After starting out wanting to reduce poverty, aid workers often find themselves living a lifestyle unimaginable back home. Does this cause more harm than good?
Jan Servaes's insight:
During your work time you are trying to address issues related to poverty and war, but in your free time you and your friends go out and get drunk, laugh, dance, are very loud and behave like teenagers who recently found freedom. You see expatriates taking home local prostitutes at the end of the night. You ask yourself what kind of values you are projecting and what kind of impression you are leaving on the local people, but then you get too drunk to care all that much.
At MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to rural communities in India using microgrids. By Kathryn M. O'Neill This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of Energy Futures magazine.
Soros: The EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down.
Jan Servaes's insight:
"There is a revolution going on in the social sciences .... With the help of the natural sciences, mankind has gained control over the forces of nature but our ability to govern ourselves has not kept pace with the achievements of natural science. We have the capacity to destroy our civilization and we are well on the way to doing so".
Sombath Somphone disappeared three years ago on 12 December 2012. He was last seen at a road-checkpoint in Vientiane on his way home. Sombath founded Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC) in Vientiane in 1996 to foster sustainable, equitable, and self-reliant development in Laos.
The rich and powerful had all the necessary data for focusing on existential issues for the planet and its inhabitants. Yet they failed to do so. This is a powerful example of the disconnection between the concern of citizens and their elite. The political and financial system is more and more self reverent: but is also fast losing legitimacy in the eyes of many people. What is increasingly at stage is democracy itself? Are we entering in a Weimar stage of the world?
“The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed,” wrote someone (apparently not Mahatma Gandhi). But it’s still true. The World Economic Forum has just met in Davos and, in anticipation, Oxfam released a damning report duly ignored by the political and corporate business leaders who took part. Oxfam’s briefing paper “An…
Jan Servaes's insight:
In previous years, the World Economic Forum has been accused of being threadbare. Now, it is naked but unashamed. Time for a change.
Economic exclusion; financial systems that perpetuate their discrimination; limited participation in political and public life; lack of access to education and poor retention of girls in schools; gender-based violence; harmful cultural practices,...
With COP21, Paris has placed renewed commitment on the shoulders of the largest developed and developing economies and embraced the aspirations of the most vulnerable nations. Wilson Perspectives: The Paris Climate Agreement outlines how Paris has forged an accord that, despite its shortcomings, provides for a global architecture to build a safe, prosperous, and climate-resilient future.
We're particularly happy this year to see the strengthening of post-corporate business eco-systems that are co-creating commons. As we confront climate change, the capacity to drastically diminish our use of matter/energy resources, while allowing the world population to lead decent lives, point to the need to use and integrate the various elements of peer production and open source, to drastically augment the 'thermo-dynamic efficiencies' of our way of producing resources. While we are still very far away for such an alternative system to replace the failing old one, the good news is that the transition has started nearly everywhere, and that civil society is responding to the combined market and state failures.
Asia and the Pacific has had some phenomenal successes in achieving Millennium Development Goal targets, but the region continues to struggle in many areas that are vital to prosperity and social development. ...
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