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October 2006

A Stern warning on climate change

The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed - the poorest countries and people will suffer earliest and most. And if and when the damages appear it will be too late to reverse the process. Thus we are forced to look a long way ahead.

Microcredit translation project

Ashoka just launched an ambitious subtitling project with dotSUB, a new site that lets you translate films line by line. The plan: volunteers translate three video profiles of Muhammad Yunus into 100 languages in time for the Nobel ceremony in December. Go on, translate a few lines...

Be good to all the losers

Globalization, or trade liberalization more specifically, walks a fine line between improving our overall quality of life and costing large groups of people their jobs. Just ask the automakers in Detroit. We know that people who lose their jobs to trade pay a higher economic penalty than those who lose them for non-trade reasons.

Appropriate technologies get a boost

Peter Haas and his nonprofit AIDG have an excellent idea to bring low-tech solutions to basic problems of energy, water and sanitation in developing countries. Their first project is a 10-man shop in Guatemala that will build a 40-home microhydroelectric system as part of a UNDP contract. Since the workers are locals, they'll be around to fix it later. Haas envisions a network of self-sustaining businesses that build and repair low-cost technologies. Hats off.

Rwanda's miracle coffee beans

Visit Christian Science Monitor for a thoughtful profile of a Rwandan coffee cooperative that bridges the Hutu-Tutsi divide. Cooperatives like it are helping absorb the tens of thousands of prisoners being freed after serving time for acts of genocide, while contributing to Rwanda's 7% annual growth in GDP.