Seven Continents, One World.

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Up to 60% of Water Wells in Developing World Do Not Work.

“One of the biggest problems around the world is that water and sanitation systems are often installed for free, without considering how they will be maintained. You see catastrophic failure rates around Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The International Institute for Environment and Development estimates that 50,000 water points in Africa are broken on any given day. They estimate that it’s worth between $215 and $360 million in wasted investment.”

-Ned Breslin, CEO of Water for People.

(Source: treehugger.com)

David Suzuki: Constant Economic Growth = Suicide

We cannot keep growing if our finite world is fixed.

There is no push. No pull.

I am an economics student and yet I have the common sense to know that our planetary resources are finite.

Do you?

What could you do with only one extra minute of your life?

Spend a minute with David Suzuki in a test tube. Listen.

Hilariously amazing!

motherjones:

Artūras Zuokas, bike-loving mayor of Vilnius runs over Mercedes parked in bike lane, with a tank. As you do. This is the best thing to come out of Lithuania since those tie-dyed basketball jerseys. (Via)

Modern Day Slavery: How it Begins

humantraffickwatch:

It begins because you are born a girl.  Or born into a poor family.  Or because you are born into a country struggling with new democracy and no economy.  Or into a culture where it’s normal to sell your child to put food on the table.

You didn’t know your parents were supposed to love and protect you.  You thought it was your duty to help them pay the bills, even at the cost of your virginity, your vagina, your mouth, your sex.

It begins when you are visiting Nigeria, and a state legislator tells you that no Nigerian children can be adopted out of their own state, let alone the country.  And it makes you mad, because why should Nigeria withhold the opportunity for international people to help out orphans from Nigeria?  And the legislator patiently explains that there are too many little Nigerian children who are “adopted” and forced into slavery as a house “servant,” – or worse, little Nigerian girls taken up north by their new “parents,” transported across the Mediteranian, and sold into the sex market.

And you didn’t even know there was such a thing.

One way you can think about modern day slavery or global sex slavery is as an invisibility curtain.  You think you know what’s going on already – those are prostitues, or that’s a sweatshop, or those are street kids.  See, you’re socially aware and all.

But what do we assume about prostitues?  That they choose it – that they can walk away whenever they want to.  What do we think about sweatshops?  That they are jobs, and although it’s poor people being paid indecently and working in terrible conditions, they need the job so it’s sad but they need whatever money they can get.  And what do we think about street kids?  That they are probably orphans, or runaways, or delinquents, and that they are out there because their home life was bad or they don’t have a home, and they don’t have anyone telling them to go to school, so they’re out trying to get you to give them your money.  And maybe you do because you feel bad and maybe you don’t because you don’t want to encourage them.

But the invisible curtain – and there is an invisible curtain wrapped around all of these issues – reveals something very different.  It shows us most “prostitutes” were sold to pimps and brothels and madames, coerced, lied to, sometimes abducted, always beaten, always raped, raped up to twelve times every day, forced into compliance and silence and forced to pretend they want to have sex, that they love the sex – for fear of being tortured, for fear of their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

Behind the curtain, we see that “sweatshops” (or other places of employment that would never be tolerated by the laws in Western countries) are places where people work in terrible, harsh, life threatening conditions for upwards of 15 hours each day, but also a jail cell or a broom closet or a large room filled with as many prisoners as can be crammed.  There is no paycheck.  There is no leaving for lunch break, there is no leaving for sick leave, there is no leaving at closing time, there is no leaving to go back home to family, there is no leaving ever.

We see also that “street kids” aren’t really runaways or orphans, but children sweet-talked out of their homes, out of their parent’s watchful eyes, by crafty, slick men and women promising their children a better future in the big city.  Then they are dropped off at the Big City Park, ordered not to return to headquarters until they have begged or stolen enough money to get back inside.  And whether they are in or out, by night fall, they will be raped – inside by paying customers, outside by non-paying customers.  Street kids don’t want to be on the street – they want to be back home, but how in the world would one ever get back home when it’s a police officer who raped you last night?

A better word for all of these is slaves.  Slaves!  Right here, right now.

We’ve got a problem in this world today.  It’s one that used to be state sanctioned, and when the world made it illegal, we thought it was over.  But it’s not over – in fact it’s far worse than it was back then.  If our high estimate of the Atlantic Slave Trade is 12 million people, then be prepared for surprise when I tell you  about today’s estimated human capital: Today, there are almost 30 million humans being held as slaves world wide. 80% are women, 50% are children.  And women and children are almost always raped during their enslavement – even those few that somehow escape the sexual slavery.  And 1,000,000 of those sexual slaves are children.

We have another problem, Americans.  We think this isn’t our problem – at least, we aren’t the ones perpetuating it.  But that’s wrong.   There are around 200,000 slaves in the United States right now.  They are out in your fields, picking your fruits and vegetables.  They are young girls from around the world, enslaved in massage parlors or nail salons or bars.  They are kids being forced to work in restaurants, construction sites, and hotels.  They are American girls who were abducted or seduced by a pimp, forcibly hooked on drugs, and now forced to turn tricks every day.  There are African children working as house slaves in the homes of wealthy East Coast families – really.  As you can see from this map, it’s been documented in almost every state in the country – and those are only the documented cases.  You wouldn’t believe how often the police don’t act because they don’t know what to do.

It started for me when I learned why I’d never be able to adopt a child from Nigeria.  And then I read books and watched movies and researched.  I shared this information and cried in front of strangers.  Then I moved to Korea and felt like my hands were tied, mouth stapled shut, because I don’t know the language or the culture.  But knowing this is happening, and seeing brothels here, are two motivating forces.  We all need to find ways, wherever we are, whatever the circumstances, to make our voices heard.  If we don’t, who will?

(Source: humantrafficwatch)

We are global citizens.

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"Lives in East Africa hang in balance, now, today. World leaders have no excuses for not generously responding. There can be no problem more pressing, more acute, more urgent than millions of people staring at the spectre of starvation in this part of Africa. This should not be happening. It is a colossal outrage that the warnings went unheeded, that the lessons of previous famines have been ignored. Yes we need to save lives today but we also need to ensure that people have a future. Above all we need to build a global food system that allows everyone enough to eat."

-Barbara Stocking, Oxfam Chief Executive

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For Oxfam’s reaction to FAO emergency meeting on the East Africa food crisis, click here.

Photos courtesy of Christian Aid.
The story of Ejaz.

12-year old victim of the July 2010 floods in Pakistan.

One year later.

In July 2010, massive floods inundated homes, farmlands and destroyed the lives of millions. This crisis was cited as the worst disaster in the UN’s history.

July 2011. The situation is still bleak.

Ejaz remains hopeful.

“I will study and then I will build schools. Education changes everything.”

Please do not forget about them.

__________

Sourced from article by Adnan Raja.

© UNICEF video

Turning every physical surface into a computer.

Imagine a world where we no longer sit in front of machines every single day

(and the materials that we could save the planet).

Incredible.

News Resources on the Horn of Africa Crisis

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Horn of Africa – A Crisis for Child Survival [UNICEF]

NAIROBI/GENEVA, 22 July 2011 - With famine now declared in two regions of Southern Somalia and malnutrition rates at emergency levels in arid and semi-arid regions across the Horn of Africa, almost 720,000 children are at risk of death without urgent assistance. In total 2.23 million children in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are estimated to be acutely malnourished.

Somali militants vow to block aid workers

MOGADISHU, Somalia 22 July 2011 - Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia vowed to keep most international aid workers away despite a worsening famine, as the UN warned Friday that 800,000 children could die in the region from starvation.

More than 2 millian Somalis ‘out of aid groups’ reach

23 July 2011 - Aid agencies are unable to reach more than two million Somalis facing starvation in the famine-struck Horn of Africa country where Islamist insurgents control much of the worst-hit areas, the UN’s food agency said today.

Vaccination campaigns for children underway in the Horn of Africa [UNICEF]

NAIROBI, 26 July 2011 – This week, UNICEF, the Kenya Ministry of Health and WHO have launched a vaccination campaign for children living in the host communities around Dadaab refugee camp in Northern Kenya. The campaign will target 202, 665 children under five, with measles and polio vaccines, together with Vitamin A and de-worming tablets. It is part of a regional push to ensure all children in drought affected areas are vaccinated against a killer disease like measles which can be deadly for malnourished children, and be protected from polio.

A child’s arm is measured at the malnutrition screening; the red section of the armband indicates he is severely malnourished. 
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A worsening drought crisis threatens 10 million people in the Horn of Africa. The drought has resulted in famine in parts of southern Somalia and widespread malnutrition in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. UNICEF and partners are working to treat acute malnutrition and provide other critical assistance.

Kenya, July 2011: ©UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1108/Holt
A child’s arm is measured at the malnutrition screening; the red section of the armband indicates he is severely malnourished.

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A worsening drought crisis threatens 10 million people in the Horn of Africa. The drought has resulted in famine in parts of southern Somalia and widespread malnutrition in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. UNICEF and partners are working to treat acute malnutrition and provide other critical assistance.

Kenya, July 2011: ©UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1108/Holt