fishing
In her 2013 TED Talk, marine biologist Jackie Savitz opened the discussion by explaining how, “Saving the ocean is more than an ecological desire, more than an economic pursuit. Saving the ocean can feed the world.”

Savitz recognized the relationship between protecting biodiversity and human life. Fish, according to Savitz, are the most cost-effective food source, require less fresh water than irrigating livestock farms, have an extremely low carbon footprint and require the least amount of land. In addition, fish are a source of protein, especially for people who are malnourished.

In order to utilize fish, however, overfishing must first be combated. The world catch continues to decrease every year due to equipment that destroys habitats and increases bycatch. Furthermore, there are a lack of quotas and habitat sanctuaries for fish to reproduce.

In 2012, after reading a publication in The Boston Globe about seafood fraud, Sen. Edward Markey was inspired to address the issue.

In March of 2013, Markey proposed the Safety and Fraud Enforcement Act, or SAFE Seafood Act, to Congress.

This Act, which has been largely championed by Oceana, would implement efforts to ensure the traceability of fish such as increased inspections, standardized naming and better interagency coordination.

Just before the legislation was proposed, Oceana released a study finding that one-third of the 1,215 fish samples they tested were mislabeled.

In addition to mislabeling, over fishing is a huge problem that Savitz suggested needs to be addressed as the solution for world hunger.

Savitz believed that environmental work and humanitarian work are not competing forces but rather complimentary to one another. By focusing on saving the oceans and replenishing fish, food availability would also be increased for a growing population of malnourished people.

Savitz said that saving the ocean can in fact save the world’s hungry.

To create awareness surrounding the bill, Oceana introduced a petition that several celebrity chefs, such as Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali, signed.

Oceana is still extremely dedicated to passing the bill, as it will not only better the earth, but also those who inhabit it and suffer from hunger.

– Heather Klosterman

Sources: TED Talks, Oceana 1, Oceana 2
Photo: The Animals

ted_quotes.jpg
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a global set of conferences owned by the private nonprofit organization Sapling Foundation. Under the slogan “ideas worth spreading,” TED events are held throughout the world, addressing a variety of topics, from science and culture to health, medicine, and global development. Here are some of the most memorable quotes made by TED speakers on the topic of poverty and development.

1.       “You don’t wake up one day no longer a racist. It takes generations to tear that intuition, that DNA, out of a soul of a people.”

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

2.       “I’d grown up thinking that a [sanitary toilet] was my right, when in fact it’s a privilege — 2.5 billion people worldwide have no adequate toilet.”

Rose George: Let’s talk crap. Seriously.

3.       “Child mortality [since 2000 is] down by 2.65 million a year. That’s a rate of 7,256 children’s lives saved each day. … It drives me nuts that most people don’t seem to know this news.”

Bono: The good news on poverty (Yes, there’s good news)

4.       “What you do [to provide better aid is] you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas.”

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

5.       “The challenge of development: abject poverty surrounded by corruption.”

Sanjay Pradhan: How open data is changing international aid

6.       “I have never met a villager who does not want a vote.”

Rory Stewart: Why democracy matters

7.       “You don’t have to get rich to have [fewer] children. It has happened across the world.”

Hans Rosling: Religions and babies

8.       “We get so little news about the developing world that we often forget that there are literally millions of people out there struggling to change things to be fairer, freer, more democratic, less corrupt.”

Alex Steffen: The route to a sustainable future

9. “Connectivity is productivity — whether it’s in a modern office or an underdeveloped village.”

Iqbal Quadir: How mobile phones can fight poverty

10. “We’ve seen how distributed networks, big data and information can transform society. I think it’s time for us to apply them to water.”

Sonaar Luthra: Meet the Water Canary

11. “Birth control has almost completely and totally disappeared from the global health agenda, and the victims of this paralysis are the people of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

Melinda Gates: Let’s put birth control back on the agenda

12. “Human development, not secularization, is what’s key to women’s empowerment in the transforming Middle East.”

Dalia Mogahed: The attitudes that sparked Arab Spring

13. “The United Street Sellers Republic — the USSR — [would be] the second-largest economy in the world after the United States.”

Robert Neuwirth: The power of the informal economy

14. “We need to deliver [mental] health care using whoever is available and affordable in our local communities.”

Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all

15. “It was the buildings [in Haiti], not the earthquake, that killed 220,000 people, that injured 330,000, that displaced 1.3 million people, that cut off food and water and supplies for an entire nation.”

Peter Haas: Haiti’s disaster of engineering

– Nayomi Chibana
Feature Writer 

 

Read global poverty quotes.

Sources: TED, Reddit
Photo: Lingholic

brck_africa
In the increasingly mechanized West, it is impossible to imagine daily life without constant connectivity—21st century consumers are defined by their smartphones, computers, and in general, their constant ability to participate in the internet community. With this omnipresence of technology, benefits are innumerable. However, in Africa, where much of the population lives in rural areas, connectivity is sparse.

Technology is inescapable in today’s globalized world: in order to compete, one must be connected. Luckily, the Kenyan nonprofit tech startup Ushahidi has recognized Africa’s dire need for technology. Their latest design, BRCK, seems to be a feasible solution. The device works as a modem that can connect 20 devices simultaneously and allow access to the Internet via WiFi, 3G, 4G, and Ethernet. The device can even function through a battery, providing constant access on a continent too often burdened with power blackouts.

From its origins, BRCK has received widespread support as an innovative product with the potential to revolutionize African technology. The project, which received its funding through Kickstarter, has energized the entire continent. With reliable Internet access, almost every African industry would progress prodigiously.

In her talk at TED, Ushahidi co-founder stressed the importance of BRCK, and by extension, technology, in the development of Africa. She said: “The idea is that the building blocks of the digital economy are connectivity and entrepreneurship. The BRCK is our part to keep Africans connected, and to help them drive the global digital revolution.”

Clearly, with reliable technology, the future of Africa is no longer nebulous. With equal access to information and markets, an auspicious change seems inevitable. With its solid design and brilliant inventors, BRCK appears to be the exact agent of change needed to propel Africa forward.

Furthermore, outside of the continent, BRCK has also received enormous attention. For those constantly on the go, whether for work or recreation, a reliable connection is indispensable. The product is now being sold for around 200 US dollars.

– Anna Purcell

Sources: Yahoo News, TED
Photo: Quartz

Joel_Selanikio
With major organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Bank and USAID trading out-of-date data collection methods for Magpi, the data collection and analysis service from Joel Selanikio, it is safe to say that the DataDyne software is a success. But, as laudable as the increased efficiency in these large organizations is, Magpi’s real utility is realized by smaller groups such as local governments, NGOs and networks of activists. By offering an indefinite, though limited, version of its product for free, Magpi enables those who lack the funds and reach of international organizations to gather and synthesize their data quickly, efficiently, and cheaply, educating themselves as to the appropriate courses of action.

Selanikio himself expressed that sentiment, saying, “Our target audience for Magpi is regular people.” He cites Facebook and Google as inspirations for Magpi’s structure. In addition to its free version, however, Magpi (which was initially called EpiSurveyor) offers two superior versions of itself for $10 or $20 thousand annually. The increased price tag allows greater data capacity, input limits, and assistance with synthesis and analysis.

DataDyne is not alone in addressing this market. As of August 2013, Selanikio reached out to Chris Neumann of DataHero to link their softwares. DataHero specializes in generating functional and concise graphics and charts from user-inputted datasets, allowing greater intelligibility of complex trends and statistics. Since both companies are the toast of the tech community, such a partnership could mean greater profitability for both and an increase in the ability of governments and organizations operating in the developing world to understand better the situations they are trying to alleviate, and to identify trends before they fully manifest.

Mechanical and social limitations still prevail in many regions. Though disappearing, the Digital Divide is still a very real phenomenon, with many African, Asian, and South American countries covering mere fractions of the percentages covered by their European and North American counterparts, and with far lower hardware capacity. Magpi is also compatible with cell phones, of both smart and non-smart varieties, but cell reception in many rural areas is unpredictable or outright non-existent. In areas of high illiteracy, finding staffers to administer the surveys and enter the data can be difficult, suggesting that DataDyne and DataHero may have to wait for institutional changes before their full utility can be realized.

Despite these problems, Magpi has met with marked success in many ventures. A 2004 collaboration with the WHO met or exceeded every goal set by reaching nearly 1.2 million people with AIDS prevention messages, distributing nearly 15.5 million condoms, and providing over 16,000 with Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services. These figures provide a promising look for the possibilities for software which is intuitive and polished–and if Selanikio and Neumann can become for NGOs what Steve Jobs was for techies, a revolution in the way aid is assessed could be underway.

Alex Pusateri

Sources: DataDyne, Health Market Innovations, Tech President

Photo: Amara.org

Movies that Matter, Jeff Skoll

Highlight Quote: “One is the gap in opportunity – this gap that President Clinton last night called uneven, unfair and unsustainable – and, out of that, comes poverty and illiteracy and disease and all these evils that we see around us. But perhaps the other, bigger gap is what we call the hope gap. And someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. And I think that’s just a horrible thing. And so chapter one really begins today, with all of us, because within each of us is the power to equal those opportunity gaps and to close the hope gaps.”

Many TED talks focus on the real, the practical and the pragmatic – on harnessing the abstract powers of good and common sense of humanity in a real life way. Yet many of these talks can leave us, as ordinary citizens feeling somewhat inadequate and unable to make an impact. Jeff Skoll, producer of films including An Inconvenient Truth, Murderball, North Country, Good Night and Good Luck, and Syriana, gives us a talk about how he, as an ordinary citizen, worked his way slowly to Hollywood. Once there, he was able to make a difference by inspiring and spreading awareness through films.

Mosquitos, Malaria and Education, Bill Gates

Highlight Quote: “But I – I’m optimistic. I think people are beginning to recognize how important this is, and it really can make a difference for millions of lives, if we get it right. I only had time to frame those two problems. There’s a lot more problems like that — AIDS, pneumonia – I can just see you’re getting excited, just at the very name of these things. And the skill sets required to tackle these things are very broad. You know, the system doesn’t naturally make it happen. Governments don’t naturally pick these things in the right way. The private sector doesn’t naturally put its resources into these things.”

Perhaps the world’s most recognizable philanthropist, Bill Gates is characteristically shrewd, practical, clear, forward thinking and unexpectedly funny. By asking us to consider how to solve two big problems: malaria and education – Gates shows us how businesslike thinking and determination can solve widespread social problems. In only 18 minutes, Gates gives us a TED talk that is small in stature but big in ideas.

Aid versus Trade, Ngozi Okongo-Iweala

Highlight Quote: “But we are talking about “Africa: the Next Chapter” because we are looking at the old and the present chapter – that we’re looking at, and saying it’s not such a good thing. The picture I showed you before, and this picture, of drought, death and disease is what we usually see. What we want to look at is “Africa: the Next Chapter,” and that’s this: a healthy, smiling, beautiful African. And I think it’s worth remembering what we’ve heard through the conference right from the first day, where I heard that all the important statistics have been given – about where we are now, about how the continent is doing much better. And the importance of that is that we have a platform to build on.”

In 2007, Okongo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria and director at the World Bank, had the unenviable task of summarizing four days of TED talks. In 22 minutes, she draws from personal experience, global leaders, real-life examples and observations to illustrate the lessons from the conference regarding effective aid, morality, and the pitfalls in the current methods of development assistance.

Cheetahs vs. Hippos, George Ayitteh

Highlight Quote: “Africa is more than a tragedy, in more ways than one. There’s another enduring tragedy, and that tragedy is that there are so many people, so many governments, so many organizations who want to help the people in Africa. They don’t understand. Now, we’re not saying don’t help Africa. Helping Africa is noble. But helping Africa has been turned into a theater of the absurd. It’s like the blind leading the clueless.”

Many ask the question, why is Africa still in the state it is, with so much money being poured into it and so much work being done by so many different organizations? In this talk, Ayitteh addresses some of the problems in development; some coming from Africa itself and others with foreign sources – and more importantly, how to address them. Ayitteh’s talk can be applied to a number of other scenarios and teach us that aid is a practice that needs close monitoring and attention in order to be effective.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Why_I_Choose_a_gun
Why I Chose the Gun, Peter van Uhm

“When I look around, I see people who want to make a contribution, I see people who want to make a better world, by doing ground-breaking scientific work, by creating impressive works of art, by writing critical articles or inspiring books, by starting up sustainable businesses. All of you have chosen your own instruments to fulfil this mission of creating a better world….I chose this instrument. I chose the gun.” – Peter van Uhm

The idea of guns being used as a tool for peace is counter-intuitive. In his talk, Uhm explains how weapons can be used not as a source of violence, but as a protective measure against injustice. It is a talk that is full of controversial ideas, and worth listening to and thinking about. In a world where it is overly idealistic to imagine that it is possible to develop a blanket ability to avoid all conflict, Uhm’s outlook is one that does not immediately sit well with our gut, but it all the more important to listen to because of it.

 

Fighting with Non-Violence, Scilla Elworthy

“The training of troops has to change. And I think there are signs that it is beginning to change. The British military have always been much better at this. But there is one magnificent example for them to take their cue from, and that’s a brilliant U.S. lieutenant colonel called Chris Hughes. And he was leading his men down the streets of Najaf — in Iraq actually — and suddenly people were pouring out of the houses on either side of the road,screaming, yelling, furiously angry, and surrounded these very young troops who were completely terrified, didn’t know what was going on, couldn’t speak Arabic. And Chris Hughes strode into the middle of the throng with his weapon above his head, pointing at the ground, and he said, “Kneel.” And these huge soldiers with their backpacks and their body armor, wobbled to the ground. And complete silence fell. And after about two minutes,everybody moved aside and went home.” – Scilla Elworthy

Elworthy’s talk stands in stark contrast to Uhm’s. Speaking through her personal experience, and the histories of famous non-violent leaders like Mandela and Suu Kyi, Elworthy explores the alternative to military power. Elworthy has no illusions about the difficulty of non-violent reactions; it goes against our instincts and she speaks about the necessity of developing our ability to understand before we react. A relatively short but powerful talk, Elworthy manages to show us how hard and how important it is to rethink how we fight our battles.

 

Ending Hunger Now, Josette Sheeran

“I believe we’re living at a time in human historywhere it’s just simply unacceptable that children wake up and don’t know where to find a cup of food. Not only that, transforming hunger is an opportunity, but I think we have to change our mindsets. I am so honored to be here with some of the world’s top innovators and thinkers. And I would like you to join with all of humanity to draw a line in the sand and say, “No more. No more are we going to accept this.” And we want to tell our grandchildrenthat there was a terrible time in history where up to a third of the children had brains and bodies that were stunted, but that exists no more.” – Josette Sheeran

Often, people think of the world’s greatest crises as enormous, separate challenges. World peace as separate from world hunger, poverty and women’s rights and education all distinct entities with unique challenges. The truth is they are all connected, feeding into each other. The presence of one almost inevitably creates breeding grounds for the others. Sheeran, head of the UN World Food Programme, walks us through the practicalities of ending hunger, and the potential ramifications of doing so. Though it sounds like a huge project, Sheeran uses real-life examples to show how innovative thinking and concerted effort can lead to real, large-scale change. Sheeran’s passion and pragmatism make ending hunger seem infinitely achievable.

 

Why To Believe in Others, Viktor Frankl

“If you don’t recognise a young man’s will to meaning, man’s search for meaning you make him worse. You make him dull, you make him frustrated, you still add and contribute to his frustration. While, if you presuppose in this man, in this so called criminal or juvenile delinquent or drug abuser, or so forth, there must be a – what do you call it – a spark, a spark of search for meaning. Let’s recognize this…let’s presuppose it and then you will elicit it from him and you will make him become what he in principle is capable of becoming.” – Viktor Frankl

Better spoken than summarized, holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl explains, in four humorous and poignant minutes, why to believe in others.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

“On Being a Woman and a Diplomat” – Madeleine Albright

Highlight Quote: “From some people, I think they thought [women’s rights] was a soft issue. The bottom line is I decided women’s issues are the hardest issues, because they are the ones that have to do with life and death in so many aspects.”

Madeline Albright was the first woman to hold the post of Secretary of State. Both amusing and straightforward, she uses this Q&A session to address the need to place women’s rights in the States’ top priorities in foreign policy, as well as increase the role of women in the political sphere as a whole.

Albright’s draws from her vast experience to illustrate her points. She explains how women leaders are better at communicating across ideological barriers, from weapons debates with Finland to reconciling Hutu and Tutsi leaders after the Rwandan genocide. Finally, Albright speaks of women’s tendency to hinder their own progress by criticizing powerful women in the workplace.

 

“The Global Power Shift” – Paddy Ashdown

Highlight Quotes: “Suddenly and for the very first time, collective defense, the thing that has dominated us as the concept of securing our nations, is no longer enough. It used to be the case that if my tribe was more powerful than their tribe, I was safe; if my country was more powerful than their country, I was safe; my alliance, like NATO, was more powerful than their alliance, I was safe. It is no longer the case. The advent of the interconnectedness and of the weapons of mass destruction means that, increasingly, I share a destiny with my enemy.”

Ashdown has had a long and illustrious international career, serving in MI6, then as a member of Parliament and after as the Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 20 minutes, Ashdown delivers us more food for thought than we can chew on at once.

Ashdown discusses the global shift in power, a phenomenon we are witnessing as it becomes ever more globalized and shared. Unlike the past, where a single superpower has risen, Ashdown projects a globe with multiple powers. Thus, co-existing will depend less on dominance and more on cooperation.

He points out that the interconnectivity of the world has a far deeper effect than what we imagine. Our future, our safety, our resources increasingly depend on each other, and with the world evolving the way it is, the idea of a nation no longer being able to bully its way to dominance is a novel one. This is an idea that sounds encouraging, but will take much getting used to. For global powers, the implications of a world where willingness trumps will is going to take adjustment.

 

“Time to End the War in Afghanistan” – Rory Stewart

Highlight Quote: “Because the worst thing we have done in Afghanistan is this idea that failure is not an option. It makes failure invisible, inconceivable and inevitable. And if we can resist this crazy slogan, we shall discover – in Egypt, in Syria, in Libya, and anywhere else we go in the world – that if we can often do much less than we pretend, we can do much more than we fear.”

Rory Stewart, a British MP, offers a refreshingly honest talk about the reality of the war in Afghanistan. A war that was so well sold to the public – wrapping philanthropy, revenge, idealism, and power into one – has ended up being a bloody, costly disaster, leaving both America’s psyche and Afghanistan itself irreparably wounded. Stewart compares intervention in Afghanistan to intervention in other countries asks the question: why didn’t it work here?

In answering, Stewart says the unsayable – that America’s arrogance and self-interest ultimately undermined any possible chance it had of improving the situation of the Afghan population at the cost of the lives of American soldiers. Stewart focuses not on pumping money or destroying dictators, but working with those who fully understand and comprehend the complexities of foreign intervention, and can deal with the challenges and frustrations it may bring.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Source: TED Paddy Ashdown, TED Madeline Albright, TED Rory Stewart
Source: The Self Employed

TED Talks have become a breeding ground for ingenuity, passion, ideas and intelligence. A meeting place of the world’s best, bravest and most forward-thinking minds, TED talks offer the entire world the ability to listen and participate in the global conversation on how we better the world. Here, for those who have little time, are 5 Ted talks that offer a powerful punch of inspiration in less than 5 minutes.

 

Asher Hassan’s Message of Peace from Afghanistan – Asher Hassan

In this short but potent TED talk, Asher Hassan manages to obliterate our image of the now ravaged Pakistan as a place of poverty, misery and Islamic fundamentalism to show a hopeful, resilient and entirely human face to the country. Through a series of striking photographs, showing vendors selling bags, a displaced internal refugee child, spools of brightly coloured rainbow spools of thread. Hassan’s subjects are the individuals who get lost in the Pakistan sold to us by the media, and the ones who are most affected by our action or inaction in their country.

 

Selling Condoms in the Congo – Amy Lockwood

Amy Lockwood needs four minutes and seventeen seconds to illustrate an all-too important phenomenon that causes aid programs to fail: not targeting efforts towards the group, but focusing on the feelings on the donor. In the Congo, sex workers use very few of the free condoms that aid agencies provide but would use the generic, priced ones sold. Lockwood, as a marketing professional, asked herself why. Her talk offers a simple but powerful tweak in the way we approach aid that could make a world of difference.

 

Photos That Changed the World – Jonathan Klein

The man at the head of Getty Images, the industry’s largest and most quality bank of photography and imagery, gives a short talk on the power of photographs in provoking action. Using iconic images from history like the Hindenburg explosion, ‘Kissing the War Goodbye’ and mass graves of the holocaust to today’s most controversial photographs, such as torture in Abu Ghraib, military war injuries and slaughtered gorillas lying crucified on bamboo poles, Klein illustrated how a picture can be worth more than a thousand words in an age full of discourse and short on action.

 

Escaping the Khmer Rouge – Sophal Ear

Not a big ideas talk, but a heartfelt personal story, Sophal Ear speaks of his escape from Cambodia during the country’s horrific political turmoil. Today, Ear leads research on post-conflict countries and assists in development, reinforcing the fact that refugees are more than statistics, but brave, resilient lives worth saving.

 

How I Built a Windmill – William Kamkwamba

One of the most inspiring talks on TED, this talk is a Q&A session with William Kamkwamba, from a small village in Malawi. At 14, he saw how to build a windmill in a library book. In his words, “I tried it, and I made it.” Prompted along by TED speaker, William’s unassuming ingenuity in attempting to improve his village’s access to electricity and water is heartwarming and incredible.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Sources: TED

Esther Duflo is the founder and director of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a research network that evaluates social experiments to fight poverty. It’s concerned less with wide-ranging policy than with specific questions. Esther Duflo takes economics out of the lab and into the field to discover the causes of poverty and means to eradicate it.

In Esther Duflo’s TED Talk, she brought up three specific questions people care about:

  1. The “last mile problem” of immunization.
  2. Should we donate lots of bed nets to solve malaria?
  3. What do we do about education?

When you ask the general question of whether millions dollars of aid are good or bad for Africa’s development, no one seems to be able to produce an exact answer. No one knows and no one can do the control experiment to prove his or her point, because Africa is a singularly unique continent whose development cannot be so easily compared to other regions of the world. But when you specify that big idea into small questions, social experiments, in some areas, may answer these questions. This may not answer people’s big questions like whether or not donating to African charities is a good or bad thing, but they definitely can tell us what we should do to help make Africa a more stable and prosperous continent.

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

Source: TED Talk

Iqbal Quadir is an advocate of business as a humanitarian tool. With GrameenPhone, he brought the first commercial telecom services to poor areas of Bangladesh. Partnering with microcredit pioneer GrameenBank in 1997, Quadir established GrameenPhone, a wireless operator that provides phone services to 80 million rural Bangladeshi. The company has become the standard for a bottom-up, tech-empowered approach to development.

In his TED Talk, he first questioned about the way that rich counties sent aid to poor countries to fight poverty. And also, even though he did not find much evidence to support the idea that connectivity can really increase productivity, he presented research done by the International Telecommunication Union showing the positive effects it has. The impact of one new telephone to richer countries’ GDP is very little, however, one new telephone has a huge impact on the GDP of poorer countries.

“Mobiles have a triple impact,” Quadir says. “They provide business opportunities; connect the village to the world; and generate over time a culture of entrepreneurship, which is crucial for any economic development.”

-Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source: TED Talk