The Ashden Award

The aim of the Ashden Award is:

“to support a project that will provide support to a rural community in a developing country, in a way that alleviates poverty and improves the quality of life, while remaining fully responsive to existing cultural values. The project would need to provide an energy source either for income-generating or agricultural activities or for improving educational or healthcare facilities. The project should have an exemplary value, that could encourage the use of environmentally-friendly, sustainable sources of energy in similar contexts.”

Check out some winning projects.

>  5 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

The Doomsday Clock

“For nearly 55 years, the Bulletin [of the Atomic Scientists] clock (a.k.a. the ‘Doomsday Clock’) has been the world’s most recognizable symbol of nuclear danger. The first representation of the clock was produced in 1947, when artist Martyl Langsdorf, the wife of a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, was asked by magazine co-founder Hyman Goldsmith to design a cover for the June issue.... This simple design captured readers’ imaginations, evoking both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of military attack—the countdown to zero hour.... The idea of moving the minute hand came later, in 1949, as a way to dramatize the magazine’s response to world events.”

See the current time.

>  2 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

The Other Grassroots Web sites

Why was Tony Blair’s speech to the Royal Society so full of “misconceptions and logical elisions?”

“The Bivings Group, a PR company contracted to Monsanto, had invented fake citizens to post messages on internet listservers. These phantoms had launched a campaign to force Nature magazine to retract a paper it had published, alleging that native corn in Mexico had been contaminated with GM pollen. But this, it now seems, is just one of hundreds of critical interventions with which PR companies hired by big business have secretly guided the biotech debate over the past few years.”

See George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian. Monbiot identifies several “research” and “activist” Web sites as PR fronts for corporations including the influential AgBioWorld site, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Center for Food and Agricultural Research, Alliance for Environmental Technology, ActivistCash, Center for Consumer Freedom, and Stop Eco-Violence. See also this TomPaine article from March, PR Watch’s Impropaganda Review, “a rogue’s gallery of industry front groups and anti-environmental think tanks.” From also not found in nature.

>  31 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Learning to Trust Democracy with Comics

“The outcome of an exemplary peace and democratisation process in South Africa was dependent on the success or failure of its founding Election Day. In the end, the new democracy emerged clearly victorious, which was seen by many observers to be a ‘miracle’. But this miracle can be explained against the backdrop of media involvement in a large-scale pedagogical undertaking that was probably the most massive national communication campaign of all time.”

“The ‘Our Time To Choose’ comic book was designed by the Storyteller Group for the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa.” From openDemocracy.

>  27 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

The Other WTO Web site

On November 20, 1999, ten days before the Seattle Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization, a group of activists created a parody WTO Web site questioning the value of untrammeled free trade and financial globalization. Rumors of the disbanding of the WTO have been greatly exaggerated. Read more at rtTMark.

>  26 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

The Red Ribbon

“The Ribbon Project was created in 1991 by the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, a group of artists who wished to create a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with AIDS and their caregivers. Inspired by the yellow ribbons honoring American soldiers serving in the Gulf war, the color red was chosen for its, ‘connection to blood and the idea of passion — not only anger, but love, like a valentine.’ First worn publicly by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, the ribbon soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness, becoming a politically correct fashion accessory on the lapels of celebrities. While this has caused concern to many activists, who worry that its meaning has become trivialized, as well as denigrated by the proliferation of ‘kitsch’ ribbon objects, the Red Ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the fight to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and in the lobbying efforts to increase funding for AIDS services and research.”

>  25 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , , ,

PVC Alternatives Database

“From its manufacture to its disposal, PVC emits toxic compounds. During the manufacture of the building block ingredients of PVC (such as vinyl chloride monomer) dioxin and other persistent pollutants are emitted into the air, water and land, which present both acute and chronic health hazards. During use, PVC products can leach toxic additives, for example flooring can release softeners called phthalates. When PVC reaches the end of its useful life, it can be either landfilled, where it leaches toxic additives or incinerated, again emitting dioxin and heavy metals. When PVC burns in accidental fires, hydrogen chloride gas and dioxin are formed. For virtually all PVC applications, safer alternatives exist.... This international database is intended to help anyone from do-it-yourself enthusiasts to construction companies track down alternatives to PVC products.”

From Greenpeace.

>  24 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Taller de Gráfica Popular

The Taller Editorial de Gráfica Popular was founded on the dissolution of the plastic arts section of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios in 1937. The Studio had several locations in Mexico City throughout its history. At first it tried to work as both a publisher and gallery, but was ultimately inclined towards printmaking. The TGP artists grew up during what would become the 20th century chapter of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1940), and almost all the members of the TGP belonged to the Communist Party. Much of their work was addressed to working people and dealt with social issues. The TGP produced posters, billboards, and graphics in a variety of media. Their placed graphic art in a special place within the history of Mexican art. The TGP ended their activities in 1977. From Historia mínima del arte mexicano del siglo XX.

>  23 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Wanted: One Independent Press

Washington DC based Freedom House “is seeking a qualified media specialist to serve as its Project Director of its Printing Press project in Kyrgyzstan. A qualified applicant will have experience in developing and running newspapers in a repressive government environment, and in supervising the operation of a printing press. The Project Director will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for successful installation and start-up of an independent printing press in Kyrgyzstan.” The Director will help identify, or else else help develop “a local entity” to operate the press, help select a local board of directors, find a place to house and run the press, facilitate registration and other requirements of Kyrgyzstan law, develop a business and marketing plan, and “work with local media outlets to develop protection strategies to address government harassment.” Russian language a plus. Are you game? Contact the House by May 24.

>  22 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Design for our Future Selves, II

The AgeLab was established at MIT in 1999, as a partnership with industry and the aging community, to develop new technologies promoting healthy, independent living throughout the human lifespan. Our research involves an array of disciplines including engineering, computer science, human factors, health and medical sciences, management, marketing, and the social and behavioral sciences. All of our work is motivated by a shared belief that the appropriate use of technology, along with innovations in its delivery, can have a significant impact on the quality of life for older people, their families and caregivers.”

See the article at Metropolis Magazine.

>  21 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

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