Peter Menzel's beautiful photography and our Hungry Planet...
This video is a fascinating portal into global food systems and how globalization is impacting local foods. He traveled around the world to see what families eat in a given week, and how much all the food cost and where it can from. Many wealthy countries exhibit poor nutritional habits (eating food high in fat, sugar and salt) while some in poorer people have a very balanced diet. This leads him to describe the 'Nutritional Transition.' Warning before showing in class: there are brief instances of non-sexualized nudity in the video.
Reuters photographer Carlos Barria recently spent time in Shanghai, China, the fastest-growing city in the world. A week ago, he took this amazing shot, recreating the same framing and perspective as a photograph taken in 1987, showing what a difference 26 years can make. The setting is Shanghai's financial district of Pudong, dominated by the Oriental Pearl Tower at left, and the new 125-story Shanghai Tower, China's tallest building and the world's second tallest skyscraper, at 632 meters (2,073 ft) high, scheduled to finish by the end of 2014. Shanghai, the largest city by population in the world, has been growing at a rate of about 10 percent a year the past 20 years, and now is home to 23.5 million people -- nearly double what it was back in 1987. This entry is focused on this single photo pairing, with several ways to compare the two.
"The standard of living of most Americans has fallen in the last 25 years; last year, the typical household made $51,017, roughly the same as in 1988. I have written several times before about how measures of social and economic well-being in the United States have slipped compared to other advanced countries. But it is even more poignant to recognize that, in many ways, America has been standing still for a full generation."
In the 20 years since it entered into force, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been both lauded and attacked in the United States. But to properly assess NAFTA’s record, it is important to first be clear about what the agreement has actually done. Economically speaking, the answer is a lot.
NAFTA was the first comprehensive free-trade agreement to join developed and developing nations, and it achieved broader and deeper market openings than any trade agreement had before.
NAFTA did that by eliminating tariffs on all industrial goods, guaranteeing unrestricted agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico, opening up a broad range of service sectors, and instituting national treatment for cross-border service providers. It also set high standards of protection for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
NAFTA ignited an explosion in cross-border economic activity. Today, Canada ranks as the United States’ largest single export market, and it sends 98 percent of its total energy exports to the United States, making Canada the United States’ largest supplier of energy products and services. Mexico is the United States’ second-largest single export market. Over the past two decades, a highly efficient and integrated supply chain has developed among the three North American economies. Intraregional trade flows have increased by roughly 400 percent.
North Americans not only sell more things to one another; they also make more things together. About half of U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico takes place between related companies, and the resulting specialization has boosted productivity in all three economies. NAFTA has also caused cross-border investment to soar.
In spite of this impressive economic record, NAFTA has its critics. Most of those who attack it on economic grounds focus on Mexico, not Canada, and claim that the partnership is one-sided: that NAFTA is Mexico’s gain and America’s pain. But the economic data prove otherwise.
What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London's Olympic stadium? The answer - this year's new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea. Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).
We think we know what poverty looks like. But how do we accurately account for it? How do we know where to look? Poverty maps are one place to begin. Technological advances of the past decade—the increased capability to both collect and process improved data—make it possible to reveal the face of the poor in finer detail than ever before. By translating data into the visual accessibility of a map, we can locate poverty more precisely, understand its sources more comprehensively—and attack it more effectively. Such maps can even be used to monitor the results of anti-poverty efforts. Poverty maps can be part of a strong, new foundation for building and tailoring policies and programs, to reach those people that will benefit the most.
Via Seth Dixon
Humanity's future is the future of cities. Explore the crowded favelas, greened-up blocks and futuristic districts that could shape the future of cities -- and take a profane, hilarious side trip to the suburbs.
Global Forest Watch uses satellite imagery and other technologies to estimate forest usage, change, and tree cover (among other things). These estimates and their eventual actions used to be slow. Now they're near-real-time.