Inner City Environment

Mind the Gap:Richest one per cent ‘as rich as the poorest 57 per cent combined’

Wealth inequality has grown to the stage where 62 of the world’s richest people own as much as the poorest half of humanity combined.The research, conducted by the charity Oxfam, found that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population – 3.6 billion people – has fallen by 41 per cent, or a trillion US dollars, since 2010.

While this group has become poorer, the wealth of the richest 62 people on the planet has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.

In 2011 388 people had the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity. In 2011 this fell to 177. The number has continued to fall each year to 80 in 2014 and 62 in 2015.

The research was released days ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s elite in Davos for the World Economic Forum 2016.

Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring said a crackdown on global tax havens was a necessary step towards ending the rampant global inequality.

“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single coach,” he said.

Infographic-Billionaires-WEalth.jpg

“World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.

“We need to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore.

“Tackling the veil of secrecy surrounding the UK’s network of tax havens would be a big step towards ending extreme inequality. Three years after he made his promise to make tax dodgers ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, it is time for David Cameron to deliver.”

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Solar energy jobs double in five years

The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields.

The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C.. The group is not funded by solar companies.

In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low.

There are about 209,000 solar energy employees in the U.S. They include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales folks and managers.

Today, the solar industry workforce is bigger than that of oil and gas construction, and nearly three times the size of the entire coal mining workforce.

“The companies we’re working with are begging to fill the [job] slots they have because they’re growing so much,” says Chris Gorrie, campus president of the Ecotech Institute, a for-profit job training center for solar and renewable energy in Aurora, Co.

Businesses Can Drive the Transition to a Sustainable Economy

With the historic climate change agreement endorsed by nearly 200 nations last month in Paris, which OdikaOdi attended as spectators,the focus on sustainability across the globe has never been stronger. We all should be encouraged by the willingness of world leaders to make commitments for action on climate change.

Even with this landmark accord, climate change isn’t something governments alone can address. As leaders from across society gather in Davos, Switzerland, next week for the World Economic Forum annual meeting, it’s essential that businesses also play a key role in creating a sustainable planet for generations to come.

Business leaders recognize this responsibility, as evidenced by the commitments President Obama has secured from 154 U.S. companies, most with global footprints, for the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Within the business community, the financial services sector is in a unique position to help achieve climate change goals. By providing the necessary financial and intellectual capital, they can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

It is the mission of OdikaOdi to bring this new thinking to Africa via Nigeria. Africa needs to Change its thinking if it is to change its destiny.

Wind Poswer
Carbon Footprint A Wind Farm in the Gobi Desert

12 Quotes That Will Make You Question Everything About Our World

It’s 2016, and across the globe we are seeing indigenous elders from various locations on the planet coming forward to share wisdom that is so desperately needed. All of us who live on the planet are feeling the heat as we recognize that the time for change is now, and that this window of opportunity won’t be open forever.

Not long ago, Indigenous Elders and Medicine People of North and South America came together in South Dakota to deliver a fundamental message to humanity and the Earth:

We are part of Creation, thus, if we break the laws of Creation we destroy ourselves. We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here. Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life. – Chief Looking Horse (source)

The world is in great need of this kind of wisdom. Our knowledge of and respect for the natural world have been greatly diminished over time, but the pendulum seems to be, slowly, shifting in the other direction now. Many people are starting to wake up, to pay attention to what is really happening on our planet, and to express their desire for change.

Luther Standing Bear

Luther Standing bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who lived before and during the arrival of European pioneers, at a time when, arguably, the greatest genocide in human history was taking place. You can read more about that here. He was born as ‘Ota Kte’ in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and was one of the first students to attend the Carlisle Indian School of Pennsylvania. After that, he toured with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, entered into the world of acting in California, and spent his life fighting to improve conditions for Indians on American reservations. He wrote several books about Indian life life and governmental policy.

  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, nor in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause of giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation. (source)
  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakota come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue. (source)
  • The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence. (source)
  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangles growth, as ‘wild.’ Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild animals’ and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it ‘wild’ for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was for us that the ‘Wild West’ began. (source)
  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’ Also in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death, or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than the words was silence with the Lakota and his strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given another fallacious characterization by the white man – that of being a stoic. He has been adjudged dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling. As a matter of truth, he was the most sympathetic of men, but his emotions of depth and sincerity were tempered with control. Silence meant to the Lakota what it meant to Disraeli when he said, ‘Silence is the mother of truth,’ for the silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously. (source)
  • Children were taught the rules of woyuonihan and that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and an older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured one. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right. (source)
  • The concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. (source)
  • The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. In spirit, the Lakota was humble and meek. ‘Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth,’ was true for the Lakota, and from the earth he inherited secrets long since forgotten. (source)
  • In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand on the ground and explain: ‘We sit in the lap of our Mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We shall soon pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever. So we, too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of life about us in its multitude of forms. Sometimes we boys would sit motionless and watch the swallow, the tiny ants, or perhaps some small animal at its work and ponder on its industry and ingenuity; or we lay on our backs and looked long at the sky and when the stars came out made shapes from the various groups. (source)
  • The contemplative and spiritual side of Lakota life was calm and dignified, undisrupted by religious quarrels and wars that turned man against man and even man against animal. Not until a European faith came was it taught that not life on earth but only life after death was to be glorified; and not until the native man forsook the faith of his forefathers did he learn of Satan and Hell. Furthermore, until that time he had no reason to think otherwise than that the directing and protecting guidance of the Great Mystery was as potent on this side of the world as on the other. (source)
  • The Lakota . . . loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing with us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint. Even the lightening did us no harm, for whenever it came too close, mothers and grandmothers in every tipi put cedar leaves on the coals and their magic kept danger away. Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery. (source)01ageold

What is the impact of sea pollution on marine Life #OKOEducate :Get the full picture

A comprehensive assessment of trash on marine wildlife:

There is a vast sea of trash in our oceans. For the first time, we now have a comprehensive picture of the toll it is taking on seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

A new study in Marine Policy
by scientists at Ocean Conservancy and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) mapped impacts ranging from entanglement, ingestion and chemical contamination of the 20 most commonly found ocean debris like fishing gear, balloons, plastic bottles and bags and a range of other plastic garbage found regularly in the ocean. Our research was based on elicitation, a widely-used technique to rigorously quantify the professional judgement of a community of experts, representing 19 fields of study.

The Results

  • Lost or abandoned fishing gear like nets, lines, traps and buoys pose the greatest overall threat to all types of marine wildlife, primarily through entanglement.
  • Consumer plastics were not far behind. Plastic bags emerged as the second most impactful item for marine wildlife. Plastic cutlery also was highly impactful. Experts highlighted the tendency of animals like sea turtles to mistake these items for food and eat them.
  • Paper bags and glass bottles were assessed to be the most benign marine debris.

Seeking Solutions

This study underscores the need to go beyond a product-by-product approach to reducing plastics impacts in the ocean. Consider the sheer volume of it &mdash upwards of 8 million tons each year flow into the ocean according to a report from earlier this year.

The biggest takeaway from our report is that our strategies must encompass regional improvement in waste management systems and global changes in policy as well as local actions like changing consumer behavior and eliminating particularly problematic products. And much like the findings from our study, no single entity alone can solve our ocean plastics problem. It requires collective action from individuals and NGOs, to governments and the private sector to stem the tide of plastics from entering the ocean in the first place.

What We’re Doing

For the past three decades, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has documented the most persistent and proliferating forms of ocean trash on beaches and in waterways around the world. Without fail, the most common items encountered year after year are those disposable plastics we use in our everyday lives &mdash like plastic bags, beverage bottles and food wrappers.

We are working hard to solve this problem. We are a proud and active member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, an innovative approach to confronting the threat of derelict fishing gear on marine species.

And Ocean Conservancy is also leading a powerful alliance to unite industry, science and conservation leaders under a common goal for a healthy ocean free of trash. Members of the Trash Free Seas Alliance® are working together to confront plastic inputs from the regions that matter most while they seek to reduce and reinvent products and services that damage ocean wildlife or ecosystems.#01Sea

Paper-thin printed solar cells could revolutionise power supply across Africa

solar-2-537x415The cost of solar power has declined dramatically over the past few decades, from $40 per watt in 1977 to $0.74 per watt in 2013. This trend is expected to accelerate as improvements in efficiency and new technologies come online. T

his is good news for citizens of developed countries who want to make the switch to a cleaner and increasingly cheaper energy source.

The shift to solar may be most dramatic for those living in developing countries. Thanks to inexpensive printed solar cells, 1.3 billion people currently without electricity may be able to plug in for the first time.

The entrepreneur behind the schoolbag that transforms into a light at night

When South African childhood friends and later entrepreneurs Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane finished high school, they knew they wanted to start something that impacted young people and underprivileged communities. At age 18, they founded Rethaka, a social enterprise they hoped would do just that, although it would be two years before they figured out how.

Thato Kgatlhanye

“Yes, it is a bit funny that you would register a business without a business idea,” notes Kgatlhanye. “But at the heart of it we actually wanted to do great things. And when the idea of the Repurpose Schoolbags came to us, we worked on it tirelessly.”

Repurpose Schoolbags is an environmentally-friendly innovation made from ‘upcycled’ plastic shopping bags with built-in solar technology that charges up during the day and transforms into a light at night. The initiative targets school children in underprivileged communities and looks at addressing a number of problems.

Firstly, the bags allow them to study after dark in homes without electricity. Secondly, the bags are designed with reflective material, so that children are visible to traffic during their walk to and from school.

The production of Repurpose Schoolbags also involves the collection and recycling of plastic bags that typically litter the South African landscape.

Introducing a sustainable solution

The first eight months of last year were spent piloting the schoolbags, followed by producing 1,000 bags from August to December.

The company currently has eight full-time employees in their factory in Rustenburg, but Kgatlhanye says they will employ an additional 12 people this year in order to meet their production target of 10,000 bags for 2015.

One of the ways the initiative gets its schoolbags to these children is through targeting corporate social investment budgets where companies can sponsor the production of bags. Each bag costs R250 (US$20), and covers the cost of employee wages and production, so the initiative can remain sustainable and continue to grow.

Another model is to produce bags for delegate packs at corporate events where delegates can then choose to give the bag to underprivileged children after events. The company has already gained some major clients, including the likes of Standard Bank and PwC.

According to Kgatlhanye, there is room to develop additional products along the same idea, such as raincoats. However, she added this is something the team will think about at a later stage, as they are still trying to ramp-up production of the schoolbags and expand to other communities.

More ‘social’ than ‘entrepreneur’

While the co-founders (now both 22) have to think like entrepreneurs to ensure the business remains sustainable, Kgatlhanye says becoming an entrepreneur was almost a by-product of Repurpose Schoolbags. She admits that as a kid she never dreamed of owning her own business. “That is not my story.”

However, from a young age she did realise she wanted to have a positive impact on the society that surrounded her, a trait she owes to her upbringing and particularly her mother.

“My mom cares about people like you wouldn’t imagine… so I grew up in an environment where I was always conscious of actually caring for other people and having a sense of empathy,” she says.

“And thank God I had that upbringing – where I could understand there are people out there that don’t have as much as I do. And that if I find creative ideas on how to give them what it is they need, then we could both be fine… and brave the world [together].”

Alternative sources of funding

Kgatlhanye describes her business journey as “instinctive” and has learnt some great tips that can help young entrepreneurs grow their business without capital.

For starters, she believes there are alternatives for funding that don’t require involving investors, with the trade off of giving away equity in the business. For example, Kgatlhanye has benefited from a number of mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes.

She was selected for an internship in New York with marketing guru and American best-selling author Seth Godin, and was picked as one of 18 South African social entrepreneurs to attend the 10-day Red Bull Amaphiko Academy last year. Furthermore, she was also selected as the 2014 first runner-up of the Anzisha Prize, where she won $15,000.

“My advice is simple: bootstrap and find competitions to enter your business idea into,” she highlighted during an online Q&A session on the Anzisha Prize’s Facebook page earlier this year.

“Firstly, it is a great way to get free business support and advice. Secondly it’s a great networking opportunity to meet high-profile business people – who usually judge these competitions – and potentially get mentorship from them. Finally, if you end up a winner, you will not only get a cash prize but also get some PR out of it.”

However, most importantly, Kgatlhanye advises young entrepreneurs to trust their gut and admits that she has decided to lose mentors in the past simply because they shared different visions.

Separating business and friendship

As friends, Kgatlhanye and Ngwane have managed to work well as business partners. But for many, going into business with a friend has led to the death of a friendship.

“One thing that’s key is when you form a business partnership with your friend, act as though you met that person that day,” noted Kgatlhanye.

“So you can’t say because you’ve known your friend since grade 4, you’ll work well together in business. No – you have known them since you decided to start a company together. So get to know your business partner as a business partner, not as a friend, because business and friendship is a different ball game.”

Another trick that proved beneficial for the co-founders was to get a business coach to help them get comfortable in their business relationship.

“And I think that’s the best advice. Get a business coach, be honest, leave the ego at the door and hustle.”

The Anzisha Prize is the premier award for African entrepreneurs aged 15-22 who have developed and implemented innovative businesses or solutions that have a positive impact on their communities. Follow The Anzisha Prize onTwitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Start-up snapshot: ‘Biofueling’ change in Nigeria with clean energy cooking

Femi-Oye-200x240-1Green Energy & Biofuels is a Nigerian based eco-friendly company, officially founded at the beginning of 2013, that aims to end kerosene usage. It manufactures cook stoves and a cooking biofuel gel, made from waste products such as sawdust and hyacinth.

How we made it in Africa spoke to the start-up’s founder, Femi Oye, about his business model and some of the lessons he has learnt as an entrepreneur.  

1. How did you finance your start-up?

Starting out was chaotic. To be great, you need to start with a bold idea while keeping a clear vision of the future in your head. I started with my savings, which were only US$500. It was hopelessly too little. So I joined a MLM, a multi-level marketing company and in 12 months, I was able to raise more than $50,000, enough to start my dream business.

The next challenge was to grow and expand the business. I participated in accelerator programmes and business plan competitions. I also began writing grant applications and making presentations to investors, highlighting my great products. And more than $2 million has been raised through those efforts, always stressing favourable social impacts.

2. If you were given $1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

Directly into expanding our ongoing modular micro bio-refinery plants in Africa. An additional $2.5m will be matched to install a cellulosic second-generation bioethanol plant that will produce additional 500,000 gallons of biofuel per year. An investment capable of generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of 17% by the company’s anniversary.

3. What risks does your business face?

The greatest and wildest risk to our kind of business is innovation, and the second is change. We operate in an infantile but disruptive technological space. The rules and game keep changing every nanosecond. So to continue to win and evolve, we must keep innovating, and develop a strong and motivated team.

Competition can be fought, government policy and regulation can be complied with, but embracing change is dogma itself.

4. So far, what has proven the most successful form of marketing?

Success in effective adoption of renewable energy products in a developing nation is largely based on market education, engagement and rewarding incentives. We engage a network marketing distribution model.

What we have done is to allow customer-participatory organic growth integration, then drive the adoption while investing in training, support materials, and incentivising our green entrepreneurs. We decided to segment and rely on a social one-on-one referral introduction of our products to the customers, and have focused on allowing one person to introduce our biogel and stove to another, thereby giving power to the people.

Meanwhile, we continue to provide support, training and education, incentives and leadership as the organisation expands and grows.

We observed that when peer-recommended, people will continue to use the product and will either re-order more from the same friend, or simply become a distributor themselves. We have a mentor-driven network marketing model for distributing the products to the last-mile users. In the past three years, our distribution agents have soared to 22,000 and the number continues to climb.

Since Nigeria is a huge market, we were careful not to sell a clean cook stove to customers we cannot support through our fuel distribution network. Our social marketing model helps ensure we deliver our products effectively at the lowest cost possible. Cook stove entrepreneurs sign up distributors and educate our target market. Entrepreneurs receive compensation as a share of the total sales generated, and its equivalent carbon credit aggregate on a monthly basis.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

The life of an entrepreneur is filled with crises, chaos and celebrations. I have experienced each one at every stage of my life. For me, it’s the feeling that things are working out after all our invested energy, effort and expectations.

At a time, it was the thrill of selling the first bottle and cook stove to the first customer. While that lasts, there also came a desire to satisfy the needs of a fast-growing market.

Defining moments include the times we received praise from, and saw change in the lives of, female entrepreneurs. It’s gratifying to know how much of a difference a little product can make. Never mind lifting their incomes, it can help protect the health of women and reduce environmental pollution.

6. What has been your biggest mistake, and what have you learnt from it?

Surround yourself with great people – ignore naysayers and work with those who encourage you and remain positive all the way.

Look for mentors – if you don’t have one, find one. Success is unpredictable, sometimes it will come, other times not. And remember sole business owners also need a boss.

Build partnerships and networks. Sometimes the more you can do is all you can do. To succeed beyond your imagination is worth more than the words of validators and the quality of endorsements.

The sum of your life depends largely on co-operation with the alliances you are able to form.

c2015 OdikaOdi: supported by: 2020VA:NNEC

OdikaOdi and sasrai Movement Partner to Advocate for Climate Action at UNEP

OdikaOdi Executive announced yesterday that the NGO has entered into a strategic partnership with Sasrai Movement, based in Bangladesh, to advance and promote the Climate Change / Action Agenda at UNEP level.

During talks between OdikaOdie’s President Nnamdi Chukwu and the Farid Uddin Akhter  Secretariat In-charge Sasrai-Movement it was agreed that the two organisations would share resource and assist each other where appropriate in the their individual and collective efforts at UN level to advance the Environment / Climate Change agenda.

Sasrai-Movement  has worked voluntarily since 2004 across the globe in promoting sustainable consumption and conservation, and optimum use of resources.

Mr Farid Akhter commented that he looked forward to a constructive exchange of ideas between the two organisations given that the Sasrai- Movements long term goal to mobilise each individual, family, community and institution  to Combat Climate Change, global-warming ,food, fuel and water poverty. was totally in line with those of OdikaOdi.

OYA: ODIKAODI YOUTH ACADEMY

!!!oya2Reporting today from Odikaodi’s HQ  in Umuahia Nigeria Executive Director(ED)Emmanuel Ugochukwu announced today the launch of the NGO’s latest initiative which is to be called OYA  -Odikaodi Youth Academy.

The Academy will focus on Personal Development and Business Development.

Mr Ugochukwu went on to say, “The Academy is setting it self a very challenging target of incubating and launching 100 start-ups by the year 2020.This means that we need to assist 25 members a year between now an the year 2020 to take their business idea to launch. We also plan on helping members of OYA to source seed capital and where consistent with  he NGOs strategic aims will partner with our members in their business ideas”

If you have a business idea that you would like considered for incubating make contact now via In-Box or email:odikaodi.info@gmail.com