Monday, November 30, 2009

Featured Travel Site: Germany Christmas Markets: Travel Blog

Featured Travel Site: Germany Christmas Markets: Travel Blog

Link to Travel Blog

Featured Travel Site: Germany Christmas Markets

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 06:26 PM PST

December in Europe means Christmas Market time, and some of the best markets can be found in Germany.

My Round the World Adventure

My Round the World Adventure

Build a School, Win a Backpack

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 11:25 AM PST

passports with a purposeAs travelers, we take a lot from the world- food, people, experience but we rarely give back from the world we take so much from. Luckily, opportunities always present themselves.  Last year, Pam Mandel from Nerds Eye View, Beth Whitman from Wanderlust and Lipstick, Debbie Dubrow from Delicious Baby, and Michelle Duffy from WanderMom created an organization that allows travelers to give back.

The site, called Passports with a Purpose, rounds up travelers to donate products that are then raffled off. Those proceeds then go to charity. This year the proceeds go to building a school in Cambodia. I remember going to Cambodia when I first backpacked Southeast Asia.  I loved the country but was shocked at how little development there was.  Gas stations were just bottles on the side of the road and people zoomed by in motorcycles holding up IV bags to keep the pressure.  The Khmer Rouge did a number on the country and, as part of their reign of terror, destroyed the education system. They demolished schools and killed anyone with half a brain.

passports with a purposeThis year, the Passports with Purpose fundraising effort is supporting American Assistance for Cambodia (AAfC) with the goal of building a school. We hope to raise $13,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia.

As part of that effort, I am donating an Kelty Coyote Backpack. It comes in red or blue and retails at $160 USD. Kelty makes good packs. I see them used all over the world and knock offs all over Asia. And you know, if they are making a knock off, it must be good!

For each $10 donation that you make to AAfC, you will will be entered in the giveaway(s) of your choice. The fundraiser closes on December 21 with all proceeds go right to AAfC. And remember, all proceeds are tax deductible.

Come and participate. Even if you don’t like all the other prizes being given away (A LOT of people are involved), donating 10 dollars to the education of a nation is not that much to ask.

So again the site to go to and donate at is Passports with a Purpose. I hope you do. This is a great cause to be involved in!

©Nomadic Matt's Travel Site. Learn to have your blog pay for your travels!

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

Latest Post from Travel Wonders of the World

The Little Yellow Train (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 01:25 AM PST

A small bright yellow train with cherry red trim has meandered its way through the French Catalan Pyrenees near the Spanish border, connecting remote and isolated mountain villages for over 100 years. Popular with travellers, le train jaune tracks through dramatic alpine scenery over towering bridges, tunnels gouged through the mountains and a number of viaducts.The train departs from the travel

Read the full story at

Saturday, November 28, 2009



Trashy Times: Where Do Recycled Gadgets Really Go?

Posted: 28 Nov 2009 10:00 AM PST

[ See more under Nature & Ecosystems or in the History & Trivia category ]

e-waste dumps

Do you know what really happens to your electronics after you’re done with them? If you send them to a recycling facility, there’s a good chance that they’ll actually end up in countries like China, India or Ghana, where local workers risk their health to scavenge valuable materials from the discarded objects. The harmful waste resulting from these recycling centers often ends up in the local air and water stream, endangering the health of everyone in the vicinity.

melting boards in guiyu

salvaging electronics guiyu

It was only in 2001 that a light was first shone on these dangerous practices. Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network traced the path of “recycled” electronic waste – laptops, PCs, monitors, cell phones and TVs, for example – from North America to China, where workers make $6-$8 a day handling toxic materials with no protective clothing or masks. His video footage caught the attention of environmentalists around the world, but despite the outrage the practice still isn’t exactly illegal.

electronic waste dumps guiyu

recycling electronics guiyu

U.S. regulations concerning e-waste are murky at best, with no clear federal guidelines on how the e-waste should be handled. The lack of clear regulations leaves it up to individual companies to decide how to deal with their old electronics. Sadly, that means that many of them are shipped overseas where people, even young children, expose themselves to toxic substances to get at the small scraps of precious metals inside.

e waste dump guiyu china

Recently, a research group from the University of British Columbia visited e-waste sites in Ghana and Guiyu, China. Their findings were put together into the short documentary “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground” which aired on PBS (you can watch it online here). The conditions at the e-waste dumps were deplorable. Young boys burned plastic pieces to uncover the metal inside, while usable electronic parts were sold at open-air markets. Among the parts available for purchase were hard drives with retrievable personal information still intact.

recycling used electronics

While it is certainly up to the consumer to erase their personal data from hard drives before disposing of it, it’s easy to see why they believe that their information will not be compromised. Many recyclers, such as those in the PBS video, promise that the electronics will be completely melted down and only the precious metal components salvaged. However, as the researchers found, an alarming number of those recyclers pack the electronics into shipping containers and send them off to developing countries because it’s simply cheaper and easier for them.

mountains of recycled laptops guiyu

(images via: Artsyspot)

There are some reputable e-waste recyclers out there that have invested the time and money into developing a much more sustainable recycling program. Unfortunately, because there are so few government regulations in the industry, it’s up to the individual consumer to research the company they entrust their old electronics to.

Keep Going - Check out this Great Related Gajitz Article:

Illuminating Reuse: 15 Recycled Lights and Lamps

Traffic lights, egg cartons, cardboard and other junk materials are transformed into brilliant light fixtures in these recycled lamp designs. 43 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

15 of the Wackiest Green Gadgets and Technology

The green technology industry is booming, and some eco inventions - like a biodegradable coffin coffee table - are just plain weird. 7 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

3 Brilliant Ways to Create Recycled Marine Habitats

Adaptive reuse is usually used to refer to buildlings that are converted for humans ... but what about ones that are made into new homes for marine life? 7 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

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