It is not with any infrequency that I get asked the "what else can I do" question. People and families who are already buying local and organic foods, being conservative in their fuel and electricity consumption, composting and recycling, and plenty of other "beginner" steps, email me to ask, "so what else can we do?" To this I give two answers: get others on board (as in, encourage your neighbors) and volunteer.
There are hundreds of thousands of worthy organizations out there doing tremendously good work, but they could do so much more with a little extra help — your time, talents or money. I have a few favorite organizations that I support: The Organic Center (of which I am a board member), microfinance institutions like FINCA, other food and environmental groups, and another recent favorite: The Breast Cancer Fund. Here's why I'm so into The Breast Cancer Fund.Later this week I have the great honor of hosting the Luna Fest film festival premier in San Francisco. This is a festival of films by women, for women and about women, providing a showcase for female filmmakers with a social message. But Luna Fest is about a lot more than inspiring women and filmmakers to find their voice, it also provides women with an opportunity to raise money for their local communities and organizations.
The Luna Fest premier in San Francisco benefits their primary cause: The Breast Cancer Fund. While there are numerous breast cancer groups out there, there aren't many that focus on what I find to be an extremely important issue: the environmental causes of breast cancer. Given that only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases are caused by genetics, we are finding more and more than science is pointing to toxic chemicals, radiation and other environmental elements as the reason for the recent and dramatic rise in cases of breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Fund identifies and works to eliminate the environmental and other preventable causes of breast cancer. Pretty cool, huh?
This, to me, is a worthy cause. So, because of that, I'll be donating a couple of days of my time to support this organization and the Luna Fest team to encourage and inspire women in their art, and to further the efforts of research and advocacy for The Breast Cancer Fund.
But here's the best part about Luna Fest: it doesn't stop with the kick-off event in San Francisco. Women everywhere have the opportunity to sign up to host a Luna Fest film festival. They are given all of the necessary elements — the templates, the films, and all other essential materials. At each event 100% of the proceeds go to charity; with 15% going to The Breast Cancer Fund while the remaining 85% is given to a nonprofit organization of choice from the local community. This means that if you host it, you get to choose which nonprofit reaps the monetary reward.
So, if you're a woman and in that "what else can I do" mode, this is what you can do. Pick your charity, gather some friends, and sign on to host a Luna Fest party. Because change may start at home, but massive change occurs when we encourage others to get on board, and support those groups that are already working to make all of this happen.
Sara Snow is a green living expert and regular contributor to TreeHugger via her Green Eyes On column. She can also be seen on CNN.com on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Her new DVD Growing Green Babies is now available through SaraSnow.com.
More on Breast Cancer Prevention from TreeHugger:
Pure Prevention: Breast Cancer and the Environment
Lights Out Ladies: Brightly-Lit Neighbourhoods Associated With Breast Cancer
Think Before You Fall For Cause-Related Marketing
Quote of the Day: Jeanne Rizzo on Cancer and the Environment