Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Dreams for What You Can Do

When applying for the Mission Main Street grants from Chase Small Business - we were asked about our future goals for What You Can Do. The series' journey over the past 5 years has already surpassed our dreams in many ways - from broadcasts on NYC public TV to our amazing community rallying to help causes such as hunger and ocean pollution. After discovering many reasons to embrace hope for our world, we are excited to explore the possibilities for our next chapter. Below are a few of our dreams for What You Can Do - winning this grant would give us the opportunity to spotlight more causes and one minute ways to help change the world:

·   We would love to produce What You Can Do as a 30 or 60 minute television show - the first half of the program would illuminate a social or environmental issue and the second half would show simple ways to help the problem.

·   We think it would be really cool to develop a mobile application so viewers can take the one minute movement with them out into the world.

·   We would love to hit the road and visit some of our favorite organizations across the country, such as Rachel's Challenge in Denver, to learn their ideas for making a difference in our local and global communities.

·   Our team shares a passion for the oceans and marine wildlife, so we hope to produce a short film featuring our footage from visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

·   We are brainstorming ideas to relaunch our web site as an interactive online community - a place where What You Can Do fans can share and learn one minute ways to help change the world.

We would greatly appreciate your support with a vote in the Mission Main Street grants (we need to reach 250 votes to move on to the next round) - you can vote with just a click here:

Thanks to everyone who has joined the one minute movement for inspiring us and making a difference for the issues that matter most.


The What You Can Do team

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The What You Can Do team shares memories of our favorite beaches

As we get closer to the end of summer and prepare to launch our 2nd annual oceans campaign, our What You Can Do team has been thinking about our favorite beaches. We share a few thoughts below about the coastal spots we return to summer after summer, places where everyday concerns disappear in the midst of natural beauty. 

Alicia Arinella, Executive Producer, What You Can Do

My family has been going to Sarasota, Florida for the past 30 years. Although I have a special affinity for the beaches of New England, there really is nothing like stepping into warm water and getting to see down to my toes. What I love most about the ocean in the Gulf is all the different wildlife that I get to see. Growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist, so it's breathtaking to see manatees, dolphins, and sting rays in their own environment. It is remarkable to get to witness the ocean teeming with life. Not only are these beaches a beautiful sanctuary, but they remind me that there is something bigger than myself.  It helps me to put things into perspective and remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Reminds me....I should plan a trip soon.

Alicia and Jessica Arinella

Jessica Arinella, Creator/Producer/Writer, What You Can Do

Marconi Beach in Wellfleet Massachusetts will always be my favorite beach. I grew up vacationing there and many of my favorite earliest memories were formed running down those sand dunes or running from those waves. I've arguably been on more beautiful beaches, and I have certainly swum in warmer water but Marconi will always have my heart.

The Arinella family

Ashley Kaufman, PR/Communications, What You Can Do

Figure 8 Island on the North Carolina coast (near Wilmington) is my favorite beach - I took my first trip there when I was only a few months old. My family has been vacationing at Figure 8 for generations, so I love to spend time with my husband and daughter in a place with so much history. My favorite memories from beach trips growing up are swimming in the ocean for hours, water-skiing on the Intracoastal Waterway and playing Monopoly on rainy days. Now I love to see my daughter splash in tidal pools and build sand castles on the same beach where I did. We get so excited to spot dolphins in the ocean and waterway, and watch signs of the underwater world from the dock. We live in the moment at the beach, planning our days around the tides and weather. Figure 8 is only a four hour drive from our home in Charlotte, but it feels like another world where time slows down and the smell of sea breeze lifts your spirit. 

Ashley and her grandfather

We would love to hear about your favorite beaches!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Missy's Corner: Maternity Clothing Swap

In trying to be a good steward of Mother Earth, I have been doing my best to come up with ways during my pregnancy to be more green and “consume more, buy less” as I like to say.

Pregnancy only lasts 9 months but during that time your clothing needs change so rapidly. What you need at the beginning is not the same as what you need at the end. Clothing can be expensive and it can be especially expensive in the maternity department. I am very fortunate to have many friends whom have already had children and live somewhat close to me. Instead of going out and spending tons of money on a new wardrobe, that I would only wear for nine months, I decided that maybe some of my friends would be willing to lend me some of their old maternity clothes.

Check out our video from What You Can Do featuring ideas about starting a clothing swap.

Sure enough my friends were more than happy to lend me all of their maternity wear. Between three different friends, I now have an entire wardrobe of options that I can use throughout my entire pregnancy. I also have my own small collection to add to the mix. Most of the items I have purchased for my bump have been from thrift stores. It was pretty easy to find oversized shirts and maternity specific wear for a very cheap price if I just took the time to look hard enough. 

I plan on offering my collection up to these same gals (If they have more children) or offering them to other close friends who become pregnant. Maybe it would become something kind of like the "sisterhood of the traveling maternity clothes.”   

This was one of the shirts I got at the thrift store for a couple dollars.
It was not maternity specific but it fit and was inexpensive.  This way
I don't care if it gets stretched out and it didn't break my wallet.
Borrowing and returning clothes only worn by mothers for less than a year has been such a great adventure (and easy on my pocket book). When so many things meant for pregnancy/babies etc. are expensive this is a great way to recycle, reduce and reuse. I have also been trying my best these days to buy gently used or recycled items for my new baby. By cleaning them up and making them usable, I consume more than I buy. Of course this can help keep items out of landfills and reduce our carbon footprint.  

Since sometimes times you can be the first of your friends to have a baby, you might not always have the option to borrow clothes from friends. However, there are many groups on the internet that are all about swapping maternity clothes, baby items etc. etc. Take a moment online to google your local area and see if there are other mothers around you that might be willing to participate in a clothing swap. It can never hurt to take a chance at finding ways to better our green lifestyles.

Since I live in a highly populated, urban area, I am also exploring what my options are for greener ways to live with a baby. More ideas and thoughts to come as I venture into this “baby” journey all while trying my best to be a good steward of the earth. What are some of your green baby ideas? We want to hear from you. Please write comments below!

Until Next time,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Countdown to Summer

With a tough winter behind us (unless you live in Colorado!), we’re dreaming of our favorite things about summer here at What You Can Do. Here are a few reasons we’re ready to trade in our boots for bathing suits: 
  • corn on the cob
  • nautical prints
  • watermelon
  • fireworks
  • family bbqs
  • ice cream
  • long walks
  • potato salad
  • star gazing
  • sunsets
  • sun dresses
  • swimming in the ocean
  • being outside
  • fresh seafood
  • looking for sand dollars on the beach
  • waterskiing
  • backyard games
  • fresh berries
We're kicking off summer with the giveaway of a tray designed by Boris Bally, an artist known around the world for transforming found materials such as recycled street signs and weapon parts. For more info about the artist, visit:

Enter for a chance to win a Boris Bally Pentatray through May 31 at: 

We would love to hear your favorite things about summer!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Missy's Corner: There is still time to do something great for Earth Day.

Next week’s Earth Day is fast approaching (Tuesday April 22nd).  If you haven’t already done so there are still many chances to find and participate in events around the country that will be celebrating Earth Day.  Too busy to participate in a local event?  Make up your own Earth Day celebration activity.  Learn how you can conserve more water during a drought.  Take 20 minutes to pick up trash on the sidewalk or street.  Cut back on your greenhouse gas emissions by walking or carpooling to work or pledge to participate in things like Meatless Monday which can also help your impact on our planet. (You can tweet out or Facebook the Meatless Monday pledge here)  You can also see our WYCD video with Meatless Monday here on youtube:

If you need help finding an Earth Day event here is a good starting list that the Earth Day Network has provided on their website:  For those of you in the New York City or San Francisco areas check out these two great websites for information about their Earth Day programs:  or

The living wall.
Cardboard Recycled Art.
As for my Earth Day celebrations, I have weddings on the next two Saturdays so I couldn’t make a lot of the larger Earth Day events.  Since I knew I was going to miss those I chose to check out a smaller event that happened near me last weekend.  My friend here in San Francisco owns a sustainable and organic granola company that decided to have a booth at the San Mateo Peace Love and Green event in Bay Meadows.  I decided that this was a great way to get out and see what people are doing to celebrate Earth Day and in the process I got to help my friend with her Granola Booth.  The event was small but everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were a lot of kids running around and some great recycled art around the property.  A recycled card board art piece and a large wind chime made of recycled aluminum cans.  They were highlighting a new sustainable living area in the City of San Mateo that is focusing on positive green living, biking, carpooling etc, etc.  It was a great way to get out and celebrate Mother Earth.  They also wanted to show off a very large living wall that is in the center of this new development.

Also on my list to celebrate Earth Day was at the beginning of this month I pledged to help conserve more water, since the state that I live in is currently in a bad drought.  I blogged about my pledge earlier this month.  So far I think I have been doing a pretty good job at not wasting as much water as I had been before.  The easiest one has been my shower usage.  I realized that I really don’t need to take as long a shower as I had been and that if I stay focused and get into the shower as soon as the water is decently warm I don’t get distracted and let the water run for long periods of time.  I also pledged to not run so much water while I do dishes in my sink.  This one has been a harder habit to break.  I am doing much better but I still have to remind my self to not let the water run on the dishes and walk away.  I have also made a larger effort to not leave water glasses half empty lying around my house.  If I do find an old water glass I have been taking it directly to my plants for watering.  This way nothing is going to waste.  Changing your habits is not always easy but with a little practice we can all make little differences each day that can help our plant.

Here is a list of some great ways that you too can conserve more water via Earth Easy:

Remember that it is not too late to get out and help Mother Earth in celebration of Earth Day 2014.


P.S. Don't forget to join our Twitter Chat on Earth Day, April 22nd, at 3pm EST!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Missy's Corner: Making the Pledge to Conserve Water During a Drought

Most of the U.S. is experiencing a drought.  However, where I live in California is one of the most series locations where this drought is causing major effects.  And unfortunately for the United States as a whole, and California specifically  there is no relief in sight.  

I try to be a good steward of the earth.  I compost and recycle whenever I can.  I try to buy used or recycled materials etc. etc.   But even I have bad habits that could be fixed.  Especially when it comes to my water use habits.   I want to be a part of the change and a part of the culture that is helping to conserve and not waste the precious water that we do have.  I try my best not to let the water run for no reason or to not flush my toilet if it doesn’t need to.  However, I could do better. 
Turning off the water in my kitchen sink.
I am pledging to use the water more efficiently while doing dishes. 

I need to hold my self and my actions to an even greater standard.  I need to be better about not running the water while I am doing the dishes and I need to be better about not letting so much water run in the shower before it gets hot.  Often times I will turn on my shower and than get distracted by walking out of the bathroom.  This month, in honor of Earth Day, I am going to pledge to not walk out of the bathroom while getting my shower ready.  I am going to pledge to be better about turning off the water while I do my dishes. I am going to pledge to use some of the cold water from my shower on my plants on the balcony.  Even these tiny changes can help conserve water during a drought.  If I can change my shower time from 10 mins to 5 mins I could help save an average of 12.5 gallons of water.

My shower in my apartment.
I pledge to not let the water run longer than I need to.
And to take shorter showers whenever possible.

I don’t have a lawn or a dishwasher but for those of you that do by cutting your sprinkler use by 3 to 5 mins you could save an average of 2 to 5 gallons per watering session.  By running the dishwater only when it is full you could save an average of 15 gallons of water.

These little changes maybe not seem like much but in a drought as serious as California is seeing, even these little acts of conservationism can help make a difference on a large scale if we all make the choice to change our consumption habits.  It is so easy to just turn on the tap and have clean, fresh water.  And we want that feeling to last for centuries.  Let’s all pledge to mother earth that this month (and the months to follow) that we will try even that much harder to make big steps to cut back on our  water wasting consumption habits.

Southern California has a website called that can help you become more water wise.  Learn about water saving tips, ideas, programs and water saving devices via their website.    The also have information about their rebate and incentives programs for certain water efficiency improvements for homes and business.  

This is a map of the current u.s. drought taken from www.
The EPA website also lists some great ways that you can help save and use water efficiently.

Be the change you want to see in the world.  I am making the pledge to help conserve more water.  What will you pledge?   Please comment below about ways you help conserve water or how you are making a difference.  We want to hear from you.

Until next time,

Monday, December 23, 2013

WYCD fans answer our holiday questions

We love our fans here at What You Can Do! Every day when we see likes on Facebook, views on YouTube, hits to our blog and RT’s on twitter - we feel grateful to all of you who join us in the mission to change the world, one minute at a time. 

This holiday season we reached out to fans on both Twitter and Facebook to find out what you had to say about some holiday topics. We got so many great answers that we wanted to share a recap here on our blog:

1.  During this season of giving what organizations do you give to most?

WYCD:  This year What You Can Do is matching "likes" with meals donated to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen we will match up to 1200 likes with meals. You can click here:


Buick Audra Nashville CARES (AIDS org.), Nashville Humane Society, and Safe Haven shelter for homeless families.

Charlene Miller Toys for tots

Sara Summers pennys by the inch

Donna Rush-Grant Food bank and the angel tree

Michele Parvis Children Inc, Komen, gifts for those in need and helping animals.

2.   What are simple ways that you can help fight Hunger?

WYCD: Donating to a local food drive or volunteering at a local food bank in your community is a great way to help the fight against hunger. Don't know of a food bank in your area?  Go here for a location search:


Dee Richards Donate money, time, to your area food bank.

Sara Summers Share. we have enough to feed the planet

Tiffany Luvz Yuh be like katniss everdeen and start an uprising!

Colleen B. Guillot Have free food drives and hand out flyers for ppl in need to see.

Carol Barrett Jackson When you buy groceries, buy a couple of extra items and donate to your local food pantry.

Margaret Payne Sponser a dinner in your home or in the community once a week 

3.  Do you practice any eco-friendly holiday wrapping or decorating? If so what do you use? 

WYCD:  Consider using newspaper, recycled wrapping paper, subway maps, old fabrics, past child artwork or sheet music. Maybe choose a Charlie Brown Tree or a potted tree that you can plant after the holidays.  You can get more ideas from our Holiday Video


Buick Audra I recycle all wrapping paper and tissue - and definitely ribbon. We planted a memorial tree in our yard for our beloved kitty last month, and we intend to decorate it in coming years, in lieu of having a tree inside.

4.  Have you ever volunteered at a food bank/soup kitchen in your area? If so which one? 

WYCD:  We interviewed the Worcester County Food bank you can learn about volunteering there.


Dee Richards Yes my son and I volunteer about 3 times a month at our church Word Spirit and Life Ministries in Chester VA food distribution program.

Brenda Hammerman once a month I do

5.  If you make New Year’s resolutions what will they be? Share with us we want to know!

WYCD:  You can go green for a new years resolution. Here are some ideas:   AND Volunteering is a big top 10 resolution that many people make in the new year. Why not try it!

Kayleen Dunlap  My New Years resolution is to begin to make decisions based on love and not fear!

Amanda Church Talbott To be a better mom, wife, daughter, and friend. #resolutions

Bonus Questions:  What are other ways that you try to help others during this Holiday season?


Buick Audra Bake and knit for shelters!

Brenda Hamilton  Donate your time ..take cookies to nursing homes some of the ppl are all alone also donate to sober houses & rehabs..take cold weather gear to shelters this always helps ppl in need

Michele Parvis   making sure some of the people in need get a gift this year...

Thank you to all our fans who wrote in to give us answers to our holiday questions. There are so many ways to help fight hunger in your communities, go green for the holidays and make earth friendly resolutions. We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and look forward to helping to make this world a better place together in the coming new year. 

All the best,

The What You Can Do Team