Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Technology for a better world.

Giving Children a Chance in Cambodia June 25, 2008

Filed under: Cambodia,children,philanthropy — pdxbob @ 5:23 am

As my personal business card reads ‘Technology for a Better World’ I try to use technology to further good causes. I just blogged about donating items instead of dollars through a Virtual Warehouse and now I’d like to ask you to consider donating dollars to a cause that is so important to the future of our planet: fighting human trafficking. Yes, we have to slow down global warming and live more sustainably, but if we don’t fight the battle against greed and outright criminal abuse that the human traffickers are carrying out, we are forgetting about the children of this world who depend on us to provide a decent future for them.

James and Athena Pond are Oregonians who dedicate themselves to empowering young girls who are victims of human trafficking by providing them with opportunities to live a normal life and to heal their wounds. They founded Transitions Cambodia, have a transitional care home in Cambodia and consult worldwide to advise on setting up similar homes. But ultimately they rely on donations to get their work done. Transitions Cambodia, Inc (TCI) is trying to raise $1,000. on a Facebook cause by July 4th.

Please consider donating even as little as $10. to help them reach their goal by Independence Day.


Fight Sex Trafficking by seeing the Holly film this weekend May 21, 2008

I have just pledged on to go to the Saturday night viewing of the acclaimed film, Holly, at the Hollywood Theater if twenty more people will agree to go. I have seen this film before and it is a gripping story of an American expat, played by Ron Livingston of Office Space fame, who is disgusted by being propositioned by a very young girl while in Cambodia. The same reaction he had was also what James Pond, founder of Transitions Cambodia, had when he was in Cambodia years ago. Along with his entire family, he decided to do something and the result is a wonderful organization that rehabilitates girls who had fallen victim to sex trafficking in southeast Asia.

This is a big weekend for Transitions Cambodia in Portland! They are holding a silent auction at the Burdigala Wine Shop in SE Portland on Thursday night. Details here. Then on Friday and Saturday nights, Holly will be screened at the Hollywood Theater in NE Portland, followed by Q&A with James and Athena Pond, founders of Transitions Cambodia, Victor Jaya Sry, In-Country Director from Cambodia, Keith Bickford, head of the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force, Wendy Freed, noted trauma therapist, and Guy Jacobson, writer and producer of Holly. Tickets for the movie can be purchased at here.

The Hollywood Theater can hold a lot more than twenty people. I’m pledging to encourage people to be part of a special evening and to learn about an important problem that affects both developing and developed nations.

Pledge, won’t you please? Hope to see you Saturday night (or if you make it Friday night).


Cambodian Children’s Education – thank you Nhuong Son December 31, 2007

Filed under: Cambodia,children,education,Nhuong Son,Sharing Foundation — pdxbob @ 8:33 pm

Beth sent me a link to Nhuong Son’s blog and in particular the entry about his support for the Sharing Foundation. After reading this you will see why even a little bit of aid for children in such a poor country means so much. Truly inspiring! Thanks Nhuong and Beth! If you agree, consider giving to the Sharing Foundation using the widget on the right side of my blog.


Hope October 3, 2007

Filed under: children,eating local,ecological footprint,hope — pdxbob @ 5:19 am

Tonight’s Ecological Footprint class featured a presentation by Charlie Stephens of Adjuvant Consulting. Charlie is a seventeen-year veteran of the Oregon Department of Energy and an expert on energy systems for homes. As someone in the class said to me afterwards, he should be where Al Gore is, giving his presentation to the masses. I learned a bit about heat pumps, phantom energy use, and how much it is going to take for everyone in America to avoid an energy crisis (50% reduction in space heating and cooling in our homes to begin with). A daunting task but something that we must get to work on now. Here is a link to a pdf of a similar presentation that he made.

I was pretty tired when I got home tonight, so I tried to go to bed after taking the dogs out. But I couldn’t sleep because I was troubled by the enormity of the task of figuring out what to do to (pick one) (a) save the planet, (b) help starving children, (c) keep more of the kids in the US from being so idle that they turn to crime or drugs…

In my last post I challenged readers to state or to think about what they are or could be doing to give our children hope for the future. So here’s my own answer. Although I have some technical skills with computers, the thing that I get most excited about is opening up possibilities for others. This can be in the form of tutoring a student in math, getting neighbors to think about the climate crisis, or contributing money toward the building of a theatre to give young artists in Cambodian villages a stable place to practice their art.

Tonight, after hearing Charlie Stephens describe several ways to enhance existing home hot water heating systems, I raised my hand and explained that this information was great for the twenty-five or so people there in the room who would take this information home and maybe think of applying it, but the real issue is how do we get the larger population motivated to do something about this? It is the answer to that question that motivates me. I can study how to improve my own house’s ecological footprint but how do I not only reach a lot of people but actually help move them toward significantly reducing their footprints and embracing renewable resources?

This summer I was exposed to the slow food movement which led Maria and I to subscribing to an organic produce delivery service. Eating local, eating organic, they became a passion (they still are, just more routine now that we have a regular delivery). And I’m pleased with the progress that that switch to eating more local food is also reducing our ecological footprint. Taking this message to others, encouraging others to eat local and organic, is another way to feed the hope of our children. Geez this is almost sounding like one of those tv commercials about giving twenty dollars to feed a hungry child. But it feels real, even if it sounds cliche.


A Healthy Sense of Hope October 2, 2007

Filed under: children,future,global warming,hope,parenting — pdxbob @ 9:18 pm

Here’s an inspiring story written by Sonja Waters of about how those of us who are parents (and yes, the non-parents of our generation) have to help our children (and other peoples’ children) develop a healthy sense of hope about the future. The story is punctuated with a somewhat humorous dialog between Sonja, her teenage daughter who is having climate nightmares and her mother (the grandmother in the story). There was a lot that our generation (essentially the baby-boomers) have done for clean water, clean air and tolerance of differences in our society, but the gloom and doom of the future exists for our kids. They see big, big problems, melting ice caps, suicide-bombers, the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons, and wonder whether the world will end in their generation.

So what are we doing about giving them a sense of hope? We tell children not to talk to strangers, to avoid fast-food (at least most of the time) and to study really hard to get ahead (ahead of whom?). Are we really preparing them well for the future? I’ve worked hard for over twenty years in my career, a testament to my children that hard works sort of pays off. Both of my children understand the importance of working hard. But that’s not enough. As role models for the young (yes, that’s us, not Kobe, certainly not Roger Clemens, maybe, maybe Tom Brady) we should be doing our best to make the world a better place for our children and that requires effort.

So, what are you doing to make the world a better place for our children?