What's striking to me is that we've added five billion people just in the last one hundred years! Check out this piece re-posted from Machable:
Today, we woke up to the discomfiting news that there are now 7 billion people inhabiting planet Earth. Seems like just yesterday there were only six billion. It’s an important milestone for the world and one big enough that, like most other major events and activities, has its own app: National Geographic Society 7 Billion.
The iPad app is simply called “7 Billion“, which is a number big enough to get anyone’s attention. According to the free app, which is downloadable right now from Apple’s App Store, it would take you 200 years to count to 7 billion out loud. In other words, you’ll never finish. Still, these are the kinds of tantalizing tidbits you’ll find throughout this information rich app. It’s part of National Geographic‘s year-long series on the world’s new population number. National Geographic will deliver new features to the app throughout the year (Cities are the Solution is coming in December).
Inside the app, which ran fairly smoothly on my iPad 1 (but could use clearer navigation–I had a bit of trouble getting out of the opening video), you’ll find over a dozen features and numerous charts, infographics and photos and videos on everything from how income and the average number of children impacts per-country population growth, to what the 7 billion people means for our food and resource supplies. Here’s just some of what I learned from the app:
In 2045 there will be 9 billion people
Every second 5 people are born
Every second 2 people die (you can see the problem)
We’re all living longer: the average Life span is now 69 years old
By 2050, 70% of us will be living in urban areas
We have enough space for all these people: 7 billion people could fit shoulder-to-shoulder in the City of Los Angeles
In 1975 there were three mega-cities (cities with 10 million or more people)
As many of you know, I've been working with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) for many years now. Today, my friend (and their president) George Hamilton, released an important letter about climate change. Please read his note and check out the video.
There has been much debate in the media lately about whether or not the extreme weather events we’ve been having are caused by climate change.
I say it doesn’t matter.
This year, record-breaking rainfall, drought, and wildfires followed record-breaking floods, landslides, and tornadoes which followed record-breaking snowfall. All over the world.
The fact is 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and is caused primarily by human activities. And a changing climate will mean more frequent and more cataclysmic weather events for all of us.
So whether or not the overwhelming drought in Russia, the catastrophic tornadoes in Missouri, the intense wildfires in Texas, or the devastating floods in my home state of Vermont were each caused by climate change doesn’t really matter.
This is just a sample of what our future will look like if we don’t take action today.
Tomorrow, the Climate Reality Project is inviting people all over the world to share the reality of the climate crisis. People living with the impacts of climate change will tell their story through a presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once an hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe. You can watch at 7pm in your time zone atwww.climaterealityproject.org.
Something exciting is coming to WhiteHouse.gov. It's called We the People and it will significantly change how the public -- you! -- engage with the White House online. Our Constitution guarantees your right to petition our government. Now, with We the People, there is a new way to submit an online petition on a range of issues -- and get an official response. This is such a terrific idea!
Here are the basics:
Individuals will be able to create or sign a petition that calls for action by the federal government on a range of issues. If a petition gathers enough support (i.e., signatures) it will be reviewed by a standing group of White House staff, routed to any other appropriate offices and generate an official, on-the-record response.
How many signatures? Initially petitions that gather more than 5,000 signatures in 30 days will be reviewed and answered.
There's another aspect to this meant to emphasize the grassroots, word of mouth organizing that thrives on the internet. At first, a petition's unique URL will only be known to its creator and will not show up anywhere else on WhiteHouse.gov. It's up to that person to share it in their network to gather an initial amount of signatures -- initially 150 -- before it is searchable on WhiteHouse.gov.
As we move forward, your feedback about We the People will be invaluable, and there are a few ways you can share it. Numerous pages on WhiteHouse.gov, including the We the People section, feature a feedback form. In addition, you can use the twitter hashtag #WHWeb to give the White House digital team advice and feedback. I'll also try to answer questions when I have time today -- you can pose them to @macon44.
Finally, while We the People is a fresh approach to official, online petitions, the United States isn't the first to try; for example, the United Kingdom offers e-petitions, and this work was very helpful as we developed our own.
Today is World Health Day, an event held on the 7th April every year since 1950 to mark the founding of the World Health Organisation and an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.
This year the World Health Organisation has devoted World Health Day toantimicrobial resistance. This is a problem that is becoming more widespread as bacteria, viruses and parasites develop resistance to antibiotic. Antibiotics and antimicrobial drugsa have changed human history since their introduction in the 1940s, reducing the burden of major diseases such as syphilis, tuberculosis (TB), and leprosy. But in a statement on the WHO website Margaret Chan raises the prospect of a “post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and will, once again, kill unabated.” This statement underlines the urgency of the issue in malaria and TB in particular – resistance to the latest generation of malaria drugs has been detected and although worldwide deaths from TB are declining, the WHO reports that nearly half a million people last year developed multidrug resistant TB. (This videohighlights the effect of drug-resistant TB in Kazakstan, Lesotho and the Philippines).
A major factor contributing to the growth of antimicrobial resistance is the inappropriate use of medicines and this features in the six point policy package that the WHO proposes to encourage governments to take the right measures to tackle the problem. The package emphasizes the need to regulate medicine use and ensure that patients gain uninterrupted access to essential medicines, to enhance infection prevention and control, as well as developing comprehensive national financial plans, strengthening laboratory and surveillance capacity, and help foster innovation and research into new tools to deal with the problems.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries/territories officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.
On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.
Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up.
Visit our Beyond the Hour platform to share your stories and to get inspiration from the actions our supporters have shared with us already.
Earth Hour is organized by WWF. With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries/territories, it’s one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.
The Glimpse Correspondents Program is for talented writers and photographers with a passion for storytelling and a knack for finding truly unique stories. The program is open to anyone who will be working, volunteering, or studying outside of their home country for at least 10 weeks.
And it is super cool!
Glimpse believes that independent travelers, particularly those who spend significant time abroad, have a unique and often overlooked opportunity to effect positive change around the world. This begins with bearing witness to place, people, culture, and especially the stories and struggles that might otherwise go unrecorded.
Glimpse is a worldwide program powered by Matador and supported in part by the National Geographic Society. Glimpse connects young writers, journalists, photographers, and filmmakers with professional editors who help them develop their storytelling voice and media skills.
Correspondents receive the following benefits:
Support from a team of professional editors
Career training in writing and photography
Guaranteed publication on Glimpse.org and Matador Network
Mark Twain once famously said that: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
And as I take my last short flight home from New York's JFK airport, I can't think of a better way to put it.
Working with two clients, I was able to visit seven new countries (if you include Hong Kong) and see parts of the world I had only imagined until now—Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, India, and Nepal.
Each place was so amazing, so unique. I can't imagine how I'll be able to share all of the stories. I'm really grateful to be able to do what I do. When I'm traveling for work, it means I'm doing what I love—helping social justice organizations make the world more fair and more just; and working everyday with people whose stories inspire the imagination.
I wish that I could share the sense of awe that I seem to experience almost everyday. There are days, of course, when I wake up exhausted, longing for my own bed and a simpler routine. But, it doesn't take long before I'm aching to go exploring once again—new cities, new faces, new food!
With this last adventure, I've now visited a new country for ever year I've been on the planet. For me, the longing to see the world started when I was an exchange student at sixteen. It's never stopped and I hope it never will.
Over the past few weeks, we've been hard at work with our new client, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). The primary goal of our engagement is to help ITDP develop clear, easy to use, and streamlined management structures and systems to build staff capacity and enhance performance towards the organization’s common goals. These systems will leverage the strengths of ITDP’s devolved organizational structure while building institutional coherence, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Over the coming weeks, we'll be visiting their offices in Indonesia, China, India, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as their offices in New York and here in Washington, DC. In addition to our assessment and recommendations, we'll be providing one-to-one coaching with the organization's senior staff. I've been really excited about this organization's amazing work around the world and I'm excited to share them with all of you. The story below is from their latest e-newsletter and will give you a bit of a sense of hat they're all about. Please check it out.
Last summer ITDP celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a look forward. They matched leading architects with ten of the world’s most vibrant cities to help show how integrating urban planning with transport can enable cities to thrive, while also combating climate change and managing population growth. The resulting visions are pulled together in an exhibition called Our Cities Ourselves, which showcases the transformative potential of designing our streets and our cities around the needs of people rather than around the needs of private cars. The exhibition began its long journey at the Center for Architecture in the summer of 2010.
This month the exhibition took off again, with openings in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City. Later this month it will reach South Africa where a traveling version will be on display in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It will open in India, China and Argentina later this year. Each of the cities is using the exhibition as a catalyst to spark civic discussion around urban planning and transportation by inviting in local leaders as well as leading experts from around the globe to take part in opening events, panel discussions and workshops.
Image: Sara Topelson, Vice Minister of Urban Development and Land Order of the federal government in Mexico, Jose Castillo, Architect and Founder arquitectura 911sc, Enrique Penalosa and others explore Our Cities, Ourselves (Nuestras Ciudades, Nuestro Futuro) at the Mexico City opening
Underpinning the exhibition on show are “10 Principles for Transportation in Urban Life", a booklet developed with Nelson Nyyguard and Gehl Architects, to help national and city leaders, private and public organizations realize the critical role of transportation in sustainable urban development.
I spent a couple of weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria for the 22nd Board Meeting of the Global Fund. Here are a few of the highlights from Global Fund Observer ...
GFO Issue 136 - 17 December 2010
NEWS: Main Decisions Made at the Board Meeting - by David Garmaise
At its just-completed 22nd meeting, the Global Fund Board made decisions on, among other things, which Round 10 proposals to approve; the timing of Round 11 and the second wave of national strategy applications; funding for health systems strengthening; the status of the Board chair and vice-chair; quality assurance policies; the Comprehensive Funding Policy; and the re-appointment of the Fund's Executive Director.
COMMENTARY: Report from Sofia - Good News, Bad News - by Bernard Rivers
"Every Global Fund Board meeting I've attended as an observer has involved one crisis. Nearly always, a solution has been found. The Board meeting in Sofia that ended on Wednesday was unusual because there was not one such crisis, but two. On the more difficult one, agreement was reached. On the easier one, not only did the Board fail to reach agreement, it failed to perform in a mature manner."
NEWS: Global Fund Terminates One Mali Grant and Suspends Two Others - by David Garmaise
Responding to revelations from its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of misappropriation of funds and unjustified expenditures, the Global Fund has terminated one grant to Mali and suspended two others. In addition, the Global Fund has placed grants in five countries on its "Additional Safeguards Policy" list.
COMMENTARY: The Global Fund in Zambia Is Vulnerable to Abuse - by Winstone Zulu
Winstone Zulu says, "Out of all the multilaterals [operating in Zambia], the Global Fund is the most vulnerable to abuse. It is dogged by conflicts of interest. We have millions of dollars going into the pockets of a few individuals. The entire CCM should quit and new people should be appointed. Then we should change all of the PRs."
NEWS: Global Fund Board Approves Round 10 Proposals (Bernard Rivers)
The Global Fund Board has approved all 79 Round 10 proposals recommended by the Technical Review Panel (TRP), at a cost of $1.73 billion over the first two years and $4.72 billion over five years. This makes Round 10 the third largest round ever, after Rounds 8 and 9 respectively.
NEWS: Global Fund Board Decides Timing of Round 11 (Bernard Rivers)
The Global Fund Board has decided that Round 11 will be launched on 15 August 2011, with proposals to be submitted by 15 December 2011 and approvals to be decided by the Board at its meeting in about May 2012.
Campaigners from around the world will be coming together on World AIDS Day, 1 December, to commemorate the theme of universal access and human rights. Check out my favorite site for understanding the issues by clicking here.
This year the World AIDS Campaign is working to promote the Light for Rights campaign. Light for Rights events are taking place on every continent this World AIDS Day!
We also have many other tools below (and more to come). Our partners and friends are also working to prepare to mark World AIDS Day. Check back regularly.
Videos of key messages for this year's World AIDS Day
Join us! Be a part of the international count down to World AIDS Day 2010. To keep up with the latest news and actions, you can sign up for our e-action alerts or friend us on Facebook
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world and is time to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 40,059 young people in the United States had received a diagnosis of AIDS, and an estimated 10,129 young people with AIDS have died. LGBTQ youth and youth of color are a higher risk for HIV and AIDS. Want to do more? Remember that taking care of you is taking care of our community and then TAKE ACTION in any of these ways:
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