Finally Good News

Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

David Miliband

David Miliband (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former UK foreign secretary and brother of Labour party leader Ed Miliband, David Miliband is leading the charge on saving the world’s oceans. It’s encouraging to see the proactive, heartfelt stance being taken in a bid to raise awareness for the plight of the high seas – as over fishing, sea-floor mining and “rogue engineering” are threatening the planet and making, according to Miliband, the recent financial crisis look like child’s play. The new organization, which Miliband will lead in a non-profit capacity, is called the Global Ocean Commission, and will “try to fashion practical solutions that are an environmental win and an economic win, and with a commission which is avowedly across north-south, east-west, rich-poor divides.” This commission’s aim is to help preserve and regulate the high seas, long been an outlaw frontier due to human being’s inability to reach and navigate the deeper waters – but, the last twenty years have seen an unprecedented encroachment on marine life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags (Photo credit: Urban Woodswalker)

It dawned on me when I was buying fruit in a local grocery store, how unnecessary plastic bags were for the apples and oranges – just to collect them for the checkout – at which point everything else was to be bundled in plastic. And so this thought of ludicrous wastage found a friend in the unlikely place of a new BBC series online, called 60-Second Idea. This is a simple format whereby philosophers, scientists, psychologists, and in this instance, historian David Abulafia, posits an idea in one minute that could change the world.

Abulafia simply outlined how everything we are surrounded by, and use, is constructed, at least in part, by plastic. This is killing the oceans as it’s not broken down, and creating landfills the size of countries. But, the crux of the idea was for the planet’s inhabitants to “stop using anything plastic for one day a year,” as a way to think about our unconscious actions and their impact. Would this solve the world’s problem? Of course not, but it would help to illustrate how we are enslaved by our habits and the ‘tools’ of our everyday lives. Just as there is a blackout day when everyone across the globe is supposed to not use electricity in the evening, this is the equivalent for a substance, and one that is unmanageable and hugely overused. Read the rest of this entry »

Hong Kong

English: Full view of Kowloon and Hong Kong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing to how the Arab Spring uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East are continuing to have repercussions throughout the world. The role of technology, of course, cannot be underplayed in these events – social media has been a valuable conduit and meeting place to spread this contagious notion of Democracy. And before the cynics get to the point of ‘what do you do now, once you have freedom?’ (a whole other argument), it’s thrilling to see the demands that citizens are beginning to make of their national businesses and governments.

China, and more specifically the semi-autonomous principality of Hong Kong, is now in the midst of pro-democracy fervour; raising a stout middle finger to the national powers in Beijing. The reason for this is the legislature election, and it follows weeks of protest at the government’s “plans for mandatory patriotism lessons,” according to the BBC. Read the rest of this entry »

The great outdoors

Lunch outdoors_20120201 (Photo credit: csmramsden)

The BBC recently ran a lengthy report on an interesting and hugely beneficial public-inclusive science project called the Open Air Laboratories (Opal). This was a five-year effort (although they hope to continue) whose aim was to get the public “outdoors and involved in scientific research.” It worked, and involved over 500,000 people and 25,000 surveys.

Although data collection – concerning the surrounding local and area wildlife –was an objective to the project the main impetus was “just to get people out and enjoying the outdoors, ” said Dr. Linda Davies, Opal project director. This has proven to be a big hit with the public and one that is arguably necessary now more than ever. There seems to be a big disconnect between our lives and that of ‘life outside,’ namely nature and the environment; it’s as if many of us believe we’re renting a room from nature, like a hotel, and don’t actually live in the same house with ‘it.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Food Waste

Massive food consumption in modern society – Korean food 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent report on the BBC by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers stating that, “half of the world’s food is thrown away” has inspired many heated responses from retail and governmental sectors alike. Is it true? From the volume of voices now in the debate, the exact statistics don’t really matter – the important point is that a new dialogue has now been created around the issue of food waste.

This is a hot topic that is increasingly taking centre stage in the press. Top high street UK brands like M&S and Morrisons have already been quick to keep up with the public’s desire for fairtrade, ecological and recyclable products. This comes at an opportune time, because the smart brands can make money and win public trust – and, hopefully, stay in it for the long haul. The damning report was a cautionary tale that the change must come from up high, with Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, saying: “Governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN need to work to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices.” But surely this is a battle that must equally be fought at street level, with retail and branding and effective consumer communication as well. Read the rest of this entry »

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is working closely with companies in order to help the natural world facilitate further advances in technology and industry

It was encouraging to read an article on the BBC about the San Diego Zoo working closely with companies in order to help the natural world facilitate further advances in technology and industry. This is the first zoo in the world to open a ‘Centre for Bioinspiration’ hoping to inspire and aid human problems with the ‘biomimicry’ of nature. It may seem surprising, actually, that this is not already happening, when one thinks of the medicine from the natural world humans have collected and used – the list is limitless. But, with the increasing loss of biodiversity and extinction of species being very real threats, this may provide a learning bridge and also a means to re-discover the necessity of our coexistence.

Currently, butterflies are being studied at the zoo, hoping to inform the new design of the Mirasol e-reader display; the list of what humankind has managed to ‘steal’ from nature is enormous: Velcro, wing design in airplanes and wind turbines and all manner of sustainable environmental structures. The head of this new auspicious collaboration, Larry Stambaugh, has the simple goal of learning from the greatest teacher of all – nature: “The zoo’s scientists and animal care staff will research the biology of plants and animals, and the centre then aims to collaborate with organisations around the world to develop actual products.” Read the rest of this entry »

Katherine Lucey

Katherine Lucey
“TEDxPVD-129 (Photo credit: TEDxProvidence)”

It is often argued that limitations are the fuel for creativity – innovation and ambition not being reliant upon access to technological tools or even much financial support. If the above idea is true, then Africa’s advances in the last five years are proof positive that willful ingenuity is the real backbone of groundbreaking entrepreneurial successes. CNN has been running an excellent series on African nations’ new role in devising ingenious uses for mobile phones – from banking to medical advice – and ways to harness renewable energy resources to help create better lives in many seriously impoverished areas.

The latest article details how a new initiative to be bring solar power to poor areas is helping those without electricity and empowering the women who are selling this unique service. Katherine Lucey is the founder of Solar Sister, an organization built around women helping poor communities escape ‘energy poverty’ by providing affordable solar-powered devices such as lights, and mobile phone chargers, ultimately helping those desperately in need of energy sources. Read the rest of this entry »


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