I started the "Light a Candle Campaign" in which women reach out to one another and offer words of encouragement. Participating only takes three minutes. You phone three women and leave a one-minute message of appreciation for each. Over a hundred people have made calls so far—and it's working. They say they feel better, and the people they've left messages for feel great, too.
— Rebecca Evans, 40
Check Out a Digital Book
My colleagues and I developed the International Children's Digital Library, the largest digital collection of books for 3- to 13-year-olds. We've made the books available for free in 38 languages because research has shown that sharing personal experiences can change attitudes, and we believe reading will help children learn to value tolerance. As they gain respect for diverse cultures and ideas, they'll find their own new ways to save their world.
— Allison Druin, 43
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Send Flowers with Power
A bouquet of flowers might be laden with penalties. Those that are grown with conventional techniques contribute to the contamination of groundwater through fertilizer and pesticide runoff. The International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) reports that two-thirds of Colombian and Ecuadorian flower workers suffer work-related health problems. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization estimates that 20 percent of Ecuadorian flower workers are children.
I am opening a store to provide consumers with flowers that fully reflect the heartfelt sentiment they embody. My flowers will be environmentally friendly, and my goals include reducing environmental pollution, supporting local economies and supplying fresher flowers by selling locally grown produce.
— Hannah Ling, 31
New York City
Not Just a Pretty Dress
Together with fashion designer Malcolm Harris and model Lydia Hearst, I work on a project called Designers for Darfur (DFD). In February of 2008, we gathered over 30 designers and thousands of fans at a New York Fashion Week event to increase awareness and raise funds to support humanitarian efforts in Darfur.
During the upcoming New York Fashion Week, we'll collaborate with the Deitch Projects Gallery to produce another benefit show with artists. We expect to educate even greater numbers of influential New Yorkers. This project has proven to me that by doing each of our parts in our home and work environments—for me, this happens to be fashion in New York—we can all work toward an improved world.
— Melanie Harris, 28
New York City