The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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The Cathedral Within

Bill Shore’s book The Cathedral Within affected me profoundly. It described…..”a new movement of citizens who are tapping the vast resources of the private sector to improve public life.” In 1999, when it was released, you felt like you had only two choices: to make money in the private sector or do good working in the public sector. The Cathedral Within proposed a new model and showed, through the stories of innovative entrepreneurs, how it was possible to combine both.

Much has changed since then. More options are available to those of us who want to make a good living and make a positive impact in our communities. Here are a few.

Benefit Corporations, a type of for profit corporate entity, authorized by 35 states and the District of Columbia, that includes a positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals, in that the definition of “best interest of the corporation” is specified to include those impacts. The first benefit corporation was authorized in Maryland in 2010.

B Corporation: B-Lab is a certifying organization that “creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that shift the behavior, culture, and structural underpinnings of capitalism. We mobilize the B Corp community towards collective action to address society’s most critical challenges.

They are working to build the “B Corp movement to change our economic system — and to do so, we must change the rules of the game. B Lab creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that shift the behavior, culture, and structural underpinnings of capitalism. We mobilize the B Corp community towards collective action to address society’s most critical challenges.

Fair Trade: The concept of fair trade has been around since the 1940’s. It started with hand-made crafts and has grown over these many years to include, not just the coffee and chocolate many of us know about, but products for our homes, gardens, pets and personal care.

Fair Trade certification requires passing regular, rigorous evaluations by third-party auditors that track transactions along the supply chain between more than 1,200 companies and nearly 500 producer organizations.

Becoming Fair Trade certified opens up new markets for businesses so their products compete in international markets. 

“Certified entities can sell their products with the Fair Trade Certified label or seal. In addition, a percentage of the profits, called the Fair Trade Premium, goes back to the producers, farmers, and workers to promote sustainable incomes and safe working conditions. For consumers, the label or seal provides assurance that the products meet Fair Trade’s exacting standards and requirements.”

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Fighting Terrorism With Jobs

In a Nigerian hotbed of terrorist activity, entrepreneur Kola Masha founded Babban Gona to bring jobs and stability to his home country.

The north of Nigeria is the hotbed of terrorist activities owing to the operation of Boko Haram and other bandits. Also, the Niger Delta area is another hotbed for homegrown insurgents. There are various reports about how economic factors drive disaffected people into radical groups….For Masha, the only way to make Nigeria secure again is to cut off the oxygen to radical groups: no jobs, no wages, and inability to feed one’s family.

To learn more about Babban Gona, about its impact in the region or if you want to help, please stop by their website.

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Toward a Circular Economy: Trash Picking Over half of the world’s population doesn’t have a formal waste disposal scheme in place. One hundred years ago, when the ubiquitous material known as plastic had not yet been invented this may have been okay. People composted; containers were made of paper, cardboard, cloth, glass, and other materials […]

via Toward a Circular Economy: Trash Picking — Green Life Blue Water

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Avishi Organics Combines Ayurvedic and Wellbeing Elements in New Pregnancy and Baby Skincare Collection

BETHESDA, Md.Jan. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Avishi Organics today announced the launch of its skincare line that combines deeply nourishing plants and herbs exemplified in Ayurvedic texts, with aroma-therapeutic oils to provide a wholesome, luxurious experience for pregnancy, new mamas and babies.

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Antiquarian Book Fair

The antiquarian book world’s first major gathering of 2020 entails three book fairs, one auction, and several related exhibitions.

The biggest of the three book fairs, the CA International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena, is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage in its social media campaign, its special exhibition, Votes for Women, and in the range of related materials that booksellers will be offering, such as the ca. 1922 edition of poems pictured above. Written by noted British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst during one of her terms in prison, it is a scarce volume, with no other copies shown in auction records in the past forty years according to Shapero Rare Books of London, which will be showcasing it in booth 503, priced at £3,750.

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Wholesum Fair Trade


Wholesum Farms  came up in my news feed again today.  I was thrilled to read they are expanding their fair trade offerings. A portion of the proceeds from these products, as well as others in their Fair Trade line will be funneled into Wholesum’s community development fund.  This is a great example of how an agricultural firm can take the needs of their workers into account when setting corporate policy.

In a recent news release, Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer, touted the company’s Fair Trade program.

“What makes this (Fair Trade) certification so remarkable is the fact that 100% of community development funds generated from the sale of Fair Trade produce go back to our workers and helps them tackle needs such as healthcare, housing and education,” Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum’s chief commercial officer, said in the release. “The workers vote on how these funds are allocated, and that in itself is very empowering.”

Wholesum produce can be found at Whole Foods Market and Jewel Grocers in the Midwest.  They may not be carried under the Wholesum label, but be sure to look for the Fair Trade Guarantee!


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Socially Relevant Film Festival

Did you know there is a socially relevant film festival in New York? The festival was started by Nora Armani in 2015 to focus…

“on socially relevant film content, and human interest stories that raise awareness to social problems and offer positive solutions through the powerful medium of cinema. SR believes that through raised awareness, expanded knowledge about diverse cultures, and the human condition as a whole, it is possible to create a better world free of violence, hate, and crime.”

I strongly urge people in the greater New Yorker area to watch the festival trailer, bookmark the festival’s website and to make plans to attend screenings at the Cinema Village.

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Fair Trade Fortnight Helps Farmers and Their Families

Helen Mead summarizes what Fair Trade means to farmers and their families in the developing world where…

many workers face harsh living conditions, low pay and exploitation. They do not have access to even basic medical care or an education for themselves or their children.

The global Fair Trade movement helps to remedy this by providing a living income for some of the world’s poorest farmers and workers.

Fairtrade Fortnight, in the Bradford district puts this vital work in the spotlight from now until Sunday March 10.  This year also marks 25 years of Fairtrade in the UK.

Bradford district has been a Fairtrade Zone since 2006, fulfilling a range of criteria to gain this status. This includes having a variety of Fairtrade products in the area’s shops and cafes, demonstrating the use of Fairtrade products in local workplaces and establishing a local Fairtrade steering group.

Stop in if you are in the area.  Events this year include:

A Fairtrade stall in Baildon Co-op promoting Fairtrade in four local schools, a Fairtrade breakfast at Bradford Cathedral, a Fairtrade afternoon tea and chocolate tasting at St. John’s Church.

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Back on track and going strong

The 2020 elections have already started.  In their bid for office, candidates and their surrogates have spent hours of air time and columns of print on income inequality, climate change and social division. These issues are not new to the readers of The Noah Project.  We’ve been talking about them, among ourselves, for years.

In fact, The Noah Project was established over five years ago as a counterbalance to the seemingly endless  stream of negative articles about rampant consumerism, corporate predation, crony capitalism and social breakdown.  We wanted to present our readers with positive ideas they might find intriguing, initiatives they might not have been aware of and organizations they could work with to effect change.

Below the surface of all that bad news, movements were being born and nurtured; La Via Campesina, an international peasants movement working to improve the lives of millions of peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world.  The Democracy Collaborative founded in 2000 at the University of Maryland as a research center dedicated to the pursuit of democratic renewal, increased civic participation, and community revitalization. The Fair Trade Federation, tracing its roots to the late 1970’s when individual alternative trade organizations began holding yearly conferences.  Incorporated formally as the North American Alternative Trade Organization in 1994, it changed its name to The Fair Trade Federation the following year and has been dedicated to expanding markets for artisans and farmers around the world.

We are thrilled about resuming The Noah Project and look forward to bringing you a more focused site, with more targeted content in the months and years to come. Keeping a site like this running is challenging and time consuming.  If you are interested in contributing in any way, please contact me at