VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers

Menu

Category archives for Cultures

Why Protecting Canada’s Boreal Forest is This Century’s Great Conservation Idea

A hundred years ago, the Migratory Bird Treaty helped shape North America’s conservation ethic. Today, new initiatives in Canada offer hope for a sound environmental future. Historians would not consider 1916 a good year for the planet. The largest war the world had ever seen was raging in Europe, with millions of people killed and…

Rising Sea Threatens Traditional Leadership in Kiribati

Surviving on an isolated, infertile island is tough—but managing the scarce resources needed for thousands of families to survive on that island is an even greater challenge. The people of Kiribati have done so for centuries through the village maneaba, the consensus-based village leadership system. This is where the council of elders, te unimane, meet…

Industrialization of the oceans: Is it time to dive into the “blue economy”?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When I was a kid, I spent most of my summer days exploring my local Long Island beach. I’d watch birds, build sand castles and—ever the entrepreneur—would dig up quahog clams to sell, for a quarter each, to my neighbors who lay sunbathing on their beach blankets on the shore. Little…

Catering to a Diaspora: Syrians Bring Flavor of Home to Sweden

Malmö, Sweden — “Food may be able to bring us together,” said Yousef Awad. “We have different opinions, but we can agree on a Syrian dish.” Awad is the manager of Tanoor, a recently opened Syrian restaurant in Malmö. The 38-year-old father brings with him a history of hospitality, and loss. More than 40 percent of…

Would You Walk Into a Room With Millions of Bees?

Explorer and National Geographic grantee Chris Bashinelli visited rural Uganda to do a cultural exchange with small-scale farmers. He decided to face his fear of bees by going right into an apiary filled with venomous bees.

The Race to Find Fish Feeds That Don’t Bankrupt the Ocean

Wild fisheries are stable at best and declining at worst. That means we need aquaculture to meet the world’s growing demand for protein. And to feed the world sustainably, the industry has to figure out how to feed farmed fish without using wild fish stocks. Fish feed stood out in our Fish 2.0 Market Report research as a huge opportunity for innovation. Most farmed fish need some form of prepared feed…

Lust for Loot: Collecting Is Driving the Demand for Plunder

Looting in Egypt doubled in 2009-2010, on the heels of global recession, then doubled again following the Arab Spring. It’s a powerful source of income in times of stress, but it only pays because people will buy.

Searching for the Pure Life in Paradise

Costa Rica is one of the world’s most eco-conscious countries, but it still has issues to deal with. How well can it live up to its motto of supporting a “Pura Vida”?

Excuse me, waiter, there’s an invasive species in my soup

Co-authored by Erica Cirino After a full day looking at dinosaur bones, taxidermy birds and hieroglyphs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, I walked through the streets of New Haven in the rain to into a warm, rustic little Japanese restaurant feeling ravenous, excited and slightly nervous. While my official excuse to travel…

Journey Into Te Bangabanga: The Sacred Caves of Banaba Island

The morning was still dark when the young men arrived with their machetes and flashlights. We were on one of the most remote islands in the world, about to venture into an underground network of sacred caves known as te bangabanga. The land below the surface of Banaba, a Pacific island nearly 200 miles from…

Indigenous Amazonians Reeling From Oil Spills in the Jungle

An oil pipe can burst anywhere, even deep in the Amazon. Even there, not only does the environment suffer, people must struggle with far-ranging damage and contamination.

The manta in the mirror

By John Weller and Shawn Heinrichs A meeting of minds Chain upon chain of jagged islands jutted up from the sea. Dense vegetation clung to black, pitted rock walls that dropped sharply into cerulean blue lagoons. A Sulfur-crested Cockatoo landed in the top of a tree, its raucous call bouncing around the cliffs before daring out…

Bellringers of the Russian Orthodox Church Toll for Religious Freedom

After 75 years of religious persecution, under the Soviet regime, the Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a renaissance. In belfry towers across Russia, Orthodox bellringers toll their anthems of freedom.  

Challenging conventional wisdom in social innovation

There are no shortage of books on social entrepreneurship and innovation, but are they the books young people need? Do we have the right balance between theory and practice, or mechanics and motivation? Whose voice is dominant? What’s wrong with many of the current books on offer that drove me to publish two of my own? Well,…

Bhutan Rising: Democracy from Scratch

Bhutan is a relative newcomer to modernity: the country’s first paved road was completed in 1962, and the Internet and TV were not introduced until 1999. Since 2000, however, the pace of its development has snowballed. That acceleration is particularly evident in the country’s shifting demographics. Sixty percent of the Bhutan’s population is below the age of 34. While some people work on farms, more and more prefer to live and work in cities such as Thimphu, the capital. It’s easier than ever to move to those cities, but difficult to find jobs in them.