For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Inspiring Instagrams: Accounts That Are Making An Impact All Over The World

While there are many superficial aspects surrounding Instagram and social media, both are powerful ways to reach an enormous audience and spread awareness. I’ve gathered a cornucopia of accounts that are currently inspiring me. What I love about all of these accounts is that they don’t just present you with problems, but rather solutions and an outlet to get involved. They spread awareness in a positive and unique way. Check em’ out, stir up some awareness, donate if/when possible, and get ready to get inspired.

National Geographic (@natgeo): “Life is an adventure—enjoy the ride and the world through the eyes of the National Geographic photographers.”

I learn something new about world cultures, animals, and the environment every day from the National Geographic Instagram feed. It brings attention to environmental causes, human rights issues, and endangered species while posting breathtaking images from remote locations around the world. But this feed not only spreads awareness to global issues, but also shows you what people and charities are doing to solve these problems.

Charity Water (@charitywater): “We’re bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.”

Of all the charity Instagram’s I’ve checked out, Charity water is my favorite. Charity Water brings clean, safe drinking water to people around the world. Their Instagram does a great job of showing their incredible impact while also teaching you about the importance of clean water access. Their feed shows how your donations directly impact people’s lives.

National Wildlife Foundation (@nationalwildlife): “Home of #wildlifeselfies — a series of silly and close-up wildlife photos. Working to inspire people to protect wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.”

If you don’t think this account is adorable, then I question whether or not you have a soul.  Cute animals, funny captions, what more does an Instagram account need? The feed is also peppered with tips on how you can do your part to support their mission to protect wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.

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Before this fundraiser, Fatima had exhausted her financial resources in the struggle against bonded labor to the point where she feared that she'd be unable to pay her own medical bills. Thanks to everyone who donated over the past 72 hours, she now has nearly $2 million to continue her organization's fight against bonded labor. (To fully visualize this impact, it should be realized that the purchasing power of a dollar in Pakistan is about 5x greater than in the United States.) This is an absolutely transformational amount of money. Fatima is meeting with the board of the BLLF to plan a major expansion of their efforts, and she wanted me to pass along this statement: "From BLLF and from all of the bonded labourers, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has opened their hearts and donated to our cause. I struggle to find the words, I don't think I have the words to tell you how grateful we are. You have donated for freedom, for rehabilitation and we are indebted. Thank you so much. The prayers of every labourer are with you and they will always hold you in their hearts. Our responsibility now is to honour what you have trusted us with, and we will. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we want to build a real freedom center in Lahore, here we can work on not just releasing families but rehabilitation. We want workers to be treated with the rights they deserve as citizens. Pakistan faces a lot of challenges, and we want industry to thrive in Pakistan, but the labourers must be free. You cannot make people work by beating and chaining them. I believe that the day the owners understand me, that the day the worker is happy, the profits will be greater. Labour rights need to be regulated, owners have the right to make profit but not through abuse, and deprivation. That is not an industry, that is slavery. This is a big step for labourers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being heard. With this we hope to end bonded labour in Pakistan."

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

Humans of New York (@humansofny): “New York City, one story at a time.”

On this account, photographer Brandon Stanton captures photos of people on the streets of New York and asks them questions about themselves to generate a caption for the photo. Whether the stories are happy, sad, funny, or inspirational, it generates a sense of community and support that reminds you of the good in the world.

Although most pictures are taken in New York, Stanton’s recent trip to Pakistan has helped raised over $2 million for an activist who is trying to end slavery in the brick making industry. This is an issue prior to HONY, I knew nothing about. Check out this article to learn more about how HONY changes lives.

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Keep it positive! 💕

A post shared by KELLI ★ HAPPY INSPIRATION (@happsters) on

Happsters (@happsters): “to create, dream & spread happiness. Science of Happiness graduate.”

Need a pick me up? Check out the Happsters. This account is committed to spreading happiness, which is surely a worthwhile cause.  This account posts inspirational quotes daily. I like to screenshot my favorites and save them for a rainy day. If you like my Monday Motivation posts, then this account will be right up your alley.

What inspiring accounts do you follow on Instagram? I love hearing about what inspires others so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.


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Where to Donate: Nepal Earthquake

I wasn’t planning on writing a post this week. I felt I needed to take a week off and didn’t want to force an uninspired post. But inspiration can hit at any time. And this time it hit me hard.

Nepal Map

I’m sure by now you have heard about the earthquake in Nepal. 80 kilometers northwest of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region Saturday morning. Since then the death count has climbed over 5,000 and the number of people injured exceeds 10,000. Both numbers are expected to keep climbing. Monsoon like rains are hindering rescue effort and causing landslides. Many people in Nepal are forced to sleep outside, searching for their families, cut off from remote villages, and struggling to recover makeshift hospitals. The people in Nepal need all of the help they can get. I have put together a list of groups that are accepting donations for the Nepal relief efforts.

Project Hope

Unicef

Habitat for Humanity International

Red Cross

International Relief Teams

United Nations World Food Programme

This is just a few groups that are aiding Nepal, but there are many more. If there is a group you are passionate about and would like to share, please leave it in the comments below.


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Inspiring Individuals: Shane Burcaw

Inspiring Individuals is a new series in which I will write about… inspiring individuals. These are people who are doing awesome things to make the world a better place. My goal is to show you (my wonderful readers) the incredible impact that one person can make. If you know of any inspiring individuals that you think deserve a post, let me know if the comments below!

Today I’d like to introduce you to Shane Burcaw. He’s basically your average 22 year old. He graduated college, has a girlfriend, wrote a book, started a company… Okay, maybe he’s a little more accomplished than the average 22 year old. Shane also has muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheel chair since he was two.

Shane

Muscular dystrophy weakens the musculoskeletal system, which results in a loss of muscle mass and impairs movement. There is no known cure. Not all forms of the disease affect lifespan, but it can if there are heart and breathing complications.

Although the disease sounds far from funny, Shane created a blog called Laughing At My Nightmare where he uses his sense of humor and positivity to poke fun at his daily struggles. He quickly caught people’s eye and amassed over 500,000 followers. After that Shane realized how important humor is and he made it his mission to help people laugh.

Basic TruthsIn 2013 Shane won an Emmy in the Human Interest category for a short documentary he produced titled Happiness is Always An Option. It’s available to watch here anytime you need a pick me up. Then in 2014 Shane published a book, which I just recently added it to my reading list. Rainn Wilson even recommends the book and Rainn Wilson is hilarious.

laughing at my nightmare memoir

Currently Shane is working on a project called No More Nightmares to end the “nightmare” families’ face when they can’t financially afford basic muscular dystrophy needs. The project helps get wheelchair accessible vehicles, ramps for houses, and other adaptive technology that helps people who have been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy to live healthy, productive, and comfortable lives. Shane also started a Positive Outreach Program, which includes speaking at schools, businesses, and events to share the message of using humor to overcome adversity.

About LAMN

I encourage you to click around the Laughing At My Nightmare website to learn more about Shane’s latest initiative, watch some of Shane’s funny videos, read his blog, and donate to LAMN if you can. Shane is truly proof that humor improves lives. It is said that “a day without laughter is a day wasted” and some days it is easy to forget to laugh, but Shane is there to remind you.


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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.


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Splurge or Save: Shades

Welcome to my new installment: Splurge or Save. In these posts I will show you two conscious products in different price ranges. Sometimes it’s nice to splurge on a quality, high end product, but other times, like when you’re low on cash or trying out a new trend, it’s definitely nice to save.

So since the days are getting longer and spring is right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to write about sunglasses. I am so happy that the sun is out when I drive home from work, but it’s kind of a new hazard I have to work around. I find myself constantly reaching for my sunglasses in order to avoid being blinded. Bet hey, I’d rather that than the depressing winter darkness!

 Stella Oversized Square

Today’s splurge is sunglasses from Stella McCartney. These sunglasses come from Sella’s sustainable eyewear collection. All of the shades from this collection are made from at least 50% natural and renewable resources. The frame of these glasses is made out of bio acetate plastic, which is made from wood pulp and cotton linters and is biodegradable. They will set you back a couple hundred bucks, but if you love em’, you can get them here.

Warby Parker Piper

The next pair is from the Warby Parker. There are a few cool things about this company. The first is, for every pair of glasses you buy, they donate a pair to someone in need. So far they’ve donated over a million pairs! The other cool thing is that they will send you up to five pairs (free of charge) to try on before making your purchase. These sunglasses still aren’t extremely cheap ($95), but the quality is definitely worth it. So if you’re trying to save today, check out these shades here.


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The Coolest Cause Around

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve noticed that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the nation by storm.

But in case you’ve been MIA, I will explain. Basically, people nominate and challenge each other to pour a bucket of ice water on their heads within 24 hours of being nominated or the nominee has to donate $100 to ALS. To prove they have completed the challenge most people post a video on social media. Then they tag other people to challenge and the process repeats itself. 

These videos have been devouring my Facebook feed and at first it was fun to see all of my friends and acquaintances torture themselves. As time went on it kind of got annoying because it seemed that everyone and their mother would rather dump freezing water over their head than donate money. I didn’t get it.

So when my friend (hi Avika!) asked if she could nominate me I debated whether or not I wanted to participate in this chilly challenge or just quietly donate on my own. It wasn’t until I read this article that I realized the power of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I realized that people weren’t just pouring ice on their heads because it’s the “cool thing to do”. The ice bucket challenge was succeeding is raising awareness and donations for ALS. As of today over $4 million has been donated since the challenge started!

In the end I decided to participate in the “fun”. I dumped ice water on my head, nominated some friends, and decided to donate $1 for every “like” my video got on Facebook. I thought that was a good compromise. 

Ice Bucket Challenge

There are few things more intimidating than staring down at a pot full of water and ice and knowing that you’re going to dump it on your head in the next five seconds.

So now reader I challenge you! I won’t make you dump a bucket of ice on your head, but I do challenge you to donate to ALS. You can do that right here. I also encourage you to watch the video below to learn more about ALS and the man who sparked the viral ice storm, Pete Frates. It is truly inspiring.