More 'In-House Solutions' for Africa's Woes

On the heels of the latest European Union offer of food aid for sub-Saharan Africa to get through the food crisis, a resounding "not so fast" came from recent Nobel laureate Wangari Maathi.

Ms. Maathi's contributions to Kenyan environmentalism have been significant with her Green Belt Movement planting over 40 million tress across the country--a feat for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She said Africans needed to articulate their own development models and disabuse themselves of asking for aid handouts from external governmental or non-governmental donors. Maathi's work, which relies on grants, has brought tree-planting jobs and effective solutions to soil loss and degradation from erosion in the agricultural sector.

Resource dilemmas in Africa are of course not part of closed-loop cycles. Less talked about is the impact resource constraints are having on civil conflicts in Africa. A growing number of analysts say natural resources are at the heart of conflicts like the one in Darfur and peacemaking should only be undertaken if items like water are part of mediations.

For more talk on alternative, homegrown aid models, read comments from Zambian public policy expert Dambisa Moyo in the Time's Magazine or listen to Maathi's enlightening interview with Treehugger.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
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Should teachers be fired for nude pics from their past?

Lauren Miranda sent a nude selfie to a boyfriend years ago. Somehow one of her students discovered it.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Math teacher Lauren Miranda was fired from her Long Island school when a topless selfie surfaced.
  • Miranda had only shared the photo with her ex-boyfriend, who is also a teacher in the school district.
  • She's suing the school for $3 million as well as getting her job back, citing gender discrimination.
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Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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