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News articles on poverty alleviation
Mongabay.com news articles on poverty alleviation in blog format. Updated regularly.
(04/04/2007) As traditionally practiced in southeast Asia, oil palm cultivation is responsible for widespread deforestation that reduces biodiversity, degrades important ecological services, worsens climate change, and traps workers in inequitable conditions sometimes analogous to slavery. This doesn't have to be the case. Following examples set forth by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and firms like Golden Hope Plantations Berhad, a Malaysian palm oil producer, oil palm can be cultivated in a manner that helps mitigate climate change, preserves biodiversity, and brings economic opportunities to desperately poor rural populations.
Eco-friendly palm oil could help alleviate poverty in Indonesia
(04/03/2007) The Associated Press (AP) recently quoted Marcel Silvius, a climate expert at Wetlands International in the Netherlands, as saying palm oil is a failure as a biofuel. This would be a misleading statement and one that doesn't help efforts to devise a workable solution to the multiplicity of issues surrounding the use of palm oil.
Madagascar needs relief help after deadly cyclones
(03/30/2007) A deadly cyclone has struck one of the most biologically diverse parts of the planet, forcing people from their homes and damaging their only source of livelihood. Cyclone Indlala has displaced more than 100,000 people and caused widespread crop losses in northeastern Madagascar according to reports from relief organizations. 100-mph (165 km/h) winds and heavy rains caused considerable damage in coastal areas in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean island. 95 people were reported dead but there are fears of spreading water-borne disease.
$100 laptop for poor children will cost $130
(02/15/2007) The $100 laptop designed for poor children in developing countries looks like it will cost $130, at least initially, according to the computer's manufacturer, Quanta Computer Inc. In a statement Thursday, Quanta said it ship between 5 million to 10 million units this year as part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, an effort launched by Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Laboratory.
Microsoft wants in on $100 laptop for poor children
(12/06/2006) Looks like Microsoft may want to be involved in the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) after all. Reports indicate that Microsoft wants to make its Windows CE operating system, one usually installed on handheld devices, available on the OLPC notebook computer, a $100 laptop designed for use by children in developing countries.
$100 laptop arrives in Brazil
(11/27/2006) The $100 laptop has arrived in Brazil. According to the Associated Press, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday received a prototype version of the laptop, which has been billed as a durable low-cost PC for children in developing countries. 50 of the laptops are expected to be tested in Brazilian schools beginning today.
Cotton could feed the world's poor
(11/21/2006) Genetically modified cottonseed could be used to feed half a billion people worldwide according to new research published in today's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
$100 laptop for poor children ships
(11/20/2006) The first ten $100 laptops have shipped from their Taiwanese manufacturer according to a report from News Corporation. The One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) -- the nonprofit group behind the device -- reportedly tested the laptops, which were hand-built, at the U.S. State Department last week. The laptops have been billed as a durable low-cost PC for children in developing countries. OLPC says it will begin production once it has orders for 5-10 million machines. Already the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Libya, Nigeria, Thailand, and Israel have expressed interest in the machines which have received support from Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat, but not Microsoft.
Avoided deforestation could send $38 billion to third world under global warming pact
(11/01/2006) Avoided deforestation will be a hot point of discussion at next week's climate meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Already a coalition of 15 rainforest nations have proposed a plan whereby industrialized nations would pay them to protect their forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, last month Brazil -- which has the world's largest extent of tropical rainforests and the world's highest rate of forest loss -- said it promote a similar initiative at the talks. At stake: potentially billions of dollars for developing countries. When trees are cut greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere -- roughly 20 percent of annual emissions of such heat-trapping gases result from deforestation and forest degradation. Avoided deforestation is the concept where countries are paid to prevent deforestation that would otherwise occur. Policymakers and environmentalists alike find the idea attractive because it could help fight climate change at a low cost while improving living standards for some of the world's poorest people and preserving biodiversity and other ecosystem services. A number of prominent conservation biologists and development agencies including the World Bank and the U.N. have already endorsed the idea.
Wood stoves in poor countries worse than expected for global warming
(10/25/2006) Wood stoves used in developing countries emit more harmful smoke particles and could have a much greater impact on global climate change than previously thought, according to research published in the Nov. 1 issue of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study's lead authors, Dr. Tami Bond of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and graduate student Christoph Roden, estimate that some 400 million of these stoves are used on a daily basis for cooking and heating by more than 2 billion people.
Amazon rainforest has its first wireless city under poverty alleviation initiative by Intel
(09/20/2006) Intel unveiled what it is calling the "World's Most Remote Digital City" in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The wireless, high-speed Internet network installation in Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, is part of the tech firm's initiative to treat the world's poor as a market. Some economists have argued that addressing the world's poor in such a manner could bring benefits that they have not seen through historical aid efforts.
Small farmers good, big farmers bad for forest conservation say researchers
(08/08/2006) DResearchers presenting today at two symposia at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Memphis, Tennessee argue that the rural farmers are not necessarily at odds with efforts to preserve biodiversity in developing countries.
Madagascar, Mired in Poverty, Lures Exxon Oil Search
(07/18/2006) Two-wheeled ox carts and decades-old Renaults choke the cobbled streets of Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, reminders of how slowly the country has advanced since independence in 1960. Now the government is auctioning oil drilling rights to improve the lives of its 18 million citizens.
Buffet to give nearly $31 billion to Gates foundation
(06/25/2006) In an interview with Fortune magazine, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett announced he will give nearly $31 billion -- most of his wealth -- to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The decision comes shortly after Mr. Gates said he would leave Microsoft to work full time with his philanthropic organization, which is dedicated to bringing innovation to global health and education.
14% of children in the United Arab Emirates starving
(05/23/2006) While public attention gravitates towards conflict and natural disaster, many people in countries less affected by such events struggle with some of the same nutrition problems as those in crisis. In The Lancet, Rainer Gross, UNICEF's chief of nutrition, and Patrick Webb, dean for academic affairs at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, discuss five facts about world hunger, children and wasting, a condition that represents severe malnutrition.
China leading the way in reducing undernutrition
(05/02/2006) A worldwide study released today by UNICEF reveals that some 5.6 million children die every year in part because they are not getting enough of the right nutrients. And 146 million children are at risk from dying early because they are underweight.
Life expectancy below 40 for some African countries, global population growth rates slow
(04/16/2006) Children born in six African countries can expect to die before their 41st birthday while kids born in 16 countries can expect to live past 80 according to an annual report released by the UN's World Health Organization. The report, "World Health Report 2006 - Working together for health", released earlier this month reveals a widening between the quality of life for the world's poorest and richest people. Most of the world's shortest life expectancies occurs in Africa where the AIDS epidemic, malnutrition, curable diseases, and civil strife have taken a tremendous toll on human life. In all, of the 29 countries where life expectancy at birth is 50 years or less, 28 are in Africa. The only outlier is warn-torn Afghanistan, where life expectancy is 42 years. Of the 40 countries with the shortest life expectancy, 38 are in Africa.
Disappearing drylands spell trouble says UN
(03/21/2006) According to the United Nations, the continuing degradation of the world'apos;apos;s dryland ecosystems is threatening biodiversity and worsening poverty around the globe. In an effort to bring attention to the dire condition of these important lands, which cover almost half the planet'apos;apos;s land surface, the world organization has proclaimed 2006 the International Year of Deserts and Desertification.
Microfinance key to alleviating poverty in forest communities
(02/08/2006) Giving poor forest-dwellers access to basic financial services is a key element in helping them improve their living standards, according to a new FAO publication.
Goodbye to West Africa's Rainforests
(01/22/2006) West Africa's once verdant and extensive rainforests are now a historical footnote. Gone to build ships and furniture, feed hungry mouths, and supply minerals and gems to the West, the band of tropical forests that once extended from Guinea to Cameroon are virtually gone. The loss of West Africa's rainforests have triggered a number of environmental problems that have contributed to social unrest and exacerbated poverty across the region.
203 million people malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa
(11/21/2005) Hunger and malnutrition kill nearly 6 million children a year, and more people are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa this decade than in the 1990s, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization Tuesday. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of malnourished people grew to 203.5 million people in 2000-02 from 170.4 million 10 years earlier says "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" report.
Illegal timber from Honduras reaching the United States
(11/04/2005) U.S. companies are unknowingly importing illegal Honduran wood, contributing to deforestation, corruption and poverty in the Latin American country, according to a yearlong undercover investigation by the Center for International Policy and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
eBay founder gives $100 million for microfinance to help world's poorest people
(11/04/2005) Ebay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pamela, have given $100 million in eBay stock to Tufts University to create a fund that will invest in microfinance.
Medicinal Plants could help poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa -- World Bank report
(11/03/2005) Dryland areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have a niche opportunity to use selected multipurpose medicinal plants to halt land degradation, and at the same time provide culturally acceptable healthcare, food, and a sustainable source of income by developing niche markets, according to the new World Bank report Capitalizing on the Bio-Economic Value of Multi-Purpose Medicinal Plants for the Rehabilitation of Drylands in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa Heats Up -- climate change threatens future of the continent
(10/11/2005) A series of recent studies have revealed a sobering future for the majority of Africa, a future predicated by undeniable and significant climate change. The threat traverses all levels of the environmental, social, political and economic spheres, from heightened socio-economic disparity to dwindling fish populations, from civil strife to desperate hunger. The greatest and saddest irony of this dark fate projected for the continent is that while Africa has the world's lowest levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, contributing the least to global climate change, it has been forced to bear the brunt of the phenomenon.
Google, MIT support $100 laptop for the world's poorest children
(10/06/2005) Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat have signed on to MIT's low-cost laptop initiative which aims to deliver a fully functional $100 machine to the developing world.
Cocoa innovations could help West Africa escape poverty
(09/21/2005) Ghana is leading efforts to use waste from cocoa farming to produce household products and drinks -- from fertilizer and soap to wine and brandy -- that will boost income for poor farmers.
Poverty worsens hurricane impact -- AP analysis
(09/05/2005) An Associated Press analysis of Census data shows that the residents in the three dozen hardest-hit neighborhoods in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also were disproportionately minority and had incomes $10,000 below the national average.
Poverty decimates great apes
(09/05/2005) Fewer than 250 wild Sumatran orangutans may exist in fifty years, their habitat is disappearing and the devastation of the Asian tsunami has accelerated the rate of destruction. This is among the findings being announced at the launch of the first World Atlas of Great Apes and their conservation by the UNEP World conservation Monitoring Centre, which reveals that it is not just humans that will benefit from a campaign to 'make poverty history'. For the other 6 species of great ape -- the eastern and western gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo, Sumatran and Bornean orangutan -- it could literally save them from the cooking pot.
Safeguarding biodiversity key to human health, poverty alleviation says Annan
(08/24/2005) Failure to conserve and use biological diversity in a sustainable manner would result in degrading environments, new and more rampant illnesses, deepening poverty and a continued pattern of inequitable and untenable growth warned United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a statement before the First International Conference on the Importance of Biodiversity to Human Health in Galway, Ireland.
Poor need renewable energy sources says Annan
(08/23/2005) In a new report, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says energy poverty is seriously impeding socio-economic development in the world's poorest countries. Noting that in the developing countries some 1.6 billion people still lack access to electricity and about 2.4 billion continue to rely on traditional biomass like fuelwood for cooking and heating, Annan calls for intensified efforts to promote renewable energy sources for the poor.
Cell phones may help "save" Africa
(07/11/2005) For all the talk about "making poverty history" through aid and debt relief at the G8 meeting in Scotland and among aging rock stars at Live8 concerts, perhaps the best tool for poverty alleviation on the continent is the mobile phone. Yes, that ubiquitous handheld device has done wonders for the poor around the world.
A long-term approach to helping the poor in Africa through private enterprise
(07/05/2005) This past Saturday millions of people watched the anti-poverty "Live 8" concerts held in London, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Philadelphia and Barrie, Canada. Live 8 coincides with tomorrow's G8 summit of world leaders and aims to raise awareness of the need for aid, debt relief and fairer trade for Africa. While the cancellation of debt and delivery of aid to Africa is a noble and needed cause for a desparately poor continent, policy makers will need to ensure that funds are spent wisely to maximize the benefits for the largest number of Africans.
Mobilizing seniors to fight poverty in Africa
(07/04/2005) One program that could have potential for real poverty alleviation in Africa is a "Gray Corps" concept which would take advantage of the experience and expertise of aging Americans (aged 65 and older), a segment of the population that is expected to grow from approximately 35 million in 2000 to an estimated 71 million in 2030. This group could be key to addressing a number of looming social issues both here in the United States and abroad.
Gray Corps of senior citizens could help fight poverty, health problems in developing world
(05/30/2005) According to recent data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030. It is this growing segment of the population that could be key to addressing a number of looming social issues both here in the United States and abroad.
Developing sustainable business models that address the needs of the world's poor
(05/25/2005) People involved with international development and poverty alleviation programs are increasingly looking toward the private sector for inspiration and assistance. Many believe that involving business in such efforts will not only bring wealth, respect, dignity, and improved education and health to the world's poor but also prove to be a profitable business strategy.
Helping the poor by selling them stuff
(05/24/2005) Helping the poor by selling them stuff; poverty alleviation through private enterprise. In his book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Prahalad argues that by regarding the world's masses, who he terms "the bottom of the pyramid," as potential customers, businesses and the poor will be better off. Prahalad suggests that the private sector may do a better job eradicating poverty, building dignity and respect, encouraging entrepreneurship, and reducing dependency than handouts under traditional aid programs
Farming the world's largest fish - an alternative to deforestation
(05/19/2005) Integrated aquaculture offers great potential for sustainable poverty allievation in the Amazon region. It reduces the need to clear land for subsistence agriculture while generating significant economic and nutritional benefits for poor Amazonian colonists.
Cultivated forests play important economic and ecological role in Indonesia
(05/17/2005) Old growth tropical forests are valuable and irreplaceable ecosystems that house the majority of Earth's known terrestrial biological diversity. While these forests are rapidly disappearing, they are not necessarily being completely cleared without replacement. In some regions, primary forests are being replaced with "cultivated forests" or "forest gardens," where useful trees are planted on farmlands after the removal of pre-existing natural forests. A new report Domesticating forests: How farmers manage forest resources by Genevieve Michon explores the characteristics and implications of these forests in Indonesia.
In Madagascar, Woodworking Zafimaniry remember lost forests
(05/12/2005) In the rolling hills of the southeastern highlands of Madagascar there lives a group of people known as the Zafimaniry, or the "the people of the forest." The Zafimaniry are renowned sculptors of wood and traditionally, virtually every member of the community was involved in some aspect of woodworking and cabinetmaking. However, these are not good times for many Zafimaniry. Severe deforestation for slash-and-burn cultivation ("tavy") has left their surroundings nearly completely devoid of trees. Once encircled by vigorous forests, some Zafimaniry villages are more than a day's trek from the nearest natural wood source. As a result, over the past decade, the Zafimaniry have increasingly looked toward tourism as an answer to their the economic plight. The unmoderated flow of tourists into these remote and delicate communities has denigrated their culture and left some Zafimaniry further entrenched in poverty.
The Next Costa Rica? Environmental activism takes root in Honduras
(04/18/2005) With its biodiversity, rich history, beautiful beaches, and stunning reefs, some believe Honduras could be the ecotourism hotspot in Central America. However, between growing gang violence linked to the drug trade in the United States and conflicts between developers and local communities, the country still faces many challenges in becoming the next Costa Rica. Special correspondent Tina Butler takes a look at changing attitudes about the environment in one of Central America's poorest countries.
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