Collaboration Quote of the Month

March 31, 2011

“When we dream alone, it is only a dream. When we dream together, it is no longer a dream but the beginning of reality.”

– A Brazilian Proverb

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Mountain Rider’s Alliance Presenting Project in Alaska

February 25, 2011

Mountain Rider’s Alliance to present Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project

Mountain Rider’s Alliance Project Manager, Dave Scanlan, outlined a proposal for the Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project at the Girdwood Library last night, Thursday, February 24th, 2011.  With over 50 locals in attendance, there was a question and answer session afterward, with a lot of proactive community feedback.

Manitoba Mountain is located at Mile 49 on the Seward Highway at the site of the Historic Manitoba Ski Area and the Glacier Ski Lodge that operated from 1941 to 1959. The earliest recorded history of skiing on the Kenai Peninsula was in 1790. Anchorage is located 90 minutes away and there is a population base of 325,000 within a three-hour drive. At a base elevation of 1,250 feet, this region of the Chugach Mountains receives an estimated 350-550 inches of snow annually.

Manitoba Ski Area is a MRA pilot project designed to be small on infrastructure and big on mountain. The proposed lifts are surface tows designed to give riders supreme access to and from world class high angle backcountry terrain, while at the same time providing excellent beginner, intermediate, and advanced inbounds skiing experience.

Additional plans include creating and maintaining Nordic, snow shoe, snow machine, and dogsled trail systems through the historic mining sites of the Summit Lake Recreation Corridor, helping to support the year round operation of Summit Lake Lodge.

“One of the Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project’s primary goals is to bring economic stability to the communities of Hope, Sunrise, Moose Pass, and Cooper Landing by creating a centrally located destination to create local jobs and foster additional private sector economic activity by redeveloping the downhill, and Nordic ski opportunities in the Summit Lake Recreation Corridor,” states Project Manager Dave Scanlan.

Both wind and hydro energy creation opportunities exist in the area. The State of Alaska has set an ambitious goal to supply 50% of the state’s energy from renewables by 2025. This goal has been laid out in the new House Bill 306, passed in June 2010.

MRA is an emerging group of like-minded global ski and outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to sustainable, low impact ski centers with an emphasis on the community, environment and skiing. More information about the MRA is available at their website. MRA will be offering reasonably priced investment shares to both the local and global ski communities to help fund the revival of Manitoba Mountain.

“We have entered the preliminary stages of the permitting process and while we expect this to be a lengthy multi-year process, we are fully committed. We will be hosting many public outreach meetings to solicit the public’s comments and ideas to assist us in sculpting the best possible facility with community involvement,” said Scanlan.

Mountain Rider’s Alliance has forged partnerships with many respected organizations that share the same values. Some of these partners include Protect Our Winters, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Sustentator, High Fives and Ski Duck.


Help Exploited 1-800-Flowers Workers by Voicing Your Concern for their Rights

February 8, 2011

Valentine’s Day, which accounts for 40% of fresh flower sales annually, is fast approaching.

If you’re planning to order a bouquet from 1-800-Flowers — the world’s largest florist — you should know where most of those flowers really come from.

At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia — the countries that export the most to the U.S. — two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, they’re routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces.

Many retailers — such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop — have taken the important first step of offering Fair Trade flowers to consumers who want no part of these abuses. Fair Trade certified farms must adhere to strict standards for workers’ rights, which prevents the abuses described above.

1-800-Flowers is the largest florist in the world. Yet they offer no Fair Trade flowers at all.

Please let your voice be heard that 1-800-Flowers must join other major retailers in offering Fair Trade flowers.

1-800-Flowers uses a certifying agency called Florverde, which ensures that its flower farms measure up to certain environmental standards — this is a good thing. But Florverde has almost no labor standards: A farm can be certified even if it uses forced labor.

This is the week before Valentine’s Day — more people will purchase flowers during the next seven days than any other week this year. This is our best collective opportunity to demand a promise from 1-800-Flowers to join its competitors in offering Fair Trade flowers.

One way to get involved is to sign a petition. Please share the message widely and post on Facebook — do everything you can to pressure 1-800-Flowers to show a little respect for the women who toil in unbearable circumstances. The women without whom they’d have no flowers to sell.

And to know your voice makes a difference…since Change.org began this campaign, the company has contacted them, expressing that it will post more information on its website about the farms that supply their flowers. Obviously this is a far cry from selling fair trade products

Thanks for taking action and doing your part in ensuring employees globally are protected — especially during the most favored floral gift period of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


SkiDUCK: A Favorite Nonprofit Helping Underprivilidged Kids Ski Free

February 1, 2011

I am certain that I am living the quality of life that I am living for one reason alone: my passion for skiing.

Coming from a middle class family, it was a sport that if I wanted to do it I would need to find a way to get up the hill, a way to buy a ticket, and a means to having good winter gear. Luckily, my parents helped on the clothing and equipment part, but the rest was up to me. To make it happen, I got a job at 12 at the local ski area and bummed rides from fellow employees or family friends that were heading to the mountain. It was a fabulous experience for me, it helped me grow as a person; learning a strong work ethic, independence, reliance on self, and above all a means to learning self-love that stopped me from being attracted to a life that would of left me in whole-lotta trouble, in jail or dead.

So when I look back upon my 33 years of skiing, I am so grateful for what the sport brought into my life. But I am sad also…because I know that there are thousands of children that could also have an access to a positive outlet, yet are left behind due to lack of cash.

It is no joke that skiing is one of the most expensive sports around, but there is a great non-profit based out of Lake Tahoe that is helping youth connect with a soul sport for free…SkiDUCK. I had an inspiring interview with founder, Clint Lunde, awhile back. Since that chat, the organization has gotten over 200 kids on the slopes.

With all certainty, SkiDUCK will positively affect the life of at least one child, making their life much better for the long term.

Here’s a video from a recent event they had at Tahoe Donner:

If you live in California and would like to get involved, SkiDUCK is always looking for volunteers, helpful funding or winter gear. For those that can share some time on the hill, SkiDUCK will give you a free lift ticket in gratitude for your collaboration in helping underprivileged children feel the wonder and stoked-ness of being out in the mountains.

Contact SkiDUCK for more information.

See ya on the hill!


WITIA Members Step Forward with Flood Relief Initiatives in Australia

January 19, 2011

Queensland, Australia: Members of Women in Tourism International Alliance (WITIA), headquartered in Gold Coast, Queensland, are wasting no time in coming to the assistance of victims of unprecedented flooding in the state of Queensland. While the tourism-dependent regions of the Gold Coast, Whitsunday Islands and Cairns have escaped flooding and are all open for business, state capital Brisbane and central Queensland were hard hit. These areas are beginning the slow process of recovery.

Within hours of WITIA’s first emailed appeal, local area members came forward to volunteer for humanitarian and clean-up efforts that assist flood victims. According to Beryl Ley, WITIA Communications Director, no WITIA members were directly affected by the floods. “However our members were in the first wave to pitch in with the huge task of cleaning up. Even before flood waters began to recede, we had members raising money for victims through spontaneous street gatherings organized on the Gold Coast. On ‘Salvation Saturday,” our members joined an estimated 12,000 residents unaffected by flooding to travel to Brisbane by bus as part of a massive mop and bucket brigade. Other members have been sorting and packing needed supplies such as non-perishable food, toiletries, clothing, bedding and toys to be distributed to evacuation centers.”

Beyond immediate aid, WITIA members are setting up programs to provide needed funds for the long recovery period. One outstanding example is WITIA member Louise Kearney of Sydney-based Accommodation Auctions On Line. Kearney has solicited donations of vacation packages from properties in Australia, Bali, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Thailand that will go on auction during February 2011. One hundred percent of the auction proceeds will be donated to the floods appeal. Kearney expects to raise between AUD $30,000 – $50,000 with this initiative.

Says Kearney, “We need everyone’s help to make this a real success. We urge you to donate or recommend donors of accommodations, tours, attractions, cruises, flights and transfers – whatever items can attract bids at auction. Furthermore, donors whose solicitations sell at auction will receive a donation receipt made out to them from the Queensland government. Accommodation Auctions is donating our systems and programs to make this happen efficiently and fairly.”

To offer assistance or to get more information, contact Kearney at sales@accommodationauctions.com. As her website is international, this opportunity is open to WITIA members and other tourism businesses around the globe.

WITIA President Mary Mahon Jones adds, “It is heart-warming to see WITIA members respond so quickly. Adelaide member Gudrun Tamandl of Cruise Connection started the ball rolling with an offer of free accommodations for a displaced family. WITIA itself has made a monetary donation. Our call continues to our global membership – be generous in using the power of tourism to help victims in calamitous circumstances, whether in Queensland or other stricken areas.”

Women in Tourism International Alliance (WITIA) is a global networking association for people in travel, tourism, hospitality and related industries. WITIA works to promote and enhance business opportunities and promotes the value of tourism to foster cultural understanding and peace worldwide. It supports charitable causes that offer care and protection to women and children, assists young people in the industry and contributes to the protection of the planet’s natural resources.

For more information, please contact Anne Isaacson, Secretary, at secretary@witia.org.


Collaboration Quote of the Month

December 28, 2010
“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.”


“I Am Only A Child” Youtube Video Example that Children Know More than Our Governments

December 21, 2010

Why is it that a young girl can speak so eloquently about global challenges that we as adults stumble over?


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