The 2009 film Garbage Dreams
, which is currently airing on PBS
, documents the Zabbaleen
a tribe that lives off of collecting and recycling trash from Cairo. They manage to recycle 80% of trash (vs 32% in the U.S.
), the highest level in the world, well above most first world recycling levels, using primitive techniques shown in the film. As depicted in the film, and on NPR
, since 2003 Cairo has been hiring foreign companies, who recycle much less, taking away their livelihood. They are trying to raise enough money (you can donate, buy a t-shirt or help)
to grow their Recycling school, to teach more of their children their practices. Good interview with the film director here
posted by Berkun
on May 4, 2010 -
This paper outlines the major thesis of the larger work... that US foreign policy during the Cold War was not primarily about keeping the USSR out of Western Europe, but rather about promoting the global capitalist system on a worldwide stage... Three themes—strategic, economic, ideological—are introduced in support of this argument, and applied to the 30 case studies. They lead to the conclusion that in many of these interventions the US opposed leftist Third World personalities by supporting more right-wing local clients rather than centrists who were often available. These decisions almost always proved disastrous for the local societies affected, and often even were unfortunate for longer-term American diplomatic interests.U.S. Foreign Policy in the Periphery: A 50-Year Retrospective
. Related: With Our History, Spinning America's Image Isn't Enough
posted by y2karl
on Jul 1, 2005 -
"The gap between the worlds’s rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions."
This seems like an interesting endeavour, with people like Nelson Mandela involved, as well. I'm a bit of a cynic about this because one of the biggest endorsements has come from Gordon Brown
. He's a known quantity
, and I wonder if this is another P.R. run to bolster his international credentials.
Oh, and there's a possibility it could be blocked
before it gathers enough steam -- so much for Soft Power
posted by gsb
on Jan 31, 2005 -
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith
teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition
; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill
suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat
on Dec 3, 2003 -
Just because we can we should?
Is this another case of rabid technology or will it really be useful? Can't the $225 per playstation-console be used to oh, say... clean up their water... or.. send a real life human being to their country to properly educate them?
posted by tsidel
on Jul 6, 2001 -