Recycling is not the answer

Last week Holly mentioned that plastic recycling is in trouble in America too. I found out from an article in the Atlantic that cities across the country have ended their recycling programs. Why? Because China has stopped accepting our soiled trash due to health risks, environmental damage, and increased labor costs. Without tens of thousands of Chinese …

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The slum recycles the city, but…

When my young friend Hamza built his electric cars, he procured the material from local recycling shops. This network of recyclers is a remarkable process quite unlike anything we see in the West. In America we took our recyclable material to large depots in industrial zones. Here in the majority world those depots tend to …

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Funeral_procession by Nico Crisafulli

All my friends’ moms are widows

(I shared this somewhere else when it happened, but recent events have me thinking about it again.) Sultan’s ears perked up to hear the mosque's announcement. I usually ignore them because, in a slum of close to 10,000 people, the messages rarely concern my own circle. But I stopped and listened because Sultan wasn’t going …

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A mela in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India. No billiard balls here, just unpredictable interactions on an endlessly variegated surface.

Unravelling Complexity.

In desiring to include more success stories about charities doing the right thing, I solicited a guest post from Jeph Mathias. Jeph works with a variety of NGOs across Asia (and beyond), specializing in the idea of complexity in development. This story was originally posted at Jeph's blog, unpredictable. It's Jeph from here: A small project …

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Sledgehammer

I was getting kids for the literacy program when I saw a crowd gathering in one of the poorer neighborhoods of our community. An older woman was flailing about; three other ladies attempted to restrain her. I told my kids to hurry along without me and approached to see if it was a medical emergency. …

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