Stories to give you Positive Energy

To make the world a better and safer place we must generate positive energy. This is another round of amazing news stories that tell us in what direction the future is moving. I congratulate these countries and communities for their sustainable goals and effort. This is my occasional series on great news stories.  Renewable energy, managing trash and gender equality are some of the positive energy stories of the past week!

1. In September Kenya is going to ban plastic bags. Read about Kenya here.  

2. Georgetown, Texas, a conservative town in oil country is fueled by wind. Wind power saves them money over oil energy.  Read about it at Georgetown

3 Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Nordic nation’s government said on International Women’s Day. Read about it at Iceland

4. The United States installed a record-smashing 14,762 Megawatts (MW) of solar power in 2016 — a 97 percent jump over 2015, according to data just released. For the first time ever, solar was the number one source of new generating capacity, beating out wind and gas. Read about it at solar power.

5. A water wheel is cleaning up Baltimore’s harbor picking up plastic and other trash. Read at Baltimore

6. Sweden is on target to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2040. An amazing goal for this dark northern country. Read about at Sweden.

What sustainable exciting things are happening in your community?

 

“I have NO hope!”

A strategy needs to be something that can be sustained!” President Obama on fighting ISIS

How are we as a society failing our twenty-some year old young men? The shooters in San Bernardino were living the life the men I talk about below wanted.  Where can we find a life of hope and purpose for these young men? How can they be encouraged to connect to the world around them?

This is a blog I wrote after the Paris terror attack:

Today I am writing about the young men I met on a recent trip, and I am calling on the wealthy, big corporations, the United Nations, and the World Bank to help them by creating jobs.

The Macedonian flag
The Macedonian flag

My husband and I have just returned from Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia.  In the past few years we have also travelled independently to Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and other Eastern European countries.  These countries are democracies, but are still struggling after Soviet domination for many years. The message we hear from the frustrated twenty-some men is, “We have NO hope!” These English-speaking locals approach us as we wait for buses, ride ferries, trains, or are looking at a map on the street.  Unemployment is very high and most we talk to are unemployed or a few are in a low wage jobs.  They have no confidence in their governments, and feel hopeless about their futures  They say they have to pay bribes to get jobs, and to get into the military.  Some of these young men are Muslims, and some are Orthodox Christians.  They think the only solution is to move to Western Europe, Canada or the United States. What is upsetting is the place and time and people change in these discussions, but their message stays the same!  I need to leave to find a better life!

Their frustrations are so enormous that it frightens me they will take any avenue to escape their situation.   Clearly, the answer is not with their governments.  Kosovo can’t account for all the funds NATO has given them to rebuild from their recent war.

The solution needs to exist inside their own countries. If companies are looking to expand, don’t forget Eastern Europe.  Large corporations expanding and creating jobs in these countries could make a big difference! The men we speak to appear to be educated and have good communication skills, and say they are willing to work hard.

It is such a waste of human energy to have energetic minds struggling for a future! The roots of terrorism are very complicated and my ideas are simplistic, but how can these individuals feel they are important, that their lives matter, and that they can contribute worthwhile things to society? What are some sustainable jobs and industries NGOs or private business can start or create in Eastern Europe?

After a soccer win, Albanians adorned with excitement and their flag.
After a soccer win, Albanians adorned with excitement and their flag.

Much needs to be done, but as I ride buses through the countryside these are the things that could be win-win for Europe and the entire world:

  1. Solar is a natural for this area.  Wealthier areas have solar water heaters.
  2. Recycling is lacking and plastic litter is an enormous problem.  How could these plastic bottles and bags be made valuable?
  3. ECO Tourism.  Albania is on the Adriatic Sea and the ancient and historic sites make for some fabulous tourist attractions.

Below is a solar water heater:
image

http://infodev.org/publications/green-industries

http://ecowatch.com/2015/11/17/apple-solar-singapore/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=ab7bbc7486-Top_News_11_17_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-ab7bbc7486-85912169

http://undesadspd.org/Youth.aspx

You ask me, “Where are the girls and women?” I can’t answer that question.  Sometimes on the street you see a hundred men to one woman.  Some women do have jobs, and girls are going to school, but overall this is a place where the men seem to dominate.