the cost of climate change

Economists estimate the impact of climate change at 5 to 20 percent of global GDP. Five percent. Doesn't sound too bad, right?

This map, courtesy of FiveThirtyEight via Strange Maps, shows what the world would look like without the countries that make up the bottom 5% of global GDP. For the record, that's sixty-four countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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gays and gorillas

I finally got a chance to catch up on Google Reader today. Some things you should see:

  • Friend a Gorilla
    For one dollar a year, you can friend a gorilla through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
    "Anyone can be a friend of a gorilla or follow specific gorillas living the forest on Facebook or Twitter for a minimum donation of $1. You will get updates on your gorilla friend(s), including photos, videos, and GPS coordinates, all of which are gathered by actual trackers that visit the gorillas daily."

  • Ethiopia 2010: Here Comes Africa’s Festival of Electoral Fraud
    An overview of recent elections in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe, looking forward to Ethiopia.
    "The glimmer of hope shimmering in the Ghanaian experiment proves that multiparty democracy can be successfully instituted in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa, without bloodshed. Failure to do so may once again force Africans to prudently heed Victor Hugo’s admonition: 'When dictatorship is fact, revolution becomes a right.' If it gets to that point, it’s going to be a quagmire too difficult to get out of this time."

  • The 10,000 Hour Initiative
    Jon Gos at Appfrica is starting a program to support young programmers, bloggers and new media enthusiasts.
    "Instead of creating institutions from scratch that require enormous resources and high overhead (rent, security, staff etc) the 10,000 Hour Initiative would identify talented individuals and create co-working and co-learning spaces (dubbed 10K Spaces) for them at existing institutions and businesses. The program would allow youth to interact with other peers as well as trained professionals who could tutor and mentor them, helping them to improve their skills, while exposing them to new technologies, ideas and fields they may not have been aware of."

  • GV Uganda: Bloggers discuss anti-gay bill
    A new bill, currently tabled in the Uganda parliament, will increase penalties for homosexuality and add penalties for spreading information about homosexuality. Terrifying and sad. Haute Haiku covers bloggers' reactions for Global Voices.
    "Anengiyefa sees that Uganda has just seen hypocrisy of MPs who have unified and are ready to pass a law victimizing homosexuality in the name of morality: this beats the purpose why the system is so anxious to criminalize consensual sex amongst two adults of the same gender and omitting important issues like ethnic violence, tribalism, AIDS, child rape etc."

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I've been using Blogger for six years. It's seen me through angsty college musings, a public to-do list, the beginnings of a cooking blog, an ill-fated attempt at blogging in Russian, and an even iller-fated attempt at Rebekah auf Deutsch. Oh, and this here web log.

When I started blogging, didn't exist, and everyone I knew who wasn't using Xanga (cringe) or LiveJournal (ditto) was on Blogger. But as I've continued, more and more of my friends have defected, falling head over heels for WP's plugins and beautiful themes and shiny dashboards and seamless post tagging (Blogger was sadly late to the post categorization party) and integrated commenting (remember the days of Haloscan?).

To which my response has always been: bah humbug.

You see, I'm a bit of a Scrooge: I like Blogger. Specifically, I like the control it gives me over my template and the fact that I have this control absolutely free of charge.

But in the meantime I've grown up and moved to the Big City and somehow become editor and technical director of one of the best graduate school blogs on international affairs in the country. And we use WordPress.

And I like it.

A lot.

WordCampNYC – Nov 14-15Which is why I'm spending November 13 and 14 at WordCamp NYC, surrounded by WordPress lovers and their shiny, shiny dashboards.

If things go well (for the shiny dashboard people), I may even swaddle my precious Jackfruity baby in WordPress clothes.

Care to join me?

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(Belated) Blog Action Day: Climate Change

My post for last year's Blog Action Day on poverty focused on my friend Halle's fair trade organization in Uganda, One Mango Tree.

This year's topic is climate change, and I'm equally excited to talk about the work another of my friends is doing. For the last six weeks I've been working with Global Voices on a project with MS Action Aid Denmark called Global Change.

Global Voices has paired its own bloggers — myself included — with students in the Global Change course, who have been studying climate change and climate justice in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

I met Sarah through the project: she's a student in Copenhagen, and she's leaving in a few days for Kenya with some other Global Change-ers, where the group will continue their studies and, hopefully, bring back stories of how climate change is affecting people's lives there.

Today Sarah and her colleagues are in front of the Danish Parliament, where they're observing World Food Day by banging pots and pans to, in Sarah's words, "get the politicians to pay attention to the fact that 1 billion people are suffering from hunger right now."

It can be easy to forget that climate change is about more than trees and cuddly animals and fish swimming around in some distant ocean — all of which I care about, don't get me wrong (especially the cuddly animals). But climate change also has real, physical effects on humans: it's altering weather patterns in unpredictable ways, causing crops to fail for lack of rain in some places while floods wash away entire fields in others.

Climate change is one of the driving forces behind the world food crisis, which, as Sarah pointed out, affects a substantial portion of the world's population.

To sum up: Climate change. It's not just koalas.

Kudos to Sarah and the entire Global Change crew for realizing this.

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