Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Sagan/Turner: Feed the Hungry, Not the War Machine

Friday, August 5th, 2011

What’s the best way to follow up yesterday’s Carl Sagan inspired post? With more Carl Sagan, of course! In the clip, we see Sagan being interviewed by Ted Turner. Skip to just past the 5 minute mark to hear Dr. Sagan remark:

“More than half the kids in America might be below the poverty line. What kind of future do we build for the country if we raise all these kids as disadvantaged, as unable to cope with society, as resentful for the injustice served up to them. This is stupid!”

To which Turner replies:

“And then what happened with the resources is they went into increasing budgets for arms, isn’t that where the money went?”

Later on, Sagan brings up the exorbitant cost of the now defunct Star Wars program, saying:

“Think of what that money could be used for: to educate, to help, to bring people up to a sense of self-confidence. To improve not just the happiness of people in America, but their economic standing…. We are using money for the wrong stuff.”

The interview happened over 20 years ago, and the words still ring true.

Too many governments around the world are blowing too much money on military budgets. This treasure being squandered doesn’t just appear out of thin air – it comes from the fruits of humankind’s labor.

We don’t need war anymore, and enough of us are finally beginning to recognize this to make a difference. No longer will humankind be fighting each other.

Instead, we’ll keep coordinating and cooperating internationally, working to dismantle the entities responsible for enable large scale conflicts as for-profit businesses.

Since the dawn of human civilization, we’ve been building a peaceful planet. And now, over the next few years, we will get to see the final pieces will come into place as world peace finally arrives. YAY!

Solar Energy: Cheaper by the Day

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

San Antonio, Texas – When bids came in for a 50MW solar power plant, officials were so blown away by the attractive prices that they decided to scale the project up 8-fold to 400MW.

HOORAY!

Why are San Antonio’s municipal affairs so exciting? Because it’s another sign that we’re on the verge of seeing renewable energy take over. No more fossil fuels for us. Green energy all the way, baby!

Now, when our world isn’t so dependent on fossil fuels, there will be one less reason to go to war. And we could certainly use less war in our world.

But affordable energy solutions, as transformative as they will be for us in developed nations, will have a far more profound effect on the world’s poorest.

The price will keep dropping and new developments will keep coming, so renewable energy solutions will be at the forefront of eradicating extreme poverty.

Similar to how much of the African continent skipped the whole phone-line infrastructure in lieu of cell phone towers, impoverished nations will be able to forgo a power grid to have households handle their own energy needs.

And with poverty being a root grievance that leads to violence, the less poverty we have in our world, the more peaceful our planet.

Awesome! =D

Video – 3D Printers

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

One single tool, and we’ll end global poverty forever. Just one incredible machine will help us easily meet the basic needs of every single human.

This amazing device? A 3-D printer.

If you haven’t heard of 3-d printers before, they’re technological marvels that can take in raw materials (like metal and plastic) and build actual 3-dimensional objects. Sounds a bit like star trek, right?

Well, these things already exist! For about a thousand dollars, you can assemble your own from a kit. and make objects out of plastic. But today we have some high end models that can make things out of metals, like titanium.

At the rate we’re progressing, perhaps within a decade, 3-D printers will produce any tool we need: machines, solar panels, computers, you-name-it, anything we want, designed from blueprints we share online and constructed out of two of the most abundant elements on earth – silicon and carbon.

Now, if you consider how 3-D printers can be used to make even more 3-D printers, well, the implications are staggering. With a way to create and power any tool we need, we’ll be able to shift away from today’s centralized system of dependence, to a distributed system of self-reliance where we manufacture goods, grow food and generate energy all on the local scales.

3-d printers are set to make our world one of abundance and equality, which will be awesome. When we are no longer starving or living in squalor, we’ll find it easier to co-exist without murdering each other, at least not on industrial scales like we do with wars today, which may be about as much world peace as we humans can hope for.

So there you have it. Another great reason to be optimistic for the future.

Squeaky Wheels Get More Grease

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

“We are tired of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate elites having such a disproportionate amount of influence and power, and the only way we can deal with organized greed at the top is with organized people power below.”Cornell West

Just like esteemed Professor West says, the best way to shift the balance of power back into the hands of the people is with cooperation and coordination from millions of engaged individuals.

This is why it is so important that we collectively demand more from the establishment. We may not get everything we ask for, but the mere act of asking makes it likely that we’ll get more than if we don’t say anything at all.

Just look what has been happening with all the uprisings across the Middle East. Fearful of revolutions spreading to their own countries, several Arab leaders have pledged huge sums to help appease their populations.

How effective these payoffs will be remains to be seen. But one thing is certain – if there were no revolutions and uprisings, these billion dollar kick-backs would have never even been on the table.

The louder our voice, the more the system should reflect the will of the people. When populations are empowered, mega-institutions, like corporations and banks, will no longer be free to steal trillions from the public.

This is precisely what happened in the Netherlands this week. Upset with the big bonuses the financial sector gave themselves after being bailed out by the public, Dutch citizens took to Twitter and Facebook and mobilized a successful uprising. Now, politicians have voted to implement a 100% retrospective tax, effectively eliminating all the banker’s bonuses. Booyah!

When humans work together, there is nothing we cannot do. We can reclaim our systems from the corruption caused by a few powerful interests. We can ensure democracy throughout all levels of government. We can make our world everthing we know it can be.

All it takes is for you to take action. Speak out, tweet, Facebook. Get involved in the movement. Join up with millions of like-minded individuals and embrace people power to get everything you want from the establishment.

Technology is Bringing Peace Through Education

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Institutions of innovative ideas interacted this week, as Salman Khan, founder of the free online Khan Academy, met up with TED Talks to share his riveting insights into the future of the world’s education systems.

Following highlights from the Academy’s enormous supply of teaching videos used by millions, Khan spoke of his vision to harness the real power of technology to educate the world:

  • Video lectures offer many advantages over their real-life counterparts, like being able to pause, repeat and learn at one’s own pace.
  • Intuitive, interactive exercises that advance according to the student’s comprehension helps break the mold of traditional one-size-fits-all classrooms.
  • Real-time progress tracking gives students game-style achievement trophies, enticing them to excel.
  • Teachers get a unique profile for each student, making the learning process as productive as possible.

Perhaps most intriguing is Khan’s notion of ‘flipping the script’, where the students are assigned their lectures for outside the class, and they do the assigned homework in class when the instructor is there to help. What a great idea!

The Khan Academy, by providing free, world-class educations to anyone with access to the Internet, truly highlights the power of technology to educate our planet.

With electronic devices growing increasingly cheap and powerful, a fully-connected global population could be feasible within a decade or two. Free, universally accessible, world-class educations would do a lot to level humankind’s playing field.

More importantly, access to the net’s infinitely expanding knowledge base can help the world’s needy find ways to help themselves. The earth’s poorest, when given access to information, can learn new irrigation techniques, find out how to use the sun to make drinking water, or even locate instructions to generate one’s own electricity.

Technology is opening new doors for us all the time and empowering us as a species. Pretty soon, we’ll have a world where no one is starving, and no child dies from easily preventable diseases. This will be fantastic, since each step towards ending extreme poverty brings us that much closer to realizing world peace.

Comedian Louis C.K. Kills People With His Car

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Just one of the brilliant things said by Louis C.K.:

“I drive an Infiniti. That’s really evil. There are people who just starve to death – that’s all they ever did. There’s people who are like, born and they go ‘Uh, I’m hungry’ then they just die, and that’s all they ever got to do. Meanwhile I’m driving in my car [kicking back music blaring] having a great time, and I sleep like a baby.

It’s totally my fault, ’cause I could trade my Infiniti for a [less luxurious] car… and I’d get back like $20,000. And I could save hundreds of people from dying of starvation with that money. And everyday I don’t do it. Everyday I make them die with my car.”

While no one should really believe he’s killing people with his car, Louis’ joke does reveal an underlying truth. Even though we have the means to prevent it, millions of people starve to death every year.

Unlike Louis C.K.’s solution, helping the world’s poorest doesn’t mean we have to sell our possessions and live in poverty beside them (although it wouldn’t hurt for us to moderate our consumption levels). No, we can keep our high standard of living and still help out the world’s poorest.

The real poor in the world – not the moderately poor we see in the streets around us – but rather those who live in extreme poverty, they don’t need money so much as they need opportunities. A hand up, not a hand out, to become empowered and able to help themselves and their own communities climb out of poverty.

Sometimes, this hand up comes in the form of teaching new techniques or sharing new technology. Other times, it’s a matter of empowering the population as a whole so they can demand more from the establishment.

And no, eradicating extreme poverty is not too hard to do. Extreme poverty has been consistently declining for years, and this struggle will keep getting easier to fight. We’re expanding our knowledge base and developing new tools all the time. Plus, as our world keeps getting better, more people rise to a position were they can help out those in need.

Don’t let pessimism dominate your thoughts when it comes to humankind’s future. Great things await us all!

Tunisia: A Sign of Things to Come

Friday, January 14th, 2011

If yesterday was a milestone for Tunisia, today was a monument: President Ben Ali has fled the capital amid strong pressure from Tunisian dissenters. The ruling class has not yet been ousted, but this movement is unlikely to stop until the revolution is complete.

The Tunisian people have felt neglected and mistreated for too long. Confirming the people’s suspicion, a leaked cable has exposed Tunisia’s repressive regime to transparency, adding fuel to the fire. And now, via sites like Twitter and posterous, the collective fervor of Tunisia’s discontent is being effectively coordinated and mobilized to effect real change.

Pay attention to what is happening to the 10 Million Tunisian people, for the same social revolution is happening on a global scale, albeit more gradually.

Much like with Tunisia, our world has a corrupt ruling ‘family’ that hogs too much for themselves while a good chunk of the planet is left to suffer. This injustice has persisted pretty much since the dawn of human civilization, but it will soon change forever:

A social revolution is happening all around the world, and the Internet is helping bring it to fruition.

As the likes of Twitter and Facebook (and their successors) increase the world’s interconnectedness to unprecedented levels, our species will gain an entirely new degree of self-awareness.

From this, we will see how most of the world’s people are not that different from ourselves. We’ll learn how the vast majority of us can co-exist without killing each other.

On top of this, thanks to freedom fighters like Wikileaks, the hypocrisy and corruption that permeates our world’s system will be dragged into the light. Injustice will have no where left to hide. No more will today’s extremes of wealth distribution be tolerated if it means millions of preventable deaths every year.

And, just like in Tunisia, we too have been harnessing social media and instant tools to organize and channel our discontent. Humankind’s collective voice will effectively counterbalance the influence of our planet’s dominant institutions, allowing us to manifest a more just global civilization.

Eradicating extreme poverty. Ending institutionalized armed conflict. The world we are already in the process of creating is sure to be AWESOME!

There’s people dying in the streets here!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

People are dying in the streets! Seriously, millions of humans perish every year from starvation and millions more succumb to diseases that would cost pennies to treat.

Sure, it’s fantastic that we’ve halved the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past thirty years. That is great! But lets pull together, as a species, to ensure extreme poverty is completely eradicated within 15 years from now.

Wondering where the money is going to come from? Ending starvation could be done for an estimated $195 billion a year, which may seem like a lot but it amounts to just 15% of what the world already spends on war.

Yet money is just a small piece of the puzzle. A bigger issue preventing us from creating a more just global civilization right now is the pessimism that permeates the world’s consciousness.

Not enough people believe that ending extreme poverty is possible, nor do they believe that humans can get along well enough to create a world of peace. This lack of optimism leads to a lack of willingness, leaving one’s natural talents, voice and willpower to be squandered.

But this pessimism will cease as more people come to see how great things already are, and how awesome they will soon become. For example:

As these and other rational reasons to be optimistic come to light, we’ll see a revolution of optimism gradually unfold around the world. More of us will awaken to the real, growing power we have to make a difference, and more of us will contribute our energy to improve the world in which we live.

Together, we will stamp out injustice from our world.

A Voice Emerging From The Darkness

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

About 1 in 4 people have Internet access today. Projections show that every second person is likely to be online 10 years from now. Within 20 years, thanks to humanitarian efforts and the declining cost of technology, rudimentary Internet access could be made available to the entire world.

The implications from this will be incredible! For one, every single human will have access to humankind’s extensive knowledge base, helping any ambitious individual realize their true potential.

On top of this, as our globe transitions into the online realm, our species will become increasingly self-aware. The joys and pains from the entire world will be shared and felt by all. As our individual minds become more and more aligned to what the rest of the world is thinking, a global consciousness will emerge.

During this process, one voice – that of the world’s poorest – will continue to grow louder. Words like “we’re starving here” or “we suffer tremendously” will be heard at increasing volumes, prompting an equivalent response from humanity’s inherent compassion.

The world’s people are coming together to heal the world’s people. A more just global civilization is in our future, and the Internet is helping make it happen.

Tax Breaks for the People Who’ve Been Gaining the Most – The Super Rich

Monday, December 6th, 2010

In the US and all around the world, the wealthy have been getting richer while the middle and lower classes have gotten poorer. This trend has been happening for decades now.

Today it was decided: Americans will face several more years of the same trend thanks to the Senate passing more tax cuts for the very rich.

This is just ridiculous! Absolutely absurd!

There are strong ties between an empowered population and distribution of wealth. As the will of the people is increasingly heard, wealth gets more evenly distributed amongst the entire population. The more the people are silenced, the more wealth can concentrate into the hands of the few.

These latest tax cuts should be a wake up call for Americans and the world.

We’ve been too quiet for too long.

We cannot wait for our political leaders to take action. In the US, for example, both sides – Democrats and Republicans – share too much of the same agenda to effect real change. The same is true for most governments around the world.

We cannot wait for the talking heads in the mainstream news media to alert us to the growing threat. Most often the news media are part of the problem! The revolution is not likely to be televised. The biggest media corporations have too much vested interest in perpetuating the status quo.

If you value your freedom, you need to take action. Blog, tweet, Facebook, make videos, write or call your politicians, take to the streets in protest. Let your voice be heard.

The fate of a free humanity could very well be decided over the course of the next few years.

Seeing how it was the US Senate that passed the latest bill, here’s a clip of a former Senator Huey P. Long offering a sentiment we don’t hear enough of in the political spectrum.

How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what’s intended for 9/10th of the people to eat? The only way to be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain’t got no business with! – Huey P. Long