Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where this economic wake-up call might take us

Following up on yesterday's theme, trying to find some silver linings in current economic news, I stumbled across this piece on the Huffington Post website. It's an opinion piece, on the theme of America's "awakening". But it's not just America, of course. Many in the West, and beyond, are waking up - to what they've spent, what they owe and what they've lost in the process. The latter is an interesting theme - one that the author of the Huffington Post column says she's going to pursue in the weeks to come. The big question of course is whether and how we can recover what we've lost, find meaning beyond consumerism and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. At the end of the day, we each have to answer that for ourselves...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What the WEF? Is that an apology?

I'm not going to lie to you, folks. There really isn't much good news to be found when it comes to the global economy. But this article, from the UK's Guardian newspaper, does suggest we may have reached some kind of turning point. Apparently, the organizer of the annual World Economic Forum - which kicks off tomorrow in Davos - thinks the world's economic and financial sector leaders should feel and demonstrate remorse, and that some at least should publicly apologize. Who knows whether that will happen, but it does sound as if belts will be tightened at this year's WEF - fewer parties are planned, fewer celebs are expected and some business leaders are staying away. (Maybe they're not ready to say sorry?!) Let's hope the 2600 participants, who will be dominated by the world's political leaders, will seize the opportunity before them. It's time to get serious, take responsibility and address the weaknesses of the global economic system. If that doesn't happen this week, we'll need a lot more than an apology...


Want to focus on the long-term? Come and join Vision 2100 - and share your hopes, fears and expectations about the future of our planet and your community. It'd be great to see you there... :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dancing for hope in Kenya

People dancing, singing, waving posters of Barack Obama... no, not in Washington DC (though there's definitely a party atmosphere there tonight) but in the Kenyan village of Kogelo, the hometown of Obama's father. According to today's linked article from the BBC, residents of the village have already gained from Obama's election win - with the eyes of the world upon them, local authorities have now installed electricity to the village. Tourists are starting to drop by. But, more importantly, people feel more hopeful for the future, buoyed by a strong sense of what is possible through hard work and opportunities handed from one generation to the next. May that hope be kept alive - and realized - for many years to come... (Beautiful photo from BBC online.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A pretty neat plane crash

Today saw one of the happiest news stories of the year so far (though we are, of course, only 15 days into 2009!), as reported here by MSNBC. As birds hit a plane in New York and brought it down, the plane's crew avoided catastrophe by landing skillfully on the Hudson River and then rapidly evacuating all passengers with the help of local emergency services. Some good luck, for sure, but a whole lot of judgement too - and proof that practice does indeed make perfect, as the pilot's training and experience, in particular, paid off handsomely. Could it be that the best way to foster and reward hope is through old-fashioned preparation? (Photo from MSNBC.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Nepalese children won over by computers

This is a really touching - and truly hopeful - piece from the BBC. It's about a project in Nepal that's trying to establish an e-library in every district in the country. So far only six districts have one of the e-libraries, but the aim of the Help Nepal Network is to reach all 75 districts eventually, serving communities with computing facilities, scanned books and other educational resources - including materials developed by Save the Children on issues such as children's rights. The health manual 'Where There is no Doctor' has also proved popular! The early reaction to the centers has been positive - though some children were fearful initially, thinking the computers might harm them in some way. Now, it looks as if the main challenge will be keeping pace with demand for the facilities. Let's hope the project gets the investment it needs to expand soon, as the existing e-libraries sound likely to become the hub of the communities they serve. (Photo from BBC online.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Grape potential

The antioxidant powers of grapes - particularly red or black grapes - have long been mooted. But today's linked article from the UK's Independent newspaper documents scientific research confirming this potential. Recent studies conducted by scientists from the University of Kentucky found that 76% of leukemia cells exposed to grape seed extract destroyed themselves within 24 hours. Significantly, healthy human cells were left unharmed. It's early days in this line of research, but these striking results suggest grape seed extract may have a role to play in treating leukemia and other cancers. Meanwhile, keep drinking the grape juice (and red wine - in moderation, of course)...


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2009 is a great year for all RTBH readers! And, as we all focus our minds on the year ahead, I thought it a good time to draw your attention to a new project I'm involved with - Vision 2100. Vision 2100 aims to bring people from across the world together, to share their vision of the world in the year 2100. In part, it's a bit of good fun. But it could also be a fascinating demonstration of the 'wisdom of crowds' - can we collectively build a vision of the future that we can work towards, across borders, and across cultures? Let's find out! Come and join Vision 2100 today!