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Data insights from the bottom of the pyramid

Data gaps and inaccuracies are making problems in the poorest areas of the world invisible. It's time to raise the information bar

Three years ago, I was sitting jet lagged in a conference room in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. Around the table were 30 people like me, mostly wearing suits, all well-off, and all talking about poverty. The topic of the meeting was what priorities the world, in the form of the United Nations, should set itself to end global poverty. And no one in the room had the first idea how poor people themselves would actually answer that question. So after the meeting was over, eating noodles in downtown Tokyo, a friend and I sketched out the idea for a global survey that would ask people a very simple question: ‘what is most important for you and your family’, and allow poor people’s priorities to be brought directly into rooms like that one, where decisions are made. MY World Seven million people – that’s one in every thousand people on Earth – have now answered that question.  ... More

Open democracy

Voter apathy was a buzzword circulating around last year's European elections. At the time, only 41% of young people said they were definitely going to ... More

Libertine Live: Kirsty McNeill

Barack Obama's 2012 win is mostly attributed to a demographic of voters known as the Rising American Electorate: unmarried women, people of colour, and young voters ... More

Rescuing Panama’s sunken rainforests

“I call it dragon wood,' says Alana Husby, founder of Coast Eco Timber, offering up a photograph of stripy, golden brown timber. The ... More

Digging into the global history of cancer

On February 8th, 2010 I hobbled across the Pacific Lutheran University campus, bald and using a cane. It was my first day back to college ... More

Sailing the seas for a greener world

Sailor and scientist Lucy Gilliam travels the world by ship highlighting key environmental issues of our time

Aah, a life on the open seas. Adventures of discovery to far-flung destinations; watching the sun scatter its rays over a powerful ocean. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, of pirate movies and buccaneers - but environmental scientist Lucy Gilliam has made sailing the ocean waves her reality. I chat to Lucy on Skype and even through the screen, her passion for the sea, science and creating a greener world comes through. Lucy is helping drive a new movement, New Dawn Traders, which is championing sail as an alternative to engine power for global trading and addressing the thorny issue of environmental damage due to food miles. She’s also researching the extent of plastics and toxics in our seas, as well as working to promote women in science. From the city to the ocean With a BSc in Biological sciences and a PhD in Microbial Ecology and Soil Science, Lucy had a high-flying career at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) undertaking policy-forming research on endocrine disruptors (chemicals which can affect the hormone system) and advising ... More

Fake it ’til you make it

Say the words ‘copy’ and ‘China’ to Westerners today and most will think of Silk Alley counterfeits, Shenzhen knock-off factories, Guangdong sweatshops, or Nanjing’s legendary fake mall with its frontage of entirely bogus outlets such as Haagon-Bozs, Pizza Huh, Buckstar Coffee, KFG and McDnoalds: the brainchild of a property developer who wanted to create buzz around his new development. Not quite so amused by the knock-offs are the businesses, mostly in the West, who are losing money as a result of the estimated US$600 billion worth ... More

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