Ecotrust, Oregon ecotrust.org/foodfarms/ —The local food movement has found some powerful advocates in recent years. One of the most interesting of them is this Portland-based conservation organization, which has become a champion of local farms and food producers, and of children in need of a healthy diet by lobbying for a comprehensive farm-to-schools lunch program for the state’s nearly 600,000 public school students.
Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada raincoast.org— Hugging 250 miles of Canada’s coastline, from north of Vancouver Island to Alaska, Great Bear Rainforest is the largest remaining tract of coastal temperate rainforest in the world. Yet until a broad and farsighted accord was reached last year between environmentalists, the government, industry, and the First Nation tribes, all of the forest valleys were open to being clear-cut—a particularly devastating form of logging. The formation of Great Bear Rainforest is proof that diverse groups can work together to save natural areas, finding ways to balance commercial activities with a commitment to preservation.
Ten Thousand Villages, Akron, Pennsylvania tenthousandvillages.com —One of the world’s oldest and largest fair-trade nonprofits, Ten Thousand Villages offers training and assistance to more than 50,000 artisans from 32 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The organization, which sells these artisans’ work in 180 outlet stores and online is more than just a nonexploitive middleman between craftsmen in developing countries and consumer markets in the West. In addition to using market principles to lessen poverty, it helps communities reinvest their earnings in human capital, including education and health care.
The Emancipation Network, East Sandwich, Massachusetts madebysurvivors.com —There are more slaves in the world today than ever before—as many as 27 million people are currently in bondage, according to credible estimates. Despite more than 300 conventions and international treaties banning slavery and the slave trade, human bondage persists on every continent, in every country in the world. The Emancipation Network, a "for benefit" start-up, contains both a business that sells products made by slavery survivors, and a charitable arm. The latter takes the profits from the sales of the products and reinvests them in groups that keep the survivors free and prevent others from becoming slaves.
Green Hotel Initiative
Jungle Bay Resort & Spa, Southwest Dominica junglebaydominica.com —Long dependent on the banana trade, which suffered terribly in the 1990s, the Caribbean island of Dominica has seen its level of poverty approach 40 percent in recent years and unemployment hover above 20 percent. The pioneering Jungle Bay—a collection of sustainably-built cottages set on lushly forested land—has been at the forefront in exploring new opportunities in tourism for the island’s residents, and in fostering a brand of tourism in Dominica that exploits neither natural surroundings nor local communities.
Terra Resort Group, Jackson Hole, Wyoming hotelterrajacksonhole.com—The Terra Resort Group, a new hotel company with its first property opening soon , has a vision: to make sustainability invisible. The six-story Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole aims to achieve the highest levels of design and service established by its boutique-hotel competitors, but to do so while adopting sustainable practices. This will be a mainstream "green" hotel, one of very few in the country to achieve the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and certainly the most luxurious hotel to meet these green-building benchmarks. Most ambitiously, Hotel Terra is planned as the flagship of the 12 to 15 sustainable luxury hotels the Terra Resort Group hopes to open by 2015.