations from Richard Marks from "A Hard Days Night"

The situation in this region is becoming less stable even while there is some progress in discussions with the leaders of Sudan and Chad.
During my time in Chad, I was with refugees from the Central African Republic that had fled their country into southeastern Chad. There are
now Sudanese from Southern Darfur fleeing into the Central African Republic. As well, at the same time there are Darfur refugees in Chad,
there are also Chadian refugees fleeing into some parts of Darfur.

Both my trips to refugee camps this past year took me to borders, not created by the indigenous population, one between Afghanistan and Pakistan,
the other between Chad and Darfur, Sudan. In both cases, the instability and fear was palpable, particularly in Eastern Chad.

It is hard to understand since we live in a country where the borders are so well defined and we are at peace with our neighbors. Not hard to understand,
though, from a perspective of trying to ensure that those boundaries are respected, right? People have also migrated to find a place where they can be
safe, have shelter, and feed their family. Unfortunately, these people have no choice. Cross the border or stayed and be killed.

For us, one day a year is World Refugee Day; for refugees, it"s 365 days a year.

Thanks for helping,


Monday, June 04, 2007

still here!

hello all! after a needed hiatus to keep my regular job going and whatnot i am back in action to keep this account updated.
have been receiving wonderful news of multiple events for darfur popping up around richmond, along with great updates for Awer Bul who is the lost boy I was honored to get to know and help back in november 2006. He is currently on his way,or already in Kenya documenting his art program endeavors in his refugee camp. many well wishes. gearing up for WORLD REFUGEE DAY June 20th!! Everyone who doesn't know what a refugee is, please take time to visit the UNHCR website for more info. and as always I will keep posting here.
More updates soon, be well-

Monday, January 08, 2007

Amy and Awer Bul on NBC12 tonight!

Thanks to Gene Lepley from NBC12 there will be a followup piece featuring myself and local Lost Boy Awer Bul on the news this evening between 6 and 6:30pm.
Thanks to anyone who can watch, and feel free to contact NBC12 to let them know you appreciate how they are keeping the fight against the genocide in Darfur and the plight of Sudan's Lost Boys on Richmond's "radar"!