Archive for the ‘Sustainable Development’ Category

The Global Good is Catching On

Today, September 24, the UN Foundation launched the Global Good Challenge. The challenge provides incentive, the chance to win prizes, to use social media to support and raise awareness of selected UN Foundation’s causes. (Note: Great name! But there is no affiliation between the challenge and TGG.)

Please, take a moment to sign on. By “playing” you are donating your voice for the global good. Causes include: Nothing But Nets, to fight malaria; Girl Up for the empowerment of girls; and Shot@life to provide vaccination protecting children from preventable diseases.

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Art Teaches Kids about Poverty

Why should we teach our children about global poverty and its challenges? Did you know half the world’s children live on less than $2 a day? (UN Human Development Report, 2011). And, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an astounding 22% of American children– 15.7 million–  are considered poor. (Kids Count data book, 2012).*

The topic of poverty is relevant to Texas “essential knowledge and skills” in a broad range of courses such as: economics, geography, government, history and culture. And, beyond the facts, it is essential that we empower our next generation of problem solvers with comprehension, compassion, and critical thinking about sustainability at home and in the developing world.

Click on this image of Rocinha to read about
the Origins of the Favela (RioOnWatch.org)

Bringing the Brazilian Favela to Austin, Texas is a new collaboration in development that will use art to create an interactive stage for learning. The next major installation of Brazilian artist Werllayne Nunes, planned for early 2014, will create a “life-sized” rendering of a portion of the favela, or shantytown. Approximately a dozen original oil paintings, an actual favela dwelling, documentary film, and other media will serve as resources for local educators.  Middle and high school students will have a unique opportunity to learn not only about Brazil but also about the broader social and economic challenges of living in informal settlements.

The educational component of the project is made possible through partnership with Public Engagement office of the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), University of Texas at Austin. LLILAS Public Engagement is dedicated to supporting Latin America-related K-12 education. As partner to the Favela project, Public Engagement will consult teachers on appropriate topics for classroom inclusion, create standards-based curriculum units that offer an in-depth understanding of poverty and development issues, provide training and gather resources for teachers. One to two student groups per week will visit the art installation over a three-month period reaching roughly 1,000 area middle and high school students.

Bringing the Brazilian Favela to Austin integrates art with education on a diverse range of topics. This means of engaging students in creative learning aims to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and create empathy. Not only is using art in education innovative, but it also has proven positive effects on children’s academic, social, cultural, and cognitive development.

Research performed by the Arts Education Partnership and others has demonstrated the power of art in education to develop skills and abilities such as:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation
  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Academic achievement
  • School, social and civic engagement (Arts Education Partnership)

A possible lesson plan, for example, might encourage high school students to role-play and go through group problem-solving exercises to develop solutions to specific challenges of living in a favela. Another lesson might explore the rich cultural production of the favela, especially in music, and the role arts-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played to empower youth in these communities.

In addition to school outreach, Bringing the Brazilian Favela to Austin will engage the community by partnering with local organizations to stage concurrent Brazil-related cultural events. The art show will remain open to the public during normal gallery hours. Austin-based social enterprise The Global Good will undertake the role of fundraising and project coordination.

While the installation itself is planned for early 2014, a number of related events or workshops, such as a possible Master Class in painting for at-risk teens, are under discussion for the interim.

For more information about the Bringing the Brazilian Favela to Austin project, contact  <info@theglobalgood.com>.

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*Poverty is defined by the U.S. government by income. The poverty level for 2012 was set at $23,050 (total yearly income) for a family of four.

Social Entrepreneurship is front and center at Rio+20

Skoll Foundation tells us why they are there:

“Because a critical mass of people can surprise you: over 70,000 decision-makers and social change actors are in town. There really has never been more peer pressure for social change, showing the world scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. And right here, on the peninsula outcropping between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Skoll and our close partners AVINA, Ashoka and the Fundaçao Roberto Marinho, are hosting the 3 day Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and the New Economy. It’s one of the most public events at Rio+20, celebrated on national TV in Brazil and included in Rio+20 agendas. Social entrepreneurship is front and center…”

Skoll Foundation at Rio+20: Why We’re There « Skoll Foundation.

#socent #rioplus20 #empreendeRio20

What Exactly Is Social Entrepreneurship?

via NextBillion.net

From Forbes: What Exactly Is Social Entrepreneurship?

My comments: The for-profit and non-profit worlds are merging. For-profits see the monetary advantage of green practices and investing for social benefit. The fair trade market is a good example. Fair sells.

On the flip side, non-profits understand that they must not only be mission-driven, but also be able to demonstrate measurable returns– social returns– on their investments. The key words are impact, scalability, and sustainability.

So when it comes to the social entrepreneur, he’s, well, an entrepreneur like any other– mostly. The gist of it, according to the author of this Forbes piece, is that the social entrepreneur strives to operate by business standards while bringing the dual returns of profit and social outcomes.

Should social entrepreneurs focus on monetary profit as well as doing good? Can they do both well at the same time? What do you think?

Recommended Reading: Why Nations Fail

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (Mar 20, 2012)

Hot off the press and at the top of my reading list (along with 1/2 dozen others…) is these economists’ view of inequality and poverty on a global scale.

Why are some countries rich while others remain poor?

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Buy Less, Borrow More

How often do I really use my hammer? Or my blender? Truth is not often. 

Why do I buy all this stuff and stick it in my closets and cupboards anyway? Sooner or later, it all becomes junk. The truth is that consumerism ultimately drives all the waste we generate– in the U.S. that is 230 million tons of solid waste per year, or 4.6 pounds per person per day.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? I’d rather use (and spend) less and just borrow the hammer on the rare occasion I have a new picture to hang. And, hopefully, return the favor some day.

All this is to share with you a new venture called OhSoWe which helps local groups share things or knowledge (as in, how to use a thing). I first learned of them  in this article “Sell Less, Share More“.

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The (Pesticide) Circle of Poison. Heard of it?

I was reading today a list of recommended 12 fruits and vegetables to buy organic.  I knew about apples (some of the worst offenders when it comes to being over-sprayed with pesticides), but the item that caught my attention was imported grapes.

I started looking into overseas pesticides.  Have you ever heard of the Circle of Poison? Pesticides like DDT get banned from the U.S., so producers sell it abroad instead. Overseas growers spray the produce and sell it back to the U.S.

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Catch the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship TODAY

Sadly, the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, March 28-30, 2012 at the University of Oxford, England,  is by invitation only. Sadly, I won’t be there. But I can live vicariously through the Internet!

Why have a world forum on social entrepreneurship? Because it matters! A lot.  By the way, this link is to Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg’s post on the Huffington Post.  And Ariana Huffington is a featured speaker at the forum this year.

 

 

For those of us who can’t be in Oxford, video recordings of select presentations are available online and also in live stream. Here’s the schedule:

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Let’s bring clean water to 100 people! (It’s World Water Day. And it’s my birthday present!)

Water is for the global good!

For my birthday, April 6, I want to get clean water to 100 people. Want to help?

You can give $43 now (my age, ugh!) or anything at all. Hey,  $10 is great.

Go to:  http://mycharitywater.org/theglobalgood

All – 100% – will go to a clean water project like a well or a filtering system. If we reach our big goal of $2000, we will bring clean drinking water to 100 people.  Clean water to drink, and not for one day either. Every day. As they say, “Water changes everything.”

 

 

 

I know it sounds silly, but ever since I read the novel Dune, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of a planet– our planet– without water. I’m a sci-fi fan. When clean drinking water becomes so rare and so precious, what does that look like? Who owns the water?

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50% Fewer Live in Extreme Poverty…and….

Five years before the 2015 deadline, the world has achieved one of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce extreme poverty by half.

Check out the New York Times article on March 6, 2012:

Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump

Definitely this is a huge achievement to be celebrated!!  And a word of caution comes from the Trickle Up President Bill Abrams. One caveat is how we understand and define poverty. The gross numbers for poverty have fallen, but the numbers of the ultra-poor (living on $1.25/day or less) haven’t improved all that much.

Why would that be? Continue reading