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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


November is Native American Heritage Month NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.gov lists celebrations.


Reef Requiem World’s Coral in Dire Peril


The world’s coral reefs are dying. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see the draining of color that results when the corals, stressed by heat due to global warming, expel the algae they rely upon for food that also provides their signature hues. It’s a death knell as well for reef fish. Reefs have always grappled with


destructive fishing practices, sediment and nutrient runoff, coral mining, tour- ism and coastal development. Scientists say the bleaching process is now accel- erating. The World Resources Institute reports that nearly three-quarters of all ocean reefs are at risk of extreme degradation, on top of the 20 percent already lost or damaged beyond repair. Oceanographers think that all reefs will be at risk by 2050 because of increas-


sOccket to Me A Powerful Plaything


Two Harvard undergradu- ate students, Julia Silverman and Jessica Matthews, have come up with a way to har- ness the kinetic energy of a moving soccer ball and store it as electric current in a battery inside the ball. The invention, called


ingly acidified seas, the result of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Coral


reefs, cover- ing less than 1 percent of the ocean floor, harbor 25 percent of the ocean’s biodiversity and are home to more than 4,000 species of fish. In developing countries, reefs ac- count for nearly 25 percent of all fish- ing areas, feeding millions of people. Scientists stress that it is more im-


portant than ever to control manmade factors such as overfishing and pollu- tion to aid in corals’ survival.


Sources: The New York Times and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


sOccket, collects enough energy in 15 minutes of play to power a typical LED lamp for three hours. The device sports its own power outlet to retrieve the juice inside. Today’s sOccket is designed to last for a year or longer; researchers are studying its larger potential.


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Fairer Trade B Corps Aim to Right the System


Traditional business models have recently experienced many manmade traumas, including the housing/bank- ing industry collapse, world recession, nuclear pollution in Japan, the BP Gulf oil spill and the Massey Energy Compa- ny coal mining deaths in West Virginia. The conventional response is that smarter regulation is needed to prevent such crises in the future, but a grow- ing number of business analysts say the problems go deeper, and a new kind of corporate legal structure is needed that requires companies to operate for the good of society, not just for their shareholders. These new entities, called B Corporations (the B is for benefit), are growing in number, having been adopted so far in Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia.


According to B Lab, the nonprofit behind the concept, “Our vision is simple, yet ambitious: to create a new sector of the economy that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. It will be com- prised of a new type of corporation—the B Corporation—that meets rigorous and independent standards of social and en- vironmental performance, accountability and transparency.” Jay Coen Gilbert, a B Lab co-


founder, says, “We can’t have a new economy unless we have a new type of corporation. Corporate law actually works against sustainability.” Its certification effort helps consum- ers identify truly responsible companies. It also works with private equity inves- tors to help them make better-informed investment decisions. Ultimately, it is pushing for new laws to, “…redefine fiduciary duty and hold companies ac- countable to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, as measured by an independent, trans- parent, third-party standard.”


Source: GreenBiz.com


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