Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for January, 2013

A Glass of Water

Dear Gabriel,

I’m not afraid to drink a glass of water from the faucet of my home. Fact is, most of us are confident that the water we drink, bathe, and clean with is safe.

But in places like Haiti, that’s not always the case. The need for sanitation and clean water is overwhelming. In Port-au-Prince, hundreds of thousands of people have no access to clean water. Imagine being a woman in a rural place like Grand Anse, where finding a private place to use the bathroom can be life threatening because you don’t know who or what might be watching.

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It’s with the monthly support of people like you that we can build wells, sanitary latrines, and safe spaces for women – helping provide some of the basic, essential tools a woman needs to pull herself out of poverty. You can change a life right now just by making your monthly gift today.

Help us bring clean water, safety, and support to women all over the world. Make a monthly gift to CARE by January 31. You can enter to win a trip to see our work in action!

The support of donors changes lives. We’ve seen it again and again, but it never feels less miraculous.

This is why we’re giving you a chance to visit a CARE project and meet the men, women, and children whose lives you’ve touched.

See the official rules for details, but I can tell you it’s a truly inspiring experience. I’ve never once returned home without feeling inspired by the strength of the people I’ve met.

As a CARE supporter, I know that you’re committed to building a better world, where girls can go to school, women can start a small business, and families have enough food. In Haiti alone, the generosity of CARE’s donors has done incredible work. With a Food Voucher program, vulnerable families get nutritionally balanced food that helps support the local economy by relying on food produced in the area. Last June, we launched a 5-year program to protect vulnerable girls and women, prevent abuse, and help survivors of violence. We work in communities to help identify infrastructure needs, move public works projects forward, build family latrines and showers, and prevent cholera.

Our work in Haiti isn’t finished – our work all over the world isn’t complete – but we rely on your support to keep moving forward.

I can think of no more meaningful way to help build a better world than becoming a Partner for Change. Our monthly donors are truly at the forefront of our work in over 70 countries around the world, fighting poverty and empowering people to change their own lives.

If you want to see the world change, let’s start now: together. Become a Partner for Change by Thursday and you can enter to win a trip to a CARE project!

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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Avo Maria

Luscious-Choc-SmoothiesFrom Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An Irresisitible Collection of Healthy Cocoa Delights.
By Gabriel Constans

Hope you enjoy this recipe from my book of chocolate smoothies.

AVO MARIA

Yields 4 Cups

  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate low-fat soy or dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger, drained
  • 1/2 banana, in chunks

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on medium for 1 minute.

2. Pour into goblet or chalice, get on your knees, and pray for more..

per cup: Calories 152; Protein 4 g; Total Fat 5 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Carbohydrate 24 g; Cholesterol 0 mg

Find more recipes, humor, chocolate facts and stories at Luscious Chocolate Smoothies.
Read one of the many reviews at Five Healthy Recipes.
Watch a video of the author preparing one of his favorite recipes from the book at YouTube.

The Lion Lady

Gabriel –

I think I’m starting to be known as “that Lion Lady”. First, I started a petition to get a restaurant in Kansas to stop serving lion meat (we won!), and then I started another to get the FDA to ban lion meat throughout the country. But I can’t help it — I do this all because lions’ very existence is at risk.

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Now, I’m ecstatic: we have an unprecedented chance to save African lions by getting them on the Endangered Species List. Listing them would not only keep lion meat off American plates but would save thousands of lions by addressing one of the biggest threats to the African lion population — trophy hunting.

But just like restaurateurs opposed my petition to get lion meat out of a Kansas restaurant, wealthy American hunters are fighting to keep African lions off the Endangered Species List so they can continue to bring their bodies home as trophies. Our time is short — the government body in charge of the list is factoring public opinion into its decision and the public comment period ends on Monday.

That’s why I started a new petition on Change.org calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to bow to pressure from hunters and to place the African lion on the Endangered Species List. Click here to sign my petition now.

In the past fifty years, the African lion population declined by as much as 90%. Many of the lion prides that do exist today are so genetically weak from being small and isolated by international borders that they can’t promise a future for African lions.

Legal trophy hunting is a major cause of African lions’ decline — and two thirds of the African lions killed by trophy hunters end up in the U.S. That’s thousands of lions!

Americans hold the key to saving the African lion. An Endangered Species listing would ban any lion parts or bodies from being imported into the U.S. — a huge deterrent to hunters who want to go on safari and bring back a trophy — as well as stop the sale of lion meat nationwide.

Click here to sign my petition, calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the African lion as an endangered species now before its public comment period ends on Monday.

Thank you.

Cheryl Semcer (aka “The Lion Lady”!)
Hoboken, New Jersey
Change.org

The Gingerbread (Wo)Man

Luscious-Choc-SmoothiesFrom Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An Irresisitible Collection of Healthy Cocoa Delights.
By Gabriel Constans

Hope you enjoy this recipe from my book of chocolate smoothies.

The Gingerbread (Wo)Man

Yields 3 Cups

  • 2 cups plain low-fat soy milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate spirulina (or protein) powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup crushed graham crackers

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on high speed for 30 seconds.

2. Pour into tall glasses and serve with cookies or cake.

per cup: Calories 140; Protein 6 g; Total Fat 3 g; Saturated Fat 0 g; Carbohydrate 25 g; Cholesterol 0 mg

Find more recipes, chocolate facts and stories at Luscious Chocolate Smoothies.
Read one of the many reviews at Five Healthy Recipes.
Watch a video of the author preparing one of his favorite recipes from the book at YouTube.

Pristine Amazon Threatened

Dear Friends,

There is one area of the Ecuadorian Amazon that is so pristine that the whole ecosystem has been preserved and even jaguars roam free! But the government is now threatening to go in and drill for oil.

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The local indigenous people have been resisting, but they are afraid that oil companies will break up the community with bribes. When they heard that people across the world might stand with them and make a stink to save their land, they were thrilled. The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle. If we can say ‘wait a minute, you’re supposed to be the green president who says no one can buy Ecuador’, we could expose him for turning his back on his commitments just as he is fighting for re-election.

He doesn’t want a PR nightmare right now. If we get a million of us to help this one community defend their ancestral land and challenge the president openly to keep to his word, we could start a media storm that would make him reconsider the whole plan. Sign the petition now and tell everyone — let’s help save this beautiful forest:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/oil_in_the_amazon_8/?bMPbqab&v=21318

After Texaco and other oil companies polluted Ecuadorian waters and irreversibly devastated precious ecosystems, Correa led his country to be the world’s first nation to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth” in its constitution. He announced Ecuador was not for sale, and in Yasuni National Park promoted an innovative initiative where other governments pay Ecuador to keep oil in the ground to protect the rainforest rather than destroy it. But now he’s on the verge of selling out.

Shockingly, the Sani Isla Kichwa land is partly in Yasuni National Park. But even more shocking is Correa’s bigger plan — in days government officials begin a world tour to offer foreign investors the right to drill across 4 million hectares of forest (an area larger than the Netherlands!) Ecuador, as any country, may argue it has the right to profit from its natural resources, but the constitution itself says it must respect indigenous rights and its amazing forests, which bring millions in tourist dollars every year.

Right now, Correa is in a tough fight to win a second term as president. It’s the perfect time to make him honour his environmental promises and make this green constitution come to life. Sign now to stand with the Kichwa people and save their forest:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/oil_in_the_amazon_8/?bMPbqab&v=21318

Our community has fought year after year to protect the Amazon in Brazil and Bolivia, and won many victories standing in solidarity with indigenous communities. Now it’s Ecuador’s turn — let’s respond to this urgent call for action and save their forest.

With hope and determination,

Alex, Pedro, Alice, Laura, Marie, Ricken, Taylor, Morgan and all the Avaaz team

Yellow Silk

Luscious-Choc-SmoothiesFrom Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An Irresisitible Collection of Healthy Cocoa Delights.
By Gabriel Constans

Hope you enjoy this recipe from my book of chocolate smoothies.

YELLOW SILK

Yields 4 Cups

  • 1 lemon, peeled, chopped, and seeded
  • 2 cups plain low-fat soy, rice, almond or dairy milk
  • 1 banana, in chunks
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) soft silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • Orange slices, cut in half

1. Place all ingredients, except orange slices,  in a blender and mix on medium for 1 minute.

2. Pour into glasses, put half an orange slice on each glass rim, and serve.

per cup: Calories 247; Protein 5 g; Total Fat 11 g; Saturated Fat 5 g; Carbohydrate 38 g; Cholesterol 0 mg

Find more recipes, chocolate facts and stories at Luscious Chocolate Smoothies.
Read one of the many reviews at Five Healthy Recipes.
Watch a video of the author preparing one of his favorite recipes from the book at YouTube.

Gun Violence & Child Soldiers

Dear Gabriel,

The United States is not the only country where children are facing an epidemic of gun violence. While in the U.S., we continue to grapple with the tragic reality of children who routinely face gun violence in their communities and children who increasingly are the targets of mass shootings, in other places around the world, we see the heartbreaking consequences of children who also face the daily horrors of armed conflict, many forced to become soldiers.

During Monday’s inaugural address, President Obama said:

“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”

However, the President could have — and should have — broadened his statement to include children from the war-torn neighborhoods of Aleppo, Syria to valleys of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because if protecting all children is our shared destination, then we can’t afford to let our concern be confined by U.S. borders.

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We must call on the President to lead efforts to establish a strong Arms Trade Treaty, one that will help stop irresponsible and illegal arms transfers around the world that directly contribute to the recruitment of child soldiers.

You have probably heard about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda — the group responsible for widespread murder, rape, maiming and amassing throngs of child soldiers. Fewer people know about the recruitment of child soldiers by Bosco Ntaganda, a commander of the FPLC armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fewer still realize that the armed groups who have taken control of the northern part of Mali, as well as the Malian army, are also using child soldiers.

Why do children in Uganda, the DRC and Mali continue to have a target on their back?

Because a global free-for-all lets weapons flow into the hands of armed groups and governments who, in turn, recruit children and commit other grave abuses. By failing to make the establishment of a global Arms Trade Treaty a priority, President Obama is letting them get away with it.

Protect all children from violence — please call for a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

It’s simple; no child should be forced to stand on either side of a weapon.

But the gun lobby in the U.S. is still trying to make you believe that this is about taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. It’s not.

The Arms Trade Treaty would put in place common-sense measures, like background checks on international arms sales, to stop or at least slow the sale of weapons between countries that fuel conflict, atrocities and instability as well as lead to the displacement and deaths of millions of civilians and the continued use of child soldiers.

More than 43,000 of you have helped set the record straight for the NRA’s leadership. Thanks for supporting children everywhere who are trapped by armed conflict. Your voice is so important as we prepare for the UN to hold its conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in March.

Every child deserves that same right no matter where they live. With your help, we can make this Arms Trade Treaty “bullet-proof”.

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

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