Posted on July 10, 2019
Each summer, millions of people flock to beaches and parks to enjoy beautiful weather and good company. Unfortunately, a lot of trash is left behind. This trash doesn’t just interfere with our enjoyment of our public spaces, it contributes to the 8 million metric tons of trash and debris in our oceans, 80% of which comes from land-based activities.
If you’re concerned about the amount of trash in your community, you can plan a cleanup project. Community-organized and -led park and beach cleanups are a great way to reduce waste and are now easier to plan than ever!
Here are 8 easy tips for how to organize a successful beach or park cleanup day.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Planning events can be stressful, but cleanup days don’t have to be. Hosting this event can be as simple as gathering your four best friends for a little sunrise cleanup followed by a group hike. Or, if organizing is your jam, these tips are easily scalable to bring in your neighborhood, company or even entire city.
Pick your cleanup location. Decide where you’re going to focus your efforts so you can determine what you’ll need to bring.
Not sure where to begin? No problem. Use this government website to find your local government office. Then, direct yourself to the Parks and Recreation department. This will have information on places to start and what permits you might need, though typically, permits are only needed for underwater cleanup projects.
Use your discretion. It is your neighborhood after all.
Pick a date & time. Saturday mornings are usually the best time, but you can use your discretion here. Consider a short block beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending around noon, before the hottest part of the day. A few hours can make a huge difference and won’t feel like much of an obligation.
Plan for waste removal. Once you collect the trash/recyclables, you’re going to need to dispose of it somewhere. Depending on your group size you’re likely to haul in 50–300lbs of waste. That’s a lot!
For small groups, consider borrowing a truck so you can transport your trash to the dumpster and recycling center.
For larger groups, contact your local waste management company and ask for a bin to be placed at your site. Plan ahead for this as bin availability and delivery options may be limited and can take up to four weeks to schedule.
If you’re cleaning up a park, reach out to local businesses in the area about depositing your collection in their bins. Once they hear about what you’re doing, some businesses are more than happy to oblige.
Reach out to local vendors. Clean parks and beaches are good for business, so don’t be afraid to seek sponsorship from them. The sky’s the limit as far as sponsorship possibilities, but here are a few ideas:
- Pizza exchange. Ask a local pizzeria to provide your volunteers with pizza in exchange for 5 lbs of trash collected per each volunteer.
- Beer exchange. Ask a local brewery for a round of free beers for every 5 lbs of trash collected per volunteer.
- Corporate sponsorship. Ask a local corporation (or your employer) to donate $5 for every 5 lbs of the trash you collect, then use that money to pay for your cleanup celebration.
When you partner with another organization you broaden your reach, which leads us to the next step.
Get out the word. You’ve got a great idea. Now, it’s time to rally the troops. Start this process early. Make your pitch quick, simple and conversational. Here’s an example:
Hey Fellow Lovers of the Planet,
I’m planning a (beach/park) cleanup day and I’ve love for you to join me. We’re going to be cleaning up (name of the site) on (date and time). After, we’ll celebrate at (sponsored restaurant/event). Let me know if you’d be interested, and I can send you more information.
Add photos! Take pictures of the area you plan to clean. Show how the trash and debris are affecting the site and its users. For coastal cleanups, you can also use this handy flyer.
Spread the word:
- Ask if you can leave a flyer with the vendor you’ve just partnered with.
- Create a Facebook Event.
- List your event on Nextdoor.
- List your event on Neighborland.
- Post photos of the problem on Instagram.
- Post a newsletter above the water cooler in your office.
- Ask for your event to be included in city newsletters and websites.
- Ask for your event to be included in school newsletters and websites.
Prepare for your cleanup day. Now that you have a date, location, and group of people ready to help you’re going to need a plan.
- Confirm dumpster delivery and pick-up.
- Know where the closest restrooms are for your volunteers.
- Confirm sponsorship plans (e.g., pizza or brewery).
- Create an email blast or Evite reminder to go out the day before your event that includes.
- Date and time
- Location (including maps) and meeting spot.
- Volunteer checklist.
- Fun photo of the cleanup process.
- Download and print this checklist of items you’ll need.
- Gather supplies.
Enjoy Clean Up day. Scan your checklist one last time to make sure you have all of the items you need, and perhaps most importantly, have a good time!
Posted on July 10, 2019
Trump’s racist deportation and criminalization nightmare is becoming a reality right before our eyes. Trump and his racist henchmen aren’t just running concentration camps for children on the border. They are terrorizing immigrants across the country and doing their best to change federal policies and practices to close our doors to refugees, take social services away from immigrants and inflict their racist agenda on our democracy.
Democrats who refuse to stand up to Trump are complicit in this nightmare. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has the power to defund the agencies implementing Trump’s racist agenda, or at least use her power to rein them in, but recently, she caved to Mitch McConnell and Republicans and pushed through additional funding.
That’s why I led a protest outside a fundraising event hosted by Speaker Pelosi in San Francisco to hold her accountable and show her what standing in solidarity with immigrant families looks like:
As her donors brushed past our crowd, we urged Speaker Pelosi to stop writing blank checks to those who want to destroy our democracy and to close these camps once and for all. She has the power to show real solidarity with the people Trump threatens every day by defunding ICE and CBP and by letting go of her chokehold on an impeachment investigation – but she’s refusing to use it.
We expect more from her, and we will continue to demand it.
To watch the entire livestream of our protest, please click here or watch below:
Posted on July 3, 2019
If you want to protect your privacy, a good place to start is with your phone. It’s an open door to your life. The apps you install can potentially collect data and stream it to companies that use it to make money.
This is particularly true of Android phones. According to some studies, they collect 10 times more data than iPhones – and that’s just Google. The company that manufactured your phone and the apps you’ve installed on it may also gather and use your personal data for their own purposes.
A lot of this data collection may be harmless. But a lot of it is not. For example, news reports revealed earlier this year that an app called Twinning from PopSugar was leaking user selfies. And in January, security experts discovered that one of the world’s most popular weather apps was collecting an inordinate amount of data on users and subscribing some of them to paid services without permission.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your privacy and make informed decisions:
- First, only install apps from the official Google Play store.
- Second, review the permissions granted to the apps you’ve already installed.
- Open Settings, tap Apps or Application Manager (depending on your device), tap the app you want to review and then tap Permissions to see what data the app is accessing. If a calculator app is accessing your photo gallery, you should probably turn that permission off.
As a mobile carrier, CREDO makes protecting our members’ privacy one of our top priorities, and we have a long record of fighting for their privacy rights. That’s why we’d like to share three more ways you can protect the data on your Android device and hide your web activity.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network is a good measure you can take to protect your privacy on your phone. A VPN provides a secure connection between you and the sites you visit and the apps you use. This is important because when you surf the internet using mobile data, your carrier can watch and gather information on every website you visit. ISPs do the same, and so does Google. Under the NSA’s sweeping secretive domestic spying program (with the help of AT&T), the government can also track your internet data. A VPN can do a good job of concealing your activity (and your location) from them.
After launching the VPN, it first encrypts all data before it leaves your phone. It then routes the data through the VPN server and from there to your online destination. In the site’s view, your data is coming from the VPN server, not you. VPNs hide your IP address from the sites and apps you use, and they hide the sites and apps you use from your carrier and your ISP.
For a relatively inexpensive fee, you can use a commercial VPN provider like NordVPN or Private Internet Access. Outline VPN allows you to set up your own VPN that you control – and it’s available for Android in the Google Play store.
Use a non-tracking search engine or browser
Even if you do use a VPN, Google can still monitor your activity in Chrome and when you use Google to search from your home screen. It will then add this activity to its detailed profile of you and may share that activity with third parties.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that does not track you. According to the company, it does not store or sell your search history and does not keep a profile of you. Each time you use it, you are effectively a new person. DuckDuckGo does, however, serve you ads based on the search terms you use in each session.
Another good option for more private browsing is Firefox Focus, which blocks a range of common online trackers and ads and includes a neat one-click wipe function. Just click the button and your browsing history disappears.
Tor Browser is another good option to protect your privacy online. Built on Firefox code, Tor uses a special network to anonymize your internet activity while blocking trackers and utilizing multi-layered encryption. The company recently released a fully-supported Android app that you can check out here.
A quick note on settings in common internet browsers: Many browsers offer you the option to choose not to have your online activity tracked. You can turn on this privacy setting, but there is no law mandating that websites must respect your request, and most simply ignore it. You can learn more about “Do Not Track” from our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Use a secure messaging app
Secure messaging apps make encryption very easy, they’re free and they provide high-level privacy for all your communications, including texting, photo sharing, voice and video calling. They don’t just help with privacy and security of your data, they also help if you’re concerned with intrusive tracking and annoying ads in your social media messaging apps.
Secure messaging technology is complex. An algorithm encrypts messages you send so they can’t be read while in transit, then decrypts them at the receiver’s end. Using a secure messaging app is simple. Just install it on your phone and you can communicate securely with anyone else who has the same app. The messages aren’t stored on company servers and can’t be mined by advertisers or read by eavesdroppers – not by hackers, service providers or the government. Even the app makers can’t access your messages.
Signal is one of the better secure messaging apps available today. While it’s not perfect (you must provide a phone number when signing up), it’s probably better than any of its competitors. Signal set the standard for secure messaging protocols and end-to-end encryption that other apps now use. The app and service are free and open-source and allow you to text/SMS, voice and video chat, and share documents and photos. Signal includes a timer for self-destructing messages, and the company doesn’t store data or metadata. You can learn how to install and use Signal for Android from our friends at EFF.
(Regarding the apps mentioned above: the views and values of the app creators are their own and are not endorsed by CREDO Mobile. Before downloading any app, confirm that it meets your personal standards for corporate ethics and protection of privacy. And whenever you download any Android app, do it from the official Google Play store.)
AT&T can rainbow-stripe its logo for Pride Month, wave the rainbow flag and claim it supports the LGBTQ community, but none of those things can make up for the fact that AT&T is directly funding politicians who are fighting equality and LGBTQ rights.
According to new reporting by Judd Legum at Popular Information, AT&T donated a total of $2.755 million to 193 anti-LGBTQ politicians in 2017 and 2018.
While AT&T has long touted its inclusive employee policies and support of LGBTQ causes, its donations to right-wing bigots tell another story.
- $36,850 to now-Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who supports Donald Trump’s ban on trans people in the military, regularly votes against protections for LGBTQ people and opposes marriage equality.
- $19,752 to Sen. Ted Cruz, a famously anti-LGBTQ politician who co-sponsored a bill that would sanction discrimination by businesses against LGBTQ people and urged states to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming marriage equality.
- $14,985 to Rep. Karen Handel, a vocal opponent of LGTBQ adoption, who once said: “I think that for a child to be in a household … with a situation where the parents are not married, as in being one man and one woman, is not the best household for a child.”
- $12,500 to Rep. Doug Collins, who opposes the Equality Act (legislation that CREDO actively supports) and believes it would promote “radical gender ideology” and “prioritizes the rights of biological men over the rights of biological women.”
AT&T’s two-faced stance on LGBTQ rights is disappointing, but it’s not surprising: AT&T regularly courted extreme politicians to benefit its bottom line. The company donated $2 million to Trump’s inauguration to curry favor. It hired Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen to help influence the repeal of net neutrality regulations. It lobbied and donated to Republican politicians to ensure the passage of Trump’s Tax Scam, netting it billions while the company continued to lay off workers.
Here at CREDO, we don’t support anti-LGBTQ politicians – and we never will.
As America’s only progressive mobile company, we donate to organizations fighting for LGBTQ rights like the Transgender Law Center and the National LGBTQ Task Force. And we mobilize our millions of members to take action to protect marriage equality and fight for transgender rights. In all, CREDO members have helped us contribute more than $12.7 million to progressive groups fighting for civil rights and have taken millions of actions to stand up for LGBTQ rights.
And unlike AT&T and other major carriers, we don’t slap a Pride flag on our logo in June – because we don’t need to. We stand with the LGBTQ community all year long.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help fund progressive organizations and activism through your mobile company, click here to find out how you can make the switch and join CREDO Mobile.
Our June grantees Free Speech For People, Friends of the Earth Action and MPower Change thank CREDO members for their support
Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible organizations. Those small actions add up – with one click, they help fund groups holding Trump accountable, defending the environment and standing up for the American Muslim community. In June, CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Free Speech For People, Friends of the Earth Action and MPower Change.
These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our products and services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our June grant recipients thank you.
“CREDO members inspire the work to defend our Constitution and reclaim our democracy! Your support makes it possible for Free Speech For People to confront the corruption of the presidency and to lift up the promise of political equality for all.“
-John Bonifaz, President, Free Speech For People
To learn more, visit https://freespeechforpeople.org/.
“Thank you for your support and partnership! We value your dedication to our work to defend the environment and champion a healthy and just world. CREDO members like you help us fight—and win—many important battles for our planet.”
–Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth Action
To learn more, visit https://foeaction.org/.
“Thank you for supporting MPower Change! CREDO funding helps us support and mobilize Muslim communities in the U.S. and strengthen American movements for human rights, social justice, health, and safety for all communities.”
-Linda Sarsour, Director, MPower Change
To learn more, visit https://mpowerchange.org/.
Now check out the three groups we are funding in July, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.
Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 between three great progressive organizations. This July, you can help groups fighting for reproductive freedom, empowering progressive women of color and protecting the rights of transgender people by casting your vote for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, She the People and Transgender Law Center.
Planned Parenthood was founded over 100 years ago on the idea that women have the right to access the information and care they need to live healthy lives. Today, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund fights to protect that right — no matter what.
With the constant attacks on reproductive rights and women’s health care by right-wing lawmakers across the country, support from CREDO members is more important than ever. A donation from CREDO members will be critical in helping the Action Fund employ tactics including lobbying and grassroots mobilization to ensure that Planned Parenthood’s health services remain available to those who need them most.
She the People elevates the voice and power of women of color as leaders, strategists, organizers and voters. The organization is building an inclusive, multiracial coalition to realize the promise of American democracy.
Funding from CREDO members will help She the People keep women of color in the news and strengthen their organizing and progressive issues in the center of national media, and support gatherings of women of color in swing states.
Transgender Law Center does what it takes to keep transgender people alive, thriving and fighting for liberation. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all.
The Trump administration is actively working to take steps that make survival harder for the most vulnerable in the transgender community. For example, in the first days of June, another transgender woman refugee died in ICE custody. Support from CREDO members would help to ensure TLC has the capacity to protect healthcare access, represent and assist vulnerable immigrants, litigate to hold ICE responsible for abuses and partner with immigration organizations to address the humanitarian crisis for all migrants at the border.
Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by July 31.
Posted on June 27, 2019
Oh my, how time flies. With just a blink of the eye, 4th of July is upon us. Are you ready for an eco-friendly celebration?
Here are 7 ways you can paint the town red, white, and blue while still being green.
Cut Out One-time Use Plastics
Disposable plates, cups, and silverware are convenient for us but terrible for the environment. Instead, opt for using your regular washable dishes and cutlery.
Use Large Drink Dispensers
Plastic is not only bad for the environment, but it poses possible health risks as well. Have large water dispensers available and ask your guests to bring their own reusable water bottles. One of the added benefits of this is they’ll automatically know which one is theirs, removing the need to marker plastic cups with names. Also, a simple red (watermelon), white (coconut) and blue (blueberry) fruit water would taste great and look festive. And there are tons of alternative recipes for fruit-infused water online.
Instead of buying individual cans and bottles of beer, consider getting a keg from your favorite local brewery. This reduces waste and supports local businesses.
Go Green While Grilling
Nothing screams 4th of July celebration like barbeque. As the #1 grilling day of the year, backyard barbeques will fire up, and an estimated 60 million Americans will release 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air. Not great for the environment.
Propane grills are somewhat cleaner than charcoal, but both produce carbon emissions. If the charcoal taste is what you crave, choose coal made from sustainably managed forest trees. And before you run out and buy starter fluid, consider using a charcoal chimney starter. You can also check out our own 5 ways to have a greener BBQ tip.
Barbeque the Vegan Way
When we think of barbeque, some of us think of meat like ribs, brisket, chicken or pork. But recent environmental studies show that a heavy meat-based diet has dire consequences for the environment and contributes to climate change. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” study leader and University of Oxford professor Joseph Poore told the Guardian.
The growth of the vegan market means barbecuing alternatives like these cauliflower steaks, sweet potato black bean burgers, portobello mushroom burgers, and vegan rib recipes could satiate even your most omnivorous friends.
Buy Green Fireworks
Fireworks, in general, aren’t great for the environment, but they are steeped in 4th of July tradition. If you plan to set off your own fireworks, ask for the kinds that are rich in nitrogen.
Better yet, save some money (and reduce pollution) by visiting your local municipal fireworks display.
Check out Just Energy for more great tips on green and safe alternatives to fireworks.
Use safer sunscreens
Before you head to the beach this July 4th, check your sunscreen. According to NPR, more than 3,500 sun-protection products contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are chemicals known to bleach coral reefs, effectively killing them. And with an estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen going into the ocean each year, choosing reef-safe products is crucial for the environment.
Additionally, many sunscreens are either ineffective or contain chemicals that are unsafe for use. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Sunscreen Guide for more information.
Reuse and Repurpose Your Decorations
Avoid buying one-time-use decorations like paper streamers, balloons, and plastic tablecloths. Choose red, white and blue foods to help create a festive July 4th, ambiance. Use food coloring to produce red and blue drinks. And repurpose your red, white, and blue holiday lights by stringing them up for your party.
Follow these seven simple tips and you’ll be throwing a fun, eco-friendly celebration that will have your friends begging you to host once again next year.
Posted on June 26, 2019
This Pride month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. I wish I could celebrate how far we’ve come from the days when we were killed and rounded up by the police because of who we are.
But I can’t, because – at least for transgender people of color – it’s not true.
This Pride Month has been one of the deadliest and devastating Pride Months of my life. Since May, at least seven Black transgender women have been murdered across the United States. One, Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza, died in New York City Department of Corrections custody. On the very first day of Pride Month, Johana Medina Leon, a transgender woman from El Salvador who was held for weeks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, died shortly after being released to a hospital. She died almost exactly one year after Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender woman from Honduras, was killed by the inhumane policies of U.S. Customs & Border Protection and ICE.
These murders are not happening in a vacuum. State legislatures and the federal government launched several concerted attacks on the survival of Black transgender women, transgender migrants, people living with HIV, transgender southerners, transgender people with disabilities, and so many more in our community. Bills that would criminalize transgender people for using the bathroom continue to plague legislatures. The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new regulation that would encourage discrimination against transgender people in health care (you can take action against that rule here). The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed new regulations to make it harder for transgender people to access homeless shelters.
Through its policies and rhetoric, the United States government is responsible for the violence against us. There is no Pride in our country killing and caging us. 50 years ago, transgender people of color rose up against state violence. But the truth is Stonewall never ended. Stonewall is now.
We at the Transgender Law Center have partnered with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, Mijente and other groups to demand accountability under the banner #StonewallIsNow. We need real, concrete investment in transgender communities and trans-led organizations. We need to end discriminatory policing that profiles transgender women and Black communities for arrest and abuse. We need to close migrant prisons that are torturing and killing trans people simply seeking safety.
From our lawsuit seeking justice for Roxsana to our work building the leadership of trans people of color across the country, we at the TLC are doing all we can to keep trans folks alive, thriving and fighting for liberation. Join us with a donation, by mobilizing through #StonewallIsNow and showing up for trans people of color this Pride Month.
Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center.
Posted on June 20, 2019
It’s June and that means it’s Pride Month, a month-long celebration to honor and recognize the incredible impact that the LGBTQ community has had throughout history. Chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots in June 1969 as a watershed moment in the LGBTQ equality movement, Pride Month symbolizes the resistance to the conservative ideologies that continue to harm LGBTQ people across the country and the globe.
Here at CREDO, we understand the importance of resistance more than ever – to Trump and his hateful administration, policies that still oppress the LGTBQ community and inequality in all its ugly forms. We’re proud that our members have voted to donate more than $5.9 million to progressive LGBTQ groups and of the victories we’ve helped to secure, like marriage equality and more protections for transgender people, because of our members’ activism.
Today, we thought we’d share five organizations we follow on Twitter that fight for LGBTQ equality every day. Here’s a little bit about them.
GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) is the leading national organization working to ensure a safe learning environment for LGBTQ students in K-12 education. GLSEN works to improve school environments for LGBTQ students through original research, influencing lawmakers and empowering students to ensure schools become and remain safe for students regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
OutRight Action International
OutRight Action is an international nonprofit fighting for the human rights of LGBTQ people across the globe. OurRight has staff in six countries and is the only LGBTQ organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations Headquarters to advocate for the rights of LGBTQ communities in countries across the world.
Southerners On New Ground is an inclusive queer liberation organization working on multiple social justice issues in the southern United States. Made up of Black people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class, and rural and small town LGBTQ people, SONG fights oppression and lifts up communities through leadership development, grassroots organizing, and direct action.
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
The National LGBTQ Task Force is the country’s oldest national LGBTQ civil rights organization. It is building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. The Task Force is a close ally of CREDO, and our members have helped us donate more than $460,000 to the organization, including a recent donation that will enable the Task Force to help ensure that all LGBTQ people are counted on the 2020 census.
Transgender Law Center
Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, Transgender Law Center is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all. A recent donation from CREDO members helped TLC rapidly move forward with impact litigation by providing technical assistance to communities needing trans organizing or Trans Immigration Defense Effort support in response to urgent threats facing immigrants.
Last summer, Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi, and Deputy Director Isa Noyola visited CREDO headquarters to discuss how transgender people are building community and power to protect and defend each other in a hostile and dangerous environment.
Posted on June 18, 2019
What would the future look like if we passed a Green New Deal? Will we help stem the most horrible effects of climate change, reduce extreme weather events, lower emissions, protect vulnerable communities, keep global temperatures in check and transform our economy?
In partnership with The Intercept, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez narrates an incredible video set a few decades in the future to let us see.
In the short film, she explains the history of the climate crisis and the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to block climate science and sow skepticism and tells us that if lawmakers have the political will to tackle the most dire challenge facing us today, we still have time to slow climate change, grow our green economy, protect workers and communities, and save our planet.