For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer

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Inspiring Individuals: Malala Yousafzai

This month’s Inspirational Individual is Malala Yousafzia. If you haven’t heard yet, last week ten people were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the 2012 attack on Malala. And in other news, by some crazy coincidence, last week I also finished reading Malala’s book, “I Am Malala”. Honestly, it took me a while to get through this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but more because I dedicated most of my time this winter to watching Netflix instead of reading and being a real person. Over time I picked away at the book and learned something new each time I picked it up.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Malala’s story, get your head out from under that rock. No, just kidding. I’ll give you a little background. Malala is from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, which she describes as a “land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children”. But Malala’s father was different than most and raised her just like he raised his son. He strongly encouraged his daughter to go to school, study hard, and plan for the future.

As you can imagine, many girls in Swat weren’t given the same opportunities as Malala. Many dropped out of school because they couldn’t afford it, their parents’ beliefs, or they were forced to get married. Things became worse for the girls in Swat when Talibanization spread through the valley and girls were told they should be forbidden at schools. The Taliban began bombing schools, killing teachers, and threatening students.

Although many girls became afraid to go to school, Malala never let fear get in the way of her education. She continued to go to a secret school with her books hidden under her shawl. She began giving speeches, radio interviews, and writing a blog for BBC about her experiences in Pakistan and the importance of accessible education for everyone. The Taliban later targeted and shot her for speaking out against them.


Her book gives you a firsthand experience of how war and radicalized religion can sweep through and destroy a region. Malala also gives you a look at the culture of Pakistan. She has great pride in her country and openly shows you the good, bad, and everything in between. One thing that really struck me was how ‘normal’ she seemed. She reads “Twilight”, likes to sleep late, has fights with her younger brother, and gets stressed over exams. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, but besides that, fairly normal.

There are also times throughout the book when it’s hard to believe she is just a teenager. Her book is so clearly articulated and promotes profound wisdom.  It is hard to believe she is only 16 when she drops incredible knowledge such as: “I’ve always been a daydreamer, and sometimes in lessons my mind would drift and I’d imagine that on the way home a terrorist might jump out and shoot me on those steps. I wondered what I would do. Maybe I’d take off my shoes and hit him, but then I’d think if I did that there would be no difference between me and a terrorist. It would be better to plead, ‘OK, shoot me, but first listen to me. What you are doing is wrong. I’m not against you personally, I just want every girl to go to school.’“. Her book is filled with inspiring tidbits like this.

There are so many lessons embedded in this book. Malala’s exuberantly positive outlook on life and sincere mission to promote accessible education are incredibly inspiring. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this incredible young woman.

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Friday Finds

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 3.27.15

1. When you’re stuck in a day that’s gray and lonely, just stick up your chin and grin and watch this videooooo. I’m no doctor so I don’t know if there is a universal key to happiness, but this video is definitely inspiring.

2. Top 5 charities that support women according to Mrs. Gates. I was surprised to find a few I hadn’t heard of, but I’m definitely going to incorporate these into future posts.

3. Watch these Beagles react to freedom after spending their lives in laboratory cages. I didn’t even know beagles were used for lab testing and once you see their reaction to freedom, you realize they never should be. You can learn most about the Beagle Freedom Project here.

4. If you haven’t already gotten dressed today (March, 27th), make sure you put on some yellow to support this little boy who suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency. #WearYellowForSeth #Sethisadorable

5. Earlier this month Cyclone Pam wreaked havoc on the tiny island of Vanuatu. You can help aid the Red Cross and their efforts to help those suffering on the island by donating here. Help make the world a little better today.


Friday Finds

Friday Finds 2.6.15

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

1. Inspired by the Joan Didion’s Celine ad, which hit the web this January, Fusion writer Elisa Rodríguez-Vila does some of her own model casting for other high fashion lines.The results are pretty fabulous and I really hope this sparks some diversity in the fashion world.

2. If you couldn’t tell by now, I love a good animal rescue story. I’ve featured dogs, cats, koalas, manatees and now… a flying squirrel. Let the cuteness ensue!

3. The American Edit is a website that celebrates brands that manufacture in the USA. And while we know it’s good to buy “made in America” products, it’s sometimes hard to articulate exactly why. That’s exactly what this article does.

4. Check out this article about the World Bicycle Relief organization, which brings wheels to those who need them most. As the article explains, “Mobility is as literal as it is metaphorical, and providing the means to move provides a tangible hope”.

5. We all cope in different ways. Check out this girl who created a bucket list for her dying dog in order to help cope with the parting of her companion. Yes, the story is sad, but it is also very inspiring.

Now here is a funny cat picture to cheer you back up. Happy Friday!

thin mints

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7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike. Guess what day it is. EARTH DAAAAAYYY! If you didn’t already know, tomorrow (April 22nd) is Earth Day!!! And in honor of it, I have put together a list of 7 awesome things you can do to celebrate.

1. Walk/Bike/Carpool- Choose today to be conscious of your transportation. Walk to school. Or skip the gym and go for a bike ride. Or get all your work friends together and set up a carpool to work. I recommend listening to Backstreet Boys at full volume during your ride because nothing gets you pumped up for the day like belting out “I Want it That Way”.

2. Change yo light bulbs- If you don’t already use eco-friendly light bulbs, ride your bike (or drive if you must) to the nearest Home Depot and check out their light bulb selection. They have light bulbs that use up to 85% less energy than regular bulbs. That means you will be saving precious energy and $$$$$. Win win.

3. Buy a piece of the rain forest- When I was in 2nd grade we did a big unit on the rain forest. We learned about its importance and made up songs about unique rain forest species. At the end of the unit we put on a concert for our parents where we sang all the songs we wrote and at the very end we sang Amazon by The Nylons (I encourage you to take a listen HERE). Our teacher even brought in tissues because she said in the past the song had been so powerful it has made parents cry. I was oddly excited by the idea of making adults cry and belted out my part as emotionally as I could, but unfortunately no water works. Listening to the song now, I realize how powerful the words actually are. With that being said you can purchase and protect your own little piece of the rain forest HERE.

4. Go vegan for the day- Meat production generates large quantities of greenhouse gasses, which are bad for the environment. Therefore, cutting back on meat consumption is good for the environment.  I will award bonus points if you are able to make all your vegan meals without any electricity! Did you know Oreos are vegan…

5. Block your junk mail- Too many trees are being cut down and used to annoy everyone. But alas! There is a way to end the madness! TrustedID is an online service that can help you get your name omitted from mass marketing mailing lists. You can sign up and learn more HERE.

6. Plant something cool- I feel like planting a tree is the most common Earth Day activity. But this year, add a little flare and check out these crazy cool plants for some inspiration.

7. Donate to the Earth Day Network- Earth Day is more than just a day. It is also a network of over 22,000 partners around the world that organize, extend, and encourage the environmental movement. The current core programs they focus on today are: Greening Schools and Promoting Environmental Education, Accelerating the Global Green Economy, A Billion Acts of Green, The Canopy Project, Earth Day India, Campaign to protect the Asian Elephant, and The Green Cities Campaign. You can read more about these projects on their website. And if you would like to make a donation to the Earth Day Network click HERE.

So there you have it. Go out and have some fun while making the world a healthier place! And if you have some activities that were not on the list, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Earth Day

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Keepin’ Up With What’s What

Today I am going to do something a little different. Instead of informing you about another awesome socially conscious product, I am going to show you some quick, fun, and easy tools to stay up to date on the current happenings around the world. As the world seems to get smaller and smaller, being aware of current events helps you stay part of the global community. It also helps you build informed opinions and spark engaging discussions on issues that can impact your town, state, country, and world. Sometimes when we see what is happening around the world in full view, it can change our whole perspective on how we see our own life. There are many many many resources out there, but today I am just going to share with you three tools I have come across that can help you sift through large volumes of news to find what issues interests you.

ImageEvery morning while my tea is cooling off and my brain is warming up I read the Five Things to Know for Your New Day on Each morning it gives you a brief paragraph on that day’s five biggest stories. You can see today’s here. Every morning it is posted under The Latest on the CNN homepage, but you have to act quickly because it is usually gone by 10am.

For mobile information, my favorite app is Buzzfeed.  I like that it is easy to read, share, and bookmark articles. It also combines popular news with vital information, which makes it both fun and educational. I like that I can get updates about Russia and Ukraine, but find scientific articles about pizza. You can also customize a “My Feed” page on the app to show you the top articles from your favorite topics.

Last on my list is theSkimm, which is a daily email newsletter. Its motto is, “We read. You Skimm”, which is perfect for anyone crunched for time.  Along with being quick, the briefs are made enjoyable with their witty wording.  It’s great to read while you’re eating breakfast or on your morning commute (as long as you’re not driving of course). You can check out today’s Skimm right here.

Once you have found some topics that interest you, I would highly recommend looking at a news website to further your knowledge. CNN is usually my go to, but you can also use: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Yahoo, NPR, LA Times, BBC, Financial Times and the list goes on. Feel free to try one or all of the above to find out which one is best for you.

And finally, if you are looking to stay up to date on all the coolest socially conscious goods, feel free to subscribe to my blog to get emails every time I post something new. Just click the follow + button at the bottom of the screen (it pops up when you scroll down) and submit your email so you never miss a post!