Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - July 12 Edition

Energy, Renewables


When it comes to how we consume energy, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news? Around 86% of global energy still comes from fossil fuels, which pollutes the planet and stokes climate change.

The good news? In the 21st Century, we’re poised to use more renewable energy sources than ever before, including those from wind or water. Solar energy alone saw a 664% increase between 2010 and 2015.

But where in the world will all this renewable power come from?


So-called “conversion therapy,” the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation (almost always from gay or bisexual to straight), has a history of damaging, scientifically unfounded approaches. In The Inheritance of Shame, Peter Gajdics describes being pinned down by two other men as his psychiatrist screams at him, mocking him for having sex with other men. Other first-person accounts—of men in the U.S., and more recently, of men in China as well as women in Ecuador—recount similarly violent, coercive experiences.

In the U.S., state governments are beginning to outlaw conversion therapy in growing numbers. California became the first to do so in 2012. Eight other states have banned it in some form since. In 2017 alone, Nevada, New Mexico, and Connecticut have signed their own bans into law. And two weeks ago, a long-anticipated bill passed the Rhode Island Senate.

“We’ve gone from kind of a trickle to what seems to be more of a stream,” said Scott McCoy, senior policy counsel at the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC filed the suit against JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, the conversion-therapy group involved with Unger’s treatment. The widely covered case was the first consumer-fraud case heard against the use of conversion therapy in the U.S.

Work, Productivity

When I was working as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta, my commute used to be the distance from the bedroom to the home office. When I lived in Hong Kong as a television reporter, that distance expanded to 15 minutes.

Nowadays, I'm lucky if I make it into work in an hour. The price of fresh air, a spacious home and a good public school system is spending every morning crammed in a boxcar with thousands of others making the same sacrifice.

This same commute is about to get even more hellish--and interminably long--with the track repairs being made at Penn Station, one of the main transit hubs in New York City. Have I considered throwing in the towel and moving into the city? Yes. However, two angry teenaged boys who will likely never forgive me for uprooting them are standing in the way.

So in the meantime, I've figured out a few ways to stay productive when faced with hours of time on the road:

Poetry, Art, War

Newman’s 2016 collection “Led From a Distance,” where “Soon” was first published, is all about the distance of modern-day warfare. “We just know of war what is presented on our screens,” Newman said. “Even drone operators — we’re all operating from a distance now. But we’re all affected by it, even if we don’t see it.”

It would be useful, Newman said, if we better understood how the countries we go to war with are often a lot like us. “Bombs falling missiles / skimming over suburbs / so much like our own,” he writes. “It could be our streets [at war], and it might well be,” he said. “I think those are connections we don’t make, or we’re not encouraged to make. And those are really humanizing connections.”

Travel, Relocation Abroad

Many of us fantasize about moving abroad, but cost can be a major barrier to actually relocating.

Enter these 11 incredible destinations that make living your international dreams easier on the wallet. They’re among the last-place finishers in the annual “Cost of Living” rankings from global consulting firm Mercer. And in this case, finishing last is a good thing, as it means a city is considered an affordable place to live and work.

Mercer surveyed more than 375 cities, 209 of which are included in the final rankings, on their relative costs for more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transportation, food and entertainment, spokeswoman Miriam Siscovick told HuffPost. New York City is used as a base, and the ranking compares all currencies against the U.S. dollar. The ranking is intended mostly for business managers assessing the cost of sending their employees on projects abroad, but turns out it also makes a great personal guidebook if you’re looking for an affordable new city to call home.   

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