The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguay

The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year. Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay. And here they are transforming it into beauty. Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world. Follow the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from a Paraguayan slum that out of necessity started creating instruments entirely out of garbage. Landfill Harmonic is a beautiful story about the trans-formative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

Click here to learn more.

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Swiss Basic Income For Adults

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Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs — about $2,800 — per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-cent coins outside the parliament building in Bern, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Under Swiss law, citizens can organize popular initiatives that allow the channeling of public anger into direct political action. The country usually holds several referenda a year.

Four Wheels to Freedom

Afsana is a female professional driver in Bangladesh trained by BRAC as part of its “Women Steering Forward” program. Despite opposition from family members, Afsana’s husband supported her career path. “For me, it’s like going out for battle in the street every morning, fighting this patriarchal monopoly,” says Afsana, who faces verbal abuse but remains undeterred. “I like the fact that things are changing and the next batch of drivers who are women can work freely in this society.”

Gettlove: Ending Homelessness in America

Gettlove is a nonprofit organization founded by Aileen Getty in 2005 in response to homelessness in the Hollywood community. Gettlove believes in cultivating an enhanced community that embraces and sustains its most vulnerable residents. Gettlove is committed to providing services through a companionship model, whereby the case manager and client navigate the complex journey out of homelessness together. The relationship that is developed along the way is an essential component of Gettlove’s ability to share in each client’s challenges and joys in continuing to maintain a home.

Gettlove further strives to be both a catalyst and a model within the community implementing and evaluating innovative practices that if effective can be replicated throughout the country. Gettlove hopes to demonstrate the power of relationships, the importance of instilling a sense of belonging in every member of the community, and the effectiveness of permanent housing. Success is not only measured by numbers, but by improvements in quality of life for clients and for the community. The sustainable, long-term well being of the individuals we serve, and the Hollywood community as a whole, is Gettlove’s mission.

Find out more at http://www.gettlove.org

Half the Sky: The Movement

Half the Sky Movement

The central moral challenge of our time is reaching a tipping point. Just as slavery was the defining struggle of the 19th century and totalitarianism of the 20th, the fight to end the oppression of women and girls worldwide defines our current century.

Hidden in the overlapping problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and women are seizing it. From Somaliland to Cambodia to Afghanistan, women’s oppression is being confronted head on and real, meaningful solutions are being fashioned. Change is happening, and it’s happening now.

Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn took on this urgent moral challenge in 2009 with their acclaimed best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (already in its 25th printing in hardback). They encouraged readers all over the world to do the same.

Now, a landmark movement — inspired by Kristof and WuDunn’s work and also entitled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide — is working to amplify the book’s impact. Ignited by a high-profile national television event and fueled by innovative multi-platform initiatives, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is galvanizing even more people to join the burgeoning movement for change.

Find out more at http://www.halftheskymovement.org

Hemp in America

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Hemp is a tall, gracious annual plant that can reach heights over twelve feet. Although hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa var. indica) come from a similar species of plant, they are very different and confusion has been caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters.

Industrial hemp grows differently than THC-containing cannabis. Hemp is typically grown up, not out, because the focus is not on producing buds but on producing length of stalk. In this way, hemp is a very similar crop to bamboo. The stalk contains the fiber and hard, woody core material that can be used for a variety of purposes, even carpentry.

The two also differ in the areas that they can be effectively grown. THC-producing Marijuana must be grown in generally warm and humid environments in order to produce the desired quantity and quality of THC-containing buds. However, since industrial hemp does not contain these buds, and the hardy parts of the plant are the more desired, it can be grown in a wider range of areas. Generally, industrial hemp grows best on fields that provide high yields for corn crops, which includes most of the Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast United States. Furthermore, since industrial hemp can use male plants as well as female plants (since the object is not THC production), higher crop yields can result.

Hemp has the strongest natural fibres, which can be used not just to produce rough cloth, such as sails or canvass, but also durable work clothes, like the original jeans. When the plants are grown closer together the fibre becomes shorter and finer, which allows for finer textiles. Today, there are some fashion designers that are experimenting with a wide range of textiles made from hemp for their stylish, trendy hemp lines, shirts, suits, bags, jeans and more. Hemp fibres can be blended with water and limestone to create an extremely tough, light-weight, natural cement that has not only excellent insulating properties, but also shows more flexibility than conventional concrete, which makes it particularly useful as a building material in earthquake prone areas.

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Man Up! Brooklyn

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363 Days No Shootings No Killings.

This week one year ago, an East NY Brooklyn neighborhood development organization, Man Up!, began to send people into the streets to figure out where the violence was going next so they could hit the pause button. Mediate. Listen. Talk.

Some workers in the project had been street criminals themselves; others had been victims of violent crime, losing partners and children to it.

“You get tired of going to people’s funeral that you grew up with, or their kids’ funerals, from gun violence in the street,” a member of the group, Athena Collins, 43, said. The father of her five children was murdered.

By JIM DWYER, NY TIMES
Click Here to Read Full Article

Seattle’s Urban Food Forest

Beacon Food Forest is a 7-acre food forest in development adjacent to Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Washington. By the design of the project, and as the area is on public land, food in the edible forest section of the project will be available freely to those visiting the park.