Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Global Production Lines and Reducing our Transportation Footprints

November 17, 2017

In his book, Door to Door: The Magnificent, Mysterious World of Transportation, Edward Humes describes the state of Earth’s modern-day transportation infrastructure. One excerpt from his book details the 500,000-mile-long journey it takes to assemble the iPhone 6. Each component of the phone, from the cameras, to the radio transmitters are created in a variety of factories located on three continents. Some of these bits and bobs do not get fully produced in one location before being shipped to the final assembly. Instead, they are jumped from country to company all over the globe until the each individual part is ready to be put together with the rest of the phone’s components. Importantly, Humes mentions that his mileage calculations for this process “does not include the movement of raw materials for individual components, nor their packaging, nor the movement of energy, water, and workers at the various factories, all of which could easily double or triple the mileage”.

Discussions of sustainability and environmental protection focus on reducing carbon emissions and adopting clean energy production. However, these ideas completely ignore how globally sourced lines of production consume immense quantities of resources and energy. For example, an iPhone used by a platinum miner in South Africa, could be assembled in a factory in China using the aforementioned process to source all the phone components. These components need to import in refined materials from yet another source. Lastly, the refiners need to gather the raw materials. One raw material needed for several iPhone components is: platinum. Subsequently, the miner may have extracted the very metal that was used in the production of his phone. Instead of taking the metal to a local refinery, factory, and assembly, it is bounced around the entire globe back and forth until finally returning to its original location.

When looking to increase profit margins, companies strive to cut costs in anyway possible. By building assembly factories in regions with copious low-wage labor, they dramatically increase the distance between their consumers and component producers. Even though sourcing globally might save corporations on productions costs, the adverse effects of transporting goods around the Earth and back again causes drastic environmental effects. Consider the fuel used and emissions discharged throughout this method.

If the citizens of Earth are serious about saving their planet, serious sacrifices will need to be taken. Consumers will have to be content with paying more for products than they are accustomed to. Companies will have to settle for lower profits and higher costs of production if putting the environment first is the mission. Governments will have to devise clever new strategies to convince corporations to move all stages of production not only within national borders, but regional borders. Institutions and citizens alike will have to put more careful thought into prioritizing our needs and desires; furthermore, how those needs and desires will impact the environment.

https://www.wired.com/2016/04/iphones-500000-mile-journey-pocket/

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An International Educational Challenge

November 15, 2017

Taking on a challenge in life is always interesting and full of unexpecteds. I accepted the responsibility to deliver an international student challenge in collaboration with UEL and two universities in USA and Germany. The project was to coincide with the international entrepreneurship week, an annual event. Three aspects, a 24 hour online social challenge, a panel discussion and world record. The common vision was both at the national and at global level to promote entrepreneurship education throughout the entire educational system. Technology was the primary resource as interaction was online and it was only the two panellists who needed to be transported to USA for the discussion. Managing the resources and communication to ensure a successful delivery of a pilot idea challenged by abilities in student engagement, creativity, determination, perseverance, confidence, planning and dialogue. The common theme of entrepreneurialism was embraced by the students and panellists resulting in a successful delivery of sharing entrepreneurial ideas as an educational experience captured on Startup Festival 2015.

Entrepreneurialism in Tanzania – TYLEV

November 15, 2017

Entrepreneurship is everywhere yet at times people tend to limit or believe it is only with certain people. I had the opportunity to learn from a group of youth how enterprising they have become with minimal resources. There creative is just amazing as each had a specific talent from photography, video editing, programming, art and crafts, farming, art, design and graphics to management, leadership, business acumen, speaking to mention just a few. As part of a group of students on a UEL Global Scholars Programme 2016, we planned a joint training project to present on three topics (business, accounting and marketing) and contribute to refurbishment of the organisations offices. I learnt a lot from the talent in Tanzania Young Leaders Empowering Vijana – TYLEV. This group of youth, working as a team, each with a gift to contribute, joined together with a common vision of the future as pioneers to improve the image and lives of Youth in Tanzania, as valuable contributors to their mother land Tanzania, in the eyes of the community. Our engagement and participation with them, boosted their individual and collective confidence in enhancing their entrepreneurial skill base. For us to fulfil our dreams and goals, sometimes the resources we are looking for to start are already with us and we just need to believe and start with the little and the outcome will be beyond our imagination. We captured our experience on video reflecting the potential in entrepreneurial capacity the youth of Tanzania are developing through an organisation like TYLEV.

Enemy within: Oil in the Niger Delta .A long awaited victory for the people of Bodo, Nigeria

November 14, 2017

The Bodo community is a small village in the southeast region of the Niger Delta in Nigeria. The little town came to the international limelight after a massive public protest campaign against shell. The village is a fishing and agricultural village where the indigenes depends on the product from their lands.

The oil industry has become an enemy within the Nigerian Delta community, yet still the government tells people to regard them as best friends. Previous government regimes have benefited from the oil company and have seen the oil industry as the lifeline of the nation’s economy, neglecting its impact on the people of the Niger Delta and their environment. Annual budgets of both federal and state governments hinge on expected oil money.

The environment and development of the Bodo community was supposed to be peaceful bedfellows. Today, this possibility is remote, especially  in the Niger Delta where oil and people come into the closest proximity. Oil development as a basis for socio-economic change has not only failed, it is fueling social, environmental, and political conditions for a permanent state of unrest.

The Bodo community in Nigeria are unable to fish and farm because of oil spillage in their river.

Shell was extravagantly extracting the oil and gas from the region for years. Government had always neglected them and so had Shell, thereby leading to a massive protest targeted at both the parties. They were earning a lot by exploiting the islands but giving almost nothing in returns. Their lands were environmentally degraded; soil and ground water rampantly contaminated mostly pertaining to oil leakage emanating from poorly maintained and dilapidated pipelines. Shell reciprocated this agitation by not clearing its spillages; but rather restricting itself from the region and making allegations of sabotage

An agreement was reached for compensation by shell to the Bodo community by oil spills from its pipes. The compensation has brought in a major achievement for the people of Bodo

It’s also a major victory for the environmental movement – including Friends of the Earth who have campaigned for decades on environmental rights issues in Nigeria associated with the oil industry.

Thousands of hectares of forest land were damaged following   oil spills in Bodo .The spillage polluted rivers and waterways. Following a court case brought by Bodo residents in the UK with the help of UK law firm Leigh Day, Shell finally agreed to an out of court settlement of £55 million. The money is to be divided between individual payments and a sum to the community as a whole and will go some way to rebuilding livelihoods.  Shell has now also finally committed to beginning the clean-up of the river.  But people have been optimistic about this commitment and will be watching to see if this happens. How quickly the local ecosystem and rivers recover will also be monitored

The chief and Chairman of the Bodo Council of Chiefs and Elders, thanked the Bodo international lawyers, Leigh Day, for their “strength”, “perseverance” and “tenacity”. He also thanked Nigerian and international NGOs, in particular, Amnesty International, who campaigned in support of their case

The campaign shows the importance and relevance of international solidarity with community struggles.

 

 

A man walks near a polluted site in Bodo village Nigeria’s Delta region

The Arab Spring

November 9, 2017

On the 17th of December, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in public as a reaction on the police confiscation of his mobile fruits carriage which he used to make living from. EL Bouazizi, as later become known among the Arab homeland, died without knowing what the consequences of his death have been so far!

The Tunisians occupied streets and public squares all over the country to express their anger of this incident, later that developed to what is known as the Freedom and Dignity Revolution that lead to the ousting of the president Zeni El Abeden Ben Ali who monopolized the presidency for himself since 1987. El Bouazizi setting him self on fire was marked as the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Only few days after Tunisia peaceful successful revolution, an Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian computer engineer, opened anonymously a Facebook page holds the name of ‘WE Are All Khaled Saied’ and called the Egyptians to occupy the streets on the 25th of January, 2011. Wael notified to what Tunisians did for El Buazizi, and invited Egyptians to do the same for Khalid Saied who was tortured to death in Egyptian security force’s prisons. The Egyptians could cracked down Hosni Mubarak who also monopolized presidency for himself since 1981.

Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria all walked on the way that El Buazizi paved.

the results of the six revolutions differentiated from a country to another later out of many reason, the international political tussles is one of the main. But, what I wanted to refer to in the previous lines is that all these revolutions show the public, commoners,  power in reaching better life through defending and acting toward the commons represented in the Egyptian revolution slogan in ‘Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice’. Since they were all public action all over these countries aiming to achieve better life standers for the whole, and not the supporters of a certain political party trying to advocate for theirs, especially after knowing that none of the human beings held the Former President Tag  all over the Arab World before the Arab Spring.

Hoping also that this will be a brief background for any future posts on the commons I am going to write in here later.

 

COMMONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

November 7, 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA STREET PARTY-TENANTS SAY THEY DON’T FEEL SAFE AFTER SERIES OF STREET PARTIES.

Since social media platforms were created, it has become one of the most important ways to communicate. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Co has been playing increasingly imperative roles in our lives, from keeping in touch with our friends and families to landing our dream jobs.

However, the recognition of social media has also attracted criminals. 81 present of Internet initiated crime involves social networking sites, primarily Facebook and Twitter, Social media has also created new concerns in relation to youth organised crimes. Discrimination on social media platforms is not unusual. However, it is not all bad news. Social media has created new opportunities for criminal justice agencies to solve crimes, among other things. Brazil’s Ministry of Justice has successfully used social media and its statistics to track corruption and other well thought-out crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking. The metropolitan police are using social media to decode hidden connections, gang networks and it aids efficiency and reducing the time frame of investigations

 

Furthermore, Constant updates, posts, statuses and tweets transmit opinions on topics ranging from where there are social gatherings or possibly where youths could meet up to start fights. Everyday, tremendous amounts of crimes are reported on the news, Social medium have recently made headlines, 33 percent of all Internet-initiated sex crimes are coordinated through social media sites, and 50 percent of sex crimes committed against children involve the executor acquiring information’s, pictures from the victim’s social media profile.

These are all rational reasons and in most cases why social medial is often blamed as the main tool for planned crimes. “Do parents who have lost their children to knives and gun crimes dislike or hate social media?” many believe that government cuts has left youths with no activities that will preoccupy them. During the 6 weeks holidays, a youth started playing music in Vincennes estate in west Norwood, he sent it on snapchat and within an hour hundreds of youths flooded the estate. Eventually it became an ugly scene between the police and youths before they stopped the party, this shows the negative impacts social media is playing.

 

 

 

 

November 6, 2017

COMMON AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Boko Haram “Technically Defeated” – A political Misconception

November 4, 2017

Boko Haram is an Islamic militant insurgency in the north-eastern part of Nigeria since 2009, causing havoc in the Africa most populous nation and extending into neighboring countries like Cameroon and Chad. Boko Haram carries out terrorist activities by a bomb attack on populated areas, assassination and kidnapping base on “their belief” of promoting Islamic course to take over Nigerian government. They claim Nigerian democracy is being run by nonbelievers; western education and system of government inherited from the British Colonial Masters with the aim of replacing it with Islamic state rule.

Their abductions and kidnapping have target mostly women and young school girls who they enslave, abused sexually, mentally and morally. For instance in April 2014, Boko Haram abducted over 200 school girls from the Chibok town in Borno State, Nigeria which drew international attention and condemnation globally. Boko Haram leader like Mr. Shekau use the captives as prized assets of negotiations, as it is evidence in the release of 21 Chibok girls in October 2016 during discussions with the Nigeria, the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Nigeria president; Mr. Buhari recently claim that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated”, He states in a BBC interview in 2015 that the Nigeria military has technically won the war against Boko Haram; the group can no longer launch its conventional attacks against security forces or populated centers. However, locals and lawmakers have claimed this is a political misconception and accused the Buhari government of deceiving Nigerians and the world with the story of victory and or defeat.
International Organisations like Amnesty International has argued that about 2000 children are still in captivity while some analyst says it is too early to write off Boko Haram, despite recent killing of fighters and seizure of weapons. Boko Haram has proven to have outlived other militant groups in northern Nigeria and has a force of thousands of men; according to CIA officials, it has around 9000 force and cells that specialize in bombings. Through it raid on military bases and banks, Boko Haram has gained control of a vast amount of territory, weapons, and money.
Also, the continual activities of Boko Haram have compelled locals to drag children into the battle against the group by forming a youth vigilante groups known as Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF). According to the UN, between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children from ages 9 were used by the 23,000 strong-armed task force in their strategy to battle Boko Haram, yet putting the children in harm’s way and losing lives.
We can argue Mr. Buhari’s claim of victory against the Boko Haram is premature but the fact is that Nigeria witnessed a general downward trend in violence during 2016 as reported by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project(ACLED). Also as clearly stated by Lieutenant General Yusuf Buratai of the Nigerian Army, the military has chased away the terrorist group, recaptured territories and rescued over 20000 abducted people including some Chibok schoolgirls but Boko Haram has not been completely eliminated.

DEVELOPMENT TRAGEDY (1) By Raf Balogun

November 2, 2017

Makoko is a slum in Nigeria which is one of the largest producers and exporters of oil globally.

This slum of dwellings built on stilts and bamboo shoots is actually a community of people who rely solely on self help economic pursuits. They fish mainly with the men going out to fish at night to return in the wee hours of the morning and the wives taking the overnight catch of their husbands to sell in main markets to well off individuals. Their staple food is mainly fish. Also other sea foods that they get freely from the ocean as they live on the oceanfront.

These people have over the years formed a relatively large community. They do not rely on the government for anything and they get nothing from the state. Educationally, the only primary school in the community was established by a white European couple who were especially concerned at the lack of government presence in this highly independent, resourceful and industrious slum settlement. Consequently, a Christian mission dug a borehole for the community as they had no drinking water and as a result, very poor sanitation.

The tragedy or travesty that this paper is keen to portray is that despite their subsistent existence in the face of plenty, this community is being threatened, harassed and continually hounded by the government to either move from their ocean front and ocean top shanties or be flushed out and the settlement demolished to make way for land reclamation for the construction of sea front homes for the affluent.

My grouse is this, so you want them out so their expulsion can make way for th super rich to live in opulaent grandeur? What happens to their livelihoods.is the government aware that these people would have constituted themselves as a major social problem, if not for the fact that the community and its industry provides for their basic needs. Move them on to where.

Pulling the cart before the horse is counter productive. Provide basic housing needs that are affordable, build schools with basic infrastructure and relocate them .

Next blog will focus on the defiance by the community to resist vehemently the proposed move to oust them from their God given free enterprise.

NB

Please watch appurtenant video relating specifically to this sad saga.Living in makoko

Gang Life: Thugs or Commoners

November 1, 2017

The United Sates has had a long history of organized crime. Notorious crime syndicates, mafias, and gangs are known worldwide, thanks in part to Hollywood dramatization. Blockbuster movies portray violent protagonists that have flourishing livelihoods outside of the rule of law. The Godfather, Casino, and Goodfellas are only a few examples from a long list. In fact, there are so many different organizations based from coast to coast, that the History Channel has a TV show (Ganglang) dedicated to covering almost unbelievable stories from groups such as the Hells Angels, MS-13, the Bloods, the Crips, the Aryan Brotherhood, and the various Mafia groups. Even though some aspects of these organizations consist of common people coming together to make decisions, I would have to say that any organizations based around violence are overwhelmingly NOT examples of model social systems.

 

However, gang life can be put in a negative light by media. There is an enormous amount of peaceful motorcycle gangs that advocate for, fund raise for, and demonstrate against a range of issues like child abuse and cancer. I have personally ridden in an escort in my home state of Idaho. Maintaining motorcycle gangs or clubs involve long hours of hard volunteer work including organizing raffles, holding meetings, and cleaning up events. The members of each group decide the boundaries (who’s in/out), participate in decision making, monitor, and fine those who break rules. Peaceful motorcycle gangs are great examples of commoners coming to together for the purpose of commoning.

 

One of my favorite gangs commits itself to ride not motorcycles, but lawn mowers. The Detroit Mower Gang (DMG) was self-organized in response to the closing of parks by a bankrupt city. Its members used their own resources and time to cut overgrown grass in public spaces. These spaces were previously unused and all but forgotten, but are now restored and safe for children of all ages to use and enjoy. The DMG is a perfect example of a commons system. The common goods are their mowing equipment, at first provided by the commoners themselves, but now have a sponsor (Craftsmen). The commoners who make up the association are motivated Detroit residents. Those commoners come together to decide what spaces to mow (commoning). The system repeats itself when the grass grows back, so the process has the means of reproduction.

 

Gangs/mobs/mafias and all other types of organized crime usually arise out of atmospheres of desperation and poverty. These groups are especially appetizing to youth who have no or few positive elements of well-being or community to look forward to. They provide spaces of cohesion and solidarity for the disenfranchised. I think it is unfair to judge those involved in gang life who are looking for nothing more than a sense of purpose. Instead of punishing these groups with hostility and incarceration, we can encourage them to adapt peaceful practices. Instead of ignoring and marginalizing we can invite sharing and participating. I hope that one day all violent organizations can move away from violence and embrace conviviality and positive community building.