Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ghana going green

I often feature stories about the pace of positive change and the rapid adoption of technology in low-income countries, and here's another story in that vein, from the Ghanaian Chronicle. According to the article linked above (from the post title), Ghana's environment minister has announced plans to revolutionize waste management across the country through widespread recycling. The minister made her commitment as she inaugurated a non-profit plastic recycling enterprise. The Cyclus Elmina Recycling Plant will employ local people to collect waste from communities for recycling and aims specifically to create jobs for young people in the surrounding district. The initiative couldn't be more timely, as wealthier Ghanaians are increasingly opting to buy water in plastic bottles and sachets (as tap water is not yet properly treated), and the use of other packaging materials is also on the rise. Unlike many high-income countries, however, Ghana is investing in recycling from the outset, hopefully leading to a more sustainable growth model and a cleaner environment.


Just to let you know - I am now using Twitter. (I resisted for some time, but eventually caved!) I am posting positive news and other morcels there on a regular basis, so if you need a more frequent dose of good news and other mind-stimulating stuff than you get through RTBH alone, please follow me on Twitter.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Virtual reunion

Social networking, email and other 'new' technologies are often cited as barriers to forming genuine and meaningful human relationships. So I was interested to find this story on BBC today, about a woman who found her long-lost son through Facebook. Avril Grube from Poole in the UK had not seen her son, Gavin, since he disappeared with his father in 1982. Her former husband had taken the boy to his native Hungary. She and her sister had been searching for Gavin ever since, and her sister finally found his Facebook profile through an internet search engine. Eventually, direct contact was made, and Avril and Gavin were reunited. Now, apparently, they are happily catching up - face-to-face, at last.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Drillbit doctor

Thanks very much to RTBH reader Robert for sending me this story from the BBC today. (I'd spotted it there myself earlier, in fact, and was already resolved to post it - it's such an amazing little tale!) According to the article - and accompanying video clip - an Australian boy's life was saved recently thanks to a household drill. Nicholas Rossi's parents took him to hospital after he fell off his bike and suffered a head injury. The hospital doctor, Rob Carson, believed Nicholas had bleeding between his skull and his brain, which had to be drained – but as the hospital didn't have any specialist staff or equipment Dr Carson had to use a household drill under instruction from a neurosurgeon via telephone. Fortunately, the procedure worked, and Nicholas was stabilized and transferred to a bigger hospital. He recovered in time to go home on his 13th birthday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Changing the world 2.0

I thought I'd share this article from Treehugger today. It's a great list of some of the things you can do to change the world for the better, using social media. The list includes actions like rating a company online, using Twitter to raise funds for charity or to stimulate activism, and working as an online citizen journalist when you travel - and the article provides all kinds of links to help you get started. Definitely some options worth investigating, I'd say. And you don't even have to leave your couch...


Check out my cousin Maps' new single, which was released yesterday. It's called 'Let Go of the Fear' - the perfect RTBH anthem! Turn it up loud, put YouTube on full screen - and enjoy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Marathon effort

What an inspirational tale from the UK's Times newspaper today! It tells of an army major, Phil Packer, who just finished the London Marathon - 13 days after it started. Packer was injured on duty in Iraq and was told he'd never walk again. But he managed to complete the marathon's 26 mile course on crutches, at a rate of 2 miles a day (the most his doctor would allow). In doing so, he was attempting to raise £1m (about $1.5m) for a charity called Help for Heroes, which supports soldiers injured in action. As part of the same fundraising campaign, he's already rowed the English Channel and completed a sky-dive. Next he's planning to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California, USA. A truly amazing effort.


You can visit Phil Packer's website to find out more about his fundraising efforts and to contribute.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When soccer feels like home

This is a great article from today's New York Times. It focuses on the ups and downs of New York's Street Soccer team, one of 19 US soccer teams for the homeless. Street Soccer NY is made up of players from a homeless shelter on Ward's Island, who now play in a men's soccer league at Chelsea Piers (one of the city's premier sports-entertainment complexes). The team started shakily, as the players didn't know each other's names, let alone trust each other - and some turned up drunk... But with regular practice, donated shoes and other equipment, and a burgeoning team spirit, the team has improved. They won for the first time this week. But it's not just the winning that's important. As some of the players have testified, it's a way to feel normal, interact with others and get fit again - all of which heightens the players' ability to cope with their tough circumstances. One thing's for sure - they'll have lots of people rooting for them now! (PS - there's a nice little video on the NYT website if you go to the article there.)