What the “elephant whisperer” teaches us about listening

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When Lawrence Anthony died, elephants he had rescued and released years ago, showed up to mourn at his graveside.

Here’s what his wife wrote:

“Tonight at Thula Thula, the whole herd arrived at the main house home to Lawrence and I. We had not seen them here for a very long time. Extraordinary proof of animal sensitivity and awareness that only a few humans can perceive. And Lawrence was one of them. Thank you for your wonderful messages. Lawrence’s legacy will be with us forever at Thula Thula.”

They stayed for two days and two nights and then left. Some share this story as proof that animals mourn. But anyone who has had animals knows this already. There is a bigger…

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A war criminal & humanitarian

Anne Spoerry

Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers ever, but the last decade has revealed a series of affairs, transgressions, and DUI’s. He’ll play in the Masters this weekend. Is Tiger back? I’m not much of a golf fan, but I’ll keep tabs on him as he makes his way through Augusta National.

Mother Teresa is a saint and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. She’s also criticized for not giving patients in her clinic adequate medical attention despite pulling in huge sums of money. She had dubious political connections and held dogmatic views on abortion, divorce, and contraception.

Can we accept the good works of people while acknowledging their mistakes and flaws?

While researching WHERE AM I GIVING? I came across…

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I love republicans

KTNKU

Speaking at NKU about Donald Trump, but not about Donald Trump

Two days after the November 2016 election, I spoke at Northern Kentucky University to a few hundred first year students. What would I tell them?

After the election, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that Trump won. Annie came down stairs in tears. We knew what it could mean for our health insurance that we buy from healthcare.gov. We’re heavy insurance users. Between paying our premium and hitting our deductible in February, we paid about $20,000 in 2017.

Could our son with autism be seen as a preexisting condition and denied insurance that pays for his therapy?

The election seemed to validate racism, sexual assault, and a lack of basic decency, kindness, and empathy.

I decided I…

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An opportunity to Give to The Legend of Kenya


(Rozy Mbone shares her dream of having a safe place for those in her community to escape a life of crime)

I was in Kenya researching WHERE AM I GIVING and I met a young woman named Rozy in the Korogocho slum of Nairobi.

Rozy and her friends were all former gang members. There were few opportunities to make a living in their community, so they lived a life of crime surrounded by death, violence, prostitution, and robbery.

A woman named Selline Korir visited Korogocho and talked about peace and encouraged Rozy to leave her old life behind. Rozy did and soon the others followed and now they promote peace and dialogue in a community where death and violence are everyday life.

We often think our lives have…

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4 Questions one of the most effective NGOs asks before giving

 

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Benter showing me her greenhouse in Kenya

I visited GiveDirectly in Kenya this summer and write about them in Where Am I Giving? GiveWell ranks GD as one of the most effective nonprofits in the world. GD gives direct cash payments to extremely poor families and allows them to make their own decisions on how to spend that money.

I don’t think all giving can be measured, but GD’s impact can, and they measure it better than almost any other NGO. So when it comes to asking question about how to give and whom to give to it’s worth listening to their advice.

GD’s 4 questions to ask before giving:

1. Can I tell where my dollar (or pound, mark, etc.) will go? This…

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Giving Rules

I’ve spent much of the last 15 years talking to people about giving, meeting amazing givers, and reading books and research about giving. I’m currently writing my 3rd book, Where Am I Giving? A global adventure exploring how to use your gifts and talents to make a difference, and since it is the “giving season,” I thought I’d chime in with a few things I’ve learned about giving.

(Note: Many of these are offered without context and some of them may even seem contrary to one another. I welcome arguments and suggestions.)

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Giving Rules

#1 You can give more.

#2 Gifts can be as small as a financial donation and as big as a smile.

#3 Gratitude first, then…

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Chef feeds Puerto Rico despite FEMA telling him he lacked the experience

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For the most part it’s a bad idea to show up to a disaster area to “help.” You’d just be another mouth to feed and keep hydrated. This is the case, of course, unless you have some special skill.

José Andrés is a chef who came to Puerto Rico organized chefs and served more than 2.2 million meals.

From the NY Times:

Since he hit the ground five days after the hurricane devastated this island of 3.4 million on Sept. 20, he has built a network of kitchens, supply chains and delivery services that as of Monday had served more than 2.2 million warm meals and sandwiches. No other single agency — not the Red Cross, the Salvation Army nor any government entity —…

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Fake News Even Worse in Developing Countries

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(Me reporting in Nairobi)

I was in Kenya for the election in August.

The day of the election and for a few days after, most places were closed and most people were holed up in their homes watching the election play out on the news and on social media.

The network news only reported on the results and the leaders’ opinions of those results. One candidate said that it was rigged and mishandled. The supreme court later agreed with him.

Meanwhile, friends who lived in slum communities across Nairobi were sending me pictures via WhatsApp of people who had been shot and killed by the police, or taken out of their homes and beaten.

None of this was on the news.

Some images on Twitter…

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9 ways to eat healthier in college

IMG_6726A few years ago I lived in a dorm at University of Illinois for a week as an artist-in-residence. At breakfast there was french toast. At lunch and dinner dessert. I think I put on 5 pounds that week. It’s not easy to eat healthy in college. 

Besides, buffet-related eating issues, someone in your dorm is always looking for someone to go in on a late night pizza. My dad put on the freshman 60! He played point guard on the basketball team at Tiffin University, and pretty much fueled himself on donuts and beer, so the legend goes. 

I asked my friend, Claire Moorman, a dietetics major at University of Cincinnati, to offer some tips on eating while in college. Please share with…

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