Ecorazzi Presents Microist: Fast-Paced Philanthropy

Leave it to the do-gooders at Ecorazzi to take our crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants world and turn our five second attention span into something useful! Starting on October 3, 2011, their new website Microist will fund a different non-profit every day, for 30 days (Morgan Spurlock might sue, watch out!). The website describes the impetus to do so:

When we started Ecorazzi back in 2006, we wanted to spread the word about the environment in a new way by telling it through celebrity gossip. Five years later, we are the leading source in Good Gossip. You’ll find everything from the latest on eco-friendly celebrities to the most random pop-culture stories.

Now in 2011, we’ve got what we hope is another great idea. Microist is a fresh take on charitable fundraising, utilizing so much of what is hot today: social media, community driven decisions, crowdsourcing, micro-donations, instant gratification and speed.

We’re passionate about doing good things, learning about inspirational people and organizations that are changing the world, and making an impact in whatever way we can.

Non-profits are nominated on Facebook or Twitter, and then voted on by the Microist community on their website. When you donate money to Microist, the pledge gets split 30 ways, with a little going to each of the 30 days they’ll be running this. Right now the daily amounts look a bit low, so “skip a latte” as the site says and help out these worthy causes!

There are a lot of eco and animal rights causes on there, so the money looks to be heading to some great organizations. I was happy to see not only Compassion Over Killing, but also Mercy For Animals in the running for which non-profits will be getting funded when the excitement starts. The site looks to be in beta, but here’s hoping after the 30-day trial run it will continue to get funded enough to keep on going! For more detailed information, check out their FAQ.

 

Really Really Free Market No. 4: September 25 in Louisville

Woohoo, it’s back! Somehow I missed the boat on August 28 (though I was out of town in vegan-paradise, aka Portland), but The Really Really Free Market is back for its fourth installment on September 25 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm in Central Park on 4th and Magnolia in Louisville, KY. Like last time,

We’ve always been told, “Nothing in life is free.” In our vision of society, EVERYTHING IS FREE!

The Really Really Free Market is a place where people come together to take what they want and give what they can. There is no money, trade, barter, advertising, or remuneration of any kind.

The RRFM is an alternative to the capitalist free market, which isn’t free at all. The RRFM is based on the gift economy—where goods, services, food, skills, talents, discussions, workshops, and many other things that would benefit the community are free to take and give away.

Back in July, at the 2nd RRFM, we got some great stuff, and gave away a lot too. It was a ton of fun! See this video I took while there, or look at some pictures.

Hope to see you there! RSVP on Facebook (of course), here and check out No Borders, Louisville’s Radical Lending Library.

Photo credit: RRFM Facebook Page

The Really Really Free Market Coming To Louisville

It's really, really free. Really.

We’ve always been told, “Nothing in life is free.” In our vision of society, EVERYTHING IS FREE!

The Really Really Free Market is a place where people come together to take what they want and give what they can. There is no money, trade, barter, advertising, or remuneration of any kind.

The RRFM is an alternative to the capitalist free market, which isn’t free at all. The RRFM is based on the gift economy—where goods, services, food, skills, talents, discussions, workshops, and many other things that would benefit the community are free to take and give away.

As I saw this flyer the other day, I got quite excited. CrimethInc has me all fired up, and to find out that this Really Really Free Market is being put on by a group called the Louisville Anarchist Federation Federation (yes, really) is pretty awesome.

Louisville’s edition of the RRFM (they exist all over the country, in fact it’s weekly in San Francisco) happens this Sunday, July 31 at Shelby Park. The idea is simple: bring what you like, take what you need. Everything is free. They do caution that the event is not for business promotion (to which I would say, well, “duh”):

The RRFM is a strictly anti-capitalist event, so please leave your business cards at home. This event is not the proper place for advertising or promoting a business.

The RRFM is organized on anarchist principles of mutual-aid, cooperation, and voluntary association. It is a decentralized, non-hierarchical, alternative to the market economy, with one rule…share and share alike. Another world is possible, but only if you want it!

Kind of reminds me of the creative commons license. Free to use, but not for profit. I plan on being there, how about you?

Kickstart Their Hearts: Some Cool Kickstarter Projects

In this Web 2.0 age of “new commerce,” I like to think that websites like Kickstarter prove that their is still goodness in people, even if they are pissed that gas is $4/gallon and would rather eat fast food than buy produce. Saving money is crucial, but so is helping out a worthy cause. I love sites like Kiva, who let us make micro-loans to those in need, often in third-world countries (not to mention the top group is the atheist/freethought one!). Kickstarter, on the other hand, seems a bit more upscale and trendy, but not without its meritus projects. I’d like to highlight a few I found particularly interesting:

Coffee Joulies! Man, these look awesome (the pic is directly from their Kickstarter page). You know how your coffee starts out too hot, and then gets too cold? These apparently solve that problem, once and for all.

Coffee Joulies work with your coffee to achieve two goals. First, they absorb extra thermal energy in your coffee when it’s served too hot, cooling it down to a drinkable temperature three times faster than normal. Next, they release that stored energy back into your coffee keeping it in the right temperature range twice as long.

The minimum backing level is a little steep ($30), but you get your own Joulie set with it, so I guess that makes sense. They are already well beyond the required amount, so I’m guessing this is gonna go big and possibly get marketed in coffee shops around the country. Some of the update videos talk about the manufacturing process and how, since they have so much money backing them, they’re going to start up this factory in New York to produce all the Joulies (instead of outsourcing it to Mexico). Neat!

Delicious vegan 'cheeses!' (src)

Heidi Ho Organics wants to make hazelnut cheeses! The idea to keep things local, as “[t]he macadamia nut is to Hawaii what the hazelnut is to us here in Oregon.” Cool! Here’s what they plan to offer:

…a range of plant-based vegan cheeze products that are made from all natural, organic ingredients without any additives, fillers or preservatives. Our initial line of cheeze includes four varieties, including a soy-based Feta and hazelnut-based Chipotle Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Monterey Jack. […] [O]ur goal is to stimulate local economies around the globe by building small sub-production facilities that source their ingredients locally and only distribute within a local radius.

Too bad for those with soy allergies, but I’m still excited to try this one day (provided their funding succeeds). I do plan to be in Portland for the Vida Vegan Con (stoked!) so hopefully I can get hazelnut-crazy then!

 

Lastly is Peter Bauer’s (aka Urban Scout) “rewilding” campaign, wherein he is attempting to take the book he wrote by the same name on the road. Book tour or not, this is worth checking out for what the idea is. A review states it as thus:

…the philosophy of the emerging rewilding renaissance, in which civilized humans are thought to be “domesticated” through thousands of years of sedentary, agrarian life. This way of life is believed to be the root of all environmental destruction and social injustice. Rewilding is the process of undoing this domestication, and restoring healthy, biologically diverse communities. Using thoughtful, humorously cynical and at times angry prose, Urban Scout explores how the ideology of civilization clashes with the wild and wild peoples, and how thinking, feeling and most importantly living wild is the only way to reach true sustainability.

Okay, so, I screwed up, and this project is already over. So are most of the totally awesome ones I found (like this one, or this one). Whatever. Go back the first two! And check out Kickstarter, because it’s rad. There may be more with Kickstarter and TNTSU in the future…stay tuned, and get excited!

Two shout-outs to two more special Kickstarter projects: Morels Vegan Food Truck, which I’m very proud to say Louisville funded, and the Music Coming Back Tour, which I helped produce and set up. If you like rock ‘n roll, check it out!

 

Valentine’s Day No More: Generosity Day is Born!

Helping others never felt so good! (src)

This is a pretty rad idea by blogger and Acumen Fund director Sasha Dichter: re-define (or “re-boot” as he says) Valetine’s Day (which I am pretty skeptical of anyway) as Generosity Day by spreading “love, action, and human connection” instead of the typical, bullshit purchases of flowers, candy, and “expected affection” (my term). Whether you think re-purposing a holiday is just as silly as the holiday itself or not, it would be hard to argue against more love and human connection in our society.

Dichter asks that we say “YES!” to everything all day long, “creating more generosity in the world, and becoming a more open person along the way.” Of course this reminds me of the movie Yes Man (hilarious!), but I see Dichter’s more practical, real-life point: stop making excuses, help a damn person out, and be more positive! Need some suggestions? His post today has a few:

Give to people on the street.  Tip outrageously.  Help a stranger.  Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them.  Smile.  Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you.  Take clothes to GoodWill.  Share your toys (grownups and kids).  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom.  All generous acts count!

I was debating on whether or not to use a Groupon to go out to eat, and now I’ve decided to use it and take a friend out to lunch. As luck would have it, a co-worker asked me about recycling some old electronics, so I volunteered to take them for him. And I should be able to convince my girlfriend to let me cook dinner for her (not too difficult). But, what else can I do? The day is young, and in Louisville there are plenty of opportunities to help people!

I was leaving the grocery last night, watching a guy my age buy beer and a giant stuffed V-day teddy bear for his partner, and thought, “really? that equates to love?” – but those judgments get you nowhere. I don’t know their relationship. I can, however, control what I do, whom I share love with, and how I treat other people (and animals). That’s something to strive for excellence in every day, but I’m okay with drawing attention to it on this #generosityday too!