Green philanthropy.
Article Type: Column
Subject: Philanthropy (Methods)
Philanthropy (Technology application)
Author: Quesnelle, Rejean
Pub Date: 07/01/2011
Publication: Name: CANNT Journal Publisher: Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses & Technologists Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses & Technologists ISSN: 1498-5136
Issue: Date: July-Sept, 2011 Source Volume: 21 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Computer Subject: Technology application
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Canada Geographic Code: 1CANA Canada
Accession Number: 267334033
Full Text: Dear Green Tech

I am always excited for the holiday season to begin. Thanksgiving weekend is approaching and Santa and his elves are bustling about, getting everything ready for all the good nurses and techs on his special day. I realize just how fortunate I am in my life, and have always given back to charities and to those less fortunate. However, in these uncertain economic times, I do not have as much to give as I once had. Being the resident green guru, I thought it only fitting to ask if you had any ideas as to how I can give without it putting a dent in the purse strings.


Kindly Giving from Kelowna

Dear Kindly,

Thank you for doing what you can to enhance the lives of others. You can attest that Canadians have a long-standing tradition of doing, giving and caring for the world. When the world comes calling for help, we are there (quite often first) to help. Defending the sovereignty of our allies in times of war, or sending relief during natural disasters, as in the cases of Hurricane Katrina or the Haitian earthquake, are just some examples of where we have given in the past. Caring for the ill and malnourished completes the trifecta, a value which lies deep within our compassionate hearts.

I am proud to say, as do many of us, that I am Canadian and very thankful for the life I live. The benefits I reap in living in such a great country are endless. There are, however, many much less fortunate than us around the world, as well as in our own backyard. Giving back is an inherent trait of a Canadian. To prove just how generous we are, in 2008 alone, during the heart of the worst economic collapse our generation has seen, we were responsible for donating $8.7 billion to a variety of charitable causes.

But our good hearts can only take so much giving. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this little thing we call climate change will only make the occurrence of such natural disasters a more regular phenomenon. As well, the economic collapse of 2008 has put our purse strings on a tight watch. These unstable global economic and meteorological patterns are making it harder to give to the charities that we hold close to our hearts.

So, let's not focus too much on the negative and think a little more positive and ask the question, "How can we still make a difference while keeping those purse strings tight?" Have no fear, as the Green Tech is here to help you give until it doesn't hurt and, trust me, it won't.

Okay, so let's begin by defining what is giving or, more appropriately, what is philanthropy. Philanthropy is defined as a deliberate affection for mankind, shown in contributions of money, property, or work for the benefit of others. Bottom line is that there are many ways to give outside of monetary giving. Two books helped inspire me to write this current column. The first one was Green Philanthropy for Families: 160 Simple Earth Honoring Gifts, Actions, Activities and Projects by Helen Deffenbacher, Justin Deffenbacher, and Alexis Deffenbacher. The other book was How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Home, Life and World--At No Cost by Nicole Bouchard Boles. As I mentioned, these books were the heart of my inspiration but, in fact, it has led me to do much more than that.

Halton Healthcare Services is a great place to work and quite unique in that we have a wellness department--Kailo. I have collaborated with the Kailo department on many occasions. A few years ago it ran a 29 Days of Giving program, which was fantastic and created great results for those involved. This led me to create, along with the Kailo Co-ordinator Louisa Nedkov, the Kailo Cares program. Many of the organizations highlighted in this column have also been selected for the Kailo Cares program. So, how the program will work is a campaign is created for one of our either international or local charities every other month, and it is promoted to staff for participation. We plan to launch it this fall, so stay tuned for updates. I am very hopeful that it will be a great success and morale booster for all. And did I mention just how easy that giving can be?

So, on to the good stuff. Both the Green Philanthropy for Families and the How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist were written similarly, where their individual ideas were compiled into various categories for the reader to reference more easily. In keeping with the book format, I intend on doing the same. I will unfortunately not be able to cover everything, but will hopefully give you enough of a taste of what we can all do to make it part of your daily routine.

The power of time: The heart of all hospitals is their volunteers. Without them, we could not continue certain programs or would have to cut back on services because of increased staffing costs. Many of us volunteer, as do I, with my ongoing contributions to the CANNT Journal and the CANNT board of directors. Finding the time to volunteer can be difficult. Many of us with children truly know the term "how time flies." However, there is no better way to show your kids at an early age respect, compassion and caring than to participate in one of their activities.

One of my fondest moments as a kid was in Scouts. In order to spend more time with me and my brother, my father (a registered nurse) became a cub leader. In order to share my memories of this time with others, I will be donating my old scouting memorabilia to the Canadian Scouting Museum in Ottawa.

If you don't have kids or they have finally moved out of mom and dad's place, then use some of your new found time to do something rewarding. Any amount of time you give will enhance the lives of others. Walking dogs from animal shelters like the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), to tracking of migratory birds, delivering meals (Meals on Wheels), or reading to someone are just a few ways that people can give back a little time to their community and the environment.

The power of bytes: We all have a computer that we touch daily, either at work or at home. There are some pretty cool things you can do with a computer to help others. With a click of the mouse or the use of your keyboard, you can change the lives of others forever. Use your computer for research by helping to conquer cancer or to find clean water. During your computer's idle time, various research groups can use your computer's internal processing power to compute thousands of hours of data. Download the needed BOINC software at and change the world one bit at a time.

Like shopping? Then shop online using various charitable shopping portals such as GoodShop, or IGive, where a percentage of sales (up to 30%) is returned to charitable organizations. Even better, you can add a specific charity to their database if not listed, so that you can directly funnel your money where you want.

Searching the internet for new vegetarian recipes like I do, or just to see what the current local news is? Use a search engine like Good Search or Search Kindly. Good Search donates about 1Cents to the organization of choice, where Search Kindly, a Google service, donates one-third of a cent to a monthly polled charity.

Need a new email or a separate one for all of your philanthropic ventures? Sign up for e-mail service through Care2 Email or Planet Save. Care2 Email provides you a 100MB account and donates 5% of its revenue to both environmental and good causes. Planet Save provides you with a 25MB email and donates 25% of its revenue to green causes.

Have a minute to spare? Use your mouse and "click" for immediate change. Websites like or The Hunger Site allow you to click on buttons for ending hunger, or helping whales, or even to help kids read. The money they use to donate to these charities comes from corporate donations, which are highlighted on their site. And why not take a few minutes and work your brain by playing the online game Free Rice ( and help end hunger.

Unfortunately, most of these web-based charity programs do not cater to Canadian-based charities (at the moment). The only one that I could find with a Canadian connection is the IGive website, as it will support your favourite Canadian charity. With that said, do what you can and click to help others regardless of whether or not they are Canadian.

Last, use that inner geek and let your voice be heard through online petitions. You have a cause close to your heart, then start one of your own. There are various websites such as Avazz,,, Petition Online or The Petition Site, where you could use your voice to help in creating change locally or internationally.

The power of stuff: Stuff. Yeah, we all have stuff and many of us way too much. Quite often people just throw it away once you get new stuff. Old running shoes, for example, can have a new life on someone else's feet by sending them to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that collects gently used or new shoes of all types and sends them to various locations in need of relief. Visit them at and learn how you can start a drop-off location at work and about their other programs like Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls. The other unique thing about Soles4Souls is that it has created a network of microbusinesses to sell any surplus shoes and help to empower the impoveris hed to be self-sufficient and support themselves and their families.

Still have clothes from the last decade in your closet? How about donating your old wears to various used-clothes programs, but keep that Michael Jackson leather jacket--totally cool for Halloween. Drop off your clothes at either a physical location such as The Salvation Army/Value Village/Goodwill, or a Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline drop-off box.

Your benefit coverage allows you to get new glasses every two years? So now those old glasses are so last year, man--okay then, I have a super plan for you to get rid of them. It is the Lions Club of Canada's Recycle for Sight program. They collect used glasses and help roughly 153 million people worldwide who have uncorrected vision. It costs the Lion's Club about $0.08 to send a pair of recycled glasses to a needy individual.

Take a deep look into what possessions you have in your house and ask yourself the question, "Do I really need that?" If the answer is no and you haven't used it in more than a year, then I would look at giving it a new home. Do a Freecycle collection with your work colleagues and choose where you would like the donations to go--donate it to a local women's shelter, a Habitat for Humanity Restore centre or number of other agencies for the needy. Pretty much everything you have in your house can be donated (building material, pens and paper, appliances, furniture, etc.). Don't worry, as your donations will definitely find a good home. All it takes is a two-minute web search.

The power of the talents within: Being a musician has many perks, but being able to give my time to raise money is priceless. You may possess the same musicianship skills as I and have also done great things with your talents. But hey, Green Tech, I don't have a musical bone in my body, what then? We all have talents or hobbies, things at which we are good. Great at writing? Then why not pen some thank you letters for our young men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces fighting abroad via Project Thank You. You can also be a pen pal and write inspiring letters to terminally ill children thanks to the Make a Child Smile (www. program.

Like to knit and sew? Then here are a few cool ideas if you are in need of a project. Be a "blanketeer" for Project Linus ( and create a comforting washable blanket for a sick or traumatized child. You can create any number of blankets ranging from quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, to receiving blankets. Knit a warm cap and booties for a premature baby. Have some homemade teddy bears collecting dust? Donate them to the Teddy Bears of Hope (

Crochet a cool eco mat made of used milk bags and provide a sleeping mat for a young child. For more information on the Milk Bag Project, contact the North Burlington Baptist Church:

You have a green thumb and love to garden. Why not donate some of your veggies to your local food bank or homeless shelter? Next year when you are planning your garden, why not plant a row and grow a row? Connect with a local gleaning program where volunteers come and pick the vegetables for you and, in return, share in the harvest, as well as donating the last third to a local food bank.

The power of junk: Well, one day my Subaru Impreza is just gonna say "no" and I will have to shop for a new set of wheels. When that happens, I plan on donating my car to the Kidney Car program through the Kidney Foundation of Canada, rather than just send it to a scrap yard.

We talked about collecting gently used shoes, but what about those destined for the landfill? No problem, ship them off to Nike Reuse-A-Shoe ( program, where the shoes are dismantled into three pieces and each piece is then separated and ground down so that it can be used as the base material for various sporting surfaces, such as running tracks, basketball courts and tennis courts. Keep in mind that this program will only accept used athletic footwear.

Just returned from holiday and you have brought back home with you more small shampoo and conditioner bottles from the resort to be added to the already large collection? Well my friends, I have a new and useful home for all of these soaps and shampoos/conditioners. Send them to the great people at Clean the World ( The soaps and shampoos are used to help impoverished people around the world who are dying due to acute respiratory infections and diarrheal disease as a result of the unsanitary conditions they live in, who do not have the money for such items.

We all get mail (mostly bills and junk mail), and the majority of it will have a stamp stuck on it. Most often these envelopes or post cards go either into the recycling bin or the trash. Collect the stamps and envelopes and help the Oxfam Canada Stamp Out Poverty ( campaign succeed. Last year they were able to generate about $10,000 with the sale of stamps to collectors.

What to do about all those birthday and Christmas cards we have hanging around in boxes and drawers around the house? Do some spring cleaning and send them off to St. Judes Ranch (, a Southern U.S.-based facility that helps to nurture abused and neglected children. The children create new cards by removing the front of the cards and attaching a new back. It also provides the children with entrepreneurial skills.

I spoke of some green recycling programs (Think Recycle & Terracycle) that you could use to fundraise in my last Ask the Green Tech column. So, if you don't have any fundraising to do, then find a drop-off location for your used electronics and ink cartridges. If your favourite charity

does not have any of these programs set up, then offer your services and help them to fundraise. Just recently I did a tech room clean-up and was able to generate $71 from my e-waste dropoff at Green Go Recycling Solutions in Barrie, Ontario, for my team, The Kidney Kickers, fundraising campaign.

The power of me: We all have one and without it, well, there would be no getting around to do things, hugging family and, more importantly, living. Those of us with healthy bodies can do great things to help others who, unfortunately, are unable to do so themselves. There is nothing more profound than giving from you, literally. You can lend a hand and help build communities through Habitat For Humanity.

On Saturday September 10, I will be using my body to raise funds for the Kidney Foundation's Give the Gift of Life Walk in Oakville. There are many walks being planned for the Ontario chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada and throughout Canada during the month of September, like the St. Catharines walk on September 17 or the Kitchener walk on September 11 to name just a few. The second annual 100k Kidney March is being held in Calgary, September 9-11. So use what your mama gave you for doing good.

In order to help our team, The Kidney Kickers, meet its fundraising goals, I will be putting myself up for auction. The highest bidder gets me for eight hours as their dedicated manservant. I will let you all know how I made out.

Since we are on the topic of what your mama gave you, why not donate your beautiful locks of hair to create wigs for kids and others going through chemotherapy. Donate your hair (10-inch ponytails) to Pantene Beautiful Lengths ( or numerous other agencies across Canada. For more information visit the Canadian Cancer Society website for other provincial campaigns. If you don't have long hair and want to make a difference to the environment, donate your hair clippings to Matter of Trust. Matter of Trust turns your unwanted hair into oil-absorbing mats in place of harsh chemicals to soak up oil spills in our waterways.

The month of November is of great interest for men. Movember, as we now call it, is the month when men from across the globe now sport the greatest (and the ugliest) moustaches to lend their support and awareness for prostate cancer. Those of you who attended last year's conference could attest to the gloriously Magnum PI-esque stash I grew.

The next two have high importance to our kidney patients. As the motto goes, "Blood, it's in you to give" is an easy sacrifice we can all make to help our dialysis patients who may need a blood transfusion or albumin. Contact the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) ( and find a local blood donor clinic. Book an appointment today and save a life.

The Canadian Blood Services also has another program called, One Match, which is a stem cell and bone marrow donation program. It is quite easy to do--listen to someone who has already done it. All you do is contact CBS and they will send you a kit. All you do is take four separate tissue swabs from your cheeks and send it back. You can add your name to the already registered 11 million people in more than 50 different registries worldwide. No better way to connect yourself than to make your stem cells and bone marrow available to someone half way across the globe.

The greatest act of kindness any person can perform is to be an organ donor. I know that when that time comes for me, I would love to see my memory live on in others who can get the chance to live the life they have always dreamed. Being a donor can save up to eight lives and, hey, I sure can't take them or use them where I am going, so there is really no reason not to be one. I had signed the back of my driver's licence, but also registered my consent online to solidify my wishes. For those of you in Ontario, go to and register your consent. Every province has a slightly different way of being an organ donor, so doing a web search for your province will lead you to the answers you need to make that very important decision. Save lives and show your pride.

I have provided you with lots of great ideas and I know that this is just a sample of the ideas we can use to make a difference. Most importantly, share your experiences. It is not the act of giving, but the experiences you have that truly matter, so please share with others by whatever means you can. Blog away and tell others of your philanthropic adventures, please add Join the movement and spread the word with, a collective of like-minded individuals looking to make a difference. It's also a fantastic resource full of ideas and you can share yours as well. We all have the power to change a life, and nothing should stop us from doing so. Please do what you can and give somone an experience they will never forget. I will also share my adventures with you in the near future in a "What's Happened" segment of the column. So, now that you have the tools, there is no excuse to not give a little in many ways over the holiday season.

Thank you all for letting me share. I would love to hear your stories. If you have other great ideas to share, I would love to hear them and have them highlighted in a future Green Tech column. Need other ideas? Contact me at Have a terrific Thanksgiving and Christmas and we will be back in 2012 for more Green Tech-ing.

In the famous words of Ryan Seacrest--Green Tech Out! Thanks and remember to Keep it Green, Eh!

For any and all questions, feel free to e-mail me, Reg, aka "Green Tech," Quesnelle at

Rejean Quesnelle, AScT

Renal Technologist, Halton Healthcare

Services, Oakville, ON
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.