You Shouldn’t Give Dogs Chocolate…

rescue chocolate

"The sweetest way to save a life." (src)

…but you should buy this chocolate to save dogs! Enter Rescue Chocolate, a company dedicated to helping animal rescue organizations around the country by producing tasty, 100% vegan chocolate.

From each chocolate purchased, 100% of the net profits are donated to animal rescue organizations around the country. […] We were founded in January 2010 and we are headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. The packaging of each vegan flavor of Rescue Chocolate sheds light on a different aspect of the current pet “overpopulation” epidemic. Not only are we interested in raising funds for rescues, but we want to get the word out about these oh-so-fixable issues!

What an awesome way to raise awareness, no? And the flavors sound awesome and do the issues justice:

  • Peanut Butter Pit Bull (crispy peanut butter and chocolate, countering the negative public image of the pit bull-type dogs)
  • Pick Me! Pepper (sweet ’n spicy dark chocolate with peppers, highlighting the advantages of choosing pets from animal shelters instead of breeders or pet stores)
  • Foster-iffic Peppermint (dark chocolate with peppermint, highlighting the need for people to provide foster care for shelter animals as they await their forever homes)

I would love to get Rescue Chocolate hooked up with No Kill Louisville. Rescue Chocolate has already donated to several No Kill organizations as well as other rescues around the country (see their “who we help” page). Unfortunately I haven’t seen the product available around here, but you can order online or see if it’s available in your state.

Open Happiness, and Profits, Worldwide

open happiness

Coke's Slogan at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (src)

Ah, Coke. Who doesn’t love a cold, sweet Cherry Coke along with lunch, or while cheering on your favorite sports team? Nevermind the health issues, Coca Cola’s real gem is in their marketing and distribution. Change.org’s Sustainable Food blog reports that the soda pop giant is going after all of Africa on their mission to conquer the globe and attempt to “open happiness” for everyone. In “Coca-Cola’s Dirty Secrets Revealed,” Tara Lohan writes:

The company has been in Africa since 1929, but I guess has not reached total domination yet. The reason for this is that while there are many countries in Africa with growing middle classes, it’s also a continent with extreme poverty, scarce or unclean water sources, hunger, political instability, and war. Coke intends to spend $12 billion in the next ten years there and what do Africans get in return? A product that will use vast amounts of water, create more waste, and offer people no nutritional value.

Clearly, Lohan is not a fan. She cites the book The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink as evidence of the company’s

…anti-union activity in Central and South America, allegations of its fraternization with paramilitaries who murdered bottling plant workers, [as well as] the effects of marketing to kids in schools, and the wake of environmental catastrophes the company left behind in places like India where Coke has drained and polluted drinking water.

coke madagascar

Coke Marketing in Antsirabe, Madagascar (src)

But here’s the thing: Coca Cola’s progress may have some nasty results, but they get the job done. They get Coke to almost every place on earth, bar none. Melinda French Gates, Bill Gates’ wife and co-founder/chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says “let’s use that” – let’s figure out what Coke is doing that’s so successful and use it to distribute things of value like condoms, sanitation, and vaccinations. At TEDxChange, she gave a provocative talk entitled “What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola” wherein she details

what nonprofits can learn about the way Coca-Cola operates around the world, and in particular, how it has become successful in developing markets.  In the 16 minutes talk (well worth the time), Mrs. Gates also provides examples of how the successful Coca-Cola tactics are already being used by governments and nonprofits around the world to improve reach, efficiency, and success of their own efforts aimed at improving lives. [src]

So, I pose the question to you, the reader. Should the ideas of Coke be utilized without scrutiny to help promote things like sanitation and clean water, or should Coke itself be scrutinized for what they might be negatively doing in these countries? I think Coke needs to look at the health issues in these countries that already exist and attempt to do better, rather than giving them cheap sugar-laden beverages. For a more in-depth look at the move into Africa, see BusinessWeek’s “Africa: Coke’s Last Frontier.”

The Boorito (and Jamie Oliver!)

boorito

I can think of quite a few "horrifying processed food products" (src)

Man, I love Jamie Oliver. Dude is funny, smart, and always makes some good waves when it comes to his Food Revolution. I wish he pushed more veggie/vegan stuff, but whatever.

He’s partnering with Chipotle this Halloween as part of their “Boorito 2010” campaign, which is getting people to dress up as highly processed food and go into Chipotle. Your reward? A $2 burrito, with all the proceeds going to Jamie’s Food Revolution (up to $1,000,000, at least). With the tag line “Dress to kill this Halloween,” they make a strong case:

When foods are heavily processed, many of the vital nutrients are removed or destroyed, leaving little left to nourish the body. In their place, a selection of more than 5,000 additives—like artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners—are used to make food cheaper and longer lasting and to ensure consistency. But even though these foods sometimes look and taste good, eating them can take a toll on your body. Many heavily processed foods fail to provide key nutrients that are important to overall nutrition and, along with excessive portion sizes, are often related to the increased incidence of obesity and diabetes in America.

Spooky stuff. Chipotle has been on board for awhile with healthy foods as well as sustainability, eschewing factory farms, conventional produce (i.e. using organic when possible), and working toward sourcing more and more local items. Their “Food with Integrity” page highlights the efforts.

You can watch a video featuring Jamie and the founder of Chipotle Steve Ellis here or see the details of costume contest here.

Help Alison Delgado

A friend of mine has put together and online donation page for Alison Delgado, a cyclist and physician from Cincinnati who was tragically struck by a car a couple weeks ago and barely made it out alive. As she recovers, he hopes that fellow cyclists, or just those with a big heart, will help offset her and her family’s medical expenses. Through Ride For World Health, and organization I participated in earlier this year, the donations are tax-deductible.

On October 16th, Alison was riding on Cincinnati’s East Side when she was struck by a car. She’s still being treated at Cincinnati’s University Hospital for the multiple, critical injuries that she sustained. Along with her husband, Resident Physician Tim Delgado, she is an avid cyclist, racing in both road and cyclocross events. She also loves hiking and backpacking. The outdoors aren’t her only passion- she is a Resident Pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Alison is a very bright and outgoing person, so please help wipe away one more needless worry from Tim and Alison’s plate as they focus on Alison’s recovery.

As a fellow cyclist I can only imagine something like this happening. We take our safety on the road for granted sometimes, not remembering that many automobile drivers just don’t understand how to “share the road.” It’s very sad. If you can help Alison and her family in any way, please donate.

BP’s Spilled Oil Into Activist Art

oil art

Genius (src)

Thanks to my favorite pizza place‘s co-founder, @robbievitrano, for cluing me into this! PSFK’s “Oil & Water Don’t Mix: Posters Printed With Oil From The Gulf Spill” tells the story of how if life gives you oil, you make…art? Sure! Check it:

Belgian creative agency Happiness Brussels commissioned British graphic artist, Anthony Burrill to create a series of 200 limited edition posters, printed using the crude oil that had washed up on the beaches of Louisiana during BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The agency sent two creatives to collect crude oil on the beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana to produce the 76.2cm x 50.8cm posters, each screen-printed by hand.

Best of all, the purchase price of these pieces (about $200) are going directly to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, which PSFK incorrectly reports was set up to combat the oil spill damage in the coastal region. Actually, it turns out the CRCL has been around since 1988 and works to “reverse the pattern of net land loss in coastal Louisiana and to reestablish a sustainable balance to its geologic processes and communities.” Man, I bet that was a lot easier before several million gallons of oil started washing up on their shores.

For more information, or to purchase one of the 200 pieces, visit www.gulfofmexico2010.com. To see a video of the process, check out Happiness Brussels’ clip on Vimeo.

I would certainly love to have one, but they are expensive. What do you think?