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Category archives for Health

Hey Developers, Wanna Make an App to Help the Ocean?

We have a lot of data about the ocean, but much of it is in obscure databases – unintegrated, unanalyzed, and largely inaccessible for the public. There is so much we could do with all that information if it was easy to visualize and interpret. At our fingertips, we could have alerts about the presence…

Insisting on Truth – Bhopal and Beyond

“I cut all the pictures out of my textbook…they were so…” My friend Anu doesn’t finish her thought. She doesn’t have to. I know the words that she can use, but they will never fully articulate the horrific, gruesome, tragic images depicting the event of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, considered by many to be the…

All Plants Are Medicine; We Just Need To (re)Learn How

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Jeetpal Negi, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Negi bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his…

Tracing the Global Invasion of Brown Rats

Brown rats are found throughout the world, on its continents and islands, affecting human health and biodiversity, but where did they originally come from? Researchers this month sought to answer that question when they released a global phylogeography of brown rats from cities and islands around the world.

Saving Rice in Pictures

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

Our Seed Stories – a Participatory Educational Media Project this School Year

Join me this school year on my journey to India to learn about seed saving, community food systems, and how to cultivate a future for biodiversity!

A Startup in the South Pacific Could Be a Worldwide Model

Alfred Kalontas, the founder of ALFA Fishing in Vanuatu, bootstrapped his business from nothing to become the preferred seafood supplier to over 70 percent of the hotels and restaurants in the island nation’s capital, Port Vila.  He is now starting to export his high-quality, sustainably caught products to New Zealand and is seeing demand from…

Photo Update: How Technology is Reaching Pakistan’s Children with the Polio Vaccine

In our February story – Cell Coverage: Reaching Pakistan’s Children with the Polio Vaccine – Aziz Memon wrote about Rotary‘s work to replace traditional paper reporting of polio, maternal and newborn health data in Pakistan with more accurate and timely mobile phone-based reporting. This new program is being implemented almost entirely by female health workers, many working…

It’s Catching, If You’re a Clam: Infectious Cancer Spreading in Soft-Shell Clams, Other Mollusks

It sounds like the plot of a summer horror flick: Malignant cells floating in the sea, ferrying infectious cancer everywhere they go. The story is all too true, say scientists who’ve made a discovery they call “beyond surprising.” Outbreaks of leukemia that have devastated populations of soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) along the east coast of…

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,…

Living on a Tropical Island—and an Asbestos Wasteland

BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. It’s in the field where people plant cassava. Broken pieces of asbestos sheeting litter the ground, and children use them to make toys and skateboards. All of this in an environment already littered with scrap metal, industrial waste, and oil…

Plastic pollution plagues NY-NJ waterways—and it’s all our fault.

Co-authored by Erica Cirino Whenever I visit my favorite beaches on Long Island’s North Shore, I look for sea glass. There’s just something about these wave-worn gems—blues, greens, browns, whites and one or two bits of rare yellow glass—that invites me to pick them up. Lately though, I’ve been duped by small pieces of plastic…

Cell Coverage: Reaching Pakistan’s Children with the Polio Vaccine

Pakistan is one of only two remaining polio-endemic countries, and extinguishing the virus from every remote region is a considerable challenge. Vaccinators, risking attacks from militants, have to target and track with precision civilians fleeing a warzone in the country’s northwest provinces. One project is using cell phones as part of the polio eradication effort, and…

Steak Story, Part 1: The MosCowBoy

The ribeye steak was called the MosCowBoy. When I cut into it, juice squished out onto the ceramic plate. Each tender bite made my taste buds light up with all six of the essential flavors (sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and especially umami and fat). This was five years ago, in June 2011, when I’d just finished…