Global warming is predicted to create hotter and wetter climates in the future—the very climate that weather-dependent pests and pathogens thrive in. In a new meta-analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Exeter looked at how plant diseases and pests will respond to a warming world. They revealed that the range has been steadily shifting toward both poles, as climate change warms higher latitudes. They also found that crop pests have spread north and south at a rate of about 2 miles per year since 1960, but with a lot of variety amongst individual species.

As the fight to end hunger and feed the growing population becomes a main topic of debate around the world, how will the spread of these pests and pathogens pose a challenge to our efforts?

When it comes to the discussion of providing adequate food for the global population, most focus is put on increasing production. Plant pests and disease have historically laid waste to whole harvests. The potato famine of the 1840s was caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, and led to the deaths of approximately 1 million people, and the emigration of an additional 2 million Irish. The 1943 Great Bengal Famine in India led to the deaths of about 3 million people and was caused by just a simple fungus.

Even today, when farmers are better prepared and equipped to control pests and pathogens, between 10 and 16 percent of crop production are still lost to these biological threats. All together, that is enough food to feed hundreds of millions of people.

Changes have already been seen in American species. The mountain pine beetle has migrated to warming forests in the Pacific Northwest, devastating millions of acres of forests–possibly the largest forest insect blight ever seen in North America. The fusarium head blight, another pest that thrives in warmer and wetter conditions up north, has destroyed American wheat and oat crops, resulting in losses of billions of dollars for farmers. And, more pests are steadily making their way northward.

Biotech corporations such as Dow and Monstanto have genetically modified crops to resist certain pests, but studies have shown that these crops have started evolutions of “super-pests” that can withstand pesticides and eat through entire fields. If crop pests and pathogens continue on their current paths toward the poles, the growing world population combined with the increased loss of production will pose a serious threat to global food security.

Ali Warlich

Sources: TIME,, Think Progress

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Northern India – Clashes between Muslims and Hindus have left 10,000 displaced, 93 injured, and 38 dead.

The violence started when thousands of Hindus gathered in Muzaffarnagar district, calling for justice after three men were killed for objecting to a Muslim’s alleged mistreatment of a woman. State police have brought cases against local politicians, who allegedly gave inflammatory speeches which exacerbated the tense situation. Mobs from each group started targeting the other, rioting and burning homes in villages in the days following the confrontation.

The army was deployed, and a curfew imposed but shortly lifted after the violence had wound down in the region. 10,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and are still living in state-run camps.

– Jennifer Bills

Sources: Thomson Reuters FoundationThe Times of India
Photo: FT Photo Diary

Albania Poverty Global Downturn Financial Crisis
Since 2008, Albania has seen an increase in the national poverty level and remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.

The Statistics Institute of Albania (INSTAT) recently reported that this increase has largely been due to the global economic crisis, especially now since that Albania is no longer the centralized, state-run economy it once was. Due to relatively low rates of growth from 2008, Albania has found itself struggling economically, with many people blaming the global economic crisis, especially economic crises in neighboring countries like Greece and Italy.

Despite the economic growth Albania, a country with a population of only 3 million, has undergone under its free market economy, nearly one-fourth of the population still lives in poverty.

Even though Albania saw a decrease in extreme poverty between 2002 and 2005, poverty has actually risen 1 percent from 2008 to 2012. While both urban and rural areas have seen similar percentage increases, a little over 2 percent, some highly populated regions have experienced vast increases.

For example, Tirana, the capital of Albania, has experienced a nearly 5 percent increase in poverty. After the end of communism in Albania, many state-owned industries closed, and many people found themselves struggling with unemployment.

As a relatively new free market, the Albanian economy is not apt to deal with macro-economic slowdowns. The worldwide economic crisis further exacerbates the troubles many smaller-scale farmers have in finding outlets to sell their products. In a globalized, hyper competitive world, there is little hope for products that struggle to pass international hygiene and safety standards.

Albanian productivity is also hindered by lapses in technical expertise and industrial innovation, having to compete with international corporate giants. The lack of markets, foreign investments, other vital financial services, make these poor economic conditions even more precarious.

In June, after a landslide election, Albania’s new prime minister, Edi Rama, promised to fight these economic troubles and pledged to create 300,000 jobs for Albanians. The socialist prime minister’s hope is to fight poverty, corruption, and unemployment to win Albanian membership into the European Union.

Rahul Shah

Sources: Global Times, Top ChannelRural Poverty Portal
Photo: PhotoPin

Inspirational Life Quotes JFK Jim Morrison Ayn Rand
Forget clichéd proverbs and hackneyed phrases. Where are the rare gems out there that can still inspire hope—the inspirational life quotes lost, but still sparkling, within the dark abyss of the Internet?

Although it may seem easier to give up at times and to surrender oneself to pure cynicism, one must never relinquish the values that comprise the very essence of human nature. Love, compassion, and courage are inextricably linked in man’s destiny. With all three, persistence is key. Positive change may take time, but a world not far from ideal is certainly within grasp. With all storm clouds come silver linings—within every struggle, there is a lesson to be gleaned. There is such a thing as good karma—give and one will reap both the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of charity.

Below, some of the greatest political activists, writers, pop culture icons, and leaders of the present and past provide some original and inspirational life quotes. Their words of wisdom demonstrate the importance of acting with determination upon one’s convictions and following one’s innate moral compass.


  • “The opposite of love is not hate—it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness—it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy—it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death—it’s indifference.”

― Elie Wiesel

  • “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”

— Sam Levenson

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

― Margaret Mead

  • “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”

― John F. Kennedy

  • “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists—it is real—it is possible—it’s yours.”

― Ayn Rand

  • “The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”

― Chuck Palahniuk

  • “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”

― Jim Morrison

  • “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

—Anne Frank

Melrose Huang

Sources: Goodreads, FORBES
Photo: PhotoPin


Read global poverty quotes


dog driving car race
Much has been debated concerning what causes poverty in the world. Does the blame lie with the poor themselves or with external factors such as instability, disease, and scarcity? Although these age-old questions have no easy answers, a short illustration may give insight into what factors are involved.

An African weaver, mother of four, receives a microloan to start her own business. She works tirelessly to make the most of every dollar received. Still, prosperity seems out of her reach since she is constantly constrained by external factors.

Because she lives in a village that lacks a water system, she must spend hours looking for clean water for her family instead of investing time in her business. Because she has no access to electricity, she can only produce for her customers during daylight hours. Because she lives in an area with no paved roads, she is confined to selling her goods to other people who also live in poverty. Because her family does not have proper sanitation facilities, she must continually care for her children who battle diseases such as malaria or TB. Because she lives in a conflict-ridden country, her family is in constant danger of being displaced…

The list goes on.

This example, given by Cate Biggs, a consultant of the education non-profit organization World Savvy, demonstrates that in many cases, poverty is not the result of poor choices or a lack of responsibility, but rather of a long list of external factors that make this condition a veritable self-perpetuating prison.

She answers the question of what causes poverty in the world with five main points which coincide with those identified by the World Bank in its 2001 World Development Report.

They may be summed up as the “5 Ps of Global Poverty”:

  • Place. The size and location of a country – which determines it’s climate, coastlines, prevalence of certain diseases, natural resources, and neighbors – are important indicators of it’s wealth. The United States, the third largest country in the world, has high-quality, arable land, and a diverse base of natural resources. It fairs much better than Chad – one of the world’s poorest nations – which is small, land-locked, and has little arable land and a harsh climate.
  • Past. A history of slave trade, colonialism, exploitation, meddling of other countries and a dearth of leadership can all lead to poverty. While the United States won its independence in 1776, Chad was a mismanaged French colony until 1960. Up until the present day, the latter is plagued by political violence and near civil war.
  • People. The human assets of a country – the capacity for basic labor, skills, and good health – are also determinants. While in the U.S. only 6 in 1,000 babies die and 99 percent of adults can read, in Chad, 100 of 1,000 babies die and only 25 percent of adults can read.
  • Politics. Countries with rule of law, accountability of governmental institutions, citizen empowerment, and a strong leadership have the democratic foundations necessary for creating well-being. While in the U.S. there is a free press and a checks and balances system, in Chad, there is a dictatorship in which the president is in constant danger of being overthrown and a state-controlled press.
  • Peace. Instability and conflict are two main predictors of poverty since they breed hostility, violence, and ultimately, destruction. In a war-torn country, there is a lack of political and social trust which in turn leads families to plan only for the short-term. While Americans live in relative peace, those in Chad live in constant bloodshed.

Nayomi Chibana
Feature Writer 

Sources: Grasping Global Poverty, World Bank

Polio is a disease that not too many people in the first world often worry about. In between bird flu scares and worrying whether vaccinations are good for you, no one really pays attention to Polio. Why would they? Polio is a dead disease, it’s like Latin. It just does not matter because it just does not happen, right?

Wrong. There is a misconception that Polio somehow was eradicated in the 1900s, as if we fought a war on disease and Polio was one of the causalities. Polio is very much real, and many Americans have probably come into contact with Polio in their lifetimes.

Polio is not dead, it is tamed. Vaccinations are what have laid this beast to rest. The Polio vaccine was discovered in the mid-1900s. Since then, the vaccine has been recommended universally (The History of Vaccines).

According to the Polio Eradication Initiative, there are three countries that still have epidemics. One of these countries are in proximity to West Africa and the Horn of Africa where Polio vaccines are not very common (Global Eradication Initiative) If nothing is done about the Polio epidemics in these three nations, it has the potential to spread further and become a global epidemic anywhere that Polio vaccinations are not sufficient.

Currently, the cost to immunize a child against Polio is anywhere from $1-$6 (Simeon Binette). Although that number is much larger when multiplied by the number of children in need of vaccination, it is still a relatively low cost to prevent a worldwide outbreak. Furthermore, it is a luxury most countries have. It is not the norm for a nation to not be able to afford Polio vaccinations, and if they cannot, it is not difficult for organizations such as the WHO or UNICEF to support.

That would be the simple analysis, however there is more to the cost of solving this problem. Many of the children that are not vaccinated in Afghanistan, are not vaccinated because of conflict (Global Eradication Initiative). It is either very difficult or impossible for health officials to get to certain areas of the country and provide these immunizations. The price that needs to be paid here is the end of a war that has been raging for a decade.

Pakistan is having difficulties managing their vaccinations because of a failing government that cannot properly provide a program to vaccinate children nationwide (Global Eradication Initiative). The price that must be paid here is a new government.

Finally, Nigeria. According to the Global Eradication initiative, social problems in the northern half of Nigeria pose a significant block in their efforts to vaccinate children. The price to be paid in Nigeria, is liberal social change.

Basically, even if the funds are there, we have to pay with peace, governmental accountability, and social change; among other things. However the real cost of Polio, is the child in Afghanistan, who will not be able to walk past his fifth birthday, because the adults wanted to fight a war.

– Zachary Patterson

Sources: Global Eradication Initiative: Infected Countries, The History of Vaccines: Polio, Bloomberg, Poliomyelitis

corporate social responsibility
Giving back is something taken very seriously by the corporate world for a myriad of reasons, so much so that many companies work to have a strategy in place. The causes targeted and championed are those that align with corporate philosophies and missions, becoming a practice that benefits both company and charity beyond good public relations.

Philanthropy must benefit the bottom-line as all corporations are profit oriented. Therefore, charities and causes are carefully researched before an attempt to establish a working relationship is made. provides a great example involving Kmart who “…partnered with the March of Dimes in 1984 and since then … raised over $55 million dollars for the cause. In addition to supporting the March of Dimes, through this partnership, Kmart has also increased its consumer traffic, brand image, and employee satisfaction levels.”

Sometimes companies outsource strategic philanthropy to other groups. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) is a non-profit advisory group that contracts with companies on a philanthropic consultancy basis. They develop strategies for others that are consistent with their client’s mission and vision, running the gamut of social issues including environmental awareness, world hunger, and economic outreach.

Since 1989, TPI has been successful in their initial corporate assessments, community outreach, strategic formation, and overall evaluation for corporate philanthropic ventures.

Impact Investing is a form of strategic philanthropy that aims to yield not only monetary return on investments, but also beneficial environmental and social impacts. The purpose behind the practice is to seek real change in communities according to terms set by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), a report from CKGSB Knowledge cites.

Emerging economies such as China are finding it difficult to adopt philanthropic strategy and outreach methods into their corporate models. This isn’t to say that corporate charity is impossible or isn’t done, but that there is a lack in philanthropic management. Chinese corporations lack the initial focus needed to identify a prosocial cause to align themselves with.

Beyond sporadic aid relief during the event of disasters, Chinese businesses are not participating in prosocial responsibility. However, there are several companies that are following a framework from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that emphasizes structure and social inclusiveness. The CKGSB Knowledge report also cites that corporate giving and impact investments are at the core of Chinese philosophical thought and Confucian principles.

Segun Aina, President and Chairman of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), demonstrates how the banking industry in Africa is operating with the social good in mind by urging CIBN to exude professionalism and assistance to other banks, institutions, and governments in Africa. Aina says, “We provide assistance and support in different ways to other African countries, including staff attachments and provide the required leadership…” The institute just created the Centre for Financial Studies, which is in essence a banking school that highlights thought leadership and ethical standards over operational excellence.

Again, from Aina, “The CFS will support the policy advocacy mandate of the Institute by generating position and occasional papers on relevant and topical issues in banking and finance and would be a game changer in the quest for upgrading the competencies and deepening intellectualism of banking & finance practitioners. Towards this, the centre will collaborate with leading globally ranked universities such as Harvard, INSEAD, IMD, NUS and others.”

The moves made by Aina can arguably be labeled more as strategic industry philanthropy in Africa as they start to build their banking system with the social good in mind rather than installing that mindset later.

With more privy to business dealings today, B-Corporations have gained popularity. Contending that social change and addressing global issues can’t all be done by governments and nonprofits, certified B-Corporations are now concerned with people, profit, and planet. Holding themselves to higher standards of transparency and accountability, over 600 business and corporations have joined the movement at with the firm belief that real, tangible community change is possible and can be profitable.

From companies establishing an entire corporate responsibility department to emerging organizations  such as TPI, strategic corporate philanthropy is gaining steam. Some businesses starting out are working to make greater social good a priority from the start, like banks in Africa, while others looking to differentiate themselves are becoming certified B-Corporations.

Whatever the route they take, clearly the international private sector is responding to public awareness and is operating with more of a social conscience.

– David Smith

Sources: Do Well. Do Good, CKGSB Knowledge, The Guardian-Nigeria, B-Corporation