Charity Tuesday: Reef Check Foundation

Reef Check Foundation logoThe Reef Check Foundation is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. Our coral reefs are in danger due to over-fishing, illegal fishing and pollution. Virtually no reef in the world remains untouched by human impact. Founded in 1996 by marine ecologist Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check strives to educate the public about this  crisis and the value of reef ecosystems. The organization is headquartered in Los Angeles and has volunteer teams in over 90 countries who monitor and report on reef health, and produce ecologically and economically sustainable solutions to the problem of damaged reefs, while stimulating local community action to protect any remaining pristine reefs, worldwide.

There are several ways to get involved, from making a donation on the website or becoming a Reef Check member, to volunteering and participating in educational projects hosted by Reef Check. These include a “What Do Reefs Mean to You?” Photo Contest, an Artists for Reefs Gallery where artists can display their marine-themed art, and even a Singing Contest aimed at helping young people learn more about the marine environment.

This #charitytuesday, spread the word about a different kind of water charity! Visit Reef Check’s website to learn more about ways you can help restore this natural and beautiful part of creation.


Asthma Rates Increase Despite Improvements in Outdoor Air Quality

Asthma Despite improvements in outdoor air quality, and despite the elimination of  secondhand smoke via indoor smoking bans in some cities across the U.S., a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the number of people diagnosed with asthma in the U.S. increased by 4.3 million between 2001 and 2009. The increase occurred among all demographics, though a higher percentage of children reported having asthma than adults. The numbers were especially high among boys and the highest increase in asthma rates was among black children.

Interestingly, the CDC stated that, “While we don’t know the cause of the increase, our top priority is getting people to manage their symptoms better.”

Is it just me, or is the entire problem evident in that one statement? I think the CDC may need to reorganize its priorities. After all, they are the Centers for Disease Control AND PREVENTION. And, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…

Symptom management typically means more prescription drugs and more money spent on unhealthy corticosteroid medications that both insured and uninsured people with asthma already can’t afford. It means putting a band-aid on the symptoms of the disease rather than addressing the root cause and helping to prevent even more increases in asthma rates in the coming years. Essentially, we are merely sweeping the problem under the rug. How about, instead of managing symptoms, we get to the root of the problem? How about, instead of simply assessing the (strange) fact that asthma rates have indeed gone up in the last eight years, we assess WHY they have gone up and try to fix that so that the rates go down in the years to come? That would really save on health care costs in the long run, wouldn’t it?

The first recommendation made by the CDC for reducing asthma rates is improving indoor air quality. Simple actions like regularly changing your air filters, having a few indoor plants, keeping the inside of your house clean, minimizing or eliminating the use of fragrances and products with toxic chemicals indoors, and using a shower filter to rid toxic chlorine from your shower water, can drastically reduce the amount of harmful pollutants that trigger asthma attacks, within the home. Schools and workplaces may be a little more difficult. Lower-income schools may not be able to afford the types of renovations needed to reduce asthma triggers. However, money spent on educating asthma patients on how to improve their quality of life naturally, rather than on prescription drugs and healthcare, will go a lot farther in the long run.

Do you agree?

May is Asthma Awareness Month. Spread the word by re-tweeting and sharing this post!

Update: Oasis Places iPhone App

Oasis Places for iPhoneWe just wanted to post a quick update on the status of the OasisPlaces iPhone App. Two days ago, we wrote about WeTap – an upcoming Android App that maps water fountains. In that post, I mentioned the OasisPlaces app – another application that maps water fountains – for the iPhone. I had tried to find the app on my iPhone that morning but didn’t see it in the App Store, and wrongly assumed that iPhone users would not have access to this sort of feature until WeTap expanded its reach to other mobile devices.

A representative from Thermos came across that post and saw fit to contact us with an update on the status of OasisPlaces. I received the following e-mail today:

Hello Selwa,

I hope all is well. I represent Thermos and saw your post today about not being able to find the OasisPlaces water fountain finder app they launched last year:

I wanted to let you know that OasisPlaces is only down from iTunes temporarily for some app upgrades, and will be reposted to iTunes very shortly. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s back up and running, as we have some exciting things planned for this summer.

Let me know if you have any questions!



So, as you can see, Android phones are not the only devices that will enable you to locate the nearest water fountain. iPhone users, don’t forget your reusable water bottles when you leave the house!