Plastics Are Everywhere

A girl’s story about surfing in a Balinese paradise with 8,818,490 tons of plastic.

Plastics are everywhere

Surfing in a Balinese paradise with 8,818,490 tons of plastic.


It was New Year’s Eve and I was leaving to surf on the secluded tropical beaches in Bali. This is exactly what I imagined when we left California. After living in Bali for 2 months a local Balinese friend told us about a surfing beach that few foreigners, “bules” as they called us, knew about. We strapped our surfboards on the scooters, threw on a backpack, and headed to the West side of the island. I imagined a secluded tropical beach with endless coconuts, turquoise water, and the best waves of our lives! We immediately ran down to the beach.

My first thought: What is all the colorful fish in the water? Colorful fish! None of it was fish. It was all plastic. Flip flops, straws, bottles, bags, toys, you name it. The image is forever burned in my mind. It was like looking at a rainbow covering every inch of the beach, as far as I could see in each direction. We decided to go surfing anyways. What else were we going to do in the middle of nowhere for 3 days? We got in the ocean and were paddling among everything you can imagine. I can best describe it as swimming in a hot, salty, soup of floating trash.

  • @justinhofman
  • @jota_han
  • @rogermillancasas
  • @haram_khor_
  • @_nic.mac_
  • @jilson.tiu
  • @jilson.tiu
  • @randyolson

We need to admit our oceans are in serious trouble. There are 5 million+ tourists that travel to Bali each year, yet you never hear of what the other side of the island really looks like. If we keep going at this rate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. I wish that this was an isolated incident.


Plastic pollution is a problem in many places in the world, but most countries won’t take responsibility and talk about the issues. All you see on the internet are pictures conveniently framed to crop out any pollution. Ask the local Balinese where the trash is coming from and they say it’s all from the surrounding islands in Indonesia. No one can admit that it is coming from the local people. I was there for half a year and saw with my own eyes locals throwing truckloads of plastic bags into the river, to be washed down to the ocean.

I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful coastal town, where we’ve been at the forefront of the environmental movement. Even so, I pick up pollution left on the beaches on a daily basis– often finding cans, plastic bottles, and toys left behind after a day of enjoying the beach. All I can think about is how we need to protect our local communities. Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global problem, but we can work together to solve this issue locally by taking personal responsibility for our waste.

We all simply throw out whatever we don’t want into a bin, never thinking of where that waste ends up. Best scenario the trash goes to a landfill, which is essentially trash graveyards where no one comes to pay their respects. Unfortunately, every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic escape the peaceful landfill and end up in our oceans. That’s 8 trillion kilograms of plastic waste every year. I invite everyone to pay attention to your local policies waterways, and your own plastic use. Together we can rethink the future of our waste and keep our coastlines beautiful and plastic free.

| Written by Fari Hadian @safarifariii
| Visuals by Roger Millan Casas @rogermillancasas, Jota Han @jota_han, Justin Hofman @justinhofman, Ganesh Vanare @haram_khor_, Randy Olson @randyolson, Jilson Tiu @jilson.tiu, Nic Mac @_nic.mac_, Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier, Rich Horner, Plastic Change, National Geographic


The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

George Lucas shows his commitment to philanthropy by dedicating a majority of his wealth to face challenges in education and the arts.

George Lucas Family Foundation

$1,128,455,107 to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools

Back in 2010, Bill Gates and Warran Buffet challenged their fellow wealthy Americans to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. One of the many individuals to accept the challenge was George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars. To help facilitate his philanthropy, Lucas combined several of his pre-existing charity groups into George Lucas Family Foundation.

While the Lucas family started giving to charity long before the Giving Pledge was a thing, they have since made it a part of their mission to promote it.

The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals to offer up most of their wealth through philanthropy efforts and causes. It does not dictate how the money should be spent, nor does it make it an obligation. Still, 184 people from 22 different countries have already signed on to it, either as individuals or as couples, with most of the signatories pledging over $365 billion.

In 2012, Lucas sold Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Company
for a reported $4billion.
And so began George Lucas’ true life’s work.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum displays his collection of illustrations and pop art, with an estimated value of more than $1 billion.

In 2005, Lucas gave US $1 million of $120 to help build the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

$180million to USC alma mata

The largest single donation to USC and the largest gift to a film school anywhere in the world.

In 2013, Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson donated $25 million to the Chicago-based not-for-profit After School Matters

Lucas began his philanthropy in 1991 when he founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools.

The Educational Foundation set out the improve how K-12 students learn and develop their knowledge, attitudes, and the skills they need to thrive in their studies, careers, and their adult lives. This included the Edutopia web portal which offered the transformational integration resources, comprehensive student assessment, integrated study, project-based learning tools, and social and emotional learning solutions required to successfully reach those goals.

Most of this aid comes in the form of multi-year grants that range from a few thousand dollars to a half-million or more. Some of the schools and instructions they helped over the years include Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of Colorado, University of Washington, and the University of Southern California (USC) Film School.

In 2005, Lucas rebranded the charity as the George Lucas Family Foundation to expand his philanthropic endeavors.

Film, Arts, and Culture

While Lucas and his wife Mellody made it clear that the focus of their philanthropy is education, they have since expanded to promote development in other related fields. Most of their arts and culture work has been preserving Lucas’s own collection of illustrations, pop art, props and movie memorabilia, which has an estimated worth of $1 billion. To achieve both, the foundation runs the Lucas Musem of Narrative Art near the USC campus. Beyond their own artifacts, the charity supports cultural institutions such as the new Smithsonian African American Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Canyon Cinema Foundation, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

Basic Human Services

The George Lucas Family Foundation supports several human service efforts as well, but they almost always have an education theme. The foundation has pledged over $64 million to more than 200 organizations around the country, with a general focus on the Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

Many of these organizations help or support:
• Childhood development and mentorship
• Medical research and outreach
• Gun control
• Cultural diversity
• Faith-based resources
• Refugee Aid
• Inner-city youth
• Environmental and wildlife initiatives

| Visuals by George Lucas Family Foundation, Peekasson,

peekasso.tumblr (dot) com | Sad Hip Hop

Good Corporations

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management. They still have a long way to go, and we should encourage their greener future developments.

Good Corporations with Active and Appropriate Environmental Policies

Good Corporations

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management.

Corporations once considered only their profits. Politicians and business leaders talked about environmental sustainability, but most companies did not care. At least, they did until recently. While the old corporate business stereotypes still exist, many companies now use their business intelligence for more than just their bottom line.

This does not mean that all corporations are now completely eco-friendly. There is still more work to do. Many companies continue to deplete natural resources at an alarming rate. We need to give them a clear and viable roadmap while encouraging their green sustainability efforts.

However, to do this we must know who to support. To get us started here are a few of the “good” corporations out there.

  • George Lucas Family Foundation

    or 4% total assets
  • Publix Super Markets

    or 3% total assets
  • Goldman Sachs

    or 2% total assets
  • Alcoa Foundation

    or 2% total assets
  • The Grainger Foundation Inc.

    or 2% total assets
  • Wellsfargo



  • Walmart



  • JPMorgan Chase



  • Bank of America



  • GE



  • Coca-Cola



  • Citi



  • ExxonMobil



  • Johnson & Johnson



  • Caterpillar



  • UPS



  • MetLife



  • Medtronic



  • Nationwide Insurance



  • Prudential Foundation



  • Ford



  • Intel



  • Bayer



  • PepsiCo



  • Blue Shield of California



  • Verizon



  • Emerson



  • Duke Energy



  • General Motors



  • General Mills



  • Pfizer



  • Monsanto



  • Google



  • DOW Chemical



  • American Express



Ford Motor Company

The automobile industry is among the heaviest polluters, but at least we can trust the environment with Ford. Ford had a ten-part environmental policy in place for years. They even recycle their paint fumes as fuel for their fuel-efficient, six-speed transmission systems.

Walt Disney

Disney is currently trying to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions down to zero. They even have a zero-waste policy at all of their facilities. Nothing they produce will ever end up in landfills, making them a leader in environmental responsibility.

Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments’ Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative works to preserve California’s native Redwood forests. It does this by reducing emissions and gasses that threaten them. They have an unvarying commitment to reducing their environmental footprint.


One of the first companies with a public environmental sustainability policy, Hewlett Packard aims to reduce their overall greenhouse emissions and toxic manufacturing waste with an aggressive recycling program. HP is also a leader in environmental advocacy and spreading the word about the benefits of green initiatives throughout the world.

Johnson and Johnson

The Johnson and Johnson Company has spent the past 20 years making environmentally responsible personal care products. They already own a fleet of hybrid vehicles and are looking to reduce their overall waste.


Nike’s green initiatives maybe one of the more noticeable ones. They highlight them directly through their advertising. They made it their mission to produce sustainable products with only environment-friendly materials and processes. Nike even takes part in the global advocacy for environmental policies for both industry and governments.


EBay Eco-Initiatives is eBay’s subsidiary devoted to developing environmental sustainability. The site lets users sell and buy reused goods instead of throwing them away.


Embracing environmental sustainability across the board, Starbucks only sells Fair Trade Certified and Certified organic coffee. Every new outlet must also have LED certification and be “green” before corporate will let them open their doors.


Google is always on the forefront of new technologies, and their eco-business innovator is no different. They are the leader in embracing “green” business through green supply chain management and sustainability.

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management. They still have a long way to go, and we should encourage their future greener developments so that we can all become more efficient and greener over time.

| Written by Robert Stukowski

Cold Weather

Cold Weather

Clean warm socks can mean live or death in the winter and humanitarian companies offer 1 for 1 purchase donating to those who are struggling.

By Bruce Gilden

Temperatures are dropping this time of year in many parts of the world. As it gets colder and colder outside, one group in particular faces new and dangerous challenges: those who are homeless.

Homelessness is a serious issue throughout the year, but it becomes even more pressing in the winter months. For people living on the street, colder temperatures and wet weather can pose serious risks—even when the weather doesn’t seem extreme to the general public.

This graph from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA. According to this illustration, temperatures of 30℉ with winds of 15 miles per hour drop the wind chill temperature down to 19℉. At that temperature, frostbite can affect exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
Fredy Holzer

Frostbite isn’t the only danger homeless individuals face. Hypothermia can quickly set in if the body temperature drops below 90℉. Which happens more quickly as the wind chill increases. Wet weather can soak limited clothing, further increasing the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, as well as a myriad of other health concerns.

One of the main recommendations by the NOAA involves dressing in layers and covering exposed skin. The more skin that is exposed, the greater effect the wind chill can have. But for many of our neighbors who are homeless, layering up is more complicated—they might only have the clothes on their back.

And while people who are homeless struggle to get many things they need, inadequate clothing can have disastrous effects. In January 2018, a nationwide cold front in the United States and in one week, twelve people passed away due to extreme cold, according to AP News. The cold isn’t just uncomfortable; it can become life-threatening.

This is a sobering reality and one that spans different regions and even different countries. But how can we help?

According to the sock company Bombas, socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters. Clean, warm, and dry socks are essential to help those who are homeless stay warm and healthy. So Bombas donates a pair of socks for every pair that is purchased. Their contributions make their way into homeless shelters, food banks, and community centers throughout the United States, and then into the hands of struggling people.

Socks are only part of the solution—coats, hats, and gloves are also essential to protect people from the wind and cold. Another issue that many have brought up lately has revolved around when warming shelters open. Many communities set a certain threshold, such as 30℉, before shelters are available. Homelessness advocates have been pushing to open them sooner, as even 40℉ weather can be dangerous for people without adequate clothing.

Next time you buy socks consider yourself a pair, and someone else a pair. And advocate for the opening of shelters more quickly in the winter keeping our friends warm and safe this difficult time of year.

| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Bruce Gilden, Fredy Holzer, LATimes

Nov. 8, 1982: Don Dammer peers up from his bed, a mattress on dirt beneath an overpass on the Hollywood Freeway. Behind Kammer are other mattresses with one sleeping neighbor. This photo was published in the Nov. 21, 1982 Los Angeles Times.


Seeing the Face of Homelessness

Why am I telling you his story? Well, because all too often, we judge by appearance and assume someone’s character.

Animation by JannerBros is based on a real-life interview with a homeless man Brendan who was homeless for almost 2 years. We walk past homeless people every day of our lives, without stopping to ask questions or even judging them… Well here is an opportunity to hear from a homeless man.

As I walked into the dining room, my eyes fell on him. To be candid, at first glance he looked like a thug. Very thin, scrawny even, I wondered how well he would handle the physically difficult cooks’ position. His clothes were wrinkled and well worn. But what stood out was how eager he was, he even offered to start working on the spot.

As I offered the young man, a full-time job his face showed obvious relief. He apologized again for not wearing better clothes. I assured him it was fine. There was something about him. Perhaps it was the “mom” part of me, but he looked hungry.

I offered him a meal with an off-handed remark about how he needed to learn the restaurant menu anyway since he would be cooking. He eagerly agreed. He ate as if he truly was starving.

By Jannerbros

As we worked shifts together, he began to open up about his situation. He was a foster child, knew nothing of his birth parents and though he was adopted at age 11, he was treated as a live-in servant. His bed was in the basement and not allowed to eat with the family. He was used for work.

ourworldindata - homelessness

As soon as he turned 18 he was kicked out. This was two weeks before his interview with me. He had nothing but what he was wearing. I asked him where he slept, his answer was “Well, I don’t really.”

He explained that he would go from place to place until he got kicked out. Bookstores, the library or even busy fast food places. He would nap here and there and then move on if he felt like he was in the way.

I continued to be amazed by this man. A hard worker, no doubt. He was always early and would stay as late as needed. He thrived with every bit of encouragement. And yet he had no place to live, not even a car to sleep in. It was mid-winter and very cold. I asked him why he didn’t go to a homeless shelter, he said it was full.

He’d learned compassion from his hard life. He would regularly pull scraps from the garbage to feed to stray dogs out back. When I asked him why he did that he replied with a smile, “Cause being hungry sucks!”

He pulled himself out of extreme poverty. Not everyone can do that, physical limitations or having small children can make it impossible for some. I asked him what he thought would’ve helped him most, he said “Getting paid every day, waiting for the first two weeks was so hard!”.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life when they have nothing. Even a kind word or sitting down to chat. If you own a business consider adding flexibility to payroll structures, allowing daily payment for the first few pay periods. This could mean the end of homelessness and hunger for so many people.

One thing he said has always stuck with me. “I don’t have all the answers, but being kind is always a good choice.”

| Written by Tricia Elliott

| Visuals by JannerBros

Check out this great multimedia story: Portraits of Homelessness

Purchasing Power

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

Purchasing Power with Purpose

Changing the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.


Each year in the United States, individuals and corporations give about $400 billion to charitable causes, ranging from arts organizations to social services and religious organizations. For the ordinary person, that number seems staggeringly large. But, according to CBS News, that represents only a small fraction—2%—of the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.

$400,000,000,000 yearly

Charitable giving has gained increased attention in the last decade, with advances in communication technology, yet the amount given has stayed relatively stagnant giving around 2% of their income to charity—a strange parallel to the economy as a whole.

So how do we have a greater impact? How do we do more with our money, and make a bigger difference?

Americans give roughly 2% of the nation’s GDP to charity each year. The nation as a whole produces over $19 trillion in one calendar year according to the World Bank. What if there was a way to harness even just a fraction more of that incredible amount of production to combat the deepest issues our society faces?

Many people would love to give more to charity, but don’t have the means to donate cash out of their pocket. So how do we give more without having to give more? The answer—using our spending habits to make a difference.

Ben&Jerry Icecream

If the average person spends $5,400 on impulse buys each year, that is an additional $5,400 that we can leverage to impact the world around us. By spending money at companies which give back to the community, you are able to give back. One example is Warby Parker, an eyeglass store, who donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. In the enterprise business world, Salesforce is committed to its 1-1-1 model, donating 1% of profits, 1% of employee time, and 1% of its product to charity. Or, if you happen to be walking down the freezer aisle in your grocery store, consider buying Ben&Jerry’s ice cream. The company awards more than $1.8 million a year to fund community action and change. Eating more ice cream is the kind of social investment most of us can get behind.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at the deep struggles the world faces. What can one person really do in the face of such large-scale issues? Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping trip to invest in making a change.

Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Billion Back Records, The World Bank, Charities Aid Foundation

Reality of Homelessness

The Harsh Reality of Homelessness Worry became your new mindset. Sleeplessness becames normal. I had to protect and provide for 4 small children in a situation that soon becames a trap.

The Harsh Reality of Homelessness

Worry became my new mindset. Sleeplessness became normal. I had to protect and provide for 4 small children in a situation that soon became a trap.

By John Conn

It was late summer, 2009, I could hardly believe what was happening. My world changed so quickly, I didn’t see it coming. Facing job loss and a housing lease not being renewed. I was scurrying for housing and employment at the same time. The immediacy of my issues left me in shock.

Worry became my new mindset. Sleeplessness became normal. I had to protect and provide for 4 small children in a situation that soon became a trap. My choices were to violate my conscience and place my children into “Sunday school classes” that would teach them things that I did not believe in.

By Mary Ellen Mar

Suddenly I was living in a tent at a campground for $10 a night, with my 4 small children. I struggled to plaster on a smile and attempt to convince my oldest daughter that we were “on vacation”. Even at age 6, she could see right through the lie.

I learned within a week that we were not alone. There were 3 other families, pretending to be “on vacation” as well. One even had to commute 15 miles, twice a day, to keep their kids in school. They had been there for 4 months.

By Mary Ellen Mar

This proved harder than I’d ever thought possible. One $10 night equals $300 a month. And the campground was far from town. This meant more money to drive to the grocery stores and job interviews. Trips were frequent due to lack of refrigeration. A huge portion of our food stamps went to buying ice for the ice chest. Cooking over a fire was easy enough, but gathering enough wood to cook, clean and wash clothes was time-consuming. I soon saw that this was a money pit. How could I maintain AND pull us out at the same time?

The truth is, I couldn’t. What happened was an old friend called me out of the blue and happened to manage an apartment complex allowing us to live rent-free for 2 months. Which was all we needed to get back on our feet.

What my experience taught me was that our nation has a big problem. There are a lot of charities that take donations and offer “help” and they do great work. But what I saw firsthand is that there are very few who offer assistance and allow you to keep your personal dignity. No one should be forcefully separated from their children to take an 8-week course on “overcoming addiction” when they have never even tried drugs. No one who is non-religious or a different faith should be forced to attend a religious service in order to have a roof over their babies heads. Ethical assistance of the homeless should seek to preserve the dignity and autonomy.

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has seen this problem. In 2014 a nonprofit organization was founded to meet the exact types of needs my family faced 5 years before. provides job training and placement as well as apartments to people just like us. They boast a 93% success rate of participants not re-entering homelessness services. That is definitely great news to people looking for a hand up instead of a handout.


The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States.

Shelters to Shutters is a national 501c3 organization that transitions individuals and families out of homelessness to economic self-sufficiency by educating and engaging the real estate industry to provide employment and housing opportunities.

| Written by Tricia Elliott

| Visuals by John Conn, Joseph Gudgeon, , Mary Ellen Mar, the Banksy


Solution Based Journalism

The Importance of Independent Journalist Storytellers to publish stories that present a problem and offer solutions.

Social media has changed how we deliver and consume the news. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter place enormous amounts of information in the hands of journalists and consumers alike. These sites and the proliferation of smartphones have let anyone break news stories, complete with text, pictures, and videos. There is so much content out there that journalists can cover any global event from afar.

Arirang Mass Games in North Korea by Brendyn Zachary

In this new world, journalists take on the role of a content curator. It is their job to go through the reams of available data and to present the best information based on quality and relevance. They should provide links to their original sources while offering contest and analysis.

by Steve Helber

However, this “information overload” came with a cost. A Journalist no longer has to leave the office and can become lazy as content became more available. Mainstream media now exists to tell stories that solely get people to watch their advertisers. They are no longer concerned with informing people make a positive difference.

While it is important to inform people of what is happening in the world around them, the constant negativity can bring down people’s spirits making them depressed, powerless, and apathetic. Fortunately, there is a better way. All we need is news that provides solutions to the problems of the world. Instead of showing the world’s problems, journalists can tell stories about people making a difference.

by Joseph Eid

The most informative and valuable stories do not need to come from a traditional journalist. A blogger, photographer, or tweeter can easily filled that role. As more and more people start getting their news from an independent outlets, these raw stories will make a difference in the world. They will help people find the information they need to know while showing how they can help improve the situation.

by Joseph Guyler Delva

Written posts, photos essays or video docs. These stories can be as simple as showing someone surviving a disaster and the rescue. Pictures such as the following photo of a student still alive under a collapsed school after an earthquake in 2008 gave people hope. It is stories like these that remind you that you could make a difference. You just have to go out and offer a helping hand.

Positive news can be any humanitarian act and not just natural disasters. All that is needed is a different perspective than the usual mainstream reporting, providing either a complementary view or an alternative in some cases.

Bad things happen to good people. However, reporting on these things do not have to bring us down. Stories and photos from independent journalists can offer new insights on how we as people can do something about them and make the world a better place.

Photographers without Borders

PWB dreams of a world that is connected visually and through story so that new realities, solutions, and possibilities may be manifested. Our goal is to make storytelling more accessible for non-profits and NGOs around the world. PWB connects volunteer photographers and videographers (storytellers) to the many grassroots causes, NGOs and nonprofit partners through the PWB Program.

| Written by Robert Stukowski

| Visuals by , Brendyn Zachary, Steve Helber, Joseph Guyler Delva, Alejandro Pérez

Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscience about the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscious of the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

The Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless but ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and democratizing of the markets.

Morry Brown had what so many young finance graduates wanted: he was an associate at Goldman-Sachs. His career was set. A steady ramp of promotions leading to Rolexes and BMWs was his for the taking. But Morry wasn’t satisfied. What good was he doing for the world as a spreadsheet monkey? And so he quit, to found a company that merged investment with ethics: EarnWell.

EarnWell’s mission was remarkably simple: to create a portfolio of the 100 most ethical S&P 500 for the socially active casual investor. They took into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, environmental sustainability, and hundreds of other factors. Over 90% of the ‘EarnWell 100’ earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate responsibility, and the carbon footprint of the portfolio is 80% lower than the S&P index funds.

Other opportunities for socially responsible investing have begun to crop up everywhere. Recently, industry heavyweight Pacific Life launched Swell investing, with portfolios in renewable energy companies, researched-focused biotechnology firms working towards disease eradication, and zero-waste business.

This comes at a time when research has shown corporate leadership that responsibility isn’t just good PR — but profitable. If more companies put ethics before short-term gains, social activists — and investors — might just see the change they want.

Read more about how doing the right thing is just as profitable from Forbes.

Apps and Platforms

Swell Investing

GREEN TECH +20.48%
IMPACT 400 -8.00%
ZERO WASTE +14.32%


Robinhood believes that the financial system should work for the rest of us, not just the wealthy. Robinhood lets you invest in the stock market for free, directly from your phone or desktop.

| Written by Dante Vaisbort

| Visuals by Swell, Robinhood,

Back to Nature

Back to Nature

Written by Butterfli O’Shea

by Kellepics

My childhood home was one mile from the nearest beach and I had a grassy backyard. My elementary school was a short walk from home, and behind the school was a chaparral ecosystem. The children in the neighborhood referred to it as a little forest, that included eucalyptus trees and a foot trail.

It was often easy, even a relief, for the adults in our lives to take us on a walking trip to the beach or a nature trail. The experiences were adventurous, happy, and peaceful. The more we learned, the more we wanted to know.


On the trail, the mint honeyed scent of eucalyptus was ever-present, the deep yellows and oranges of the California Poppy in cheerful bunches along the path, and various birds flying and floating overhead calling out to each other. Touching and feeling various plants, watching the brown and grey fence lizards scurry up and down rocks, with garden snakes not far behind.


At the beach we’d walk bare foot, feeling soft dry sand and firm wet sand, and feel the grains against our skin when wading in the waves. Seagulls about us, with curt shouts to each other, folding their wings as they landed. The falling sound of waves as they lifted-up and dropped back down. Slippery seaweed, grooves on clam shells, soft driftwood, and the turquoise rainbow inside of an abalone shell.

Certainly, we preferred to go on a nature trip than be inside a chalk dusty classroom or the nagging familiarity of our own backyards. Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted better outside. Outside we could breathe fresh, clean air.

Back then, being outside in our natural environment was as expected as tying the laces on our sneakers. When one child found something new, it was a discovery for us all, as our curiosity multiplied itself through sharing, and when one question and answer came along, more followed. We learned about nature, our natural environment, and ourselves. We felt free and energized. It was an unspoken growing together of child and nature, cohabitating on earth.

As time passed, we became adults living varied lives. No matter what path we chose to live as adults, a great majority of us maintained our connection to nature, and many of us became its caretakers in our daily lives.


Our current youth are in more demanding circumstances than generations previous. Our youth have the lure and requirements of technology, for both leisure and school work. This has increased disconnect with our natural world and some people feel discomfort at the idea of spending time with nature. “It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside,” states a report from NatureofAmericans.org1.

The obstacles in connecting youth and communities to the outdoors are few, yet the strategies are many.

Make participating in the outdoors accessible. Many communities have gained success by encouraging various organizations working together, such as schools, parent groups, childcare centers, park agencies, and community-based organizations. Make suggestions at your child’s school, at local organizations, and with your neighbors and friends. There are a lot of great ideas in your own community, and a lot of people interested in volunteering and sharing their knowledge. Each organization or group can mention the activities in their own publications and communications, further assuring more to be informed there is something out there for them to enjoy.

Rise by @rsvn

Having a wide variety of outdoor activities for various interests and age groups nurtures the interest of more people, both those you are trying to get outdoors and those who would be willing to contribute their time and efforts. The activities can be traditional, such as fishing and hiking and museums, parks, gardens, zoos. They can also be non-traditional, such as drawing or writing poetry at the park. My personal favorite is the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour Program2. It is designed to encourage individuals and groups to adopt one hour per day for children to play and learn outdoors in nature. You can also make this a family activity.

Spending time in nature gives our youth a place to escape their stresses from our over busy and technology demanding society. When you involve other youth, it turns peer pressure into a positive, as they pay attention to a friend’s encouragement to spend more time in nature. “… youth are more likely to associate being in nature with being peaceful, free, calm, and happy than with any other characteristic.”3

“… connection to nature is not a dispensable amenity, but rather is essential to the health, economic prosperity, quality of life, and social well-being of all …”

| Written by Butterfli O’Shea
|Visuals by @charlie_davoli, @hey.luisa, @jstnptrs, Kellepics, @ronnaldong, @rsvn_