Monthly Archives: July 2012

Talking Our Way to a Better World

I think I’ve figured it out. The way to a more equal world for both men and women I mean. It’s really simple.

Talk. Then talk more. And keep talking!

And network, market, exchange ideas, information, maybe even recipes or photos, but keep communicating. Sometimes it’s at a networking meeting, sometimes it’s a conversation on an elevator. Sometimes it’s even via Facebook chat, or Skype, or Twitter. (Chellie Campbell, author of The Wealthy Spirit, had a great piece on the value of talking/networking recently.)

There are, always shocking to we women in the West, countries where women are not allowed to speak very much. I suspect, besides the myriad of political, cultural, religious and discriminatory reasons for this, there is another one lurking underneath, and that is that, when women start really talking and communicating, wow, can we get things done!

One of my favorite examples of what happens when women are empowered and speak out is very visible in this short video from The Hunger Project:

THP recently started a Cause on Facebook to encourage people to have one conversation about how empowering women can help end poverty. All you have to do to participate is talk.

I have to admit that sometimes talking and speaking out is a challenge for me. A lot of times I just assume that the people around me are on the same page as me, and it comes as a huge surprise when I suddenly discover they aren’t! I’m also shy, afraid of making mistakes, of looking like an idiot, of being hurt, all those and more. But watching the video of the woman above puts all those excuses into perspective.

And I took the THP pledge and have had several conversations already!

So, talk, talk more, and then talk some more!

Thanks for stopping by,

Heather McC

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Creativity as the Future of Work

With all the turmoil in the global job markets these days, one question is becoming more and more pressing for me and I suspect to many other people as well: what will the jobs of the future look like? (And concurrently, how can I ensure my employment security?)

The bad news is that, probably in less that 20 years, there won’t be “jobs” as we know them today. Instead, most of the rote, manual labor stuff will be performed by robots although probably overseen by humans for a while.

Where does that leave us? The one arena that robots will never be able to compete with humans is in something that we don’t always value much: Art, in all its many forms – dance, music, painting, sculpture, novels, poetry, song, architecture, design, woodworking – as well as Art applied to almost anything else you can think of – science, mathematics, physics.

In pockets of the developing world, whether by necessity or design,  some people seem to be leapfrogging the whole doomed, industrial-revolution thing altogether. How many of us have purchased beautiful crafts that are hand-made from a country in Latin America, Africa or Asia? We are supporting these creative women and men in their artistic endeavors in very poor societies. But, then we find ourselves needing a lamp and buying some generic product at Home Depot (yes, usually made in China, but which is also starting to see the need to move beyond sole reliance on Industrial Revolution-type economic models)!

I’ve been following a wonderful blog now for a few months focused on handmade goods from all over, and tying that focus into a sustainable living context. Besides being sustainable, environmental, socially responsible, and fashionable, komai-co.com, is also just very cool.

They have recently wrapped up a trip to several countries across two continents with fabulous results:

One thing we might have to get used to here in the “developed” world is that our lead in all sorts of creativity is going to get intensively challenged. That’s okay by me — one strict rule about creativity is that the more the better!

So what is your art? What makes your heart sing?

Thanks for stopping by,

Heather McC

PS. In defense of us developed-world types, there are some signs of hope especially in the Maker Faires, bespoke and crafting movements which are making great progress in moving the generic, mass-produced stuff off to the side. See Etsy.com, etc..!

Getting Connected to Everyone Everywhere in the World

How connected are you? If you’re like me, you might often feel you’re too connected and should probably just step away from the phone, smart phone, computer, tablet device, etc., etc… and take a nice long technology-free walk.

But I also have no desire to give up these ever-increasing connections. I get to chat with people all over the planet instantly. I can browse news from journalists far and wide, and sometimes find out things even before the networks in the U.S. catch on. And I can watch videos, read stories, hear music and learn new things from friends, and sometimes people I’ve never even met from places near, far and in-between.

I’m also pretty sure that the faster we all get connected, the faster we can solve the world’s problems because two heads are always better than one, and well, if seven billion of us can really collaborate and put our brains together, we might actually figure out some stuff. (Okay, it’s probably going to be the kids because they are already showing up the adults in way too many ways but at least we adults could help them out a little!)

However, although we are seemingly bolting as fast as we can towards that goal of 100% internet connection throughout the planet, there are still many places where people don’t have access.

One country that is making great progress but still has a good distance to go is the Philippines. Just a few years ago in 2007, according to the World Bank, only 6% of the population had access to the web. The latest figure is close to 33% (with 27% also being connected to Facebook!) but, especially in rural areas, there’s still a lot to be done.

Because internet connection is seen as a need but not a basic one (and also because telecommunication companies are already doing their darndest to get into these new markets) there aren’t a lot of obvious ways to “give” the internet though doing so can have a huge and positive impact on people’s lives.

So I checked instead with Kiva and found a businesswoman in the Philippines who wants to expand her internet cafe helping people in her rural community. I’ve added my little bit now and, fingers crossed, if she gets the loan, maybe we’ll have a few more people on board to help out on solving some of the big issues we’re all facing!

Thanks for stopping by,

Heather McC

PS. Great recent piece here on exactly how telecoms infrastructure is driving new growth in Africa.