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No. of Recommendations: 20
Last Christmas, a friend gave ducks in my name through Heifer. Heifer is dedicated to providing people in need livestock for meat, eggs, milk, etc, in a sustainable manner, and require the gift recipient pass on offspring when they have a sustainable population. I plan on giving similar donations for the holidays this year...nobody who I give gifts to is truly in the need for anything.

I continue to be impressed with The Nature Conservancy. They have now protected 116 million acres of land domestically and internationally, up from 50 million when I started supporting them. I find their methods much more subtle and their efficacy is subtle but yields longer term results than near-terrorists who spike trees and wreak similar havoc in the name of environmentalism. Buy land and leave it alone.

I thought that I needed something more personal to share, more along the lines of what the Elves have been doing with the Christmas letters, but lacking time and having a funny deployment schedule with Uncle Sam (I go to Africa to train in 1.5 days) I needed to make my dollars work if I couldn't make my time work. I thought that sponsoring a child in poverty was the way to go and was inspired by seeing someone else do this recently. I was impressed with Save the Children. They're very efficient, with only 12% of their donations going towards administrative expenses and fundraising. I'm supposed to get a welcome packet for a 6 year old girl in Appalacia, chosen randomly, in the next two weeks.

What made me get more inspired recently was that I was too fixated on the accumulation of money, and was forgetting to be a person. I read a short parable about an old man who observes a boy throwing starfish back into the ocean after a storm washes thousands of them onto the beach where they lay exposed. The old man tells him why bother, as it doesn't matter and is hopeless. The boy says 'it matters for this one' and tosses it back into the sea, and keeps going.

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