Good People Doing Good Things — Inspiring Youths

I must apologize, but tonight I simply cannot write a new ‘good people’ post and instead will do what I have only done once before — repeat one from January 2018.  You will read about three really big-hearted young people and they will make you smile, even if you read it two+ years ago.  My humble apologies, but I hope you will enjoy this repeat.


Yesterday I wrote a piece about integrity, and bemoaned the fact that we seem to have lost ours along the way.  Today, I would like to shine a spotlight on some young people who still have their values, who still have integrity, who still believe in helping others and making a difference.


Campbell Remess

Meet Campbell Remess, age 13. Campbell, nicknamed Bumble by his little sister, lives with his family in Hobart, Tasmania.  (Tasmania, for those who might have thought it was only the fictional home of the Tasmanian Devil, is an island state off the southern coast of Australia.)  So what, you ask, does Campbell do?  He makes teddy bears!  Yes, you heard me right … he sews teddy bears in, according to his mum, almost all of his spare time.

Campbell RemessIt all started when Campbell was nine years old and asked his parents if he could buy Christmas gifts for sick children, for he wanted to do something to brighten their spirits. His parents had to turn down his request, for Campbell is one of nine children and … well, money, y’know?  Still, Campbell was a determined young lad, and so he found a pattern for a teddy bear online and with a bit of help from his mom, managed to craft what would become the first of more than a thousand such bears.

So, what does Campbell do with the bears?  Well, every week he hand delivers some to sick children at the Royal Hobart Hospital near his home.  He also sends his bears to sick children all over the world, and has a special bear he makes, the Winning Bear, for cancer patients to hold onto during treatments and at those down times.  He has even sent bears to victims of terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. But it doesn’t end there …

campbell remess 2.jpgMore recently, Campbell started auctioning some of his bears on eBay, and donates all proceeds to charity.

“I put them online for auction for people to buy and all money goes to charity. My top bear sold for $5,000. On eBay they sell for about $1,000 to $2,000.”

Campbell says he lost count of how many bears he has made, but estimates it is somewhere between 1,200 – 1.400.  His goal is to make a bear a day, or 365 per year.  What I liked most about this young man is his attitude, his heart, when he said …

“Everyone can do something like this, it isn’t too hard to do it. I think the world would be a lot happier if everyone was kind and helpful and not mean, and if everyone had a teddy bear.”


Ryan Hickman

We are often amazed when young people start their own business, perhaps fresh out of college, or shortly thereafter.  But I believe Ryan Hickman may qualify as the youngest person ever to start his own business.  Ryan Hickman started his business at the ripe young age of 3½, and now, at age 7, is the CEO, manager, and sole employee of Ryan’s Recycling Company in Orange County, California.

Ryan HickmanWhen he was 3½ years old, Ryan Hickman visited the rePlanet recycling center in California, and found his life’s mission. The next day, standing in the family’s driveway with his dad, he pointed down the street and made an announcement: “My new business! I’m going to pick up all the cans and bottles from everyone in the neighborhood.” And that is just what he did!

To date, according to Ryan’s website, he has collected over 290,000 cans and bottles for recycling, and from his profits has donated nearly $6,000 to Pacific Marine Mammal Center.  He has also managed to save some $11,000 from his profits, which his dad, Damion Hickman, says will go toward college.  Ryan, however, has other ideas:  he wants to buy a full-size trash truck and eventually become a garbage man.  Any bets who wins that argument?

Ryan Hickman 2Last year, Ryan was invited to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and Ellen then surprised him with a mini golf cart to help him with his recycling business, and also gave him a check for $10,000! When Ellen asked him why he likes recycling so much, he replied, “It’s because bottles get to the ocean and then animals get sick and die.”

He’s only seven years old, so it’s hard to predict what path this young man’s life will take, but one thing is for sure … he is doing good things and his heart is in the right place.


Haile Thomas

How many kids eat mostly healthy food?  Probably not a lot, but 16-year-old Haile Thomas of Tucson, Arizona, is on a mission to change that.  Haile’s mother began teaching Haile how to cook when she was only five years old.  At age ten, after completing a Girls Making Media workshop, Haile was greatly inspired to share her cooking adventures with other kids and thus was launched her online cooking show, Kids Can Cook.

Haile Thomas Al RokerHaile Thomas does not just cook, but she COOKS!  She puts me to shame, and I am fairly adept in the kitchen.  In 2013 she appeared on the Today show and cooked black bean and corn quinoa salad with garlic shrimp and avocado, a dish she had previously cooked up for first lady Michelle Obama as part of the first Kids’ State Dinner.

“I started asking questions about where my food comes from and what I was eating.”

She signed up for the youth advisory board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which aims to combat childhood obesity, and from there started working with local chefs doing cooking demonstrations.

“The alliance and the chefs really inspired me and got me to where I am now.”

Her show, Kids Can Cook, teaches kids how to prepare nourishing meals for themselves, with recipes that call for simple ingredients.

Haile Thomas.jpgAnd if that’s not enough, Haile travels around the nation talking about her mission and has been awarded several grants for her service programs, HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyle) and the Healthy Girl Club. She is the founder and director of the Tucson-based HAPPY Organization, Inc., which serves to improve the health and wellness of Arizona youth and families.

“I hope to make a difference by inspiring other kids to embrace a healthy lifestyle, and become educated about how good and bad food affects their bodies, overall health and quality of life.”

And she’s only 16.  She has most of the adults I know beat for understanding, practicing and teaching good nutritional values.  Imagine what a difference this young woman will make.  Move over Emeril!

Haile-Obamas.jpg


I have two others, but I have already surpassed my self-imposed word limit, so I shall save them for another day.  Friends … we see so much pure evil every day in the news, and I spend the bulk of my time writing about that evil.  Every now and then, it does us all good to pull ourselves up out of the dark places and look around us, for when we do, we see that there are many, many people out there countering the evil, doing good things for others.  These three young people serve as an inspiration, give us hope that perhaps all is not lost, and that there is still conscience and integrity in the world.  My hat is off to these three and all the others out there doing good things.  Until next Wednesday … SMILE!

Profit Over People

You may remember my post, Profiting from a Crisis last week and my frustration that the plastics industry is attempting to profit from the pandemic crisis by insisting that single-use plastics are safer than re-usables.  Then I stumbled across this story  yesterday. It is part of a joint investigation with the PBS series Frontline that includes the documentary Plastic Wars, that premiered March 31 on PBS stations and online.  If this one doesn’t raise your hackles, I don’t know what will.  I’ll let the story speak for itself …

Plastic Wars: Industry Spent Millions Selling Recycling — To Sell More Plastic

Editor’s note: NPR will be publishing stories from this investigative series in the weeks ahead, even as we focus our current coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. But here’s a look at some of our key findings. You can watch the full documentary film from this investigation on the PBS series Frontline.

For decades, Americans have been sorting their trash believing that most plastic could be recycled. But the truth is, the vast majority of all plastic produced can’t be or won’t be recycled. In 40 years, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled.

In a joint investigation, NPR and the PBS series Frontline found that oil and gas companies — the makers of plastic — have known that all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

Here are our key takeaways from our investigation:

Plastics industry had “serious doubt” recycling would ever be viable

Starting in the late 1980s, the plastics industry spent tens of millions of dollars promoting recycling through ads, recycling projects and public relations, telling people plastic could be and should be recycled.

But their own internal records dating back to the 1970s show that industry officials long knew that recycling plastic on a large scale was unlikely to ever be economically viable.

A report sent to top industry executives in April 1973 called recycling plastic “costly” and “difficult.” It called sorting it “infeasible,” saying “there is no recovery from obsolete products.” Another document a year later was candid: There is “serious doubt” widespread plastic recycling “can ever be made viable on an economic basis.”

The industry promoted recycling to keep plastic bans at bay

Despite this, three former top officials, who have never spoken publicly before, said the industry promoted recycling as a way to beat back a growing tide of antipathy toward plastic in the 1980s and ’90s. The industry was facing initiatives to ban or curb the use of plastic. Recycling, the former officials told NPR and Frontline, became a way to preempt the bans and sell more plastic.

“There was never an enthusiastic belief that recycling was ultimately going to work in a significant way,” says Lew Freeman, former vice president of government affairs for the industry’s lobbying group, then called the Society of the Plastics Industry, or SPI.

Another top official, Larry Thomas, who led SPI for more than a decade until 2000, says the strategy to push recycling was simple:

“The feeling was the plastics industry was under fire, we got to do what it takes to take the heat off, because we want to continue to make plastic products,” Thomas says. “If the public thinks the recycling is working, then they’re not going to be as concerned about the environment.”

More recycling means fewer profits for oil and gas companies

In interviews, current plastics industry officials acknowledged that recycling the vast majority of plastic hasn’t worked in the past. But they said the industry is funding new technology that they believe will get recycling plastic up to scale. The goal, they say, is to recycle 100% of the plastic they make.

“Recycling has to get more efficient, more economic. We’ve got to do a better job collecting the waste, sorting it,” says Jim Becker, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.’s vice president of sustainability. “Five, 10 years ago, the industry response was a little more combative. Today, it truly is not just PR. We don’t like to see [waste in the environment] either. We really don’t. We want to solve this.”

But the more plastic is recycled, the less money the industry will make selling new plastic. And those profits have become increasingly important. Companies have told shareholders that profits from using oil and gas for transport are expected to decline in coming years with better fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric cars. Industry analysts expect oil and gas demands from the chemicals industry will surpass the demand from the transport side in the coming decade. Plastic production overall is now expected to triple by 2050, and once again, the industry is spending money on ads and public relations to promote plastic and recycling.

Plastic is now more prevalent than it’s ever been and harder to recycle. Gas prices remain at historic lows, making new plastic cheaper than recycled plastic. And the industry now produces many more different — and more complex — kinds of plastics that are more costly to sort and in many cases can’t be recycled at all. Efforts to reduce plastic consumption are mounting nationwide, but any plan to slow the growth of plastic will face an industry with billions of dollars of future profits at stake.

Yet another example of big business’ and the GOP’s motto:  Profit Over People.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am more determined than ever to stop using single-use plastics.  It’s way past time for industries to find a viable alternative … but they won’t do so until we force them to.

Collision Course

Our friend Hugh’s post tonight is spot on … not a post that’s going to make you chuckle and hum a happy tune, but certainly one with a message that we all need to hear … again and again … until we wake up. Thank you Hugh, for the reminder, and for giving me carte blanche to share your work.

hughcurtler

I suggested in a response I made to a comment on a previous post that humanity is most assuredly on a collision course between global warming, on the one hand, and the expanding human population, on the other hand. The irony of ironies is that the growing human population seems to be, for the most part, oblivious to both of these problems! Perhaps it is denial on a grand scale? To be sure, most of us would prefer to ignore unpleasant facts. But be that as it may, the two opposing forces cannot possibly survive together. Something must give.

As long as we continue to think it is better to drive our gas-guzzlers and turn up the thermostat rather than ride a bike, drive smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or put on a sweater when we are cold — while at the same time we embrace the notion that large families…

View original post 603 more words

Good People Doing Good Things — Inspiring Youths

Yesterday I wrote a piece about integrity, and bemoaned the fact that we seem to have lost ours along the way.  Today, I would like to shine a spotlight on some young people who still have their values, who still have integrity, who still believe in helping others and making a difference.


Campbell Remess

Meet Campbell Remess, age 13. Campbell, nicknamed Bumble by his little sister, lives with his family in Hobart, Tasmania.  (Tasmania, for those who might have thought it was only the fictional home of the Tasmanian Devil, is an island state off the southern coast of Australia.)  So what, you ask, does Campbell do?  He makes teddy bears!  Yes, you heard me right … he sews teddy bears in, according to his mum, almost all of his spare time.

Campbell RemessIt all started when Campbell was nine years old and asked his parents if he could buy Christmas gifts for sick children, for he wanted to do something to brighten their spirits. His parents had to turn down his request, for Campbell is one of nine children and … well, money, y’know?  Still, Campbell was a determined young lad, and so he found a pattern for a teddy bear online and with a bit of help from his mom, managed to craft what would become the first of more than a thousand such bears.

So, what does Campbell do with the bears?  Well, every week he hand delivers some to sick children at the Royal Hobart Hospital near his home.  He also sends his bears to sick children all over the world, and has a special bear he makes, the Winning Bear, for cancer patients to hold onto during treatments and at those down times.  He has even sent bears to victims of terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. But it doesn’t end there …

campbell remess 2.jpgMore recently, Campbell started auctioning some of his bears on eBay, and donates all proceeds to charity.

“I put them online for auction for people to buy and all money goes to charity. My top bear sold for $5,000. On eBay they sell for about $1,000 to $2,000.”

Campbell says he lost count of how many bears he has made, but estimates it is somewhere between 1,200 – 1.400.  His goal is to make a bear a day, or 365 per year.  What I liked most about this young man is his attitude, his heart, when he said …

“Everyone can do something like this, it isn’t too hard to do it. I think the world would be a lot happier if everyone was kind and helpful and not mean, and if everyone had a teddy bear.”


Ryan Hickman

We are often amazed when young people start their own business, perhaps fresh out of college, or shortly thereafter.  But I believe Ryan Hickman may qualify as the youngest person ever to start his own business.  Ryan Hickman started his business at the ripe young age of 3½, and now, at age 7, is the CEO, manager, and sole employee of Ryan’s Recycling Company in Orange County, California.

Ryan HickmanWhen he was 3½ years old, Ryan Hickman visited the rePlanet recycling center in California, and found his life’s mission. The next day, standing in the family’s driveway with his dad, he pointed down the street and made an announcement: “My new business! I’m going to pick up all the cans and bottles from everyone in the neighborhood.” And that is just what he did!

To date, according to Ryan’s website, he has collected over 290,000 cans and bottles for recycling, and from his profits has donated nearly $6,000 to Pacific Marine Mammal Center.  He has also managed to save some $11,000 from his profits, which his dad, Damion Hickman, says will go toward college.  Ryan, however, has other ideas:  he wants to buy a full-size trash truck and eventually become a garbage man.  Any bets who wins that argument?

Ryan Hickman 2Last year, Ryan was invited to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and Ellen then surprised him with a mini golf cart to help him with his recycling business, and also gave him a check for $10,000! When Ellen asked him why he likes recycling so much, he replied, “It’s because bottles get to the ocean and then animals get sick and die.”

He’s only seven years old, so it’s hard to predict what path this young man’s life will take, but one thing is for sure … he is doing good things and his heart is in the right place.


Haile Thomas

How many kids eat mostly healthy food?  Probably not a lot, but 16-year-old Haile Thomas of Tucson, Arizona, is on a mission to change that.  Haile’s mother began teaching Haile how to cook when she was only five years old.  At age ten, after completing a Girls Making Media workshop, Haile was greatly inspired to share her cooking adventures with other kids and thus was launched her online cooking show, Kids Can Cook.

Haile Thomas Al RokerHaile Thomas does not just cook, but she COOKS!  She puts me to shame, and I am fairly adept in the kitchen.  In 2013 she appeared on the Today show and cooked black bean and corn quinoa salad with garlic shrimp and avocado, a dish she had previously cooked up for first lady Michelle Obama as part of the first Kids’ State Dinner.

“I started asking questions about where my food comes from and what I was eating.”

She signed up for the youth advisory board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which aims to combat childhood obesity, and from there started working with local chefs doing cooking demonstrations.

“The alliance and the chefs really inspired me and got me to where I am now.”

Her show, Kids Can Cook, teaches kids how to prepare nourishing meals for themselves, with recipes that call for simple ingredients.

Haile Thomas.jpgAnd if that’s not enough, Haile travels around the nation talking about her mission and has been awarded several grants for her service programs, HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyle) and the Healthy Girl Club. She is the founder and director of the Tucson-based HAPPY Organization, Inc., which serves to improve the health and wellness of Arizona youth and families.

“I hope to make a difference by inspiring other kids to embrace a healthy lifestyle, and become educated about how good and bad food affects their bodies, overall health and quality of life.”

And she’s only 16.  She has most of the adults I know beat for understanding, practicing and teaching good nutritional values.  Imagine what a difference this young woman will make.  Move over Emeril!

Haile-Obamas.jpg


I have two others, but I have already surpassed my self-imposed word limit, so I shall save them for another day.  Friends … we see so much pure evil every day in the news, and I spend the bulk of my time writing about that evil.  Every now and then, it does us all good to pull ourselves up out of the dark places and look around us, for when we do, we see that there are many, many people out there countering the evil, doing good things for others.  These three young people serve as an inspiration, give us hope that perhaps all is not lost, and that there is still conscience and integrity in the world.  My hat is off to these three and all the others out there doing good things.  Until next Wednesday … SMILE!