We thank the followingand those unknown persons, groups,agencies, organizations and governments for their loving and selfless actions that bring meaningful comfort and assistance to others.May your lives be graced by the Divine with evermore joy and fulfilling reward.South Africa
South Africa announced that US$1.3 billion will be earmarked to improve the education of children with disabilities.
China’s Hope Project will fund US$60 million for the construction of 254 primary schools and other facilities for learning, sports, and entertainment across 33 counties in Sichuan Province.
Japan donates US$9.5 million to assist displaced persons in Mindanao, Philippines, including the distribution of 7,500 metric tons of rice through the UN World Food Program.
Her Excellency Sheikha Jawahar bint Hamad bin Suhaim al-Thani and the Hima Fund
Her Excellency Sheikha Jawahar bint Hamad bin Suhaim al-Thani, wife of Heir Apparent of Qatar, donated US$1 million to establish the Hima Fund to protect birds and their habitats facing conditions of climate change.
United Nations World Food Program
The UN World Food Program has delivered emergency humanitarian aid to over 18,000 internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
European Union and the United Nations
The European Union funded the United Nations Mine Action Center program that cleared 9,000 mines in Cyprus at the end of 2008.
Ethiopia announces complete withdrawal of troops from Somalia with transfer of security to African Union peacekeepers.
The Mine Advisory Group
The Mine Advisory Group cleared and destroyed over 2,500 landmines in Moxico province in Angola in 2008 and conducted 245 educational sessions on public safety.
Myanmar is immunizing 7.4 million children under 5 years old to prevent diseases such as polio, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B.
Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez
Venezuela unveiled 14 additional medical centers built in disadvantaged areas in the country, and free health care is provided to the public in more than 1,000 higher-level care facilities as part of the Mission Barrio Adentro program established by President Hugo Chavez.
The United States General Services Administration
The United States General Services Administration bans designated smoking rooms, smoking in court yards or within 25 feet of passage ways and air intake ducts of federal buildings.
New Zealand’s Liquor Licensing Authority passed new laws on alcohol sales that resulted in alcohol-free corner stores.
Ghana’s President John Kufuor and Zambia’s President Rupiah Bwezani Banda
Outgoing Ghanaian President John Kufuor pardoned over 500 first-time offenders who had served more than half their sentences, as well as commuting all death sentences, while Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda commuted 53 inmates who had been sentenced to capital punishment Formosa (Taiwan)Formosa (Taiwan) begins granting Tibetans overstaying their visas to temporary
Cuba and Ecuador
Cuba and Ecuador now enjoy reciprocal visa-free travel.
Sri Lanka grants citizenship status to 25,500 displaced Indians, many of whom have been living in refugee camps in India’s Tamil Nadu for the past 25 years.
Saudi Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Saudi Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, President of the Red Crescent Society, visits Palestinians being treated in Saudi Arabia and pledges to spare no efforts in assisting them.
Formosa’s (Taiwan) Ministry of Education is providing subsidies to ensure that students can pursue their studies even if their parents become unemployed.
The US House of Representatives has approved a children’s health insurance bill that, if approved by the president, will offer health care for 11 million low income families.
The International Renewable Energy Agency has been created in Bonn, Germany, dedicated to the development of sustainable energy; 75 countries signed the new agency’s treaty at the first meeting.
Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont
Eleven states in the US belonging to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – have agreed to develop a regional “Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”
Japan and India
Japan aims to curb climate change while boosting its economy by creating up to 1 million new eco-friendly jobs by 2015; meanwhile, India launched a renewable portfolio standard nationwide, mandating all utilities to purchase 5% of their energy from sustainable sources.
Romania bans free plastic bags and encourages the use of biodegradable or recycled bags to facilitate more responsible green living for Romanians.
Kansas and Iowa
The US state of Kansas has unveiled plans to invest in clean energy sources for greenhouse gas reductions, while the US state of Iowa’s Climate Change Advisory Council is proposing initiatives to achieve reductions in carbon emissions.
Tesco, a United Kingdom retail chain, has developed the Environmental Design Tool to help monitor the company’s green choices and, thus, reduce its carbon footprint.
California, USA, has seen a record year in 2008 of 133 megawatts of solar energy installed, made possible by the California Solar Initiative, federal tax reductions, and lower cost financing for sustainable energy available in the state.
Nigeria and Uganda
In Kano state in Nigeria, the Ministry of Environment and the state’s Afforestation Project organized a two-day workshop to train farmers on tree planting to ease desertification, while the State Minister for Environment in Uganda announced the establishment of four national tree planting days throughout the year.
Nokia India launched a program that recycles and plants a sapling for each old mobile phone and accessories of any brand that mobile phone users dropped off at Nokia stores.
United Kingdom retailers
Retailers in the United Kingdom are refilling their stocks with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs instead of the conventional 75- and 100-watt bulbs.
The city of Margao, India, will ban the use of all sizes of plastic carry bags.
Björk, Iceland’s most prominent celebrity and singer-songwriter, establishes the Björk Fund to help rebuild the country’s economy and sustainability.
Dr. David Pencheon
Dr. David Pencheon, Director of the National Health Service Sustainability, proposed menu options without meat or dairy in British hospitals.
Ysgol-y-Graig, a newly opened Welsh eco-school in Anglesey, North Wales, is built from sustainable timber, generates its own electricity from the photovoltaic tiles and a wind turbine, and features a green roof that provides a natural habitat for flora and fauna.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and His Royal Highness Prince Charles
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II or Britain is converting two of the state limousines to run on non-food crop biofuels, while His Royal Highness Prince Charles has already converted one of his cars to run on bio-ethanol.
New York City Precincts 6, 11, and 68
Precincts 6, 11, and 68 in New York City, USA, closed the year 2008 with a zero incidence of fatal crimes.
Iranian artist Ferideh Lashai is donating a portion of the proceeds from his solo exhibition in Adliya, Bahrain to Palestinian children in Gaza.
Kybera Youth Self Help Group and Su Kahumbu
Kybera Youth Self Help Group in Kenya wanted to start a garden in a waste-filled area, and with the help of Su Kahumbu, founder of organic grower organization Green Dreams, Ltd., set up an organic farm that now feeds about 30 families.
8-year-old Kristopher LaCombe from Virginia, USA, saved his mom’s life when he found her unconscious and called 9-1-1, calmly giving all the necessary information that expedited the process to rush his mom to the hospital.
Professor Hicham Idriss and international scientists team
Professor Hicham Idriss and a team of international scientists at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have been working on a technology that uses ethanol from biofuels to produce hydrogen more effectively with no toxic byproducts.
German carmaker Smart
Smart, the German carmaker, plans to bring the electric version of the two passenger Smart Car version to the United States in 2010.
The US Senate
The United States Senate has passed a number of conservation measures to safeguard millions of hectares of parks, rivers, streams and trails in the nation, with a key proposed law, the National Landscape Conservation System Act, that would permanently protect 10.5 million hectares of government land.
Philippine Environment Secretary Lito Atienza halted the removal of more than 300 trees by developers of a US$120 million hotel project in the Philippines, and instructed them to incorporate mature trees into the development design to save the environment.
Humane Society International
The Humane Society International brought care to millions of animals around the world in 2008, which included assisting animals affected by disasters, working toward eliminating animal testing in the European Union, and campaigning to band seal trading in Europe and Canada.
Nineteen-year-old Yasmien Kurdi, well-known Philippine singer and actress, appeared in two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific ads that promote a meat-free diet.
13-year-old Charlie Sobcov of Ottawa, Canada, invented a removable window decal that employs a special ultraviolet paint for birds to recognize as a solid object in order to prevent their deaths from collision with building windows.
Đỗ Nhật Nam
Seven-year-old Đỗ Nhật Nam of Hà Nội, Âu Lạc (Vietnam), a master of ceremonies on Vietnam Television (VTV 2 and VTV 3), set the record of being Âu Lạc’s youngest translator and has donated to a children hospital unit a portion of the proceeds from a book he authored, “First-grade, Oh First-grade.”
Mr. Sigmund Wilhelmsen of Australia gave a 12-year-old boy a second chance when the boy tried to steal his car twice in one night by buying the boy a computer to help him improve his life.
Wildlife Conservation Society & Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks
The US-based Wildlife Conservation Society and Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks have just completed a study in which over 600 endangered Asian elephants are discovered living in Taman Negara, the largest national park in Malaysia.
Environ-mentalists and legal scholars
An increasing number of environmentalists and legal scholars are advocating an independent legal standing for beings such as trees, rivers and animals, to more effectively preserve their existence and protect their rights.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Environment Ministry has halted nearly 60% of the country’s timber contracts, which will save almost 13 million hectares of forests from logging.
Holistic Asia and Positive TV
Holistic Asia, an online spiritual magazine, seeks to inspire readers by providing articles on ecology, spirituality, and health, while Positive TV reports on a wide variety of topics such as health, sustainability, education, peace and the arts.
Newton Running, an American sports shoes company, has designed a shoe box made of 100 percent recycled cardboard and has also replaced paper stuffing in each shoe with a pair of socks and a reusable shoe bag.
Graduate students at Bagdhad University’s College of Fine Arts
Graduate students at Bagdhad University’s College of Fine Arts in Iraq began a project in 2008 with the slogan “Farewell to Arms” to transform weapons into works of art.
15 Australian police officers
Fifteen local Australian police officers’ swift action saved the life of 11-year-old Cameron Rose when they strategically moved him through a crowd of 10,000 people on Sydney Harbor to a medical vehicle as he was suffering from a brain hemorrhage.
Aulacese (Vietnamese) college students
Over 3,000 college students in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) visited and helped a number of orphanages and homes for the elderly during the week before the Lunar New Year.
Dr. Nigel Taylor
Dr. Nigel Taylor, curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom warns that native species of Britain such as the ancient oak, chestnut, wisteria and others have been affected by disease induced by climate change.