20 December 2014

An Introduction to Charity:Water

Scott Harrison grew up in a family touched by tragedy. His mother suffered carbon monoxide poisoning when he was very young, and this left her disabled and unable to participate in his childhood. He describes himself as having been a "good boy" until he reached adulthood, at which time he took a walk on the wild side, so to speak. Days and nights spent in drunken debauchery left him feeling unfulfilled, and so he seems to have had some sort of return to his religious roots. Key in this was a commitment to fight poverty, and a trip to Africa led him to found Charity: Water.

In the following video from 2012, Scott describes in detail how charity: water came about and what it's doing to provide clean drinking water to people around the world. There are some pretty grim scenes in this video, so consider yourself warned. Watch it anyway.

The video is a little long, and I realize that, but I hope you make some time to watch it through. Whether you do or don't, take a look at the article below.

The Woman Who Fell Down the Well

Perhaps you don't feel like watching a video or reading an article. Fair enough. What follows is a short description of what Charity: Water is and does.
Charity: Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. We use 100% of public donations to directly fund sustainable water solutions in areas of greatest need. Right now, 800 million people on the planet don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water. That’s one in nine of us. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. Just $20 can give one person access to clean water.
This organization doesn't offer a one-size-fits-all approach to solving the world's problems. Instead, Charity: Water focuses on one issue -- clean drinking water -- and seeks approaches that fit unique situations. I hope to continue hearing good things out of this non-profit.

19 December 2014

Who to Follow on Twitter About Brazil

Sérgio Charlab regularly tweets Brazilian news, both in English and Portuguese. Now he's put together a couple of useful lists for those who want to follow the best sources of Brazil-related news.

The first is foreign correspondents who report on Brazil:
Foreign correspondents and journalists in Brazil. The most popular

The second is a list of who those foreign correspondents follow:
Foreign correspondents and journalists in Brazil. Which Brazilian related Twitter accounts they…
Several years ago I found it almost impossible to find news in English about Brazil. Now it abounds. I'm glad to see this rising economic power (setbacks aside) becoming more well-known around the world. There's more here than samba and beaches.

See Also:

18 December 2014

A Conversation on Brazilian Foreign Policy

The following is a long video, covering issues around Brazil's foreign policy. Very worthwhile for anyone looking for insight into how the current administration is approaching international relations.

16 December 2014

15 December 2014

Reclaiming the Jungle: Reviving Life in Downtown São Paulo

Though I have a certain admiration for many forms of street art, party culture has never been my "thing." Yet I have to say I appreciate the vibrancy and creativity of this ill-defined, seemingly amorphous movement that appears to be bringing fresh life to São Paulo's old city center.
O QUE É NOSSO - Reclaiming the Jungle from O QUE É NOSSO on Vimeo.

See Also:

14 December 2014

Faitheism & Values-Based Cooperation

There's no love lost between atheists and Christians, particularly in the United States. Evangelical Christians in particular see themselves as persecuted by the wider, unbelieving society, while I've found there to be striking experiences of exclusion and even aggression against atheists described within that community. I don't appreciate either Richard Dawkins' foot-in-mouth, tone-deaf comments or Hemant Mehta's seemingly constant posts and tweets about the absurdities of Christianity, nor do I care for the judgmental, even paranoid attitude of religious leaders and followers toward non-theists. More mutual understanding and cooperation is called for in our times.

Chris Stedman is an interfaith leader, author and humanist who is striving to bring people together around shared values instead of shared beliefs. Though I think the term "faitheist" is a little silly, the idea of working together for the greater good despite some significant differences is one that's sorely needed in an increasingly polarized society.

The Humanist Hour's interview with Chris Stedman below. Be sure to check out the other interviews as well. There's some great listening in there.

See Also: 
Reaching Out to the Non-Religious