Mayor Gives Jobs to Homeless, Kids Learn Farming in Pickup, Aid to Laos on Land Mines
Inspiring News Articles
September 16, 2016
Hey awesome friends,
Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles with great information on Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry's successful program to curb homelessness by providing city jobs to panhandlers, Barack Obama's announcement that $90 million is to be spent cleaning up unexploded Vietnam War era cluster bombs in Laos, the garden in a pickup truck bed used to teach kids about growing healthy food, and more.
Each inspiring excerpt is taken verbatim from the media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, click here. The key sentences are highlighted in case you just want to skim. Please spread the inspiration and have a great one!
Special note: Watch child prodigy artist Akiane Kremarik, now aged 22, in the act of painting about life and the universe. Learn about the concept of "subtle activism" and a book by that name, which describes using techniques like large group prayer and meditation to help transform our world. Watch an incredibly profound video of animal communicator Anna Breytenbach.
Quote of the week: "The more I confront my fears, the more fearless I become." ~~ Anonymous
This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working.
August 11, 2016, Washington Post
Republican Mayor Richard Berry was driving around Albuquerque last year when he saw a man on a street corner holding a sign that read: “Want a Job. Anything Helps.” Throughout his administration, as part of a push to connect the homeless population to services, Berry had taken to driving through the city to talk to panhandlers about their lives. His city’s poorest residents told him they didn’t want to be on the streets begging for money, but they didn’t know where else to go. Seeing that sign gave Berry an idea. The city could bring the work to them. Next month will be the first anniversary of Albuquerque’s There’s a Better Way program, which hires panhandlers for day jobs beautifying the city. The job pays $9 an hour, which is above minimum wage, and provides a lunch. At the end of the shift, the participants are offered overnight shelter as needed. In less than a year since its start, the program has given out 932 jobs clearing 69,601 pounds of litter and weeds from 196 city blocks. And more than 100 people have been connected to permanent employment. Berry’s effort is a shift from the movement across the country to criminalize panhandling. A recent National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty report found a noticeable increase, with 24 percent of cities banning it altogether and 76 percent banning it in particular areas. When panhandlers have been approached in Albuquerque with the offer of work, most have been eager for the opportunity to earn money, Berry said. They just needed a lift.
Note: Watch an inspiring video on this great program.
In This Food Desert, Kids Learn to Farm Veggies—Out of the Back of a Truck
September 5, 2016, Yes! Magazine
“Has anybody heard of rainbow chard?” Larry Moore asked a group of elementary school children. No one answered. “What about this?” Moore asked again, pointing to green leaves emerging from the dirt, their orange base peeking through the brown soil. “That’s a carrot!” several young voices called out. But this carrot wasn’t growing in the ground or a pot. It was growing in the bed of a red pickup truck, a garden on wheels known as the Louisville Truck Farm. “With this, our primary audience is kids, but I’m always in awe at how amazed adults are when they see vegetables growing in the bed of a truck,” said Moore, one of the educators who takes Truck Farm into the community. For the past year, the 1995 Chevrolet truck has traveled more than 450 miles to visit farmers markets, schools, and community events around Louisville, Kentucky, to show that it’s possible to start a garden anywhere, even in an urban environment. In the warmer months, the truck boasts as many as 40 different plants in its bed so that visitors can experience a variety of sights, smells, and tastes. The truck bed ... opens to reveal a plexiglass tailgate, which allows people to get a visual of what’s going on beneath the soil.
Note: Don't miss the pictures of this amazing mobile garden available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Obama announces $90 million to clear Laos' unexploded bombs
September 6, 2016, CNN News
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that US has an "obligation" to help Laos recover from a brutal secret bombing campaign that destroyed parts of the Southeast Asian nation. During an address to the Lao people in the country's capital, Obama pledged $90 million in a joint three-year project with the country's government to clear ... some 80 million unexploded cluster bombs dropped during a secret US bombing campaign as part of the Vietnam War 40 years ago. "The remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos," Obama said. "That's why I've dramatically increased or funding to remove these unexploded bombs." The move was welcomed by Laos President Bounnhang Vorachit as a way of strengthening mutual trust after the devastating campaign, that still maims or kills 50 people who stumble upon unexploded mines each year. Efforts to find the bombs will be aided the Pentagon, who will supply records of where they were dropped. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been cleared, according to US-based non-government organization Legacies of War. US funding for clearance of unexploded ordnance and victims' assistance has steadily grown since 2010. This year, Congress allotted $19.5 million, but now, for the first time, an American president has publicly recognized that the US has a responsibility to do more. "That conflict was another reminder that whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts terrible toll, especially on innocent men, women and children," Obama said.
How this NGO strives to 'make a difference in the lives of the poorest
August 31, 2016, Christian Science Monitor
A nondescript office building just a short walk from the Limmat River – which runs through the picturesque center of Zurich, Switzerland – houses the hub of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. The effect of the nongovernmental organization, however, is anything but ordinary. “We work for the poorest,” says Rupa Mukerji, co-head of advisory services for Helvetas and a member of its management board. The organization operates in 32 countries to address rural poverty, harnessing a $150 million annual budget and the efforts of some 1,500 staffers, more than 95 percent of whom are local to their projects. That mission is personal to Ms. Mukerji. “I am supporting a program in Mali where we are investing our own resources to develop a climate change plan,” she explains. “Many times climate change is seen as an issue of science ... but communities are already feeling the impact,” she says. Her home country of India has been suffering from serious drought – something she sees as showing why her work is so critical. “When you work at the field level, you see how hard [people] work, how difficult the conditions are. Many things they are facing are completely out of their control,” she says. “My passion lies in really addressing these global challenges, and to make life better for the people in these rural communities.”
Last Remaining U.S. Maker of Cluster Bombs Stops Production
August 31, 2016, Foreign Policy
The last remaining U.S. manufacturer of cluster bombs is ending production of the controversial weapon, citing regulatory scrutiny and reduced orders for the internationally banned munitions. The decision by the Rhode Island-based Textron, whose subsidiary Textron Systems produces the bombs, follows a White House order last May to block the transfer of a Textron shipment of CBU-105 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. The White House had come under intense pressure by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International after those groups documented instances in which Saudi-led forces used CBU-105 munitions in multiple locations across Yemen. The blocked transfer was the first concrete step the United States took to demonstrate its unease with the Saudi bombing campaign. Following media coverage of the White House’s block, peace activists picketed outside the Wilmington, Massachusetts, offices of Textron Systems, calling for an end to the production of cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Mary Wareham praised the decision. “Textron was the last U.S. manufacturer of cluster munitions, so this decision now clears the path for the administration and Congress to work together to permanently end U.S. production, transfer, and use of cluster munitions,” she said.
Child footballers show up the professionals in display of compassion
August 30, 2016, The New Daily (Australian Newspaper)
Classy. Professional. Sportsmanlike. Words not often used to describe soccer players these days – but this football team is gaining world attention for exactly those qualities. The players are 12 and 13 years old. A video of Barcelona’s Infantil B side has been posted to YouTube showing the children, from La Masia, comforting their Japanese opposition players after beating them in the final of the World Challenge Cup in Tokyo over the weekend. The Barcelona under–13s won 1–0 thanks to a goal by Xavi Planas, and after the final whistle many of the Omva players were in tears. Barcelona’s youth teams are arguably the most famous in the world, thanks to the La Masia academy, which has produced countless superstars over the years. But on this occasion, rather than bask in their success, the Spanish children consoled their opponents and offered words of advice, with the captain urging the devastated losers to keep their heads up. He then led his side to a bow in front of the crowd.
Note: Don't miss this beautiful, one-minute clip, which has received over 75 million views. Such grace!!!
How one family is sending 13 kids to college, living debt free — and still plans to retire early
August 11, 2016, Washington Post
Rob and Sam Fatzinger, lifelong residents of Bowie, Md., lead a single-income family in one of the country’s most expensive regions. Rob’s income never topped $50,000 until he was 40; he’s now 51 and earns just north of $100,000 as a software tester. They have 13 children. Which means they require things like a seven-bedroom house and a 15-passenger van. Four children have graduated from college, three are undergrads and six are on the runway. Yet they paid off their mortgage early four years ago. They have no debt - never have, besides mortgages. And Rob is on track to retire by 62. This family is the Einstein of economical. These days, frugality is not about clipping coupons. It’s about rethinking your finances, and maybe your life. Rob’s philosophy: “Spend money on what makes you truly happy and on what you enjoy. We don’t feel deprived or poor. We pick and choose carefully.” Until a couple of years ago, Rob Fatzinger had a blog called Sardonic Catholic Dad, focusing on family, faith and frugality. Two of his hits: “College on the Cheap — How the Sardonic Family Does It” and “How to Retire Early With 13 Kids.” Frugalism is often about math, determination and thinking a bit differently. A few key principles: How much you save, as a percentage of your paycheck, will foretell when you’ll be able to build your own business or retire. Small financial changes can make a big impact. And it’s not really about your income; it’s about your savings.
California’s biggest utilities break own record for solar power
July 15, 2016, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California's leading newspaper)
California’s booming solar industry had a record day this week when the state’s largest utilities generated more power than ever from the sun. The state’s largest power grid, the California Independent System Operator, or ISO, on Tuesday managed enough solar energy to power 2 million homes. Its 8,030 megawatts recorded at 1:06 p.m. from solar sources stood out as double the network’s best day in 2014. It also was 2,000 megawatts more than its solar peak from last year. “It’s a great milestone for California and the solar industry,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president for state policy at the Solar Energy Industries Association. He said California represents about half of the nation’s solar industry in megawatts produced. The utilities have been racing to meet the state’s increasingly stringent renewable fuels mandates, which require them to produce a third of their power from renewable sources by 2020 and half by 2030. With those goals in mind, PG&E has added over the last two years two of the largest photovoltaic solar installations in the world. The company’s Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, connected to the grid last year, can generate up to 300 megawatts from the sun. When it’s finished, its capacity is expected to hit 550 megawatts. Meanwhile, PG&E’s Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz., brings in another 300 megawatts. It was completed in 2014.
Note: California's success with solar power pales in comparison with the entire country of Germany, which produced 22 gigawatts of electricity back in 2012, nearly three times the record amount produced by California in 2016.
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