Monday, August 6, 2007

Eight Ways to live the MDGs

A great article from Trinity Wall Street!

Eight Ways to live the MDGs by Sarah Grapentine

Sarah Grapentine is program assistant for the Trinity Grants Program and a participant in the Trinity Academy of Servant Leadership.

This article appears in the Transformation issue of Trinity News (the magazine of Trinity Church - St. Paul's Chapel).

The Episcopal Church is abuzz about the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are the United Nations’ goals for eradicating extreme poverty, empowering women, providing primary education, creating environmental sustainability, and combating disease. These goals can seem pretty big — and they are. But a small change can be part of a big difference — even in our individual, daily lives.

Break the (piggy) bank. The Episcopal Church has committed 0.7% of its budget to programs that support the Millennium Development Goals, and is asking you to do the same. But where to find this money on top of your other charitable donations? Pocket change can really add up: in 2004, users of Coinstar’s coin counting machines donated $3 million in spare change for charity.

A woman’s place is in the marketplace. Donate those pennies to a microfinance program helping women start small businesses. Why specifically empower women? Studies show that overall family welfare, including children’s nutritional status, is likely to be higher when microfinance is provided to women rather than men. Try, and become a microfinancier. Browse microloan applicants from around the world and make a $25 loan directly to the small businesses of your choice, get updates on their progress, and even see the profiles of other lenders supporting that business.

Change with the seasons. Respect the natural change of the seasons when you sit down to dinner. Rather than buying products out-ofseason, shipped from far-off places, connect with a local farmer through a Community Supported Agriculture organization like Just Food . Over the course of a season, you can get 40 different types of vegetables, all locally grown. Some farmers will even take your biodegradable garbage away as compost for the crops.

Give gifts that are fairly traded. It’s more than just coffee. From soccer balls to wine to flower seeds, it’s all available online. Serve Episcopal Relief and Development’s Bishop’s Blend coffee at your next parish meeting. To see the future of fair trade, jump the pond to the British website

Write a letter. We all receive emails asking us to write letters to our congressperson regarding issues we care passionately about, but how often do we follow through? Print one such request and stick it with your bills. At the end of the month, when you sit down with your bills in hand and your envelopes out, you’re already in the groove!

Travel widely and responsibly. Seeing the world can change the way you see your role in it, and your tourism dollars can really help too. Want to do more? Balance your carbon footprint by building a TerraPass into your vacation budget. For under $40, you can sponsor a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is directly proportional to the emissions created by your plane flight.

Complete the cycle. Support recycling long before your paper hits the blue bin by purchasing products that are 100% post-consumer recycled. This means the paper is made entirely from the contents of your trusty recycling bin, and not mixed with virgin tree fiber. Most office-supply chains carry it in their stores or on the environmentally-friendly section of their websites.

Connect with others. Build your own partnerships for development by seeking out others who are interested in the MDGs. Find inspiration and recharge your batteries by getting together regularly. A support network will keep you motivated and, most importantly, keep you thinking.

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