the state of the planet 2009
how’s our driving? with Jeffrey Sachs / Boing Boing intercontinental breakfastS Alex Steffen / Mira Nair / The Axis of Evil / Nicholas Negroponte The End of Malaria / Radiated Tortoise / Wooster Collective Parag Khanna / Muhammad Yunus WORLD’S SMARTEST KIDS and MORE
A special report on what’s happening on Earth in 2009 and beyond
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This Issue: State of the Planet Issue 014 Jan/Feb 2009
good’s first annual report on the state of the planet, in the following categories:
On the cover Earth, circa 1968, as photographed by an astronaut aboard Apollo 8. Forty-one years later, we have to ask ourselves, Now what?
18 Politics 26 Business & Money 32 Health 38 Technology 44 Buying
50 Science 54 Environment 60 Art & Design 68 Mobility 74 Media
78 Culture 84 Education 88 Living
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I was struck by the comment on “classism” in the article “Poor Man’s Prick,” by Joel Rose. Assuming the word is used in some Marxist sense, I question whether it is really empowering to the masses to provide a cut-rate product because this is all they can afford. Would it not be more revolutionary to create a system of universal health-care coverage that would allow these maids and grocery-store stockers to access a practitioner who can spend more than a few minutes with them? I have no problem with the business model that Ms. Rohleder, the founder of the acupuncture clinic, advocates, but I do object to the seeming selfrighteousness that says that it is more politically correct. PETER MARTIN licensed acupuncturist Portland, Oregon Dear GOOD
I cannot share this magazine with anyone or leave it in my waiting room (I’m a physician) when the editors permit the use of inappropriate and unacceptable language. If your writers cannot make their point without the use of obscenity, then perhaps they have too limited a vocabulary to be writing for a “good” magazine after all. SCOTT WILLIAMSON via our website Dear GOOD
As a first-time reader, I was vastly impressed with the intellectuality exposed in this free-speech environment. What
a relief to see that there are still people out there who speak up about what is really important. Without sugarcoating the truth about our society, good’s reasons to vote (“Why Vote?”) were blunt and straightforward. I greatly appreciated the unbiased perspective of the whole; there were reasons for Obama and reasons for McCain. The comparisons were immensely beneficial because they were simple and easy to identify with. PEGGY LAI Seattle, Washington Dear GOOD
You assert that voting was made illegal in “the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, China, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Burma, and elsewhere.” Only in Burma is there no voting. The communist countries only have one party, so I’ll give you that one. Zimbabwe has quite a bit of voting, despite Mugabe’s attempts. And whatever you think of Chavez, Venezuela has a thriving democracy—and elected its current president with overwhelming support in 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2006. These elections were internationally recognized as free and fair. Perpetuating counterfactual conservative libels is irresponsible, especially given that your “Why Vote?” guide is presumably pitched at the apathetic and under-informed. MICHAEL WINDLE Seattle, Washington Dear Good
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consent to be ruled and attempt to change the system from inside, which is bad enough, but when you start to completely misrepresent what certain individuals stood for it gets disgusting. You have gone from seemingly thought-provoking to big-media drivel. JIMMY FLAHERTY via our website
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Issue 014 Jan/Feb 2009
State of the Planet This is a special issue of good: our first
ever State of the Planet report. The following pages offer a look at where we are as a people, as a planet, and as an immeasurably complex and interconnected system. This information was assembled in the manic time between the beginning of the financial meltdown in September and the first days after the election of Barack Obama in early November. These are crazy times, and although they are rife with opportunity, they are also plagued by conflict and inequity. Itâ€™s time for change. While we are looking at where we are, the big question becomes: Now what?
13 good.is/ planet
The Obama Generation Takes the Helm by Jeffrey Sachs Barack Obama will come to office in the midst of
the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This will be a difficult time, but it will also mark an opportunity for generational change, a new direction for the country after three decades of Me-First politics and neglect of every major challenge confronting us, nationally and globally. The Obama generation—the legions of young people who helped elect him—now must rise to the occasion. The financial crisis is not only a cause of our national malaise, but also a symptom of the deeper wrong turn that America made decades ago, when Ronald Reagan declared that government had to get out of the way to restore the national economy. After a wild decade of high inflation and soaring energy prices in the 1970s, Reagan made government the enemy. From that point on, the name of the game was to cut taxes, shrink government, and allow the magic of the market to deliver the goods. There was never much validity to Reagan’s viewpoint. The antigovernment view had no basis in fact—rather, it was a convenient way for the rich to say they had no responsibilities to the poor (especially if the poor were the fabled black welfare queens who Reagan invented in his fervid movie-land imagination). It also gave a green light to the greed and corner-cutting that laid the base for reckless financial deregulation and the wheeling and dealing that has now brought the economy to its knees. But, most important, it undermined Americans’ sense of community, both as citizens within the United States and as citizens of the world. There were no longer shared goals, only individual attainment. The idea of a U.S. community disappeared, and heated red state– blue state divisions replaced it. The idea of a global community in search of solutions to disease, hunger, and poverty became a target of sneering rather than a call to action. We lost all sense of reverence for the future; environmental sustainability was mocked, and we’ve wasted 30 years now by not addressing the climate-change challenge that has been casting an ever-darkening shadow. We will now enter a new era, in which practical problem solving will be key, and in which we will understand our problems not mainly as individuals,
but as members of a generation confronted with unique challenges. I’m sure that in the coming years, the Obama generation will feel like the Kennedy generation of the 1960s, the one that JFK boldly addressed in his inaugural address when he said, “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.” The Obama generation confronts challenges different from the Cold War of the Kennedy era, and certainly different from the so-called war on terror of recent years. This generation’s over-arching challenge is sustainable development, the ability to live together peacefully, prosperously, and sustainably on a crowded planet of nearly 7 billion people (a number rising to perhaps 9 billion by mid-century). The challenge is global, not local. It requires a perspective of decades, not years. It is a shared task, not the efforts of individuals interested only in getting ahead of the pack and the rest be damned.
In the coming years, the Obama generation will feel like the Kennedy generation of the 1960s. This generation has the online tools it has invented, which can help to meet the challenge. Social networking elected Barack Obama, raising the money, energy, and volunteers to succeed. Now social networking needs to reach out globally, to forge new alliances across countries, so that the world as a whole can fight poverty, can convert to a green economy, and can overcome deep divisions born more from ignorance than from real differences. At Columbia University, we are hosting a global classroom that brings together more than a dozen campuses around the world for a weekly online discussion. From New York to Beijing, with students in Sussex, England; Paris; Ibadan, Nigeria; Delhi, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and more, we engage in direct discussions on food production, energy systems, and global ethics that underscore the communality of our world’s challenges. Yet this is only the start of a new global politics and society. The coming years can multiply these efforts in unimaginable ways. The U.S. recovery will come through increased social efforts—including spending on community
BIO Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Earth
eral, Ban Ki-moon. His latest book, Common
Institute at Columbia University and a special
Wealth, was published by Penguin last year.
advisor to the United Nations’ secretary gen-
infrastructure and green technologies—that will not only restore employment and hope, but will create a sustainable basis for future economic development. We will view taxes once again not as the greatest evil, the dreaded “socialism” so mockingly derided by John McCain, but as the price we pay for civilization, as explained last century by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. We’ll have little choice, with budget deficits pushing toward $1 trillion. We will stop ignoring the fight against poverty elsewhere, in places like Afghanistan or the Horn and the Sahel in Africa, realizing that it’s the only way to bolster our security. Armies cannot subdue hungry people or stabilize poverty-stricken regions. Just ask the generals—not the neoconservative of the Bush era who sent the troops into harm’s way. But government will not be done the old way, as a simply top-down exercise. The greatest strengths are achieved when global goals are linked to local
The global problems are larger than before, but our generation’s capacity to meet them is larger still. energies and national financing. The problem-solving of the future will involve government, community organizations, private businesses, scientists and engineers, and volunteers. Cities will have the chance, and the need, to reinvent themselves with more sustainable and healthy strategies and designs. Rural areas can pick themselves up following the example of the Millennium Villages in Africa, which are breaking the poverty trap through community-based investments. National governments will pick up part of the bill, but much of the creativity and work on the ground will be mobilized locally, in cities and rural communities. The economy is frightening, to be sure, but the potential is also exhilarating. Let’s remember that we reached the new millennium with more powerful technologies, open-source creativity, and better networking than ever before. The global problems are larger than before, but our capacity to meet them is larger still. The election marks not just a change of government, but a change of direction. The era of sustainable development has arrived, and the Obama generation is ready for the challenge.
16 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 State of the Planet
A FEW NOTES ON
Our State of the Planet feature illustrations are by London-based illustrator Rosie Irvine. See them throughout the issue, starting on page 20. You can learn more at agencyrush.com. Maps
The infographic maps throughout this issue are by Open. The first one is on page 23. Find out more about Open at notclosed.com. RobArt
Inside colored dots throughout the issue, you will find illustrations by Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr. The first one is on page 22. Now What?
We’re introducing a new way for you to become more involved with some of the issues you will be reading about, whether that means learning more, joining the discussion, or contributing to fixing a problem. You can see these starting on page 22 and participate at good.is/nowwhat.
In August, an Indian policeman cast stones at Hindus, who were celebrating the protection of fought-over land in Kashmir.
18 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Politics
PHOTO Channi Anand/AP Photo
19 good.is/ planet
Neo-medieval Times Nation-states aren’t the only forces in the world anymore. Parag Khanna says the new realities of international relations look a lot like old reali ties—really old realities. as told to GOOD The 21st century looks more like the 14th century
than it does like the 19th or the 20th. As in the 14th century, we now have empires, religious groups and fanatics, fears of the plague and superstition, multinational corporations, and city-states—Dubai is the new Venice. That is really what the world looks like today. It doesn’t look the 19th century, with clean-cut territorial empires. The nation-state has just about passed away in terms of exclusivity. Now, when people talk about countries and international relations, they have to acknowledge that what they’re talking about is, at best, a particular slice of what’s going on in the world, and is not at all representative of the entirety of what’s happening. But there are some exceptions. When you look at China, you don’t exactly say that it is disappearing as a state. When you look at the financial crisis, all of a sudden, the United States is more of a state than ever. It has decided to take over practically the entire financial-services industry. On the other hand, there are some states that will never really be states. People are saying, “Let’s take Afghanistan and let’s build this state, and one day it will look like Switzerland.” But the truth is, all of these failed states—of which there are dozens and dozens around the world—are coming into being, and the U.N. and other agencies are trying to do “nation building” at a time when all of these new actors are coming in and taking control of public services. I don’t believe, after going to Afghanistan a few times, that Afghanistan is ever really going to be a functioning sovereign state— ever. You’re going to find, in a lot more places in the world, this hybrid reality that isn’t as simple as “this is a country and you operate at the mercy of the govern-
ment.” You’re going to find areas and zones controlled by different entities. What comes next is companies and NGOs teaming up to do basically whatever they want. But it is also a new age, where a lot of new actors—because of cyberspace and the internet—aren’t interested in territory at all. They’re just interested in making money or controlling “mindshare.” Niall Ferguson calls it “apolarity.” There isn’t just one pole; it’s a confusing mix of things. And I think it’s going to be that way for a very, very long time. It’s a function of globalization, because globalization resists centralization. You can’t really have a centralized empire calling all the shots. Is this a sustainable world order? If I offered that suggestion to a conservative American realist who believes that America should control the world, then they say it’s not sustainable. They tend to believe only unipolar hegemony is sustainable. That is, one power on top, everyone else underneath them, and that power calls the shots. On paper, that makes tons of sense. If you want to make it happen, just ask George Bush how feasible it was. Neo-medievalism might be extremely
BIO Parag Khanna is the Director of the Global
The Second World: Empires and Influence in
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
Governance Initiative and the author of
the New Global Order.
We shouldn’t be making projections on the world that bear no resemblance to reality. messy; it might be so complicated that you can’t even wrap your mind around it. But guess what? That’s reality, and we shouldn’t be making projections on the world that bear no resemblance to reality. Look at global problems, and look at how weak and pathetic global diplomacy is at confronting them. Neo-medievalism is a good thing compared to that, because you unleash the potential of all these other actors. Bill Gates gets a seat at the table. There is recognition of the power and responsibility of NGOs and corporations in a way that the U.N.-centric and state-centric order doesn’t allow for. In the U.N.’s General Assembly, Mali has as much of a vote as the United States, but the fact is that Mali’s health budget comes from a guy named Bill Gates. In some years, a large percentage of the budget of the World Health Organization comes from the Gates Foundation. So you’ve got an NGO providing the money for an international organization of governments to function. The key principle is overlap. Many people think that because a company isn’t a country, it falls beneath some jurisdiction. But more and more companies fall into all jurisdictions and under none at the same time, because all they do is regulatory arbitrage. They just move around wherever is best for them. Why did Halliburton go to Dubai? Changing this would never work because globalization is more powerful than any one country. Globalization creates perpetual, universal opportunities for nonstate actors to exploit. And governments can’t control globalization. No one can.
Mayoral Fixation Behold eight of the world’s most innovative and effective civic leaders. by Benjamin Jervey 1 Helen Zille Cape Town,
South Africa A former political journalist, Zille is revered for her transparency as well as her commitment to Cape Town’s neediest, writing off their debts with a budget surplus. 2 Bertrand Delanoë
Paris, France Parisians have fallen for Delanoë’s Paris Plage, a summer beach along the banks of the Seine, and his Vélib’ bike-sharing program with a fleet that’s 20,000 strong. 3 John So Melbourne
Australia Mayor So helped
carbon footprint while benefiting business and improving quality of life. 6 Jejomar C. Binay Makati,
Philippines Even while expanding the Philippines’ financial hub, Binay is also committed to Makati’s public schools, outfitting them with modern buildings, free books, and meals for students. 7 Ritt Bjerregaard
Copenhagen, Denmark Bjerregaard pioneered “Copenhagenism,” a trifecta of sustainability, a booming economy, and family life. 8 Oh Se-hoon, Seoul South
Korea Oh wants to turn his city into the world’s first truly environmentally megacity. He also tirelessly vouches for—and drinks only—local tap water, urging residents to do the same.
get Melbourne named one of the Economist’s “world’s most livable cities”—for the third time. He’s so popular that locals wear “John So—he’s our bro” T-shirts. 4 Carlos Alberto Richa
Curitiba, Brazil Richa is dedicated to public health, social equality, and urban ecology in a city that already boasts the planet’s best (and cheapest) bus system. 5 Elmar Ledergerber
Zurich, Switzerland Ledergerber has integrated sustainability into this financial-services-dominated city, cutting Zurich’s
BIO Ben Jervey is the author of The Big Green
Apple and a regular GOOD contributor. He last
wrote about Amtrak in GOOD 011.
turn oil profits into national solvency. Whoever wins won’t change much regarding the country’s controversial nuclear program—Khamenei makes those calls—but a reformist victory could jump-start some détente with the West.
Canvassing the Globe
5 Sudan, Presidential and Parliamentary July… maybe
by PATRICK JAMES
In the past five years, 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes. The country’s first free election in 23 years is slated to take place in July, but could be delayed by six months because of continued violence in Darfur, an impotent press, an ill-defined north-south border, and registration problems.
There are more than 50 presidential and parliamentary elections taking place around the world this year. Here are six to watch.
6 Chile, Presidential December Incumbent socialist
president Michelle Bachelet is constitutionally barred from a second consecutive term. With only moderate economic successes and no clear successor for the moderate left, the nation could see a right-wing resurgence courtesy of the charismatic candidate Sebastián Piñera.
1 Israel, Parliamentary February With Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert resigning amid a sea of corruption, parliamentary power will end up in the hands of either Tzipi Livni or Benjamin Netanyahu. Until the transition happens, it will be nigh impossible to resolve issues of Palestinian statehood and refugee status, security and peace in the West Bank, and the status of Jerusalem.
NOW WHAT These aren’t the only elections next year. To find out what’s happening in your region (or any region), visit
2 Afghanistan, Presidential April The U.S.-backed
president, Hamid Karzai, is up against some tough odds: a resurgent Taliban, a number of conservatives with disdain for new social freedoms, violent opposition to the election itself—the list goes on. He does have one thing in his favor, though: So far, no one is running against him.
Whatever happened to...
The Axis of Evil? We took care of one point pretty handily (for now).
3 India, Parliamentary May “Save India.” That’s
the campaign slogan of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which claims that the current parliament has been “soft” on terrorism—the world’s largest democracy was bombed six times between June and September. Given India’s border with Pakistan, and its newfound nuclear relationship with the United States, terrorism looks to be the central narrative in the upcoming election. 4 Iran, Presidential June Seeing as he enjoys the sup-
port of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is expected to be elected to a second term this summer—even though he hasn’t delivered on promises to 22 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Politics
BIO Patrick James is GOOD’s assistant editor.
While it’s hard to say what will happen once our troops leave Iraq, that county’s current incarnation has no place on the Axis. Meanwhile, after many heartfelt promises by Kim Jong Il to abandon North Korea’s nuclear program, the Bush administration lifted trade sanctions on the country, and, in October, North Korea was removed from the terror watch list. So, while there is no official “Axis of Evil” list to speak of, we can assume North Korea wouldn’t be on it anymore if there were, since the media took both of these actions as signs that Kim and his cronies had turned over a new, non-evil leaf. That leaves Iran—still incredibly, aggressively unfriendly, and potentially up to a lot of no good—which leaves us with a small, solitary Dot of Evil. Watch GOOD’s videos on Kim Jong Il at good.is/videos. ILLUSTRATION Pei-Jeane Chen
A look at the major international and civil conflicts currently erupting around the world. SOURCE Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research
Read more about these conflicts at www.good.is
Whatâ€™s All the Fighting For?
In the crude futures pit, brokers at the New York Mercantile Exchange react to soaring gas prices.
26 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Business
Business & Money
PHOTO Timothy Fadek/Polaris
27 good.is/ planet
The Profit Prophet Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus discusses the unexpected upside of the economic crisis, and what needs to happen next. interview by Noella Boudart
GOOD: What do you make of the economic crisis we’re now in? Muhammad Yunus: It’s been a tough year for several reasons, for poor people particularly, given the oilprice rise, the food-price rise, and the total collapse of the financial system in New York City. These are the negative things that have happened. G: What are the global implications of the crisis? MY: It’s like a tsunami that’s coming. Most countries will say, “Oh, we’re safe from this crisis.” But it’s such a big pull on the whole economy. I think there are lots of lessons to be learned from it. One will be how we structure the economy. Everybody will be questioning today’s capitalism, casino capitalism, real capitalism, and responsible capitalism. We have gone beyond the limits of the market economy—turning the market into gambling casinos. G: Are there any indicators we can look to for how this might play out? MY: On the positive side, it’s been an exciting year because there are lots of things on the way to happening. First of all, more poor
countries—like China and India and Bangladesh—are seeing high economic growth and the reduction of poverty. This is very happy news. Globally, the rate of people getting out of poverty in 2008 is much higher than ever before. It is also very exciting if you look at the state of technology coming out to support the reduction of poverty—the expansion of mobile phones in China, in India, in Bangladesh, in Indonesia. It became a household thing. In the remotest village in China, you see cell phones everywhere. G: Why does having a cell phone alleviate poverty? MY: One of the problems of poverty is the remoteness of people
Globally, the rate of people getting out of poverty in 2008 is much higher than ever before.
BIO Noella Boudart is a writer living
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
in Los Angeles.
disconnected from the system. Mobile phones become a bridge to the world, to the market, to the economy. [Let’s say] someone comes to buy your eggs and offers you a price, but you don’t know what the real price is in the market. So you pick up the cell phone and check it out. You can call up anybody, find information, email information, and can be connected without depending on a middleman. It gives people a voice; it helps. This becomes a focal point of the future. G: What else do you think can help? MY: There is a misconception that the only way to help the poor is to give them charity. That’s not what poor people need. Poor people need opportunity. The misconception is that they are incapable, but the poor are as capable, innovative, and creative as anybody in the world. All they need is the right kind of opportunity so that they can use this ability to discover their own capabilities and change their lives. G: What do you think needs to happen now? MY: First of all, we have to go back to asking, What is responsible capitalism? What are the limits of our business? We cannot be seduced by limitless, profit-making parties. Number two, why are we in this deep crisis, and why are we trying to bail out the program? Why don’t we have confidence in the marketplace? Once we get out of these problems, two years or more years down the line, do we go back to where we started from, or do we have some cleaner, more decent plan? We need to make the market a self-regulating, self-correcting system. We have to redesign the system.
NOW WHAT We tried to make sense of the financial mess we’re in. As you can see, we couldn’t come up with anything satisfying, so we want your help. We’re offering $500 to the best global finance infographic we receive, as judged by a prominent economist. See Good.is/NOWWHAT for more details.
29 good.is/ planet
economy in Europe, and is considered stable by international credit-rating agencies. Expect the E.U. to be increasingly accepting of letting Turkey into the Union in coming years.
by Basharat Peer Six ways economics will be driving foreign relations this year. 4 China and India Since the Sino-Indian war of 1962,
reclaiming territory and demarcating borders has been an obsession on both sides—as has India’s friendliness toward Tibetan exiles. Recently, however, the neighbors have chosen economics as a way to make nice, with trade growing from $3.6 billion in 2001 to $39 billion in 2007. In late 2008, they decided to join hands to deal with the financial crisis throughout 2009.
5 The E.U. and Russia (and Georgia) It’s hard to imagine
1 Sudan and China Despite international outrage at
the Darfur genocide, oil-rich Sudan continued to receive billions in investment from China (and others). But when their trade relationship began to cast a shadow on the Olympics, China used its economic leverage to force Sudan to accept a peacekeeping force. Despite that, expect their business ties to continue to thrive in 2009.
that Russia would have attacked Georgia unless it thought Europe’s dependence on Russian crude would keep it from getting too involved. And Russia was right: The E.U. barely whispered a word about sending troops to the region. Although the E.U. briefly stopped its talks with Russia on new partnerships, it since resumed them.
6 Cuba and the E.U. Although the E.U. imposed sanc-
2 Kashmir, India, and Pakistan After decades of armed
conflict in the contested territory of Kashmir, India and Pakistan opened the first trade route across the much-militarized border in October. Trucks carrying apples, nuts, and carpets crossed the border for the first time in 60 years. Still, tensions are expected to flare, as the Kashmiri separatists have called for a boycott of the local legislative elections in November and December.
tions against Cuba five years ago, it’s now paving the road to friendship with euros. This year, the E.U. extended $2.6 million in emergency hurricane relief, with a promise of $39 million more in 2009. Cuba and the E.U. have since pledged new cooperation in trade, the environment, science, and technology.
3 Turkey and the European Union Despite the divisive-
ness of President Abdullah Gül—a conservative Muslim in the largely secular Turkey—Turkey’s business community threw its weight behind him for a few simple reasons: Under Gül’s party, Turkey enjoyed six years of economic growth, became the sixth-biggest 30
BIO Basharat Peer has written for The Guard-
a memoir of the Kashmir conflict, will be
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
ian, The Nation, the Financial Times, and
published by Scribner next year.
Forbes.com. His first book, Curfewed Night,
A grandmother cares for her grandson in northwest Zambia, a region with a malaria infection rate of 100 percent.
32 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Health
PHOTO John Stanmeyer/VII
33 good.is/ planet
Fever Breaker More children die of malaria—a preventable disease—than HIV/AIDS. But former venture capitalist Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretarygeneral’s special envoy for malaria, is hoping to change that by 2010. GOOD: Where are we in the eradication of malaria? Ray Chambers: On September 25, the United Nations announced $3.2 billion in new funding to cover all 600 million people at risk of malaria with bed nets and medication by December 31, 2010. It’s now within our reach; we announced that we expect to see zero deaths from malaria by 2015. G: Why did you decide to tackle malaria? RC: It is a disease that has killed 50 million children— a million just last year—all preventable, mainly by a simple $10 insecticide-treated mosquito net. I view it as genocide of apathy. It costs the continent of Africa more than $50 billion a year. In any number of countries on any given day, one out of four members of the workforce is absent because of malaria. And if you’re a child under 5, and you get bitten by a malarious mosquito, you must get the right medicine within 30 hours or you’re dead. So, in a country like Liberia or Sierra Leone, one out of four children dies from malaria by the age of 5. And all of this is preventable. G: Does this effort lack traction and accountability? RC: Part of what the secretary-general has charged me with is to make sure that we’re properly evaluating and monitoring our investment. And with my background in the business world, [with] everything I’ve done I’ve tried to measure the return on investment. So, here we’re looking at $50 billion a year that this disease is costing Africa. Over the next two-plus years, to get the disease under control, we’re going to need between 2 and 3 billion a year. So, let’s say 34 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Health
If the trend we’ve been on for the last number of decades continues, I don’t think we’ll make it. it’s a $6-billion investment through the end of 2010. Wouldn’t you make an investment every day if you could invest $6 billion and get a $50-billion return annually?
NOW WHAT Join the fight to help fight malaria.
G: Are you optimistic about where we are as a planet, and as a species? RC: I’m always optimistic. But, clearly, we’ve been headed in the wrong direction. If the trend we’ve been on for the last number of decades continues, I don’t think we’ll make it. So, there has to be some really conscious, intentional, sacrificial efforts employed across the globe for us to turn things around.
You can get involved with the Global Fund at globalfund.org, or at some other malaria-related charities like Malaria No More (a Choose GOOD Partner) or Nothing But Nets.
Diet for a Small Planet The world may be shrinking, but we’re all getting bigger. See how globalization is affecting the way we all eat—for better or for (mostly) worse. by Alexandra Spunt
India’s growing middle class is eating more fast food, more meat, more soda, and more sugar. Though the country’s 56 McDonald’s don’t serve beef, they are offering plenty of chicken and fish.
In South Africa, revenues for “quick serves” (that’s fast food to you) rose nearly 20 percent in 2007. Now a place once known for hunger is also facing an obesity crisis.
Japan has only recently started trading in its miso for fried chicken—thanks in part to major economic growth, after a slump through the 1990s.
With 80 percent of the population now living in cities, Brazilians have added more fatty and processed foods to an already carb-heavy diet. Their love for sugar (it’s their main export) is also thriving.
Great Britain has higher obesity rates than America. But in these tough times they’re starting to shape up. In October, well into England’s credit crunch, sales of cheap and abundant mackerel had risen 76 percent from a year before.
More fast food than ever. A Temple University survey found that in 2006, we were less knowledgeable about healthy food choices than we were in 2004—the year Super Size Me was nominated for an Oscar.
India’s increased meat consumption is a leading factor in a global grain shortage, causing prices to soar. Within the country, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are also going up.
As in other parts of the continent, there’s a division between malnutrition and overeating, with no happy medium. With a medical system crippled by HIV (one in 10 South Africans is infected), the country is illequipped for this new epidemic.
Obesity rates are low, but numbers are growing among children. In response, the government is tackling childhood weight gain. The real fear is Japan losing its long-held title for the longest-lived citizens.
Already, 40 percent of adults in Brazil are overweight— though President Lula da Silva has publicly dismissed that stat as bunk. If the number is accurate, Brazil’s overfed would outnumber its underfed 2.5 to 1.
Heart-healthy mackerel is more than a good fiscal choice: It’s one of the more sustainable fish to eat because it breeds a lot, migrates a lot, and grows fast, mitigating the effects of harmful fishing practices.
At this rate, the entire country will be overweight in 40 years (we’re already two-thirds of the way there). As it stands, weightrelated diseases are the leading cause of death in America.
TREND China almost doubled its dairy consumption between 2002 and 2005, and the government supports the craze: Premier Wen Jiabao’s dream is “to provide every Chinese … sufficient milk each day.”
IMPACT Since the climate isn’t conducive to dairy farming, production can’t meet demand, which has contributed to a 46 percent rise in global dairy prices.
BIO Alexandra Spunt is a freelance writer and
brand strategist. She lives in Los Angeles.
Whoâ€™s Sick with What? Medical advances have left much of the developed world free of many diseases that still afflict the developing world, despite the existence of cures. SOURCES Center for Disease Control, Kaiser Family Foundation, World Health Organization
2 The Carter Center
Global Health by Eliza Barclay How the four biggest diseaseeradication efforts will make progress in 2009.
In 2009, the Carter Center, whose health programs focus on some of the world’s most neglected and ignored diseases, will continue to treat guinea worm disease and river blindness in Nigeria and Niger. Its aims include stopping the transmission of the diseases altogether. By the end of 2007, guinea worm disease was endemic only in Sudan, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Niger. 3 The Global Fund to Flight AIDS,
Tuberculosis, and Malaria 1 The Global Alliance for Vaccines
and Immunization Between 2000 and 2008, the Global Alliance, which is partially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, averted a cumulative 3.4 million future deaths from yellow fever, diphtheria, and tetanus. It also protected 213 million children with new and underused vaccines; even more immunizations are expected in 2009.
To date, the Global Fund has committed $11.4 billion to more than 550 public-health programs in 136 countries to intervene against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Global Fund support has also provided AIDS treatment for 1.75 million people, TB treatment for 3.9 million people, and distribution of 59 million insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria. The Global Fund projects a potential $6-billion to $8-billion increase per year in the next two years— representing a tripling in size compared to 2006—from public and private sources.
Whatever happened to...
4 Global Malaria Fund
than bird flu–specifically, the H5N1 variety, which killed 60 percent of the people it infected and was predicted to kill between 5 million and 150 million more if a full-on outbreak were to occur. So why are we all still here? Mostly because the virus never mutated into a form that could transmit easily from birds to humans, and its spread in farmed birds has been largely contained through vaccination. Wild birds still contract and spread the disease, but outbreaks in 2008 were a fifth of what they were the year before, and the human death count last year was 59. The potential for a pandemic persists, but our lack of preparation has not, as yet, come home to roost.
In September, 2008, world leaders gathered at the Millennium Development Goals Malaria Summit in New York City to unveil an unprecedented $3-billion commitment to end malaria, including funds from the Gates Foundation and the World Bank. The action plan lays out a strategy for reducing death and illness from malaria by half from 2000 levels by boosting access to bed nets, indoor spraying, and diagnosis and treatment for all in need by 2010.
BIO Eliza Barclay frequently reports from Latin America
PHOTO Murdo Macleod/Polaris
You couldn’t find a hotter health story in 2006
and Africa for National Geographic News, Slate, and The New York Times.
In Cape Town, South Africa, where poverty and illness plague much of the population, technology is a boon.
38 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Technology
PHOTO Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
39 good.is/ planet
Communication Breakdown Iqbal QUadir, the founder of Grameenphone, and Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of One Laptop per Child, debate the merits of technology in the developing world. If we assume that technology will help bring the
benefits of the modern world to developing societies, we can also assume that the resources to bring a full complement of that technology to poor countries probably don’t exist. Both laptops and cell phones have proven to have dramatic effects on populations. Which poses more of a benefit?
Iqbal QUadir: Having struggled to bring cell phones to poor communities since 1993, I of course have a biased opinion. I would say cell phones bring greater benefits. There are several reasons why. Prominent among them is the fact that voice communications do not require literacy, and are thus more inclusive. While cell phones are natural devices for networking, their inclusiveness gives rise to a profound network effect. The second important reason is that people find an immediate payback [from having a phone], which leads to a willingness and capability of paying for the cell-phone services. Connectivity is productivity. This phenomenon changes the economic ground realities and produces greater traction for phones. The benefits proliferate, organically. Nicholas Negroponte: I used to ask my father whether brakes were more important than steering wheels. To compare cell phones to laptops has a similar ring (pun intended). Connectivity is key—it is akin to health in that without it the world is further compromised. There is no question that a connected world is a better one. The wireless infrastructure that has grown up is truly amazing in reach, growth, and pricing; all of which will get better and better. A laptop is a window, a contemplative experience; the cell phone is a point of contact, a bursty medium, interruptive in both a good 40 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Technology
and a bad sense. It is a lifeline in any sense. The device itself, however, should not be confused with connectivity. Would I want an unconnected laptop over a connected cell phone? No. No more than I would want to be driving a car with brakes and no steering wheel. IQ: I very much agree with you that connectivity is like health; and once you are healthy, you can pursue education. And if education is somehow made available while the ground realities remain unfavorable for economic growth, education is abused, unused, or simply used to escape from the country. The majority of American immigrants from Africa are highly educated. Most government officials are educated, and [when their] corrupt bureaucracy strangles a country’s development, education is obviously used to gain a greater share of limited resources. The myth that education will unleash economic progress prevents us from identifying the actual roadblock. The real roadblock is the economic stagnation of the common people in poor countries, rendering them vulnerable to their educated class, who are more capable of exploiting them. This is why it is helpful to introduce technologies that have immediate payback to the common people. Their increased economic strength can turn the vicious cycle into a virtuous one. And to this cause, cell phones, with their immediate payback, can and do make a contribution. The organic emergence of cellphone networks throughout the developing world is a testament to this immediate payback—a payback that strengthens the economic highway on the ground over which education, jobs, health care, and other goods will arrive.
NOW WHAT Which tool will be more instrumental for the developing
NN: There is nothing “immediate” about primary education. It is a long-term investment. Surely we would not stop teaching reading and writing while we deploy cell phones. Suggesting that technology should not be used for learning would be likewise absurd. I doubt anybody
world, cell phones or laptops? Add your voice to the discussion at good.iS/NOWWHAT
will propose providing 6- to 10-year-olds with cell phones instead of books. Think of the laptop as a book. It happens to be many other things as well, but just as a book the benefit is undeniable. What has happened is that a question (perhaps gratuitous) about cell phones versus laptops has, in a way, devolved into [a question of] adults versus children.
Air Supply If you believe the future of energy is offshore drilling, think again. by Brentin Mock It took us more than 20 years
IQ: There appears to be a clear distinction between what you and I are saying. You appear to be for longterm investment in children through laptops. And I am for immediate payoff for adults through cell phones. [But] actually we are both arguing for long-term solutions. First of all, neither of us denies the usefulness of cell phones and laptops. Second, I am arguing for the environment in which children grow. It is this question about environment that brings the adults and their productivity into the picture. If the parents are better off financially, they will be able to offer a better home environment, and that is the best means for providing a better education for children. I think it is also important to avoid separating technology from how it will actually fit into a community. The two are inextricably linked. If we “air-drop” technology from above, it is less likely to take hold and spread naturally. That the cell-phone penetration is far higher than the internet penetration in developing countries demonstrates that it is a technology that sets [down] roots much more easily in poor countries. NN: The best testimonial of bottom-up and viral growth is the internet itself. Bringing children into that equation is crucial and will change their role, engaging them in the change, making them the agents of change. Think of it this way. The cell-phone industry is moving slowly from voice to data. During this transition, internet access is costly, clumsy, and sometimes impossible. In countries where we have done One Laptop Per Child, the kids use Skype, having never seen a telephone. Asynchronous and high-latency communications is very inexpensive. Several hundred children can share a megabit per second. People shipping voice do not understand that. I love the growth of cell phones. As a long-standing board member of Motorola, I have followed it carefully. But I also see an industry glued to average revenue per user, counting minutes of voice, and uncertain about data. By contrast, those who invented Wi-Fi, the computer community, have brought a far more viral communications medium, one that can be built by the people, for the people.
to accumulate our first 10,000 megawatts of wind power; it took just two to produce the next 10,000. Now, five U.S. offshore wind farms are racing for first place in the effort to put turbines in the oceans. State licenses and contracts have been awarded, but with federal ocean permits still hanging in the mix, it’s yet to be seen whether these projects will sink or swim.
Rhode Island Despite its size, the Ocean State has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. In response, Governor Donald Carcieri declared that Rhode Island would soon generate 15 percent of its energy from the wind; the state awarded its first offshore wind contract to Deepwater Wind in September. Deepwater pledges that it will bring in 1.3 megawatts per hour and create hundreds of local jobs. Major Hurdle: Some locals don’t like the idea of having their ocean views marred by turbines, even though many of them live on Block Island, which sees rates as high as 40 cents per kilowatt hour. Delaware A couple of weeks before Rhode Island hired Deepwater, Delaware licensed Bluewater Wind to create its first offshore wind farm. Bluewater has plans to generate a 450-megawatt generator 12 miles off the coast, and it
Read the full conversation online at www.good.is
BIO Brentin Mock is a fellow with the Metcalf
Reporting. He has written for Harper’s, Next
Institute for Marine & Environmental
American City, The Source, and Essence.
already has the state’s largest utility lined up as a customer. The turbines’ 150-foot blades will spin from hurricaneresistant poles rising 250 feet from the water. Major Hurdle: Melting ice caps and rising sea levels present the biggest threat. Pending federal permits, Bluewater aims to start running energy by 2012.
New Jersey In early October, New Jersey contracted Garden State Offshore Energy to work with PSEG Renewable Generation on the state’s first offshore farm. The state expects to have 20 percent of its energy come from renewables by 2020. With 96 turbines planted off the coast, GSOE plans to supply up to 110,000 homes with power. Major Hurdle: New Jersey has almost 3.5 million housing units, and wind would be powering just 3 percent of them. Oregon The Beaver State doesn’t just want to be first; it also wants to be best, pursuing multiple projects—both water and land based—at once. Principle Power is raising $20 million to build a 150-megawatt facility, while other proposals, such as “wave parks” (where specialized buoys draw energy from ocean waves), are also a go. Major Hurdle: The state hasn’t totally committed itself to the projects (though it’s believed it will). Still, it will have to grapple with the fact that the Pacific’s deep waters make them less than ideal for turbines. Texas As anyone with a television knows, T. Boone Pickens has his sights (backed by his billions) set on wind energy. Texas—already home to the country’s largest wind farm—plans to set up 667 offshore turbines for what is just the first of four phases, which will generate 4,000 megawatts. Major Hurdle: Pickens helped get the world into this energy crisis to begin with. Accountability when it comes to sustainable-wage jobs, wildlife protection, and shared profits will be key.
PHOTO Flickr user George Lu
41 good.is/ planet
4 Green Cement Cement is one of
Patent Pending by David Biello
the largest sources of CO2 in the country, but a California-based company has invented a cement that actually puts the greenhouse gas to good use, by mimicking the marine cements formed by coral, allowing it to build itself.
Seven inventions that will
5 Oil Sands The record high prices
change our lives more than
for oil in 2008 spurred a boom in investment in Canada’s oil sands— hydrocarbon-rich rock and sand— making this a make-or-break year for unconventional oil. Wild card: Converting oil sands to oil results in the release of three times as much globe-warming pollution as good old-fashioned crude.
the new iPhone.
1 Open-Source Cell phones
The open-source movement has come to the cell phone with the launch of Google’s new Android operating system. It’s great for gadget lovers, but even better for the millions of users in the developing world who have leapfrogged over landlines to cell-phone technology and now can get it in the form of a minicomputer with a customizable operating system. 2 Crash-Proof Cars Researchers
in Europe have turned satellite navigation into a system that can warn drivers of upcoming hazards through radar or infrared hazardsensing systems. Already, luxury cars incorporate features like warning lights in the windshield to alert drivers to an onrushing obstacle. But in 2009, these advanced safety features will start to appear in lower-cost vehicles. Whatever happened to...
Killer Robots in Iraq? Lots, actually. Last year saw the first-ever deploy-
ment of fearless and bloodless armed robots on the ground in Iraq (three of them), and iRobot, one of the U.S. military’s main suppliers of robots, just shipped the Army its 2,000th PackBot, a recon robot. The Pentagon has made a commitment of $2 billion over the next five years, so Iraqi insurgents should expect to see even more of them. Next up: A.I. that can think for itself (but hopefully won’t turn on its masters). 42
Watch GOOD’s seven-part series on
3 Electric Cars Speaking of car
improvements, 2009 will feature the return to prominence of the electric automobile—a sight last seen almost a decade ago. The Chevy Volt and the Tesla Model S sedan, among others, will be racing into production and showrooms, though the economic crisis is slowing their progress.
BIO David Biello is an associate editor at
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
military robots at good.is/videos.
Scientific American. He has written for The New
illustration by Justin Fines and Wyeth Hansen
York Times, Elle, and the Long Island Press.
6 Ubiquitous GPS Big Brother is
totally watching you. Whether in your crash-proof car, through your cell phone, or on Google Earth, your (almost) every move is being tracked somewhere. The rise of radio-frequency identification and global-positioning systems basically means an end to geographic privacy. 7 Virgin Galactic Spaceport
The world’s first commercial spaceport begins construction in the New Mexico desert. More Cape Canaveral than Mos Eisley, you still should be able to hitch a ride on a spacecraft by 2010—if all goes according to plan. You just need to line up behind those intrepid souls who have already plunked down $30 million in bookings.
Whoâ€™s Connected How? Technology connects us more and more each day. Who are the most and least connected people in the world? SOURCE CIA World Factbook, Computer Industry Almanac, Internet World Stats International Telecommunication Union, The Wireless Association
A French customs official inspects a fake Louis Vuitton bag at Roissy Airport.
44 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Buying
PHOTO John Schults/Reuters
45 good.is/ planet
Shop Till You Drop? Two different takes on the role of conscious consumerism. with BOBBY SHRIVER and REVEREND BILLY Product (RED)—an initiative backed by U2’s
The Church of Stop Shopping draws attention
Bono in partnership with dozens of global brands— has generated more than $50 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, all by turning everyday consumers into activists through the purchases they make. (RED)’s founder Bobby Shriver talks about its goals:
to American’s “shopping addiction” by protesting the destruction of local economies by chain stores. Reverend Billy, the church’s leader, talks about how consumerism defines our culture:
GOOD: What’s the premise of (red)? BOBBY SHRIVER: Our ultimate goal is to get greater public awareness of the scale of the AIDS pandemic and the solvability of the problems of extreme poverty— not American poverty, but the grinding, less than a dollar a day, no medicine, no family, no housing, no nothing type of poverty. G: How are you going to do that? BS: A lot of people view doing good as a hair-shirt concept—it has to be hard and you have to suffer. But you don’t have to do that. Everything you’re wearing, I’m selling a (red) version of. If you just changed what you wore, you would generate hundreds of dollars a year. People don’t know that two pills a day saves your life if you have AIDS; people don’t know that the blue jeans they have on can save someone’s life. You’re making a choice every day and you can rule the fucking world if you pay attention. G: What are your next steps? BS: Our focus is on big multinational brands, because that’s where the money is. Some people say, “You’re only motivated by money?” And I say, “The boss of my company is only motivated by money.” And they say, “Well, I didn’t know Bono is only motivated by money.” Bono isn’t the owner of the company. The lady who needs the two pills is the owner of the company. We work for her. She needs the cash. We have to get it for her. 46 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Buying
GOOD: Tell us about what you do with the Church of Stop Shopping. REVEREND BILLY: We have been challenging the idea that consumerism should be the guiding culture, that all things must somehow be brought into our lives by way of the market, that all things must have a price tag. There is nothing now that is not considered an underexploited market. G: How has the financial crisis affected your message? RB: We’re intrigued, but we know that it’s an occasion for a great deal of pain. There are already shantytowns, people are losing their homes. It’s not a good thing, but it probably was a necessary thing. We’re hoping that the United States will bounce back. We have to get back to helping each other out in ways that we haven’t in many years in this country. We’ve been practicing consumerism, where you help other people because you can make money helping other people, but that’s different. NOW WHAT G: What’s your take on the expanding movement of consumerism for philanthropy and social good? RB: One of [the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir’s] hit songs is called “Can I Shop Enough for Africa?” We can’t shop our way out of these problems. Shopping itself is the problem. It’s a way of looking at the world that’s not generous, won’t work, and ultimately will be defeating. You have to do it on purpose. You can’t just buy a T-shirt. That doesn’t work.
Can consumers save the planet through smarter purchases, or is our fixation on consumption an indictment of our culture? Continue the discussion online at good.is/NOWWHAT
Whoâ€™s Buying What? A look at where people around the world are directing some of their purchasing power. SOURCE Euromonitor International
Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy, on the future of buying and selling. There is a new level of
transparency that is expected of companies, and heightened awareness about conscientious consumption. People want to know where their products come from, but most things are produced without any kind of accountability for ecological or social impact. We want shirts for 99 cents at Wal-Mart, but to get them at that price, there is a much greater price the world is paying. We’ve been trained to think that so many things are disposable, and that’s obviously not a sustainable way of producing things. So we’re seeing a renaissance in people making things. If you want to learn how to make something you can go online and watch a video or read how to do it. You can get whatever materials you need from anywhere you want. You can meet up with other people—making things is social, too. Because of the internet, you have a distribution model and a marketplace for all of these goods. Combine all of that and I think what we’re going to see is a much more sustainable way to live: getting things, sourcing materials, producing them, and selling them or trading them locally. I think it’s amazing. And it’s definitely growing. This is happening outside of Etsy—we’re just a platform and we’re here at the right time. This kind of person-to-person commerce and entertainment and consumption is happening across a variety of mediums. That’s what’s interesting and encouraging.
Buy This Way by Kathryn O’Shea-Evans Eight ways people are shirking good old-fashioned capitalism.
than 2,000 community supported agriculture groups now; there were 50 in 1990. 5 Sharing Books Almost 1 mil-
lion BookCrossing members worldwide register lists of the books they’re no longer reading, leave the books in public spaces for others to find, then log on to the website to track their whereabouts. They call it “read and release.” 6 Buying Directly Online It’s hard
1 Getting Free Stuff Online
Through Freecycle, more than 6 million people have come together with a single purpose—to give and get free stuff. There are 3,500 groups in 70 countries, from Botswana to Qatar, exchanging all manner of things—a loveseat or a turntable or a jar of hot sauce. 2 Creating Local Currency When
chains started pulling away business from neighborhood stores, the residents of Southern Berkshire, Massachusetts, created BerkShares—discounted currency you can spend at more than 300 spots in the area (WalMart not included).
to imagine, but there was a time before the bar code, when people actually bought things directly from each other. Thanks to sites like Etsy, which has more than 100,000 online shops, the habit is resurging. Sellers hawk everything from original art and hand-poured cement sinks to earrings made from vintage milk-bottle caps. 7 Buying One, Giving One You need
new shoes. So does a street kid in South Africa, where scampering around barefoot can lead to much worse than stubbed toes. Toms Shoes has you both covered: For every pair you buy, another is donated. So far, 60,000 pairs have been given away in South Africa and Argentina.
3 Shopping at Free Markets At
monthly Really Really Free Markets all over the world, everything is up for grabs (no cash, cards, or bartering allowed). Shoppers bring items they no longer want or need, and go home happy with free stuff that cost them nothing. 4 Investing in Farm Shares Passing
up the fluorescent lights and waxcovered apples of chain groceries, locavores are increasingly buying straight from farmers. Proof that people are biting? There are more
BIO Kathryn O’Shea-Evans has written
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
for New York, Travel and Leisure, Bust, and
Surface. She lives in New York.
8 Having Sleepovers with Strangers
Banking on the notion that every stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet, Alaskan Casey Fenton created CouchSurfing, a networking website that connects people with free places to crash. Since 2003, more than 730,000 people have had positive surf experiences internationally.
A component of the Large Hadron Colliderâ€”the largest particle accelerator in the worldâ€” travels to its destination during construction in Geneva.
50 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Science
PHOTO Claudia Marcelloni ÂŠ CERN
51 good.is/ planet
Into the Unknown by Lauren Aaronson
sugar into oil instead of alcohol. Two pilot plants open this fall, and will be analyzing the output this year. They could scale up production in a year or two, selling drill-free fuels that, unlike ethanol, provide just as much energy as ordinary gas. 7 Unknown Ocean This is the first year at sea for the
Seven advancements in science that will move the world forward in 2009.
1 Malaria Vaccine The world will get one step
closer to a malaria vaccine, which will ultimately protect and save hundreds of millions of people. GlaxoSmithKline’s patented formula, which seems to cut the risk of malaria in half, enters the final stage of clinical trials in 2009. If all goes well, it could hit doctors’ bags within a few years. 2 Anti-AIDS Pills Though attempts at a vaccine have been disappointing, eyes are on another form of prevention: pre-exposure prophylaxis, or HIV medicine taken like a birth-control pill, by people who don’t have HIV. Early data will soon roll in from the first trials, and if it looks promising, future tests may look into whether you can take the pills less frequently. 3 Dark Matter Astrophysicists are marshaling every means possible to figure out what’s in dark matter. Most experts think the mysterious stuff, whose gravity seems to hold galaxies together, is made up of as-yetunseen particles. One group may have just spotted evidence that these particles really do exist, so expect more sightings soon. 4 Weather Research Researchers are running the biggest experiment yet to see how global warming will affect weather and natural disasters. Most computer models can predict overall climate or local weather, but not both. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is combining the two to find out how much stronger hurricanes will get and which areas will be hit hardest. 5 Lab-Grown Body Parts Organs grown in petri dishes
will move out of the lab and into human bodies. The biotech company Tengion will start clinical trials of its lab-made bladder, which it creates by coaxing some of a patient’s own cells to develop around a biodegradable scaffolding. And the U.K.-based Intercytex will test its artificial living skin, bred from the cells of neonatal foreskins.
Okeanos Explorer ship that beams undersea photos and videos back to researchers on land. The Explorer will use sonar to map the seafloor as it trolls previously uncharted waters; it can also send smaller remotecontrolled subs down for closer views.
BIO Lauren Aaronson is an associate editor at Popular Science. She has written for Women’s
Health, Salon, and Psychology Today.
postmortem self Gifts Registry at
All the World’s a Laboratory Three long-term science projects that could change everything we know about science. by Nikhil Swaminathan
Albert Einstein called
2 In 2006, the Allen Institute for Brain
scientific discovery “a continual flight from wonder.” Today, the path from wonder has an expensive toll. We’ve solved the basics— gravity, relativity, DNA—but our new queries require greater collaboration, more sophisticated equipment, and oodles of cash. Take the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider. Its objective, when it goes online this spring, is to tell us how the universe began and how its parts fit together. Here’s a look at three lesser-known megaprojects that aim to explain, improve, and possibly extend life.
Science, created with $100 million from Paul Allen, Microsoft’s other founder, released the Allen Brain Atlas. A freely available 3-D map showing the activity of 20,000 genes throughout an adult mouse brain, it’s a boon to scientists developing therapies to combat human mental disorders. In March, the institute began a four-year project to similarly map the human brain, as well as a two-year endeavor to track gene activity in the mouse brain from embryo to adulthood. 3 The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
1 The Human Genome Project, officially
completed in 2003, consists of one person’s DNA. But take any two people, and their DNA will be 99 percent the same. Researchers need more data to probe the roots of complex disorders, like cancer, heart disease, and autism, which likely involve multiple genetic mutations. The solution? The 1,000 Genomes Project, which will sequence the DNA of at least 1,000 people worldwide—at a cost of up to $50 million—to catalogue alterations in the tiny bit of DNA that differs from person to person.
companies have engineered microorganisms that turn
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
Donate your to the Anatomy
6 Microbe-Made Gasoline Two synthetic-biology
BIO Nikhil Swaminathan is GOOD’s web editor.
—a collaboration among China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the U.S.—is a $13-billion effort to develop a working nuclearfusion reactor in southeastern France. As opposed to fission—which creates energy by splitting unstable uranium and plutonium atoms (and can result in runaway reactions like the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown)—fusion creates vast amounts of energy by jamming two hydrogen atoms together. It’s technically safer and produces less radioactive waste, but there are catches: A fusion reaction requires temperatures that are 10 times hotter than the sun’s center.
An otherwise healthy golden eagle dies suddenly of carbofuran pesticide poisoning in Scotland.
54 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Environment
PHOTO Murdo Macleod/Polaris
55 good.is/ planet
One Big Crisis Alex Steffen says solving our current planetary crisis could lead to an unimaginably good future. Here’s how we get there. as told to GOOD
We are at a moment unique in human history,
when we are using the planet’s bio-capacity so quickly that we risk a catastrophic collision with ecological reality. Every creature and every biological system on Earth is now dependent, intentionally or unintentionally, on our management. We’ve never been in the position of managing the planet before and we have no idea how to do it. It’s really serious. What’s at stake here is not just the ability of civilization to function in a way that we have come to take for granted, but possibly even the survival of human beings. And, unfortunately, the causes of the crisis are complex and everyone on Earth is involved. There’s a tendency for people to think that there’s an environmental crisis and a poverty crisis and a war and terrorism crisis, and so forth. But in reality they’re all the same big crisis. Right now we are coming to realize the magnitude of that big crisis. The future toward which we are moving quickly is unthinkably bad. However, the kinds of things we need to do to solve these problems could lead to a future that is unimaginably good. In 2009, we’re going to have what may well be the most important international summit of our lifetimes:
the Cop15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, where we will decide what the successor to the Kyoto treaty will be. It is the last opportunity we’re going to have as a species to decide the degree to which we’re going to tackle climate change before it’s too late. And the United States will play a critical role, because we’ve been the ones holding up progress. In the last ﬁve years the politically expedient form of
environmental activism became privatizing responsibility, encouraging us to think that the future of the planet depends on us making small choices in our daily lives: recycling, buying organic shampoo, whatever. But most of the damage that we cause in our lives is caused by big systems we have very little control over as isolated individuals. We have this idea that changing the world ought to be reducible to simple steps, but it just doesn’t work that way; this isn’t that kind of a world. Even if we all followed every last eco-tip and simple step, we’d still be hurtling towards catastrophe. If we want to avoid that catastrophe, we need to not just do fewer bad things: we need to do different things altogether. We need to reinvent the way our whole society works. We need bright green upgrades to our cities, our energy systems, industrial design and technology, farming and forestry—everything. It all needs to change, essentially immediately. That will take millions of people transforming their lives to pursue new solutions, to become more effective and innovative citizens, business people, investors, community leaders, and so on. We need people to actually step up and do big things. We need people who change their thinking and not just their light bulbs. I don’t think that we have ever experienced, at
least in American history, a transformation of political opinion like the one we’ve seen in the past several years on the environment and climate. Young people understand that the world we’re talking about is the world they’re going to raise their kids in, that this isn’t a distant reality, that the ice caps are melting now. While that gives me hope, the gap of understanding between those people and the 70-year-olds who are in the U.S. Senate is staggering. It’s a generation gap that makes everything the boomers talked about in the 1960s look like a disagreement at a tea party.
We need people who change their thinking and not just their light bulbs.
BIO Alex Steffen is the executive editor of
Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
Worldchanging.com and editor of the book,
the 21st Century.
I really think that the biggest political difference
on the planet right now is what time frame you define moral responsibility in. Most politics is really all about hoping the good times last until the rich old people die. There’s even a denial that we can do anything about the problems. It’s all about delay, fake debates, and encouraging cynicism, inducing apathy. But there’s another political force growing fast,
and that’s the politics of optimism. It’s a politics that says transformation is not just a duty, it’s an amazing opportunity. We might, instead of doing nothing and leaving our kids a ruined planet, decide to build them an awesome future and spend the rest of our lives enjoying it. That’s the choice we wake up to every day now: cynicism or change.
Goodbye, Cruel World The Animals on the Edge of Extinction Extinctions can be a natural
part of evolving ecosystems, but right now we are pushing many species of animals and plants to the brink by polluting and occupying their habitats and interrupting the food chain. Here are the number of threatened species in 2008, as determined by International Union for Conservation of Nature:
1,808 amphibians 1,217 birds 1,201 fish 1,094 mammals 978 mollusks 623 insects
460 crustaceans 422 reptiles Whatever happened to...
Remember back in the early 1990s when everyone
was freaking out about the rain forests? So much so, in fact, that activists were chaining themselves to trees and Ben & Jerry’s launched an ice cream to raise awareness? Guess what? It’s still a problem. And according to a recent study by the World Wildlife Federation, we may be just 15 years away from the point of no return. An area the size of a football field is lost to deforestation every 10 seconds, and when that happens, the destroyed rain forests belch massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, setting off a domino effect of global warming, disrupted ocean currents, and drought. Logging, urbanization, hunting, and tourism have also contributed to the extinction of thousands of animal species a year. Time for a new ice-cream flavor.
NOW WHAT For an interactive guide to making your own home rainforest-friendly, visit archive.
MORE INFO rainforestalliance.org
BLOW ME DOWN Denmark generates
PHOTO Flickr user andresfib
20 percent of its electricity from wind power,
making it the world leader.
Ridin’ Dirty Unchecked, these three emerging economies could send the planet into flames. Here’s what they’re trying to do about it. by David Biello
A vast mass of pollution—known as the Asian Brown Cloud—is emanating from India and China. In a country of 1.1 billion, a love affair with cars and a rising middle class who can afford them could spell big problems for all of us.
Oil dependence, at a staggering $500-billion price tag, as well as the fourth-place spot for carbon emissions globally.
The Tata Nano, a tiny four-seat car, is one of the smallest and cheapest cars in the world. It also drives cleaner than the Prius, at 50 miles per gallon.
In the wake of the world’s last oil shock, Brazilians turned to the country’s abundant sugarcane to become energy independent by planting nearly 9 million more acres of sugarcane to be used for ethanol. This year, the cane is on pace to yield more than 6 billion gallons of the fuel.
Priced at the equivalent of $2,500, the affordability of the Nano is expected to put close to a million new cars on the roads. So, yes, the rising middle class will be more mobile, and yes, it might rid the roads of fume-belching auto-rickshaws. But cars, no matter how fuel-efficient, will never be nature’s best friend.
Raising crops for biofuel puts the gas tanks of the rich in competition with the stomachs of the poor, causing crop prices to skyrocket globally. It also leads to deforestation of the Amazon, which leads to carbon emissions, which leads to climate change, which leads to…
GreenGen proves that the Chinese are addressing the ill effects of their coal habit, which is more than can be said for the United States. Some herald this as a sign that the Chinese stand to teach the world how to clean up air pollution from coal, and that the world will then follow their example. Of course, it may not work out that way.
Tata has announced plans for an “air car,” a partnership with Luxembourg’s MDI to fuel a car with compressed air. That means nothing but air coming out of the tailpipe. Of course, there’s a good chance that the electricity used to compress the air comes from fossil fuels.
Brazilian biofuel yields 10 times the amount of energy required to grow the sugarcane, and displaces the carbon-intensive emissions from burning gasoline. The benefits are deeply compromised, however, by the deforestation required for the crop.
PAPER OR PAPER China, the world’s biggest
GREEN FOR GREEN U.S. venture capital film
BUT NOT VODKA Sweden pledges to kick the oil
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
consumer of plastic bags, has banned them
Kleiner Perkins has invested $1 billion to find
habit completely by 2020.
nationwide. Rwanda has a similar ban.
and fund the “Google” of clean green energy.
The problem China has the dubious honor of being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, burning some 2.5 billion tons of coal at its 541 coalfired power plants.
The solution China is building GreenGen, a 250-megawatt power plant that will turn the dirty rock into gas before burning it, and then capture the resulting carbon dioxide, which can be pumped underground for storage.
The catch The storage plan involves dumping the CO2 into a depleted oil field—to recover more oil. So while the climate-changing CO2 will be locked away, more fossil fuels—and thus more greenhouse gases—will become available.
power industry and green building, leading to millions of green-collar jobs. 5 Plug-ins Plug In Electric cars are nothing new,
but with gas unlikely to ever return to SUV-friendly levels, expect 2009 to mark the year when cars start plugging in. The all-electric Tesla Roadster is already available for those with a spare $100,000, and both GM and Toyota will begin to offer a few plug-in versions of their hybrids.
by BRYAN WALSH Ten game-changers that will affect the environment this year. 1 Lieberman-Warner Redux Environmentalists were
6 The Green Backlash After being liked by everyone not
chagrined when America’s Climate Security Act—the first national cap-and-trade bill to reach a full vote in the Senate—was defeated in June. With a new president who supports cap and trade, supporters will surely take another shot in 2009—but a comatose economy won’t make their mission any easier.
named George W. Bush, the environmental movement may be headed for a fall, with companies less concerned about their carbon footprint when bankruptcy looms. But that might not be altogether a bad thing—a shake-up could leave the fittest green businesses and ideas thriving. And we’ll still have Leo DiCaprio.
2 Eco-Cheap Going green has usually meant spending
7 The End of Ethanol Corn ethanol always had more to
more green—just check your bill after a trip to Whole Foods. But soon, smart businesses will push products that help us save money, not just guilt. Take Payless ShoeSource: In April, the store will release an ecofriendly line made from organic cotton and recycled rubber, costing around $30 a pair.
do with politics than the environment, and the sudden crash in corn prices and bad press for biofuels could finally wipe out ethanol. Thankfully, another fuel is ready to take its place: algae. The upshot? It doesn’t compete with food for fuel, and can be raised just about anywhere.
3 Who Killed the SUV? SUV owners must feel like
8 Green Hawks A group of conservatives are demand-
dinosaurs right after the asteroid hit. Due to a tanking economy and soaring gas prices, Chrysler, Ford, and GM—all of which benefited from the SUV rage of the 1990s—are perilously close to bankruptcy. GM’s oldest factory will build its last SUV in December, switching to more efficient cars.
ing an ambitious alternative-energy policy. Less concerned with saving the whales than saving the hundreds of billions we now spend on crude from hostile regimes, green hawks will broaden the coalition for climate-change action beyond the boundaries of the Sierra Club.
4 The Green Deal The idea of environmental protection
9 Green NIMBYism American environmentalism began
and economic growth as mutually exclusive is coming to an end, thanks to Van Jones and Tom Friedman. They argue that a government stimulus package—a kind of New Deal—could kick-start the renewable-
as an effort to protect the nation’s wilderness from development. But if we’re truly serious about scaling up wind farms and solar fields, we may need to impinge on parks and other protected lands. The balance between conservation and the need for cleaner power will pit green against green.
Clarence Jones, former advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on the state of the planet: The extent to which we
can play a role in advancing the interest of the state of the planet will depend on the extent to which we can clearly mobilize the best resources of our people, and one of the things that will contribute to that mobilization is living in a
society of 300 million people in which the talent of every segment of the population is encouraged to grow, to blossom, and to soar like an eagle. You can’t do that in a country of 300 million people if a significant part of your time is spent on this foolishness called racism, or if a significant part of your time is spent considering whether A should be allowed to marry B.
10 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference In Copenhagen
If the international community fails to meet its deadline on a new climate deal that sets clear targets for short- and long-term carbon reduction, we could be back to zero when Kyoto expires in 2012. The X factor is the United States—a new administration will have fewer than 11 months to prep for success or failure at Copenhagen in December.
MORE Clarence Jones’s book What Would
BIO Bryan Walsh covers environmental affairs
Martin Say? was published by HarperCollins
for Time. He lives in New York.
A passerby in Toronto ponders over a piece by the street artist Fauxreel.
60 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Art & Design
Art & Design
61 good.is/ planet
Creatively Engaged 2008 was the year design started to matter. by Alissa Walker
In the design world, 2008
ended with something monumental: more than 100,000 firms and individuals, in 100 countries, committing to the Designers Accord, a voluntary pledge to produce more environmentally and socially responsible work, make all resources public, and share the results with the world. This year, good design seemed to be everywhere. In New Orleans, Brad Pitt helped to bring global attention to housing issues with his Make It Right foundation. Cameron Sinclair, the founder of Architecture for Humanity, was featured as one of the subjects of the Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts series, opposite that other famous Cameron, Diaz. And Philippe Starck claimed that everything he has designed was
“unnecessary,” so he was looking for a new profession. In the book world, Paul Polak published Out of Poverty, arguing that the world’s greatest designers and innovators should think of the world’s poorest people as their clients. And Design for the other 90%, the Cooper-Hewitt museum’s exhibition of low-cost products and technologies began its worldwide tour. Designers also looked to simpler solutions for complex problems: Plants and animals were catalogued by the Biomimicry Institute as Nature’s 100 Best Technologies. Over at MIT, Amy Smith launched her D-Lab into a product-development think tank for simple solutions to global problems. And a retrospective of Buckminster Fuller’s work proved
he had all the answers 50 years ago. A grant in his name was awarded to John Todd for his ecological design to repair industrial destruction in the Appalachian region. But perhaps the biggest triumph for design this year was the one that received the least attention. On a turnoutshattering Election Day, millions of Americans cast their votes on redesigned ballots, thanks to ongoing efforts by AIGA, the professional association for design, whose Design for Democracy project helped make voting clearer, easier, and more accurate.
bio Alissa Walker is a freelance writer based
offers commentary on design, food, walking,
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
in Los Angeles. Her blog, Gelatobaby.com,
Star Wars, and, every so often, gelato.
Art & Design
NOW WHAT The Designers Accord recently launched an online community to further their mission. Check out community. designersaccord. org for more information.
PHOTOS provided by Getty Images
Shantytown, U.S.A. While architects compete to build the world’s tallest skyscraper, one man is taking on our housing crisis with an innovative solution. by Tim McKeough Just a short drive from the U.S.-Mexican border, a
densely packed community will soon hum with activity. Homes will be jammed together, with any leftover space commandeered by taco stands, market stalls, and gathering places. It’ll be a far cry from the sanitized suburbs of southern California, but make no mistake: It will sit on the American side of the border. Indeed, if the architect Teddy Cruz gets his way, the shantytowns of Tijuana, Mexico, will act as a blueprint of sorts for a new kind of urban development.
“We need to rethink the way we’ve been developing, and what we mean when we talk about housing, density, community, and neighborhood.”
“Architecture has been so distant from the politics and economics of development,” says Cruz. “We need to rethink the way we’ve been developing, and what we mean when we talk about housing, density, community, and neighborhood.” Behind the precariousness of low-income communities, says Cruz, there is a sophisticated social collaboration: People share resources, make use of every last scrap, and look out for each other. Cruz is incorporating this resourcefulness into the planning of two new developments, in San Ysidro, a border-town community in southern San Diego, and in Hudson, New York. If they work as planned, these projects will become powerful case studies for a new approach to urban development that could be implemented across the country. In collaboration with the nonprofit Casa Familiar, the San Ysidro development will include 30 housing units alongside spaces where residents can run small businesses. The model also accounts for sweat equity, allowing people who help with construction to gain rent credits for their work. Hudson, meanwhile, may not be a border community, but Cruz says the same conflicts are present—specifically, “a huge gap between rich and poor.” Cruz’s plan aims to vault the income gap with developments on several lots that are integrated into the city. The developments will include 60 housing units, playgrounds, a market, urban agriculture, and job-training facilities, all managed by a coalition of nonprofit groups. Both projects require Cruz to go beyond the traditional role of an architect; rather than designing for a client, he is working with city governments to change the framework in which developments rise. “Beyond designing buildings, architects should design political and economic processes as well,” he says.
A composite rendering of Teddy Cruz’s integrated architectural development.
BIO Tim McKeough is a New York-based
and Architectural Record. He wrote about
journalist who writes about design and archi-
MIT’s D-Lab in GOOD 007.
tecture for The New York Times, Men’s Vogue,
Global Street Art These days, if you’re looking for innovative and vital art, skip the galleries and take a walk down the streets of any major city. The street art blog Wooster Collective helped GOOD curate some of the best examples of this new global art community.
NEW DELHI • C215
WROCLAW, POLAND • Truth
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA • Crateman
NEW YORK CITY • Tika
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL • Ethos
64 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Art & Design
LONDON • Laura Keeble
SEE MORE woostercollective.com
PHOTOS courtesy of woostercollective.com
in and from the Persian Gulf is gaining prominence. The Louvre, the Guggenheim, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s are all locating branches in the Emirates, and the new Saatchi gallery is planning a show of Middle Eastern art in 2009. The Middle East has yet to launch a signature aesthetic movement akin to China’s “cynical realism,” but styles rooted in the region’s cultural heritage, such as calligraphy, glittering gold, and sumptuous abstraction, are gaining international recognition.
Art on the Brink by Ana Finel Honigman Four art movements that are guiding and defining our era
1 Art and Fashion Continue to Come
Together The critical mass of
ISRAEL • Jan Vormann
MADRID, SPAIN • Sam3
respected artists who are comfortably collaborating with fashion designers and luxury brands is unprecedented. And though financial flutters will take the shine off the luxury market’s glitter, catwalk designers will still collect art, be stimulated by artists, and seek artists’ input, while fashion itself will continue to inspire artists’ investigations.
2 Photography Steps Up Since
massive spending will probably be replaced by frugality, at least for the moment, the photography market, relatively cheaper than other fine arts, will blossom. Major contemporary-art sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s might slow down, but by signing exclusive representation rights for star snappers like Annie Leibovitz, the Phillips de Pury & Company auction house will become the secondary art market’s phoenix.
4 Young Street Artists While
bold graffiti-style graphics and acid-loud colors born from street art are infiltrating the gallery scene, art on the street is getting more and more conceptual and experimental. Banksy, XOOOOX, and other stencil artists are renouncing bubble letters for imagery that’s garnering attention from insider editors, dealers, and collectors. And other artists are reaching beyond spray paint by contributing children’s toys, knitted mufflers, stickers, and vinyl Band-Aids as art displayed anonymously on the streets for the pure pleasure of passers-by. Since big blockbuster sales are going to be off the radar screen, free art and a renewed appreciation for reality may well become the height of our shared aesthetic.
3 The Middle East Rises As the TORONTO • Fauxreel
white-hot buzz about Chinese art gradually simmers down, art BIO Ana Finel Honigman is a critic and curator
TANK, Dazed & Confused, and V. She is also a
who writes about art and fashion for
Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University.
Style.com, Artforum.com, British Vogue,
LEIBOVITZ PHOTO S Granitz/WireImage
A lawn-chair balloonist floats somewhere over Oregon on part of a successful journey to cross the border into Idaho.
68 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Mobility
PHOTO courtesy of Pete Erickson/The Bulletin
69 good.is/ planet
than a million pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, and skaters. By promoting active public spaces and restricting car use (the city established a Car-Free Day in 2000) the mayor and the parks commissioner reinvented the downtown cityscape while encouraging fitness and interaction between communities. Ciclovía (“cycle way”), in particular, provides open space and free activities—like yoga, crafts, and volleyball— that transcend socioeconomic barriers.
Here to There Cities around the world are finding better ways for their citizens to get around.
Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project Seoul, South Korea: Through an ambitious
by Laura Kiniry Vélib’ Bike-Rental Program Paris:
When Paris’s Vélib’ (“free bicycle”) celebrated its first anniversary, in July, 2008, it had already doubled its number of rental bikes to 20,000 and rental stations to 1,450. The largest program of its kind in the world, Vélib’ is not only altering Paris streets, but also people’s approach to mobility. “It’s a factor of quality and quantity,” says Eric Britton, the founder of the New Mobility Partnerships, “and it pervades the city.” For subscribers, rentals are free for the first half hour and one to four euros every half hour thereafter, encouraging the vehicle’s prompt return. Voiturelib’—shared self-service cars—is also on the horizon.
two-year plan completed in 2005, the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project replaced the city’s most heavily trafficked roadway—the remains of which were later recycled—with a five-mile-long, 1,000-acre park that attracts both wildlife and people.
Round, round get around (clockwise from top left): the Vélib’ BikeRental Program
New Mobility Hub Network Cape Town,
in Paris; Cape
South Africa: When the World Cup comes to
South Africa in 2010, Cape Town will be ready. The city has recently collaborated with SMART (a University of Michigan mobility-research project) and Ford Motor Company in their shift into a fully sustainable, connected urban region—where switching from shuttle to taxi to bicycle happens seamlessly. According to SMART’s managing director, Susan Zielinski, “Very simple dot-connecting can make a huge difference in a very short time.”
Africa’s New Mobility Hub Network; Bogotá, Columbia’s car-free Sunday streets; and Korea’s Cheonggyecheon
Ciclovía Car-Free Streets Bogotá, Colombia:
Every Sunday and holiday, Colombia’s capital city opens up more than 70 miles of car-free streets to more
Project Park in Seoul.
BIO The San Francisco-based freelancer
guidebook Moon Handbooks New Jersey.
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
Laura Kiniry writes for Paste, Bicycling, and
PhotoS (Vélib’)Tristan Nitot
Poets & Writers. She is also author of the
Watch a history of immigration in the United States at good.is/videos.
average net annual migrations
Region LOSING POPULATION Region GAINING POPULATION
SOURCE United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
People are moving around the world constantlyâ€”either toward opportunity or away from misfortune and fear. This is where people are going, and where they are coming from.
Whoâ€™s Going Where?
People Movers by ROBIN CHASE
access and safety, making more people willing to hop on a bike, the solution to several personal problems: improving health and fighting obesity through exercise, and finding an easy way to reduce their carbon footprints. 5 The rise of electric and
Seven factors that will
motorized vehicles Because
change how we move around
they are cheaper to park, drive, maintain, and fuel, an increase in popularity is inevitable. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see the swelling numbers and real diversity of possible vehicles like electric bicycles and threewheeled motorcycles.
this year. 1 The higher cost of driving Gas
taxes haven’t been raised in 15 years, despite an inflation rate that has turned that 1993 dollar into 70 cents of buying power. Transportation construction costs have almost tripled in that same time period, so expect to see every possible way of raising funds, like more tolling, higher tolls, and more talk about congestion pricing. 2 Government spending on
infrastructure The economy,
We all—individuals, cities, states, nations— need to start building a world in which we can comfortably deal with this impending reality.
unemployment, and the sorry state of our transportation infrastructure are aligning to get some big projects fast-tracked with money that doesn’t come from gas-tax dollars. Will it be new highways, new transit, or bridges to nowhere? Politics will tell. 3 Public transportation getting
more popular 2007 saw a 50-year
6 More sharing As we try to
squeeze value out of every asset and deal with the high prices of car travel, every major city is discussing bike sharing, following the success of Paris’s program. Car-sharing and ride-sharing services are also growing steadily.
7 Planning for the $5 gallon
We all—individuals, cities, states, nations—need to start building a world in which we can comfortably deal with this impending reality.
high in U.S. transit ridership numbers. The first quarter of 2008 beat that record by 3.3 percent. Ironically, transit agencies had little ability to expand capacity, as they had to absorb the rising fuel costs without raising the price of travel.
NOW WHAT Welcome to the future of carpooling. Check out Robin Chase’s new ride 4 More people riding bikes
sharing venture at
Forward-thinking jurisdictions have been improving bicycle
BIO Robin Chase is the CEO of the
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
carpooling website GoLoco.org and
the founder of Zipcar.
Citizen journalism in action, a man outside Budapest, Hungary, snaps a shot of the controversial Off Road Festival.
74 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Media
PHOTO Bela Szandelszky/AP Photo
75 good.is/ planet
As the World Blogs
The global proliferation of blogs shows just how vital (and easy) it is for us to connect with people the world over. We’ve commenced a project to make friends with a blogger in every country. Here are a few of our favorites:
Barbados bajan.wordpress.com economist.com Pizza The U.S. presidential debate 1
What is your What is the last thing you bought? What is the watched on TV?
are you about the direction the planet is heading in, on a scale of 1 to 10
Brazil madeinbrazil.typepad.com nymag.com The new Panasonic Lumix camera in black Gossip Girl 5
Burkina Faso voiceinthedesert.org.uk/weblog
Cyprus fashiondiarygirl.blogspot.com Facebook. I love talking to all my friends and posting photos on it. Some necklaces and bracelets Cloverfield. It’s a great movie. Around 7. There are some important issues that need to be sorted out one way or another. But I think it’s going to get better.
Ecuador danielopezamora.com/blog we-make-money-not-art.com An iced coffee Ecuador versus Venezuela. Venezuela won, 3–1. 7—I like odd numbers and 9 is too high.
GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Media
achuka.co.uk/achockablog Chicken feed A soccer match 5
(10 being the most optimistic)?
last thing you
Tough question. I’d have to say Comedy Central Insider’s Blog (ccinsider.comedycentral.com). Some people use smoking, alcohol, or even drugs to escape— I use comedy. Oh, and I drink to escape, too. Last night my girlfriend and I made our own sushi, so we bought a bunch of fish and other ingredients. Friday Night Lights. I don’t like to admit this, but I’m hooked. Compare our world to where it was 100 years ago. We’ve made massive steps in the right direction. But where will we be 100 years from now? It’s kind of scary. I say it’s right in the middle. I rate it a 5.
Kitabat.com, an Iraqi political/ cultural online journal A bigger tank for my betta fish The presidential debate 4
The web is too big for just one, so I have to say nytimes.com, boinboing.net, and guardian.co.uk. A book from Amazon: Lion of Jordan, by Avi Shlaim I don’t watch TV, but I do stream The Daily Show every day. I also watch House and West Wing DVDs on a semi-religious basis. I would have to position myself at a 5; it could get better and it could get worse. Five is a realist’s territory.
Netherlands strangefruits.nl Tough one. But if I had to name just one, I would say artivi.com. Bread, eggs, salmon, potatoes, tomatoes, beer, and a newspaper. The news 5
Sierra Leone vez-in-sierraleone.blogspot.com
Slovenia ujusansa.si A great surfing website, surfline.com, and maybe Facebook. Grapes, apples, green iced tea A show about the Queen of England visiting Slovenia. 8. I like to be optimistic, which doesn’t mean I like things the way they are.
Moldova ionmarandici.blogspot.com protv.md A book A survey showing that people in Moldova do not read 8
Facebook Land Rover tires I don’t get TV over here, but am watching Lost on DVD. The only hope the people on this planet have is that eternal forgiveness and life can be received freely through Jesus Christ, so for the people, 10. As for the actual planet, we the people are doing a great job of screwing it up, so for the land, 1. But God knew that would happen and gave us people a way out.
Amazon.com—not a very imaginative answer, I know. But Amazon just changed me and makes the world a better place because at least there’s one more person reading good books rather than playing video games and watching TV. This is good, no? A domain name! Football (you call it soccer, but it’s football, no argument, case closed). Liverpool slaughtered Portsmouth, 1–0, from a penalty kick. I love the numbers game. I’ll list you different factors affecting the direction of the planet and
their contribution to the planet: Climate change (-5) Nuclear (-1) Terrorists (-1) McDonald’s (-1) Pollution (-1) Fox News (-1) George Bush’s last two months (-10) Human imagination (0) Barack Obama (+2) All the beer and wine in the world (+1) Jack Daniels (+2) Good books (+1) Hot chicks (+4) The direction of the world is the sum of all the bad things (-20) times human imagination (0) plus Obama plus alcohol plus good books plus hot chicks, which equals 10. The future might not look too good but we need to prevail. We need perseverance and imagination.
United States boingboing.net arbroath.blogspot.com A Miracle Fruit Tree from buy-miracle-fruit.com The Obama / McCain debate 7
NOW WHAT See more worldwide blogs online at GOOD.IS/ NOWWHAT, and add your blog to our global network. We’ll be asking our new blogger friends lots of questions about their takes on the world.
A savvy restaurateur in Bahgdad, Iraq, dresses up as Mickey Mouse to attract diners to a child-friendly restaurant.
78 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Culture
PHOTO Geert van Kesteren/Magnum Photos
79 good.is/ planet
Arabian Mice American film studios—including Warner Bros., Disney, and Fox— are making massive investments in the growing Arab movie market. But don’t expect an influx of subtitled art-house fare from the Fertile Crescent. GOOD talked to Rachel Gandin, who is producing Disney’s first Arabic-language film.
GOOD: Can you paint a picture of what’s happening between Gulf countries and American film studios? RACHEL GANDIN: The United Arab Emirates, with its two massive emirates—Dubai and Abu Dhabi—have decided in the last three or four years that they want to be a center of media in the Arab world, along with being the center of everything else. American studios have long been looking into the deep pockets of the Gulf. This is their entry point. 80 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Culture
G: Why are these studios so keen to do it? RG: Outside of major cities, people don’t have access to movie theaters. There are no movie theaters in Saudi Arabia. There’s this amazing void in the market. It’s 300 million people who aren’t watching movies. G: Would Arab cinema appeal to Western audiences? RG: Arab filmmakers aren’t trying to get approval in the West; they’re building films in their own countries because that’s where people give a shit. Will these movies ever cross over and be in America? The stuff that the [global] masses love isn’t necessarily the stuff that Americans love. I don’t think that should be the goal. I think the goal should be to get people to watch movies. G: Do you think the predominance of American cultural exports is going to be eclipsed in our lifetime? RG: I kind of wonder if this is a big “fuck you” to globalization. Like, “Oh, your culture actually matters, so you’re going to make consumer choices based on your cultural taste.” But I don’t think so. The people who [the studios] are trying to reach in the Arab world are people who aren’t necessarily watching American movies right now. [The studios are] trying to reach beyond that. They’re trying to find new audiences. American movies will continue to be the big crazy shows that they are, $200-million movies that are 3-D and all this stuff, and then the local-language films are the ones that will be more culturally relevant. But I don’t think American movies are going to stop being relevant. G: Is anyone talking about the pluses or minuses of American companies investing in cinema for the Arab world? RG: People say things like, “What, Disney in the Arab world? Don’t you remember how fucked up Aladdin was?” It’s bad business to offend people. It doesn’t benefit anyone if you are making local movies and you���re upsetting the people who live there. But at the same time, I think filmmakers are excited. Disney is the master of getting stuff done, doing it so people like it, even if it’s not good art. And they’re hoping to employ enough local talent so the people who are making these movies are Arab. But this could be one of those nightmares where a movie is made for a couple million dollars and then nobody goes to see it because one person posts on a website that this a Zionist plot. I have no doubt that with every movie that is going to be made, that has to be considered. We’ll see.
Mark Your Calendars by Adam M. Bright A calendar of the events you shouldn’t miss.
1 The Inauguration January 20
The 44th president will solemnly swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
of the Iraq invasion with a day of protests outside the White House. Will Obama stroll out to the front lawn for a chat?
2 Davos World Economic Forum
6 Green Apple Festival April 19
January 28–February 1 Fifteen
The world’s biggest Earth Day celebration stages 10 free concerts in major cities (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco among them) to honor our planet.
hundred of the world’s most influential wonks, ministers, and hangers-on cavort in the Swiss Alps for their annual policy retreat. This year’s fitting topic? “Shaping the Post-Crisis World.”
10 Big Berther December 12
3 Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Birthday
February 12 More than 80 exhibits are planned for Washington, D.C., museums to celebrate the life of the Great Emancipator. A few months later, on Memorial Day, the president will speak at the rededication of the Lincoln Memorial.
the level of carbon dioxide, in parts per million, we need to drop below in order to avoid a doomsday scenario. (We’re currently at 387 and rising.)
7 Total eclipse of the sun July 22
At six minutes and 39 seconds, this will be the longest-lasting total solar eclipse of the 21st century. Unfortunately, nobody in North America will be able to see it. But the views from central China should be stellar.
Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship ever built, makes its maiden voyage. Onboard amenities include a teens-only spa, a carousel, two rock-climbing walls, a full-sized basketball court, four swimming pools, a “levitating bar,” a psychic, a tattoo parlor, and a tropical park with ecological tours led by the resident horticulturist.
8 La Fête de l’Humanité September
4 Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday
February 12 It’s a humanist twofer—the 12th is also Charles Darwin’s bicentennial. His hometown of Shrewsbury, England, will hold a big bash for its favorite heretical son. 5 A.N.S.W.E.R. March 21 The antiwar
group marks the sixth anniversary
An annual three-day music festival in Paris pour les proles, it is thrown by France’s largest Communist newspaper. At just $22 a ticket, it’s a great way for the workers of the world to unite.
NOW WHAT 9 350.org October 24 These 350
This list was just
rallies hope to add pressure to governments to hammer out a deal at the U.N. climate negotiations in December. The “350” refers to
to get it started. Share other important happenings at good.is/nowwhat.
BIO Adam M. Bright is a staff writer for GOOD.
He wrote about The Moth in GOOD 010.
Shot Out of Africa Mira Nair discusses her Ugandan film school. interview by Joseph Huff-Hannon
During the summers when
filmmaker Mira Nair (The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding) isn’t on set or in the editing suite, you’ll find her overseeing the action at the Maisha Film Lab, a film school she founded in Uganda, which provides professional training to emerging screenwriters and film directors from East Africa and South Asia.
Maisha Film School shooting the short film The Trip.
GOOD: What inspired you to launch Maisha? Mira Nair: I first came to Uganda in 1989 to research my film Mississippi Masala. I was deeply inspired by the rich storytelling traditions of Uganda, but I found that there was no bridge to bring these stories to the screen. I’m a former mentor at Sundance and other filmmaking labs in the United States and Europe, so I wanted to make similar training initiatives available to the East African filmmaking community as well. 82
BIO Joseph Huff-Hannon is a writer, producer
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
and activist based in Brooklyn, New York.
LEARN MORE maishafilmlab.org
G: Is Maisha structured like an artists’ residency? MN: We are a nonprofit, so all of our programs are free of charge. The centerpiece of the program is our Summer Training Lab, a 26-day filmmakers’ boot camp. Students apply for training in writing, directing, cinematography, editing, sound, acting, and production. We invite mentors from all over the world to work with the participants, both in one-on-one sessions and guiding them on set. G: How are films developed at Maisha? MN: Our reading committee selects nine screenwriters, who start with a seven-day, intensive writing workshop—where they rework and revise their scripts with mentors. At the end of this period, three scripts are chosen to go into production. During the writing workshop, cinematographers, editors, sound mixers, and actors work with their own respective mentors. Finally, during the production stage, we shoot three short films, entirely crewed by our participants. G: Why do we need more African and South Asian cinema on the world market? MN: There are parts of Africa where there is more of an infrastructure for large-scale film production, like South Africa. The industry in East Africa is in its infancy, though certainly making strides. There are more and more people in our target countries who can make their livelihood as film professionals. I think the world is hungry for change— shown recently by our historic election. Cinema, too, allows us to encompass our hybrid identities, be resolutely who we are, and be fully engaged with the world. Maisha creates a platform for unheard voices to be articulated on-screen. Our motto is “If we don’t tell our stories, no one else will.”
Found in Translation Bringing the rest of the world’s literature to U.S. readers by Adam Raymond When it comes to reading,
there’s a lopsided exchange between the English-speaking world and everyone else. A full 50 percent of all books in translation are translated from English, with only 3 percent translated into English. Words Without Borders, a monthly online magazine of translated international literature, aims to rectify that. Founded by Alane Salierno Mason, WWB has published more than 1,000 translated works— including short stories, excerpts, graphic novels, and poems—from 106 countries, in 79 language. By exposing readers to the art and the perspectives of the unknown, Mason hopes to allow for more international communication. WWB’s first issue, titled “Literature of the Axis of Evil,” was a fitting start: The Axis of Evil was the kind of “broad-brush labeling that is symptomatic of what [brought this whole project] about,” says Mason. Congolese writer
Alain Mabanckou’s African Psycho Translated by Christine Schwartz Hartley for WWB in 2005 Published by Soft Skull Press in 2007
Abdelilah Hamdouchi’s Final Bet
Translated by Jonathan Smolin for WWB in 2006 Published by American University in Cairo Press 2008 BIO Adam Raymond is a writer in New York.
A hurricaneravaged school bus in New Orleans provides an apt metaphor for the state of the cityâ€™s schools.
84 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Education
PHOTO Vincent Laforet/Polaris
85 good.is/ planet
You Say You Want a Revolution? Global education has some solutions. by JOHN WOOD
“We are too poor to afford education. But until we have education, how will we ever not be poor?” — Headmaster in rural Nepal It is such a simple solution to the issue of global
be the reality of the future, unless we take action now and turn global education into a mass movement. Why, when we have the means and the ability to lift a generation out of poverty through the lifelong gift of education, is so little being done? The United Nations sees educating girls as an extremely powerful tool in addressing global poverty, more powerful and effective than any other initiative implemented in the developing world. When a woman is educated, there’s a spillover effect to the next generation and all subsequent generations. Better nutrition and overall health, lower infant mortality rates, higher income levels—all key metrics that determine the fate of a community—are dramatically improved. And even more marked is that this improvement is not simply a Band-Aid—it becomes a permanent repair of the deep wounds of generations who have lived in poverty. In just eight years, Room to Read, an NGO I helped found, has already had a positive effect on the lives of almost 2 million children in eight countries across Asia and Africa. We started with a donkey load of donated books and have since developed a widespread web of programs giving children opportunities to learn and read and finally have the awareness that they have choices—choices about how they want to live, what they want to do with their lives, and how they want to
Nearly 800 million people in the developing world are illiterate. better their community. We view education as a hand up, not a handout, and we require active participation in building and running the schools and libraries funded by our organization. Our programs are extremely affordable—$250 will allow a girl to attend school for a year, and $25,000 will pay for construction of an entire school. I am not trying to give Room to Read a pat on the back, but attempting to illustrate how capable we are, in this generation of wealth creation, to attack global poverty directly, effectively, and cost-effectively. For millions of children in the poorest parts of the world, there are no schools, no libraries, no books, and no teachers. Every day we don’t help is a day we don’t get back. The clock is ticking. I believe, and I hope, that we can do better. If so, we will pick a generation up out of poverty. If not, our ancestors will look back and wonder whether we lacked foresight, or courage, or both.
poverty: Teach a child to read and you could vastly improve not only his or her life, but also the life of the family and the wider community. Perhaps the simplicity in the solution is the reason it hasn’t been seriously considered—such a complex problem as global poverty must call for a complex and expensive solution, right? This morning, more than 100 million children across the developing world woke up and did not put on a school uniform, did not walk to school, and did not sit at a desk and learn. An even bigger issue is that nearly 800 million people in the developing world are illiterate. That is one out of every eight human beings. Two-thirds of those who are illiterate are girls and women, which is a problem that pays itself forward in perpetuity. If you do the math, the risks here are staggering—if every one of those 500 million women has four children, then the world will have an additional 2 billion children growing up with an uneducated and illiterate mother. If we don’t educate the girls and women, we won’t educate the next generation. That will
BIO John Wood is the founder and CEO
DISCLOSURE Room to Read is one of our
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
of Room to Read, and the author of Leaving
Choose GOOD partners.
Microsoft to Change the World.
NOW WHAT Get involved with bringing libraries to the developing world at
2 NCLB revamped Look out for
President Obama’s dismantling of No Child Left Behind, the United States’s colossal failure in education reform. In its place, expect better teacher pay and support for charters, but no vouchers.
development (think China) and sustainability efforts.
Five things that will change education this year.
1 Laptops for all The One Laptop
per Child computer is expected to dip to its lowest price ever in 2010, selling for a mere $75. Bonus: The newest model is also rumored to have a touch screen. Expect record orders for it in 2009, with Peru leading the pack.
3 Germany: der allerbeste!
5 Literacy to the fore
Germany will try to secure its spot as “the Federal Republic of Education” when its federal and state governments come together to map out ways to implement their pledge to increase spending on schools, reduce dropout rates, and other goals.
The U.N. will use its global action week in April to highlight its goal for global literacy by 2015. As it stands, 20 percent of adults worldwide—two-thirds of them women—still cannot read.
4 Higher learning Watch and learn
as attendees at Unesco’s World Conference on Higher Education ask tough questions about the role education plays in national
Who’s Learning What? A look at how countries rank in math and science test scores. Science
Finland Hong Kong Canada TAIWAN Japan ESTONIA New Zealand Australia Netherlands SOUTH KOREA Liechtenstein Slovenia Germany UNITED KINGDOM Czech Republic Switzerland Macao Austria Belgium Ireland ... UNITED STATES
Math 563 542 534 532 531 531 530 527 525 522 522 519 516 515 513 512 511 511 510 508 489
TAIWAN Finland Hong Kong SOUTH KOREA Netherlands Switzerland Canada Liechtenstein Macao Japan New Zealand Belgium Australia Estonia Denmark Czech Republic Iceland Austria Germany Slovenia ... UNITED STATES
549 548 547 547 531 530 527 525 525 523 522 520 520 515 513 510 506 505 504 504 474
Average score of a 15-year-old student on science and math literacy tests, out of a possible score of 1000 SOURCES The Program for International Student Assessment
87 good.is/ planet
Sunbathers spend a leisurely day at Coney Islandâ€™s beach in Brooklyn, New York.
88 GOOD Jan/Feb 09 Living
PHOTO Vincent Laforet/Polaris
89 good.is/ planet
The Rise of the Global Middle Class America has had the biggest demand in the global economy for so long that we can’t remember what it was like when that wasn’t the case. But that’s all about to change. by Thomas P. M. Barnett
I’ll let you in on a little secret about globalization:
It is demand that determines power, not supply. Consumption is king; everybody else serves at will. So it ain’t about who’s got the biggest military complex but who’s got the biggest middle class. Everybody’s got the dream. What matters is who can pay for it. For as long as we can remember, that’s been America—the consumer around which the entire global economy revolved. What’s it like to be the global demand center? The world revolves around your needs, your desires, and your ambitions. Your favorite stories become the world’s most popular entertainment. Your fears become the dominant political issues. You are the E. F. Hutton of consumption: When you talk, everybody listens. That was the role the Boomers played for decades in America and—by extension—around the world through their unprecedented purchasing power. But that dominance is nearing an end. In coming decades, it won’t belong to Americans, but to Asians. So say hello to your new master, corpo-
BIO Thomas P. M. Barnett is a policy
Powers: America and the World After Bush, is
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
and foreign-affairs expert and a contribut-
forthcoming. He wrote about Obama’s and
ing editor at Esquire. His new book, Great
McCain’s foreign-policy in GOOD 013.
rate America: Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Chindia. The rise of the Asian middle class, a binary system centered in China and India, alters the very gravity of the global economy. The vast sucking sound you hear is not American jobs going overseas, but damn near every natural resource being drawn into Asia’s yawning maw. Achieving middle-class status means shifting from needs to wants, so Asia’s rise means that Asia’s wants will determine our planet’s future—perhaps its very survival. And as any environmentalist with a calculator knows, it isn’t possible for China and India to replicate the West’s consumption model, so however this plays out,
The vast sucking sound you hear is not American jobs going overseas, but damn near every natural resource being drawn into Asia’s yawning maw. the world must learn to live with their translation of the American dream. As for the new middle class’s relative size, think bread truck, not breadbasket: Over the next couple of decades, the percent of the world’s population that can be considered middle class, judging by purchasing power, will almost double, from just over a quarter of the population to more like half. The bulk of this increase will occur in China and India, where the percentage shifts will be similar. So if we round off China and India today as having 2.5 billion people, then their middle class will jump in numerical size from being roughly equivalent to the population of North America or the European Union to being their combined total. No, it won’t be your father’s middle class—not at first. Much of that Asian wave now crests at a household income level that most Americans would associate with the working poor, but it will grow into solid middle-class status over the coming years through urbanization and job migration from manufacturing to services. And for global companies that thrive on selling to the middle class, this is already where all the sales growth is occurring, and it’s only going to get bigger. As far as global business is concerned, there is no sweeter spot than an emerging demand center, because we’re talking about an entire generation in need of branding—more than 500 million teenagers looking to forge consumer identities. There are also essentially two unknowable wild cards associated with the rise of China’s and India’s
middle classes: First, how can they achieve an acceptable standard of living without replicating the West’s resource-wasteful version? And second, what would happen if that middle-class lifestyle was suddenly threatened or even reversed? The planet must have an answer to the first question, even as it hopes to avoid ever addressing the second. Here’s where those two fears may converge: As their income rises, their diets change. Not just taking in more food, but far more resourceintensive food, like dairy and meat. Right now, China imports vast amounts of food and India is just barely self-sufficient in the all-important grains category. Both are likely to suffer losses in agricultural production in coming years and decades, thanks to global warming, just as internal demand balloons with that middle class. Meanwhile, roughly one-third of world’s advancedlifestyle afflictions—like diabetes or cancer—will be found in China and India by 2030. Toss in the fact that much of the population lives along the low-lying coasts, and our notional middle-class couple could eventually cast the deciding global votes on the issue of whether or not global warming is worth addressing aggressively. Whoever captures the middle-class flag in coming years will have to possess the soft power necessary to shape globalization’s soul in this century, because humanity’s very survival depends on our generation’s ability to channel today’s rising social anger into a lengthy period of social reform. This era’s global capitalism must first be shamed (populism) and then tamed (progressivism), just as America’s rapacious version was more than a century ago. Today’s global financial crisis simply marks the opening bell in a worldwide fight that is destined to go many rounds.
91 good.is/ planet
Unfree Market In 2008, trafficking of the world’s 27 million slaves made up the third-most-profitable criminal enterprise. Here’s what the $40billion industry looks like. by Luke O’Brien
The United States abolished slavery in 1865.
Now, every country in the world has outlawed the practice. But you’d be mistaken to think that humankind had left the “peculiar institution” in its past. Slavery endures. And not just in isolated incidents or far-flung corners of the globe. Today, it happens as ecumenically as it did in the Old Testament, which is to say often and everywhere.
As many as 17,500 people are brought into the United States as slaves every year. Though the practice occurs in many cities and towns, Immokalee, Florida, has become a flash point for the battle against agricultural slavery. There, crew bosses from local farms trick migrant workers into picking tomatoes and other crops, then deprive them of a living wage. Beatings and death threats are normal.
Around 300,000 children are enslaved in Haiti as restavecs, or household servants. Here, poor single mothers give up their children to middle-class families for the promise of a better life. Restavecs, who might start working 20-hour days at age 6, are discarded as soon as they get pregnant or become too physically imposing.
Many slaves here work in the illegal gold-mining industry. Bosses lure unemployed men to distant sites in the jungle, and once they arrive, the money vanishes and the guns come out. The good news? The president of neighboring Brazil has new laws in place that set the standard for the region. In Brazil, 6,000 slaves are freed every year.
Europe is a major destination for women sold into the sex trade. But other types of slavery exist here, as well. Africans, particularly Nigerians, are forced to work in the agriculture and service sectors. And large numbers of Chinese are brought in for various purposes, among them garmentindustry jobs.
Slave brokers troll the destitute villages of West Africa for children they can take to Yeji, a fishing area around Ghana’s Lake Volta where atrocities are common. The slaves wake up before dawn and fish into the night. Overseers attach weights to the children’s ankles to help them drop to the lakebed and untangle nets, a practice which often results in drowning.
There are around 18 million slaves in Nepal, Pakistan, and India, more than anywhere else in the world. The worst offender is India, where slavery usually takes the form of hereditary debt bondage, a situation in which people are born into slavery after inheriting their parents’ debt. They work in agriculture and produce goods like rugby and soccer balls for Western consumers. In the north, hundreds of thousands of child slaves weave carpets for the global market.
Japan’s booming sex industry makes it the biggest user of slave labor among rich nations. An estimated 50,000 women are shipped into the country each year, from Thailand, the Philippines, China, and other parts of Asia. Many enter the country legally on “entertainment visas” that government says it has been regulating more tightly.
BIO Luke O’Brien is a writer based in
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
Washington, D.C. He wrote about the clothing
company Nau in GOOD Business .
Intercontinental Breakfast Whether they prefer hotcakes or muesli, crumpets or chile quiles, everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We invited people around the world to take photos of their morning meals and upload them to our Flickr group. Here are some of the highlights.
2009 list NOW WHAT See more and add your own breakfast online at
good.is/NOWWHAT Quick! Here are five things you will only be able to do this year.
1 Witness the first-ever inaugural
address by an African-American U.S. president. SAN FRANCISCO • Willetling
2 Rally outside the climate-change
conference in Copenhagen, starting November 30. 3 Pretend you care about the
SAO PÁULO, BRAZIL • Giutatini
cosmos in honor of the U.N.declared International Year of Astronomy. Los Angeles • Willetling
4 Read about how successful the
new meningitis vaccine has been in Africa (knock on wood). 5 See the nearly extinct kiwi, Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC • Emillette
Austin, TEXAS • Brobosky
manatee, or African penguin in the wild before they’re relegated to the sad life of a zoo animal.
NOW WHAT Tell us what else you’re looking forward to doing Berlin • Somewhat Frank
Raleigh, NORTH CAROLINA • Saucebomb
only in 2009 at good.is/NOWWHAT 93 good.is/ planet
GOOD PROJECT 26
Project no. 14: Nominees, Please THE ASSIGNMENT:
Sometimes, a hero’s work goes without praise.
Nominate someone for the GOOD 100.
But here at good, we think that’s a shame. We think that the people who are making strides toward excellence deserve a pat on the back and a round of applause. And we think that you deserve to know about them. Beginning this year, we’re assembling an annual list of people, businesses, and institutions driving change in the world, and we’re calling it the good 100. But in order to put it together, we need your help. We want you to let us know about someone—in your community or anywhere on earth—who is making the world a better place. Do it by any means necessary. Write an essay. Snap a photo. Shoot a video. Build a sculpture. Just find a creative way to nominate someone for the good 100, and send that entry to projects@ goodmagazine.com.
good project An experiment in large-scale,
GOOD Jan/Feb 09
open source creativity
THE REQUIREMENTS: A photo, an email, a video, or all three.
THE DETAILS: good.is/project
WATCH: One nominee will be featured on a special episode of GOOD News, sponsored by Lexus. Watch at
For Project no.13, “What’s Your Reason?,” we asked you to take photos of yourselves that offered simple, honest explanations of why you chose to vote in November. We received photos from all over the country— and even beyond. Here are few great reasons. Edward Hammer
GOOD Magazine ISSUE 014 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 (ISSN 1935–1488) is published bi-monthly for $20 per year by GOOD Worldwide 6824 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles CA 90038–3304 Periodicals Postage Paid at Los Angeles, CA and at additional Mailing Office. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: GOOD Magazine PO Box 5791 Harlan IA 51593–1291