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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

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Shane McKenna: October Changemaker Of The Month

Shane McKenna, an entrepreneur and inventor, has tackled global hunger as his latest effort. He’s invented an affordable hydroponic garden that can produce food in the harshest of environments, even in places where water is scarce. Readers chose Shane as the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for October 2018.

Shane is presently conducting a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, working to raise the money to begin scaling up this solution to global hunger.

It is also worth noting that Shane was officially our guest on episode number 1000 of the Your Mark on the World Show.

As the Changemaker of the Month for October, Shane will receive an autographed copy of Your Mark on the World and ten lifetime, all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school, the online school for changemakers.

Be a hero! Join the elite group of supporters who ensure that stories like this can continue to be shared! Visit heroes4good.org to become a hero now.

In The Battle Of ‘Man Against Nature’ We Won And Lost

We who live out west are accustomed to driving long distances across open expanses, leading us to conclude that the world is vast, and we are small. Highway signs still mark the distance to the next town with food, gas and lodging, reinforcing a worldview that suggests a struggle of “man against nature,” one that nature is sure to win.

Across rolling Idaho farmland, the Grand Tetons loom in the distance. Credit: Devin Thorpe

Across rolling Idaho farmland, the Grand Tetons rise in the distance. Credit: Devin Thorpe

E.O. Wilson, the environmentalist, launched a movement and wrote a book by the title, Half Earth. I read the book long ago enough that I no longer remember its words, though I remember its point. We must preserve half the earth in its natural form so it remains available to the creatures who depend on it and to our posterity who, absent our commitment, will not experience its marvel, magic and majesty.

I found this endangered grizzly foraging for food in Yellowstone after the first snow fall. Credit: Devin Thorpe.

I found this endangered grizzly foraging for food in Yellowstone after the first snowfall. Credit: Devin Thorpe.

Returning from Yellowstone National Park for a short weekend as a tourist of the lowest variety, I reflect on the constant, natural reminders of Wilson’s work and movement.

The Park is not merely a place of beauty and serenity for people to see. It is a natural habitat for endangered species including grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines and bald eagles. It is also a living laboratory, a unique place where science can be conducted to better understand the planet’s geology.

Yellowstone's inherent beauty is not limited to what we see but includes what we learn. Credit: Devin Thorpe

Yellowstone’s inherent beauty is not limited to what we see but includes what we learn. Credit: Devin Thorpe

Yellowstone seems so much bigger than it is. While it requires days to see thoughtfully and would continue to surprise residents of many years, it is smaller than Connecticut and larger only than each of the U.S. states Delaware and Rhode Island, but not their total area. At 3,471 square miles, it is smaller than a square 60 miles on each side.

The total area of all National Parks in the U.S. is 81,563 square miles, just over 2 percent of the 3,796,742 square miles in the country. These are not our only protected areas, of course. The total protected area in the U.S. covers 499,800 square miles or about 14 percent of the land area of the U.S., still far short of Wilson’s goal.

The apparent scale of Yellowstone is an illusion. Credit: Devin Thorpe

The apparent scale of Yellowstone is an illusion. Credit: Devin Thorpe

So, I leave Yellowstone committed to E.O. Wilson’s movement to protect half the earth as natural space, knowing that time is short and already we must undo damage done, in some cases restoring land to its natural habitat rather than just protecting it.

One key to our success will be helping those of us who live in “flyover states,” so dubbed precisely because they are large and relatively sparsely populated, to recognize that in the battle traditionally framed as “man against nature,” humans won—and in the winning lost.

There are fewer than 1 million elk on the planet, meaning there are 7,400 times more people. Credit: Devin Thorpe

There are fewer than 1 million elk on the planet, meaning there are 7,400 times more people. Credit: Devin Thorpe

Ironically, driving across our large open spaces—mostly corporate farms and ranches–we’ve learned the wrong lessons, concluding the world is vast and we are small. In fact, we populate the world in vast numbers and the earth is small and effectively shrinking. We must act now to protect and preserve it.

Changemaker of the Month for October: Choose Now!

You can help choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the month for October 2018 right here. We have 11 great candidates for your consideration. You can read more about each candidate–and watch the interview with them–by clicking the link next to each name.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500. The winner will also be qualified for the 2018 Changemaker of the Year award, which will include a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates. Voting ends Friday, October 5, 2018 at 5:00 PM MDT. Please note that employees of the Your Mark on the World Center and our sponsors, including CaringCrowd and Johnson & Johnson, are not eligible and so are not listed below.

Don’t vote in the comments below. Scroll in the box above or click here.

Haitian Social Entrepreneur Who Launched a Global Publishing Platform For Women Chosen As Changemaker of the Month

Your Mark on the World readers chose Haitian social entrepreneur and publisher Daniella Jacques as the Changemaker of the Month. Daniella is a powerhouse who seeks to empower women by sharing news by, about and for them–giving them relevance in places where they’ve never had it before.

Watch my interview with her to hear her story in her own words.

Daniella has recognized from her earliest memories that women face challenges in the world that men don’t face, don’t understand and seem not to care about. Women are often not even in the room when men do talk about their issues.

She says it is time that women were part of the discussion. She launched Women’s Dophen News to be a platform for news relevant to women, not only in Haiti but around the world. She is already publishing in four languages, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English.

My take: Daniella Jacques will change the world and her name will become very familiar.

Be a hero! Join the elite group of supporters who ensure that stories like this can continue to be shared! Visit heroes4good.org to become a hero now.

Vote Now! Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month – September 2018

You can help choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the month for September 2018 right here. We have 17 great candidates for your consideration. You can read more about each candidate–and watch the interview with them–by clicking the link next to each name.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500. The winner will also be qualified for the 2018 Changemaker of the Year award, which will include a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates. Voting ends Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5:00 PM MDT. Please note that employees of the Your Mark on the World Center and our sponsors, including CaringCrowd and Johnson & Johnson, are not eligible and so are not listed below.

With First-Ever Tie, Congratulate Our Changemakers of the Month

In a first, Your Mark on the World readers tied in their voting, in effect choosing a pair of Changemakers of the Month for August 2018: John Patterson, the person behind SightBox and Doug Heske and Alex Meek, the founders of Newday Investing.

Headshot of John Patterson

Dr. John Adam Patterson

John Patterson is the principal at St. Vincent’s School for the Blind; there he and the students have created a collection of tools that engage visually impaired students and are making it available–with the support of Rotary–to students who could benefit from it in the developing world.

Watch my full interview with John Patterson in the player below.

Doug Heske and Alex Meek founded Newday Investing, a platform where you can start investing with purpose and mission for just $5. Newday allows you to choose to participate in one or more of six different mission-aligned portfolios. You can even invest in all six portfolios with just one investment of $5. Now you can start investing as an impact investor.

Headshots of Doug Heske and Alexander Meek

Doug Heske and Alexander Meek, courtesy of Newday Investing

Watch my interview with Doug and Alex below.

As the winners, John, Doug and Alex will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World and both teams will receive 10 all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school.

Choose Now! Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month – August 2018

What I love most about my work is meeting the amazing people who join me on my show every month. In July, we produced 16 episodes of the show, representing a diverse group of changemakers, working around the world to leave their mark on it.

You get to choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for August 2018 by voting below. The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates. Voting ends Friday, August 10, 2018 at 5:00 PM MDT.


Meet Eva Yazhari: Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for July 2018

Congratulations to Eva Yazhari, the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for July 2018. Every month, Your Mark on the World readers choose a guest from the show to recognize.

Eva is an impact investor who manages a nonprofit fund, Beyond Capital, that invests in social enterprises in the developing world. Operating as a nonprofit allows the fund to attract professional resources on a pro-bono basis, making investments of about $75,000 each economically viable for both the investors and the entrepreneurs.

You can see my full interview with Eva here:


Yazhari says the fund is now in the process of raising a $2 million round of grant funding, she hopes to close in October, noting that $800,000 is already committed. That should allow the fund to make another 18 investments.

So far, the first fund has a paper return of 30% IRR, based on the valuations of the companies that have gone on to raise additional funding. The goal, she says, is to be able to reinvest the profits from the fund in more companies, ultimately allowing the nonprofit to become “financially sustainable” by 2024.

Eva Yazhari, Beyond Capital

Yazhari’s heart is in this work. She says she has been inspired by her grandfather who started a hospital in Tanzania in the late 1950s. She’s found a way to honor his legacy by leveraging her Wall Street experience to build a nonprofit that is now reaching more than 2.3 million people.

As the winner, Eva will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World and 10 all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school.

The Last Mile in the Polio Marathon Is a Real Pain–But This Isn’t About Us

The eradication of polio has proven to be much more difficult than Rotary expected when it formally launched the PolioPlus initiative with the US Centers for Disease Control in 1988. Estimating a cost of $125 million for the job, Rotary raised $250 million to start its official race to end polio. Over $10 billion has been spent to date and close as we are, the finish line has not been reached.

Similarly, in 2014, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative comprising Rotary, the World Health Organization, the CDC, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set out an “End Game Strategy” to put polio behind us once and for all by 2020. Twice since that time, the GPEI has had to acknowledge that targets weren’t met and that more time and money will be required.

It is as if having run 25 miles in a marathon, we’ve come around a bend to see the biggest hill of the race so far and the finish line is still not in sight. We know it’s close, but we don’t know how many hills to climb, rivers to cross or boulders we may have to move to get there.

When Rotary began the effort to beat polio in the mid-1980s, there were about 350,000 cases of polio each year. Last year, there were just 22, representing a drop of more than 99.99 percent. Already in 2018, however, we’ve had 11 cases compared to just six at this point last year.

It is clear there are obstacles between us and the finish line, but hope is not lost. The biggest challenge in this race is the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. Unvaccinated children in this region move around, sometimes ending up in cities, infecting children far from the fighting. In June, a cease-fire was reached between the Taliban and the Afghanistan army. The truce held and has been extended.

While there is no word yet on vaccination efforts during the cease-fire, you can be assured that all members of the GPEI are looking to this opportunity to bring the finish line clearly into view.

It is important to remember, however, that the marathon metaphor for the eradication of polio is a poor one. It puts the emphasis on the runners. The effort to end polio is not about the runners; it’s about the 15 million children who didn’t get polio over the past 30 years. It’s about creating a polio-free world where no child will ever be paralyzed by the disease again. A world where no mother will ever again be faced with the challenge of raising a child who may never walk again.

 

Vote Today! Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month – July 2018

Every month, I host a group of amazing people on my show. Each one inspires me more than the last. In June, we produced 13 episodes of the show, representing a diverse group of changemakers. From teenagers to experienced entrepreneurs, we met a wide range of people devoting time and talent to leaving their mark on the world.

You get to choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for July 2018 by voting below. The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates.

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