Poverty isn’t one simple, easy-to-identify problem. It’s a catch-all term for droves of problems that stem from many sources. It’s daunting to think about solving such a sprawling issue, but there’s power in that too. Change needs to happen at so many levels that everyone from local communities to big governments can make a tangible difference.
Below, TEDx Talks with creative ideas about how to make a dent in poverty at three different levels — local, national, and global:
**Become the leaders of your own community: Boniface Mwangi at TEDxKibera
Boniface Mwangi calls on his community to demand representation and take charge of it’s own future. Kibera, the urban slum around Nairobi, is the largest in Africa. Despite the creativity of local innovators and entrepreneurs, infrastructure remains unsound and human rights abuses are widespread. At TEDxKibera, Boniface calls on his neighbors to demand justice and take action before outside sources forge their future for them.
**For money, insert human rights: Susan Randolph at TEDxUConn
What’s more important for a government hoping to improve the lives of its citizens: growing its economy or strengthening its social safety net? According to Susan Randolph, one might not work without the other. She measures a country’s human rights achievements, relative to its GDP per capita. She’s found that a country’s economic growth is unstable when it’s not coupled with policies that secure citizens access to the food, health, education, housing, work, and social security that’s within the country’s means. Reducing poverty is hardly just about money; it’s about guaranteeing citizens reasonable levels of dignity and stability, too.
**In defense of foreign aid: Joe Cerrell at TEDxASL
Wealthy countries like the US and UK have impressive aid programs, but many of their citizens view these as a colossal waste of money that ought to be spent solving the problems at home. What that argument usually misses, however, is that foreign aid makes up a near infinitesimal portion of most national budgets and that even those modest investments make a tremendous impact. Concerns about implementation notwithstanding, Cerrell makes the case that the spending is well worth the cost.
Reblogged from tedx
How might communications technology support local food-production systems?
One of the basic questions is land use. Let’s say you want to grow a garden, and you pass by an empty plot of land every time you go into town. How do you find out whether or not you can use that land? How do you find out if the city or a private business owns that land, or how it’s zoned? We want to know how these answers can be communicated to people and provide them with access to underutilized land.
Read the full article here.
Something awesome recently happened in Istanbul, Turkey. As a city with many hills, Istanbul is home to lots of long staircases that intersect its centuries-old neighbourhoods, enabling pedestrians to avoid streets filled with heavy car traffic.
Last week Huseyin Cetinel, a retired forestry engineer, decided to paint the stairs connecting the neighbourhoods of Findikli and Cihangir all the colors of the rainbow.
"He told the local news media that his original motivation for applying a fresh coat of paint to the stairs was not activism, but the desire “to make people smile.” Mr. Cetinel said he spent nearly $800 on paint and devoted four days to sprucing up the stairs, with help from his son-in-law.”
Public reaction to the colourful stairs was overwhelmingly positive. People turned out in droves to pose for photos on the cheerful staircase. Some decided it was a gesture of support and call for equal rights for the city’s LGBTQ community.
But then sometime strange happened. Just a few days after Huseyin finished beautifying the staircase, residents woke up to discover that overnight the city had hastily re-painted the rainbow steps a dull, disheartening gray. The gray cover-up was so secret and sudden that locals took it very personally. It was interpreted as “a sign of intolerance and a lack of respect for their right to claim public space.”
Speaking to Turkish television reporters after the stairs were painted over, Mr. Cetinel pointed out that all of nature — “cats, birds, flowers, mountains” — is brightly colored. “Where does this gray come from?” he asked. “Did we have another Pompeii and got flooded with ash?”
What happened next is what’s really awesome. Residents began to organize with each other via twitter and soon, not only were Huseyin Cetinel’s stairs returned to their rainbow glory, but - as a sign of solidarity - entirely different stairways all over the city, and eventually in other Turkish cities as well, were painted too.
Every street in the United States.
All Streets consists of 240 million individual road segments. No other features — no outlines, cities, or types of terrain — are marked, yet canyons and mountains emerge as the roads course around them, and sparser webs of road mark less populated areas.