The oceans are perhaps the ultimate tragedy of the commons, and the fishing industry has defied effective regulation the world over. In part, that’s because you can’t stop the fish from, well, swimming, and even if you limit catches in one area, there’s no guarantee for effective regulation in another. When a country grants licenses, foreign fishing companies often swoop in. Catch limitations can be difficult to enforce, especially in rural areas. Communities dependent on fishing are caught in a worsening cycle of being forced to go out further and fish for ever diminishing returns. So is there anything to do but abstain from eating fish altogether, or, perhaps, chow down on tuna with a side of fatalism?
The Overbrook Foundation first started blogging in 2008 and hasn’t turned back since. We feel our blog is an effective means of spreading news that impacts our grantees and program areas, as well as the larger field of philanthropy. Blogging has also increased the visibility of our grantees’ fantastic campaigns and victories, from legal battles to grassroots demonstrations. We encourage you to read the following posts and to add your own comments to ours. Please enjoy (and follow us on Twitter)!
They say a picture can tell a thousand words. And sometimes a video can tell a great story.
That’s the motivation behind Real Food Media Project’s contest. The Project’s founder Anna Lappé felt that something was missing from the dialogue on sustainable food. In our contemporary culture, we see a lot of glossy commercials on commercial foods (did you know that making a fast food hamburger look good on T.V. is practically an art?), and the occasional expose of chickens shoved together in sunless rooms, but we don’t see as many stories about positive change, about things that are going right and could go better.
The Contest was born out of the belief that there are hundreds of untold stories out there–stories about citizens engaging in communities to fix food, about the crisis of industrial agriculture and what we can do about it, about young people connecting to the environment through learning to grow their own food–but we need to hear about them.
156 submissions were received, and recently narrowed done to 10 finalists (and you can vote on them here!). We’re excited to watch them all – and the Contest will hopefully inspire people to realize just how beautiful even a rutabaga can be.
Just as there is beauty in ‘real’ food, there is beauty in the power of community and grassroots groups working together. That strength is highlighted by the new film from Our Power Campaign. The campaign is supported by the Climate Justice Alliance and the Communities for a Just Transition; a collaborative of over 35 community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, and socio-economically just transition away from unsustainable energy towards local living economies to address the root causes of climate change.
Finally, recognizing the need to support collaborations and networks built by and for frontline and grassroots communities, Overbrook’s Environment Program has officially launched its new Movement Building Portfolio. While still in its early development and recognizing that its parameters remain a work in progress, its focus will be on understanding and supporting specific movements – rather than specific organizations or issues – to make them stronger, more resilient, and more impactful.
The Environment Program awarded 7 grants this grant cycle. Of this group, one is for Latin American Biodiversity Conservation, four for Sustainable Consumption & Production, and one for Media. Additionally, a grant was awarded to the Wildfire Project as part of the Environment Program’s increasing focus on ‘movement-building.’ This does not include six pledge grants, three of which are for Latin American Biodiversity Conservation (Imaflora, Root Capital, and the Wildlife Conservation Society), two for Sustainable Production and Consumption (Environmental Paper Network and NRDC), and one for Media (Grist). Our two new grantees are the New York Harbor Foundation and the Wildfire Project. In total, the Environment Program awarded $205,000. The Foundation is extremely proud of the work of all its grantees, and congratulates them on their many and impressive successes!
We hope you are staying warm and out of the various polar vortexes, perhaps snuggling with a significant other, planning a fun night with friends, or simply enjoying TGIF.
Whatever you do on this Friday, we hope you consider signing Earthworks’ “No Dirty Gold” pledge. This pledge calls on retailers and manufacturers of gold jewelry and electronics to ensure that their goods were not produced at the expense of local communities and environments. Because there’s nothing less romantic than giving a gift that’s hurt someone else.
In happier news – this week, the Obama Administration announced that ALL commercial imports of African elephant ivory into the United States will be prohibited – without exception. Nearly all commercial exports of elephant ivory and rhino horn will also be prohibited. The Fish and Wildlife Service will be the coordinating agency, and Overbrook-grantee the Environmental Investigation Agency will continue its critical role as watchdog and conservation advocate. Now that’s worth celebrating.
Connecticut, one of the currently 32 states nationwide that have adopted some form of product and producer responsibility legislation, has entered into a three-year partnership with Overbrook-grantee Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) to develop policies for placing responsibility on the manufacturers of certain products to safely dispose of or recycle the products at the end of their useful life. The products at issue, which include carpeting, batteries, packaging, and fertilizers, all have potentially harmful byproducts and environmental effects, and the disposal costs of which currently fall on taxpayers.
Check out more about the exciting new partnership here!