Dear World Leaders, Cc: Everyone else

Dear World Leaders,

Cc:  Everyone else

There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment.  It is the most important year for global decision-making since the start of the new millennium.

We believe it’s just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact – an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not – and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?

There are millions of voices you can’t afford to ignore – the voices of the people you represent. They are voices of all ages from every corner of the planet – the voice of a young girl currently deprived an education… of a pregnant mother deprived healthcare… of young people deprived decent work… of a family from a minority group fearful of discrimination from corrupt officials… of farmers forced to migrate to cities as climate refugees… and of billions of other people. Their voices will roar ever louder against the inequality and injustice that keep people poor. They – and all who stand with them – are calling on you to come up with a grand new global contract for our one human family – and then deliver on it together. The great news is that in 2015 you have a historic chance to do just that.

Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today doesn’t come at the expense of our children’s futures.

Together with critical discussions on financing, these opportunities are the biggest of our lifetime. We know from past efforts against AIDS, malaria, preventable diseases and saving the ozone layer that when we come together, so much can be achieved. Yet, with just months to go before these summits, few leaders are playing the leadership roles we need. We see climate progress but not yet of the scale that is needed, and a set of goals that are hugely ambitious but will be meaningless without brave financing and implementation agreements led from the very top.

If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history. It’s not too late to rise to the occasion. We’re asking you to help lead that change.

Let’s be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come.  Please take the right path.

Signed,

Aamir Khan, Actor & campaigner
Angelique Kidjo, Singer songwriter & activist
Annie Lennox, OBE, musician & activist
Ben Affleck, Actor, Filmmaker & Founder of Eastern Congo Initiative
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bono, Lead singer of U2 & cofounder of ONE and (RED)
Dbanj, Musician & activist
Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister, Norway
Hugh Jackman, Actor
Kid President – Brad Montague & Robby Novak
Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute & author of The Age of Sustainable Development
Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate & Chair of Nobel Women’s Initiative
José Padilha, Film Director
Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund & 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
Matt Damon, Actor & Founder of Water.org
Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mia Farrow, Actor & activist
Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist & campaigner
Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
Queen Rania Al Abdullah, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
Shakira, Singer-songwriter, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Sting, Musician, singer, songwriter, and activist
Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation
Wagner Moura, Actor
Yvonne Chaka Chaka, President of the Princess of Africa Foundation

(Source: One.org)

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Denim Made from Recycled Ocean Plastic, by Pharrell Williams

Fashion designer, singer, and Grammy-winning artist Pharrell Williams debuted his latest project, “RAW for the Oceans,” during a high-profile event last weekend in the midst of New York City’s Fashion Week. The 40-year-old, who serves as the creative director of Bionic Yarn, will collaborate with denim brand G-Star Raw on the new collection, which incorporates the recycled-plastic-turned-eco-friendly-fabric.

“Working with G-Star was an obvious choice,” Williams said in a statement. “They have a legacy of pushing the boundaries of fashion and denim forward. Bionic Yarn is a company built around performance, and denim is the perfect category to show the world what our product can do. Everyone has jeans in their closet.”

With growing concern over ever-growing garbage patches of floating plastic in the world’s oceans, any product that can take advantage of such waste is helpful. “We all should [have a higher consciousness],” Pharrell told the Wall Street Journal. “Look, I’m not a huge activist or anything. I’m just playing my little part because each drop counts. I’m happy to be a participant.” Pharrell intends his Raw for the Oceans collection to be available by Aug. 15. Check out a promo animation for the new line.

Article by Michael d’Estries

 

(Source: Care2.com Article

How Cities and Wildlife Can Be Friends Instead of Enemies

We generally think of cities as devoid of nature. These crowded, homogenized, noisy environments seem to be the exact opposite of natural, and we’re correct in surmising that their creation is detrimental to wild species. “We paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” as the song goes.

But recent research suggests that while it may not be her first choice, Mother Nature’s adaptation skills make it possible for cities and wildlife to coexist, and even flourish.

Charles Nilon, a professor of fisheries and wildlife at the University of Missouri, recently published a study which found that while urbanization is hurting overall biodiversity, certain birds and plants thrive in cities. The results of this study suggest that paying more attention to the way we design and develop our urban areas could encourage a more symbiotic relationship between humans and the flora and fauna.

In the study, investigators from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia examined the birds in 54 cities and plants in 110 cities worldwide. Cities studied included Baltimore, Berlin, Jalisco (Mexico), New York City, Phoenix, Potchefstroom (South Africa) and Stockholm. Nilon said the researchers found four types of birds that actually prefer concrete jungles – pigeons, waterfowl, raptors and house sparrows.

Which leads us to the moral of the story: how can we ensure that cities, plants and animals get along even better in the future? With more than 50 percent of humanity now living in cities (and 60 percent of the land projected to become urban by 2030 has yet to be built), it’s unrealistic to suggest that we stop building them. So we have to build them differently.

Nilon’s research suggests that urban planners should create new habitats to strengthen these city-dwelling bird and plant populations and attract new species. “The greatest loss in plant and animal density occurs in older cities that have a lack of plant cover,” he explained. So setting standards for the preservation and restoration of green spaces, with special focus on native plant species, is essential. The success of green roofing and urban agriculture initiatives in some of the world’s biggest cities proves that this can be done in a way that’s beneficial to both humans and wildlife.

In this way, cities can become havens where wildlife and plants are equally important residents, and perhaps the urban areas of tomorrow will be healthier, more pleasant places to be. For all of us.

(Read full Care2.com article here)

Study Reveals Generosity is Infectious.

A recent study by Berkeley University reveals that much like the social dissemination of Hate, the other side of the coin, the sharing of Love, follows an exponential growth when applied in society. Although one single study cannot support the complexity of a whole global social system, it becomes pretty clear that the potential for collaboration in order to achieve the best quality of life possible for every single human, is there, if we are just brave enough to let go of our fears, as a race, and unconditionally and trustingly embrace Love.

In a world still teeming with intolerance, this is clearly easier said than done.

This study also lays one more brick on the ever-progressing wall of the scientific progress of the well-known study “Game Theory” by John Nash (although Nash defended that a “player” would always choose the hypothesis that would minimize damage and not the one that would better benefit all the “players”, which would logically be the best choice) on the sense that by trusting one another the opportunities for progress and mutual benefit are ever-increasing.

 

Follows the original article:

Generosity and goodwill really are infectious, a University of California study has found.

A study conducted by UC Berkeley and UC San Diego researchers found that when consumers were told a previous customer had already paid for their purchase and were then offered the opportunity to do the same for someone else, the consumers spent more money than those given the option to pay whatever price they wanted for their own purchase.

Coined “Pay It Forward” and “Pay What You Want,” the two pricing schemes were put to test in eight experiments. A total of 2,400 individuals at locations including Oakland’s Jack London Square farmer’s market, San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum and labs at UC Berkeley participated unknowingly, and, in every setting, a consistent chain of goodwill and higher spending was set off when consumers paid it forward.

“It’s assumed that consumers are selfish and always looking for the best deal,” lead study author Minah Jung said. “But when we gave people the option to pay for someone else, they always paid more than what they paid for themselves.”

While becoming acquainted with the person who paid for them made no difference in how much consumers spent, the researchers did find that they paid more when they could send a note with the amount they paid or a personal message to the person they were covering.

“People don’t want to look cheap,” Jung said. “They want to be fair, but they also want to fit in with the social norms.”

The findings suggest consumers’ senses of fairness and reciprocity may be just as strong or stronger of a driving force in purchasing decisions than the desire to score the best deal.

“The results suggest that businesses that rely entirely on consumers’ social preferences can survive and even thrive,” Jung said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

(Source: The Huffington Post)

Best of #AskJPM II

It’s been 4 days and the #AskJPM hashtag doesn’t seem to slow down. Here is a compilation of some other creative Tweets:

(this post is a sequel of the first Best of #AskJPM post, which you can find here)

Best of #AskJPM

So, it all started with a proposal from JPMorgan on twitter (yes, the JP Morgan from the foreclosures, lobbying, bribery and corruption) for a small Q&A session, where they supposedly were trying to connect with the public.

Seemingly they forgot they are part of the problem. Or perhaps, they thought we forgot they were one of the agents responsible for bringing the world’s economy down to its knees, exploiting the poor and buying politicians for profits and 7 figure bonuses at the end of the year. Well, the public made themselves heard well enough. At the time of this post I believe it’s been a never ending stream of twitter posts (I believe should be close to 30.000 now) for 30+ hours of trolling, payback and candid sentiments of repulsion. Here is a compilation of the best:

Some considered the PR stunt to have gone horribly wrong. I have to disagree. I believe most people found it extremely amusing and we can’t but wait for them to post another one of these soon enough.