Daily Archives: April 2, 2013

World Bank President: Elimination of Poverty Possible


VOAvideo

Published on Apr 2, 2013

The head of the World Bank says for the first time in human history, it is possible to eliminate poverty around the world. Jim Yong Kim told a Washington audience Tuesday, he wants to make ending world poverty by 2030 a top priority for the Bank and governments around the world. VOA’s Jim Randle reports

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

World Bank Group President: World Can End Extreme Poverty and Increase Shared Prosperity


WorldBank

Published on Apr 2, 2013

http://www.worldbank.org – The World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim outlined a bold agenda for the global community toward ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity to boost the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population. In a speech at Georgetown University, Kim urged developing countries, donors, and development partners to work together to support equitable and inclusive growth, especially in fragile and conflict-affected states, and to fight climate change

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

Is GMO Food Safe to Eat?


democracynow

Published on Apr 2, 2013

Watch the full 30-minute debate on Democracy Now! at http://owl.li/jFLeW. In the wake of the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act,” Gregory Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch debate the science behind the safety of foods made with genetically modified ingredients. Jaffe says that “a strong international consensus” affirms the safety of food grown from GMO crops, while Hauter argues the science so far is far from conclusive, and in some cases points to dangers.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

The Internet, Capitalism, and the State

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/02/the-internet-capitalism-and-the-state/
April 02, 2013

A Review of Robert McChesney’s “Digital Disconnect”
by JOSHUA SPERBER

Robert McChesney’s Digital Disconnect (New Press, 2013) is an informed and engaging account of the internet’s history and likely future within the context of corporate-dominated U.S. society. Yet while the book is a useful catalog of the disturbing and sometimes bizarre attributes of today’s internet, its onus on the internet’s relationship to commercialism and advertising – as opposed to labor – as well as its pluralist conception of a “corrupted” state hijacked by corporations precludes a more thorough and critical analysis.

Commercialism on the internet, as in other arenas, has undoubtedly become more intense and intrusive. McChesney traces this evolution by looking at the internet from its military-created National Science Foundation Network days to the early 1990s, when a strong anti-commercial online culture defended a free and open public sphere, to its more recent exponential growth and privatization. To be sure, McChesney shows the eventual oligopolistic corporate dominance of the internet was hardly predetermined (Google currently governs 70 percent of searches, Amazon sells 70-80 percent of books online, and the top 50 out of 773,000 websites, according to Matthew Hindman, account for 41 percent of all internet traffic, with the top seven dominating). Indeed, McChesney recounts how the traditional media monopolies were horrified by the seemingly intractable obstacles to profit posed by the early internet: its unique elimination of barriers to entry (anyone could start a website); the difficulty in forcing users to pay for ubiquitous online content; the apparent impossibility of enforcing copyrights due to the ease of copying and distributing content, and the difficulty in ensuring that users would watch advertisements when they had infinite alternatives.

In short, the internet, for a moment at least, eliminated scarcity, which McChesney notes is a precondition for profit. Faced with this apparently existential threat, and facilitated by Bill Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act which enabled media cross-ownership and thereby paved the way for the reemergence of the old monopolies in a new sphere, media giants like Disney, GE, Time Warner, and Viacom went on a dot.com buying spree. In a coordinated effort to generate scarcity, the major media owners have since sought to establish “walled gardens” like Facebook, in which entry costs (e.g. fees, or personal data in this case) are effectively extorted via the isolation and inconvenience (some jobs require Facebook membership) of exclusion. Seeking “‘enhanced surplus extraction effect’ – that is, the increased ability to fleece those walled within… the giants are vying to be digital company stores in a national or global company town.”

Media conglomerates (and the state) have additionally manufactured scarcity by radically extending copyright coverage. McChesney notes that, libertarian mythologies aside, the market for non-exclusionary or nonrivalrous goods could not function without government intervention (notwithstanding Napster-founder Sean Parker’s memorable observation that the music industry had become a water-seller in a downpour, advising record producers to sell “umbrellas” instead). While the original aim of copyright protection was to encourage production through ensuring incentives, present-day media corporations, McChesney continues, benefit from what are in effect “government monopoly protection licenses” in perpetuity, halting production, competition, and creativity while generating artificially high prices for consumers. Nothing since 1920 has been added to the public domain, as media companies, rather than the artists they claim to protect, are guaranteed “rent” via copyright-cum-monopoly protections decades beyond the life of the artist.

Advertising on the internet also initially presented an obstacle to both websites in need of funding and advertisers seeking ways to sell to users. Whereas three television networks were originally able to exert relative leverage on advertisers with few other options, the internet’s profusion of websites has decisively shifted the advantage to the advertisers, forcing a surfeit of revenue-hungry sites to compete with one another over relatively scarce funding. Within this highly competitive context, websites are working to attract profitable advertising by using cookies to monitor visitors’ site visits and activities, collecting user data that sites sell to advertisers who then target users with highly personalized – and more effective – ads. (read more).

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Media

Asthma Awareness Poster Contest | The Eco Student

http://blog.epa.gov/students/2013/04/asthma-awareness-poster-contest/

2013 April 2

The U.S. EPA is celebrating Asthma Awareness month this May! Students in the 3rd-8th grades from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin are invited to participate in a poster contest. Asthma is a serious, sometimes life threatening respiratory disease that can make it hard to breathe and affects the lives of over 25 million Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to control its symptoms. Help raise awareness about asthma by creating a poster that illustrates the different aspects about the condition.

Posters should help raise awareness about the positive aspects of asthma such as good asthma control and management, physical activity and asthma, asthma and the environment and asthma medication. An example could be an illustration of how to avoid asthma triggers like mold, pet dander and secondhand smoke. Whether or not you suffer from asthma, this is a great way to inform other students about ways to manage asthma all the while having fun creating an artistic poster! Please visit http://epa.gov/region5/asthmapostercontest to learn how to apply. All entry forms and posters must be received by Friday May 10, 2013.

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Health Experts Say Food, Environment Can Affect Asthma Sufferers


VOAvideo

Uploaded on May 23, 2011

There has been a spike in cases of asthma in the United States, despite the nation’s improved air quality over the last 10 years. Experts are now emphasizing the role of food and environmental allergies in the incidence of the chronic disease. VOA’s Vidushi Sinha reports on the latest research and the search for new treatments.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Breathing Freely: Controlling Asthma Triggers


PublicResourceOrg

Uploaded on Jan 20, 2008

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Breathing Freely: Controlling Asthma Triggers
(This video also available in Spanish.)
EPA 402-C-06-001

This video features medical professionals, families and children living with asthma. The medical professionals discuss the role of the environment in triggering and worsening asthma attacks and the families and children describe what it is like to live with asthma. The medical professionals and parents discuss ways to manage asthma so that children can live normal lives and the families demonstrate some simple asthma management techniques.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120