Monday, April 28, 2008


Dr. Susan Linn, the co- founder and Director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has recently released The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World.

In The Case for Make Believe, Linn demonstrates that, while creative play is crucial to human development, nurturing make believe in modern day America is not only countercultural - it's a threat to corporate profits.

At the heart of the book are gripping stories of children at home, at school, and in a therapist's office using make-believe to grapple with real-life issues from entering kindergarten to the death of a sibling. In an age when toys promote TV shows, dress-up means Disney costumes, and parents believe Baby Einstein is educational, Linn lays out the inextricable links between play, creativity, and health, showing us how and why we need to protect our children from corporations that aim to limit their imaginations.

Listen to Dr. Susan Linn on the Leonard Lopate Show.

Get a signed copy with your $75 donation to the organization.
Or just buy the book.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


“Compassion arrived with the sunshine in Seattle,” said Dan Kranzler, Seeds of
Compassion co-founder.

A celebration of the many cultures that can be found in the Northwest kicked off the event, as 1000 people of all ages, representing 40 cultures, processed onto the field and joined the crowd in the stadium. The procession included groups representing Tibetan, Native American, Chinese and Latin American cultures.

As part of the procession of cultures, His Holiness the Dalai Lama entered the stadium and took center stage. Valued members of the community, including Governor Christine Gregoire, representatives from local Native American tribes, local youth and partners in the Seeds of Compassion efforts joined His Holiness to address the crowd.

“Today is not about international politics, but about coming together to plant the seeds of compassion for a more peaceful world,” said Governor Gregoire and honorary chair of Seeds of Compassion.

Seeds of Compassion is an initiative of the Kirlin Charitable Foundation. The purpose of the initiative is to nurture kindness and compassion in the world, starting with children and all those who touch their lives. Seeds of Compassion is partnering with early-childhood-development advocates and organizations, foundations, educators, scientists, business leaders and the greater community to highlight and promote the evidence-based programs, tools and strategies that greatly assist with the healthy development of children as happy, compassionate members of society.

A diverse group of youth from across the world that have come together to share their unique perspective of the Seeds of Compassion events on a blog.

Learn how to get involved in the Seeds of Compassion.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


A few years back I wrote a story about the Games for Change Conference, which is slated this year for June 2 to 4, with Sandra Day O'Connor as the closing keynote speaker.

Recently, Oxfam Australia developed a Refugee Realities game that is a free interactive experience that puts you in the position of a refugee or internally displaced person trying to find safety from war. Each year over 500,000 people are killed in war, the livelihoods of many more are destroyed, and families are torn apart. Often they are left with no choice but to live in camps, which are usually unplanned and occupied by thousands of people.

Refugee Realities is both an interactive performance event involving moving image, improvised theatre, audio-visual and photographic art forms as well as an ongoing online project to document the various realities refugees face.

Refugee Realities will navigate you through a mine field, find you on your way to a refugee camp, and have you search for basic needs like water and food and building a temporary shelter. At the end of the game experience you will have the opportunity to try to seek a permanent solution to displacement, outside the conditions of the camp.

Find out more about Games for Change

Friday, April 04, 2008


I don't know what it was this week, but I ran into worm poop several times. I was looking for websites to post intern jobs and happened upon an environmental company in Trenton that I never heard of before—Terracycle. They seem to have a pretty extensive internship program and their entire communications and PR team seems run by interns. Smart idea. They pay a stipend of 100 bucks per 40 hour work week, which likely pays for gas and lunch. They post on numerous job sites and I kept running into them on every site I posted which piqued my curiosity. When you read "changing the way the world thinks about waste" you wonder what that means.

When you get to their website you are introduced to the company which makes products that are organic and they package them in recycled soda bottles. Their plant food product is made by "feeding organic waste to millions of worms"—better known as worm poop! Interestingly the company also pays people to recycle plastic bottles, energy bar wrappers, yogurt containers and drink pouches. They've even held Annual Worm Poop Factory Graffiti Jams with graffiti artists painting to beautify the community and raise community spirit

I thought all of this was cool, but clicked out of the website without thinking much more about it. The next day I got my advance email copy of the Stanford Social Innovation Review and what was the lead story? Worm poop. And the talented social entrepreneur whose idea it was—self-described eco-capitalist and co-founder Tom Szaky. Who would ever believe you could turn millions of worms to work to generate $8.6 million in projected sales for 2008? Szaky also has a blog on Inc.'s website and he's giving out free advice. Listen up. This 27 year old Princeton University dropout gives a little insight on how to generate FREE buzz. And he's right.

Smart, resourceful guy. Interesting idea. Free labor. Social entrepreneur with waste solutions. Eco-capitalist: sounds like an oxymoron.