Monday, October 16, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow

Refugees, Heroes

“Over the past four years, De Andrés says she has built a network of about 3,000 refugees and volunteers without ever leaving her hometown of Vigo. She calls it “Red Alert” — a play on red, the Spanish word for net or network.

De Andrés is not a trained aid worker, but her collaborative efforts to track people attempting to cross the eastern Aegean have helped shine a light on urgent cases, providing assistance to those in need. Proactiva Open Arms, the Spanish lifeguard NGO that has plucked thousands of refugees from rubber rafts in the eastern Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea, credits her with having saved many lives.

That night De Andrés stays up until 3 a.m. responding to messages, though most of the problems passed her way go unresolved. In the days that follow, some progress is made: It turns out the man in Turkey needs around $3,500 for a neck prosthesis, so De Andrés reaches out to her WhatsApp network and online to friends to see how best to raise the funds. The Syrians whose raft was lost at sea made it safely to the Greek island of Chios. She says she plans to send $60 out of her own pocket via Western Union to the family in Erbil.

“We can’t stop war, nor can we save everybody,” De Andrés says. “But we can save this one and that one.””

Girl Scouts, Boys

“Girls will soon be able to join the Boy Scouts. The group says it has a lot to offer girls. But it’s also worth considering what boys could learn from the Girl Scouts.

The organizations are different in many ways, starting with the badges they offer. Over all, the boys seem to have more chances to do things (with badges in activities like whitewater rafting, welding and bugling). The girls have more badges for caring for others (being a good neighbor, a voice for animals, a social butterfly).

The Girl Scouts, who allow only children who identify as girls, say they teach leadership and risk-taking, and are adding badges in outdoor skills, engineering and computer science. But what if the Boy Scouts also did more of what the Girl Scouts do? It could serve them well in their personal lives and their careers.

Boys are falling behind in school and in some parts of the economy. That’s in part because modern-day work relies less on physical labor and more on caregiving and collaboration. Jobs that involve these so-called feminine skills are the ones that are growing, in number and pay, according to research from Harvard.

Meanwhile, when girls are encouraged to do things that boys have traditionally done, but boys aren’t encouraged to do “girl” things, it’s a message that what’s masculine is superior and what’s feminine is inferior. That dynamic helps explain why jobs that are considered traditionally female pay less, and why pay goes down when women enter jobs that used to be done mostly by men.”

Cancer, Caregiving

“As a caregiver, I did many things for my sister. I provided physical and emotional support, both at home and in the hospital. On a practical level, I helped her with her daily needs, such a transportation and from appointments and dosing of medications. While I chose this role in part out of love and in part out of fear, but I do not have one steadfast motive behind my decision.

However, as much cancer changes the person that has been diagnosed, it also changes those around that person. As cancer progressed and mutated within my sister, my role as a caregiver changed, too. When she was at her sickest, I was her power of attorney and made nearly every choice for her. Now, I am no longer her caregiver. Not only because I chose to discontinue that role, but also because the role is no longer needed.

Since I have stopped being a caregiver, it has been a struggle to return to a normal life. I devoted an enormous amount of time and support helping and caring for my sister. I am lucky that I had many around me telling me that I needed to start focusing more on myself. While their words did not completely remove the guilt from walking away, it did help to lesson it.”


“Unfortunately, it's no longer enough to cut CO2 emissions to avoid further global temperature increases. We need to remove some of the CO2 that's already there. Thankfully, that reversal is one step closer to becoming reality. Climeworks and Reykjavik Energy have started running the first power plant confirmed to produce "negative emissions" -- that is, it's removing more CO2 than it puts out. The geothermal station in Hellsheidi, Iceland is using a Climeworks module and the plant's own heat to snatch CO2 directly from the air via filters, bind it to water and send it underground where it will mineralize into harmless carbonates.

Just like naturally forming carbon deposits, the captured CO2 should remain locked away for many millions of years, if not billions. And because the basalt layers you need to house the CO2 are relatively common, it might be relatively easy to set up negative emissions plants in many places around the world.”


“There are so many barriers for women in India when it comes to education,’’ Shroff said. “They get their periods and stay home for a week and fall behind. Or their parents have another child and they stop going to school and start babysitting the younger ones and become the mother of the household.’’

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