Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Girl Scouts of America - 4 hours 29 min ago

     Do you know that girls see a future in which they are financially independent and empowered, but only 12 percent feel “very confident” making financial decisions? 
Girl Scouts is dedicated to changing that number, giving girls the opportunity to gain valuable skills and become financially savvy not only through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie sale, but also via our financial literacy programs. After all, girls are the future leaders of our country and the future drivers of our economy, and whether they’re leading a Fortune 500 company or their households, money matters! 
April marks the beginning of Financial Literacy Month, and all month long we’ll be sharing stats from our Girl Scout Research Institute study, Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, and sharing creative ways to get the girl in your life better equipped for a financially fit future.

Studies show that girls dream of living in a world where there are no gender gaps when it comes to their finances. Let’s make that dream a reality!

Happy Financial Literacy Month!
Categories: Environment

Curbing Global Warming Aligns With American Christians' Beliefs, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - 8 hours 23 min ago
A majority of American Christians think global warming is happening and that the government should support research and


Majorities of U.S. Christians say global warming is real. tax policies that promote renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency, according to a new report from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Among Catholics, 69 percent think global warming is happening, which is a higher percentage than Americans overall (63 percent). A majority of non-evangelical Protestants — 62 percent — also think global warming is occurring, as do 51 percent of evangelicals. The survey also found that majorities of Catholics, Protestants, and evangelicals say it is important to them personally to care for future generations, the natural environment, and the world’s poor. Of the three groups, evangelical Christians were the most likely to say that God expects people to be responsible stewards of nature.
Categories: Environment, Health

New legal advice number

Friends of the Earth - 8 hours 41 min ago
This free help line is run by our Rights & Justice Centre, which offers free advice for anyone who has questions about how to challenge bad environmental decisions in their area. You can speak to a legal adviser from 6.30pm - 8.30pm on the first and third Wednesday of every month. Calls are free from landlines, although charges may apply to calls from mobiles. Alternatively, you can leave a voicemail message at any time, or email us. For 9 years we’ve been helping communities across the country get legal advice on environmental issues that are important to them. We're
Categories: Environment

Naomi Klein: 'I see movements and courage everywhere I go.'

Friends of the Earth - 8 hours 57 min ago
"I see movements everywhere. I see courage everywhere I go", Naomi Klein - author of This Changes Everything - told a packed audience at Friends House. The event – inspired by Naomi Klein’s book – brought together 500 people. It was just a glimpse of the growing movement of people working to bring us back from the precipice of catastrophic climate change and to tackle the economic system that put us there. Collective hope The day highlighted that massive change is already happening. Thousands of people around the world are already building the future
Categories: Environment

6 easy tricks for Meat Free May success

Friends of the Earth - 9 hours 24 min ago
Yes, it’s nearly time for Meat Free May. I couldn’t imagine eating a baguette without cheese or drinking coffee without milk.  Cutting things out of your daily diet might seem tricky or even restrictive. But once you start, you’ll actually discover more flavours and dishes than ever before. I had to cut out gluten and dairy a couple of years ago. Honestly, the first months were an epic fail. I couldn’t imagine eating a baguette without cheese or drinking coffee without milk. But I started thinking about the benefits and became addicted to food blogs and 
Categories: Environment

Guest Blogger: Girl Scout Alumna Jessica Guo

Girl Scouts of America - 11 hours 3 min ago

Jessica Guo is a shining example of a Girl Scout who challenged herself to gain the courage, confidence, and character to be a leader in her own life. Her experience in the Girl Scout Cookie Program not only helped her set goals and achieve them one by one, it also sparked her love for business. She’s currently on full scholarship at NYU Stern, double majoring in finance and global business and minoring in social entrepreneurship. We’re delighted to share her story with you!
I'm Jessica Guo, and I've been an active Girl Scout for ten years, but I’ve only been active in selling Girl Scout Cookies for the past three or four. Until I joined a more active Girl Scout troop in eighth grade, I had averaged only thirty, at most fifty boxes a year. However, my new troop had already saved up hundreds of dollars from years of active cookie selling in order to fundraise for an upcoming trip to San Francisco—fundraising that I had not been a part of.
My troop leader had offered me the troop’s leftover money, but I declined, insisting that I would just need to sell more cookies to raise the money—consciously ignoring the fact that I typically sold fewer than fifty boxes per year, which was nowhere near the hundreds that were necessary. Selling cookies suddenly became a priority, but, shy as I was in my freshman year, it seemed likely that my cookie season would end like it always did, after a few phone calls to my parents’ friends and to my doting grandparents, who bought anything and everything I sold. I didn’t know where to find the confidence to approach strangers in neighborhoods and grocery stores.
In desperation, I outlined two small goals to help me overcome my inhibitions: one, to knock on ten houses a day; and two, at site sales, to ask every person who walked past to buy cookies. I constantly reminded myself to step outside my comfort zone as I filled line after line on my order form, gradually gaining confidence with each sale.
By the end of the cookie season, I had sold 750 boxes, successfully securing my trip to San Francisco. But that number no longer mattered to me. In selling the cookies, I had earned much more than money and a plane ticket. The memories may fade and the money has been spent, but I think what was most valuable and important was the confidence that I gained from my experience. Girl Scout Cookies helped me believe in myself.
On the side of every Girl Scout cookie box, it says: “Selling Girl Scout Cookies helps girls develop five skills that they use throughout their lives: 1. Goal setting. 2. Decision making. 3. Money management. 4. People skills. And 5. Business ethics.” I cannot agree with this statement more and I’d like to illustrate how exactly cookie selling does this with a few anecdotes from my experiences.
Goal setting. Selling Girl Scout Cookies helped teach me to set little goals, but to dream big. After I sold 750 boxes that first year, I compiled a list of 18 sales tips for my troop, and one of them was to always set goals, and then to set new goals. That first success showed me that I could do much more than I thought I was capable of as long as I put my mind to it, set reasonable goals, and pushed myself.
Decision making. The Girl Scout Cookie Program allowed me to become more independent and to take charge of my own time. I made the decisions about what goals to set, which site sales to choose, and how much time and effort I was willing to invest in the program.
Money management. Dealing with all that cash taught me about how to be responsible with money, how to sort it, how to secure it, and how to count it very quickly. When you’re holding in your hand a stack of a thousand dollars in cash that you’ve collected… that’s an incredible feeling.
People skills. Through my experience with selling Girl Scout Cookies, I’ve gotten much better at striking up conversations with people, dealing with customer complaints, or even befriending strangers. One man that I met while at a Fred Meyer in Bellevue was so impressed by my ambition, perseverance, and initiative that, because he didn’t have cash to buy cookies, he gave me his email and I delivered nine boxes to his house later that week.
Business ethics. By selling Girl Scout Cookies, I have learned so much not just about business ethics, but also about business customs, such as the importance of shaking the hand of the store manager after a site sale, or delivering presold cookies in a timely manner.
In fact, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has taught me so much about business that I decided to explore business as a career field. I joined my high school’s chapter of DECA, an international business organization for high school and college students, and I went on to compete in the Professional Selling Event at the international level. I joined my local DECA chapter’s leadership team and worked to develop our chapter as the vice president of communications. I would never have had the courage nor the interest to apply if not for Girl Scout Cookies. The Girl Scout Cookie Program has shown me that business is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. It has shown me that with passion, dedication, goals, and hard work, I really can accomplish anything—always digging deeper and finding new ways to keep moving forward.
With Girl Scout Cookies, it’s not about the money/cookie dough. It’s not about the profits, the seventy cents that I keep for each box I sell. It’s not about the incentives or the adventure points. No. It’s about what you learn from selling the cookies, from putting yourself out there, from standing for hours on end in Seattle, week after week, in the rain, in front of QFC. It’s about the pride you feel when you’ve met goal after goal; it’s about the confidence you gain from challenging yourself, from pushing yourself past what feels comfortable. It’s about moments like these, where cookies take you to places you would never have had the opportunity to go to otherwise.
I feel confident. I feel empowered. And I want to make sure that other girls after me will feel that same rush when they realize that they, too, are capable.
Categories: Environment

What the hell is education for?

Friends of the Earth - 14 hours 37 min ago
Showing no signs of life, our cold brittle system should have been buried back in the Victorian era in which it was born. Thank goodness for the launch of a much-needed autopsy: Big Education by Compass and the National Union of Teachers (NUT). Sign up to our mailing list for more articles like this. Sanford Street School in Swindon was, much like our current education system, built in the Victorian era © Richard Ellis Teachers intimidated by evermore targets waved menacingly in front of them like tiny red sniper dots. When you’re packed into a classroom
Categories: Environment

Free Trade versus Good Food

The EnvironmentaList - March 31, 2015
How the World Trade Organization struck down Country of Origin Labeling for meat
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Girl Scouts Become Change-Makers as they Tackle Mental Health in the Community

Girl Scouts of America - March 31, 2015

Saint Clair, Missouri, a small rural community of 4,472 people located along Historic Route 66, is home to a group of dynamic young women who call themselves “Friends for Change.” In an effort to improve their community, the girls are working to create an arts program, and they recently built an outdoor amphitheater in their local park to host it. 
The girls are a part of Challenge and Change, a program for Girl Scouts in rural communities funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This investment is part of Girl Scouts’ ToGetHerThere campaign, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in history.
Powered by investors, Girl Scouts helps girls in rural communities become change-makers as they create and start long-term community service projects. They get plenty of help along the way through a comprehensive curriculum, instruction by specially trained Girl Scout program staff, and mentoring by community champions. Girls even receive seed funding to launch their projects.
But as inspiring as Challenge and Change is in and of itself, the program is also addressing a community issue the girls care about a great deal: mental health. Ten percent of youth in St. Clair have reported considering suicide, and the effects of bullying and depression are also areas of major concern. The girls learned that a lack of arts in rural communities has a negative impact on area youth—indeed, studies have indicated that increased involvement in and access to the arts can significantly decrease emotional problems in adolescents. Arts and theatre programs have, for example, been successful in allowing young people to learn appropriate forms of emotional expression.
After completing the amphitheater the girls were honored for the project by their town’s local chamber of commerce. The theater will benefit 4,000 people, will be available for community use, and will host events such as concerts, plays, art shows, and other gatherings. The positive outcomes of the program projected by the girls include increased social cohesiveness, expanded creative outlets, and improved community relationships. In their short time being involved in Challenge and Change, these young women have not only gained vital skills in public speaking and leadership—they have also realized the power they have to change their community and the world for the better.
“This is just awesome. It’s such a neat feeling. Deep down inside, I always knew that somehow this project would happen.” – Miranda Murphy, girl member
Categories: Environment

Major Wildlife Impacts Still Felt 5 Years After Gulf Oil Spill

Yale Environment 360 - March 31, 2015
Nearly five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico continue to die at unprecedented rates, endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are experiencing diminished nesting success, and many species of fish are suffering from abnormal development among some juveniles after exposure to oil. Those are the conclusions of a new study from the National Wildlife Federation, released three weeks before the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill, which began on April 20, 2010. The study also said that populations of brown pelicans and laughing gulls have declined by 12 and 32 percent respectively, and that oil and dispersant compounds have been found in the eggs of white pelicans nesting in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. The National Wildlife Federation said that the oil giant, BP, must be held fully accountable for the environmental damage and that fines and penalties should be used to restore habitats in the Gulf. Meanwhile, in advance of the spill’s fifth anniversary, BP is stepping up its public relations efforts to assure consumers that life is returning to normal in the Gulf.
Categories: Environment, Health

US lobby giants are out to destroy great new food advice

Friends of the Earth - March 31, 2015
I’m hard to surprise. But the recent recommendations of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee – which reviews US dietary guidelines every 5 years – gave me a shock. And a sense of shame. The bombshell was not that they had included sustainability alongside nutritional goals in the guidelines; and a sensible recommendation to eat less meat. After all, they are experts, and the evidence that we need to change dietary habits to protect both public and environmental health is overwhelming. My astonishment was how this got through the mighty US food industry lobby that usually
Categories: Environment

Natural Filters: Freshwater Mussels Deployed to Clean Up Polluted Rivers

Yale Environment 360 - March 31, 2015
When rivers and streams become polluted, one of the first casualties is often freshwater mussels, which effectively filter

An Eastern elliptio mussel out pollutants but can also be overcome by them. As a result, freshwater mussel populations worldwide have steadily dwindled. Now, however, conservationists and scientists in the U.S. and Europe are working to re-establish declining or endangered freshwater mussel populations so these mollusks can use their natural filtration abilities to clean up excess nutrients and runoff in waterways. One such program has been established on the U.S.’s Delaware River, where environmentalists and biologists are re-seeding mussel populations in the more polluted sections of the river and in tributary streams.
Read the article.
Categories: Environment, Health

In Africa, Clean Energy Provides a Route to Clean Water

The EnvironmentaList - March 31, 2015
Uganda and South Sudan us solar PV to lower cost of pumping water
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Guest Post: Girl Scout Lauren Prox Shares White House Experience

Girl Scouts of America - March 30, 2015
Guest Post from Lauren Prox, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient from Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, whose project “Reaching New Altitudes” aims to reverse the small percentage of minorities and females participating in the fields of aviation and STEM. Lauren participated in the White House Science Fair last week.
I have had an amazing journey in Girl Scouts. I have met some exceptional women and accomplished things I never dreamed I would do. Going to the White House to share my Gold Award story at the White House Science Fair was one of those - I can’t believe I’m here - moments. I was also very excited to become an inspiration to youth across the nation because I want to show them just how wonderful and full of prospect the field of STEM truly is.
Upon arriving to the White House’s 5th Annual Science Fair, I couldn't wait to see the various projects that students from across the nation were eager to share. Not only did I get to talk about my project with some pretty important people. I saw projects that were as complex as creating a safer, artificial spine for scoliosis patients. I also learned of projects that solved everyday problems that people face. One of these projects was an innovative pill bottle that helps patients remember to take medications. After viewing these projects, I joined the rest of the White House guests and sat in attendance to a speech given by President Obama. He talked about some of his favorite projects including the page-turner that my fellow Girl Scouts, the Super Girls, designed to help people with disabilities read. Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of the projects that my peers presented.
After the Science Fair ended, I attended a round-table discussion hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and his colleagues. While there, I got to talk about my Gold Award Project and my passions for S.T.E.M. I can’t even put into words how amazing I felt when I first entered the room that our discussion was held in. This excitement was due to the fact that my place-card was in between Vice President Biden’s seat and Astronaut Leland Melvin’s seat. Just to be sitting between these two phenomenal leaders in S.T.E.M. was phenomenal. I learned a great deal from them and our other guest speakers as well as my peers.
I hope that I've been able to inspire more girls to consider STEM. I know doing my Gold Award and having a once-in-a-lifetime experience of being part of the White House Science Fair, has inspired me to do more in STEM. This summer, I’m planning on volunteering with my council as a Techbridge volunteer and learning about, and teaching others, about circuitry. . I’ll be able to do workshops very similar to what I did for my Gold Award with girls at camp.
My Girl Scout adventure isn't ending, just growing! 
Categories: Environment

Warming Winters Not Main Cause of Pine Beetle Outbreaks, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - March 30, 2015
Milder winters can't be blamed for the full extent of recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the western United States, according

Pine forest affected by mountain pine beetles to a new study by Dartmouth and U.S. Forest Service researchers. Winters have been warming across the western U.S. states for decades, as overall the coldest winter night has warmed by 4 degrees C since 1960. But that warming trend could only be the primary driver of increasing pine beetle outbreaks in regions where winter temperatures have historically killed most of the beetles, such as in the Middle Rockies, eastern Oregon, and northern Colorado, the study says. Warming is unlikely to have played a major role in other regions since winters were rarely cold enough to kill the beetles, according to the study published in the journal Landscape Ecology. Other factors — including changes in the pine beetles' seasonal development patterns and forestry practices that have influenced pine density and age — were likely more important, the authors say.
Categories: Environment, Health

What can businesses do when their trade bodies undermine EU climate policy?

Friends of the Earth - March 30, 2015
Ben Fagan-Watson is a Research Fellow at the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) at the University of Westminster and lead researcher of the report 'Lobbying by Trade Associations on EU Climate Policy'. In our latest report Lobbying by Trade Associations on EU Climate Policy researchers from the Policy Studies Institute  investigated how eight big, influential trade associations  - which either represent particular industrial sectors, or claim to represent all business interests in the EU - lobby on EU climate policy. The report revealed that some trade
Categories: Environment

How Long Can Oceans Continue To Absorb Earth’s Excess Heat?

Yale Environment 360 - March 30, 2015
The main reason soaring greenhouse gas emissions have not caused air temperatures to rise more rapidly is that oceans have soaked up much of the heat. But new evidence suggests the oceans’ heat-buffering ability may be weakening. BY CHERYL KATZ
Categories: Environment, Health

Can Lions on a Leash Help Save Endangered Big Cats?

The EnvironmentaList - March 30, 2015
A leading tourism operator in Zambia is planning to suspend its “lion walks,” sparking new debate.
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

What Lies Behind the Recent Surge of Amazon Deforestation

The EnvironmentaList - March 28, 2015
Conversation: Ecologist Philip Fearnside explains what needs to be done to once again bring deforestation under control
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Join me “On the Road”

Girl Scouts of America - March 27, 2015
Welcome to the first installment of “On the Road with Anna”, where we follow Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez.
As I travel around the country, I not only get to meet the most amazing girls and volunteers, but also the council teams who help make Girl Scouts a powerful force for change. I want you to be able to share these experiences with me, so every so often, I’m going to send you updates from the road.
Recently, I got to spend some time with the wonderful team at Girl Scouts Texas Oklahoma Plains. They shared their excitement about how we’re innovating on behalf of girls, and gave me an inside look at how Girl Scouts is helping to propel girls at Fort Worth’s Cesar Chavez Elementary School toward a brighter future.

At the council, I met the amazing Ruth Owen—92 years young and still proud to call herself a Girl Scout volunteer after almost 30 years. If you ask her why she still volunteers several times a week, she has a simple answer.
“There’s just so much that’s good about Girl Scouts. It truly pleases me to get to do this as much as I can.”
Ruth is an amazing woman, someone who has dedicated herself to our Movement, and who has helped develop generations of leaders! 
During my afternoon at Cesar Chavez, I also spent some time with Principal Monica Ordaz, who makes sure that the school’s hallways are filled with banners from the best colleges and universities. Principal Ordaz works every day to inspire her students, many of whom come from neighborhoods where they face big challenges, and to make sure they know that education has the power to take them wherever they want to go in life.
But even the best educators need a little help putting their students on a path to success. For the girls in her school, Ordaz believes in the power of Girl Scouts.
“As an educator, why wouldn’t you partner with the Girl Scouts? We both want girls to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. It’s great opportunity to partner with a community organization, to partner with parents, to make girls feel special—that’s what I want for my girls and what Girl Scouts helps me bring to my school.”
Finally, I learned a new kind of “pattycake” from some of the 50 Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors who participate in Girl Scouts through Cesar Chavez.
Until my next stop…
Categories: Environment
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