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Making plans for the holidays? Consider giving a meaningful and lasting gift this year: Save an acre of rainforest or coral reef in honor of a loved one. Rainforests and coral reefs are filled with millions of diverse species, but they are two of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. Every acre we save is crucial to their survival.

With Seacology's new Save an Acre program, your donation of $40 will protect an acre of endangered island ecosystem. You choose whether to save rainforest or coral reef, and we will send your recipient a personalized card of acknowledgment with a beautiful color photograph and exclusive information about the site they helped save. Donations will support Seacology projects protecting the Sitio Lobo Rainforest on Mindanao Island in the Philippines and the Muri Reef on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Perfect for a sustainable holiday gift, the Save an Acre program is also ideal for birthdays, memorials, or gifts throughout the year. Learn more about the program and save an acre today at www.seacology.org/saveanacre

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Leapfrogging to New Technology

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The term "leapfrogging" refers to the development concept where a developing country bypasses less efficient technology to take advantage of more advanced technology. An excellent example of this is the cell phone. Cell phone towers are being constructed all over the world, and buying a mobile phone has proven far more effective than ordering a landline phone to rural places.

Solar-powered cell charger.jpgIn Africa, where Seacology recently expanded its reach to Pemba Island in Zanzibar, many people are buying cell phones. The Kenyan man at left is showing two forms of leapfrogging: a cell phone and a solar-powered charger.

Leapfrogging has been explored in numerous articles, demonstrating its importance to the developing world: In Business Week's "Upwardly Mobile in Africa," the special report discusses how cell phones have fueled business growth and allowed people to call for emergency services like medical help. Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist, calls the cell phone "the single most transformative technology for development." Abwao Oluoch's article on AllAfrica.com discusses the mobile phone industry in East Africa, and Jason Pontin's New York Times article "What Does Africa Need Most: Technology or Aid?" debates the benefits of humanitarian aid and new technology. Mr. Pontin's article discusses his visit to the Technology, Entertainment and Design Global 2007 conference in Tanzania, coming to the conclusion that Africa needs both aid and technology.

World Island News Roundup

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When the Seacology staff decided to venture into the world of blogging, we each reflected upon what our specialties would be... As a generalist and news junkie who loves to scan headlines, I set up some Google News alerts with keywords such as "coral reef," "island environment," "island conservation" etc. I now receive an email each day with various headlines and links to news websites and blogs containing these terms.

I am hooked! There is the odd, random story that has nothing to do with Seacological matters, but I have followed several fascinating stories in the past few weeks. Here are a few...

I was sucked into MySpace more than a year ago, and Facebook more recently, by friends and family who wanted to share their wonders with me, or more realistically just boost their friend count. I've spent many an hour "wasting" time writing comments, renewing friendships, playing games, attacking vampires and sending "gifts" (among other things) on these two networking sites. Yet these websites, now frequented by millions of other users, can be a great marketing tool for a nonprofit.

When the idea of creating a MySpace page for Seacology came up, I was very interested in designing it myself. If you know the tricks (supported by dozens of MySpace design sites across the web) you can create a MySpace page that is as attractive as any website you might find while surfing.