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Strong Communities Are Necessary

by John McKnight
Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and Director of Community Studies of the Institute of Policy Researh, Northwestern University.

There is a new worldwide movement developing, made up of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that movements are not organizations, institutions or systems. Movements have no CEO, central office, or plan. Instead, they happen when thousands and thousands of people discover together new possibilities for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves.

In many nations local people have been called to come together to pursue a common calling. It would be a mistake to label that calling ABCD, or Community Building. Those are just names. They are inadequate words for groups of local people who have the courage to discover their own way—to create a culture made by their own vision. It is a handmade, homemade vision. And, wherever we look, it is a culture that starts the same way:

First, we see what we have—individually, as neighbors and in this place of ours.

Cheap Power: An Overnight Revolution (Also Documentary Introduction Video - 39:28)

by Mark Gibbs - - October 14, 2011

Every now and then along comes a technology that is revolutionary and changes everything. But a very few of these new technologies cause fast change. Mostly they seep out of the lab, into the arms of early adopters, and then ooze out into the world in general.

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Climate Change 'Grave Threat' to Security and Health

submitted by Nguyen Huu Ninh, friend of The Global Resilience System, lead author of 2007 IPCC report

by Richard Black - BBC News - October 17, 2011


Food security was interwoven with the climate issue, speakers told the conference

Climate change poses "an immediate, growing and grave threat" to health and security around the world, according to an expert conference in London.

Officers in the UK military warned that the price of goods such as fuel is likely to rise as conflict provoked by climate change increases.

A statement from the meeting adds that humanitarian disasters will put more and more strain on military resources.

It asks governments to adopt ambitious targets for curbing greenhouse gases.

The annual UN climate conference opens in about six weeks' time, and the doctors, academics and military experts represented at the meeting (held in the British Medical Association's (BMA) headquarters) argue that developed and developing countries alike need to raise their game.

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Challenges Loom as World Population Hits 7 Billion

submitted by Samuel Bendett

by David Crary - Associated Press - October 17, 2011

She's a 40-year-old mother of eight, with a ninth child due soon. The family homestead in a Burundi village is too small to provide enough food, and three of the children have quit school for lack of money to pay required fees.

"I regret to have made all those children," says Godelive Ndageramiwe. "If I were to start over, I would only make two or three."

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RN Volunteer Opportunities for First Aid Support in Cities Across America - RN Response Network - October 13, 2011

As a past volunteer for the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), we wish to thank you again for your desire to help people and communities in need.

Now we are asking for your help again, to join our first aid efforts in cities across the U.S. where Americans are rallying for real solutions to our national economic emergency.

You were there when we dispatched volunteers to assist with the recovery effort following a tsunami in South Asia, a hurricane on the Gulf Coast, Southern California wildfires, the earthquake in Haiti, and with contributions following this spring’s disaster in Japan.

RN volunteers have made a difference on each occasion, even when we have faced huge hurdles, including substantial governmental impediments, for example, to placing volunteers on the ground in Haiti. Yet on each occasion, RNRN did act, and sent as many volunteers as possible in these heroic humanitarian efforts.

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Crowdsourcing Democracy Through Social Media

submitted by Tim Siftar

Georgia Tech

ATLANTA – Oct. 11, 2011 – Today the citizens of Liberia will participate in just their second presidential election since the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 2003, and in such an environment the specter of violence or other unrest is never far away. But what if social media, a Georgia Tech professor is asking, could identify and even help prevent dangerous situations from occurring?

When nearly 40 million Nigerians took to the polls last April to elect a new president, many of them went online to share comments about their chosen candidates on blogs, Twitter or other social media platforms. They also used these new media tools to report what they saw. “Listening” to much of it was Georgia Tech Associate Professor Michael Best, which just might have saved a few lives.

During the election, Best provided technical support for a Nigerian group that wanted to use social media as a means for tracking the election process and identifying any problems that cropped up. Best and his team of researchers designed a social media aggregator tool that could pull content from about 20 different sources (including Twitter) and analyze the data in real time using keywords.

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Opinion - Off the Pedestal: Creating a New Vision of Economic Growth

by James Gustave Speth - - May 31, 2011

The idea of economic growth as an unquestioned force for good is ingrained in the American psyche. But a longtime environmental leader argues it’s time for the U.S. to reinvent its economy into one that focuses on sustaining communities, family life, and the natural world.

Is anything in America more faithfully followed than economic growth? Its movements are constantly watched, measured to the decimal place, deplored or praised, diagnosed as weak or judged healthy and vigorous. Newspapers, magazines, and cable channels report endlessly on it. Promoting growth may be the most widely shared and robust cause in the United States today.

If the growth imperative dominates U.S. political and economic life, what happens when growth hits some serious stumbling blocks?

When I was in school in England, the dean of my college told us when we first arrived that we could walk on the grass in the courtyard — but not across it. That helped me love the English and their language. Here is another creative use of prepositions: there are limits to growth, and there are limits of growth.

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Bin Laden Death: 'CIA Doctor' Accused of Treason

BBC News - October 6, 2011


Bin Laden was top of the US 'most wanted' list

A Pakistani commission investigating the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden says a doctor accused of helping the CIA should be tried for high treason.

Dr Shakil Afridi is accused of running a CIA-sponsored fake vaccine programme in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed, to try to get DNA samples.

He was arrested shortly after the 2 May US raid that killed the al-Qaeda chief.

The commission has been interviewing intelligence officials and on Wednesday spoke to Bin Laden family members.

Pakistan, which was deeply embarrassed by the raid, has described the covert US special forces operation as a violation of its sovereignty.

A government commission, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, has been charged with discovering how the US military was able to carry out the raid deep within Pakistan without being detected.

It is also investigating how Bin Laden was able to hide in Abbottabad, a garrison town, for several years.

DNA sought

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Arctic Ozone Loss 'Unprecedented,' Scientists Say

by Emily Chung - CBC News - October 3, 2011


Left: Ozone in Earth's stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) in mid-March 2011, near the peak of the 2011 Arctic ozone loss. Right: chlorine monoxide – the primary agent of chemical ozone destruction in the cold polar lower stratosphere – for the same day and altitude. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Environment Canada cuts could disable future Canadian measurements

Unusual winter weather in the atmosphere high above the Earth's surface caused an "unprecedented" loss of protective ozone over the Arctic this year, scientists say.

The ozone layer in the stratosphere, located about 15 to 35 kilometres above the Earth's surface, protects the Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays and harmful effects such as skin cancer. While an ozone hole has formed in the stratosphere over the Antarctic each spring since the mid 1980s, a paper published in Nature on Sunday marks the first time scientists have reported a comparable loss over the Arctic.

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How an Artificial Leaf Could Boost Solar Power - September 29, 2011


Photographer's Choice - RF

Nature is amazing. Take the humble leaf—it's capable of absorbing the sunlight and converting it into the chemical energy that fuels the growth of plants. Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental forces of life, and it's far superior to our technological efforts to harness sunlight. A photovoltaic solar panel can transform sunlight to electricity, but right now that power is difficult to store without expensive batteries, which limits the potential of solar energy. The sugars produced by photosynthesis, though, can be tapped by a plant for energy whenever it's needed. A solar cell that could mimic photosynthesis would be a game changer for alternative energy.

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