There has been a marked rise in conscious business and now that needs support from conscious consumerism. It is wonderful that many more business are becoming socially responsible but there needs to be some acknowledgment of this from the wider corporate sector so that this can develop into something sustainable in the economy. There are 1,000 businesses around the world that are now classified as B Corporations that really promote sustainable, socially equitable and ethical behavior. They are very promising, but this trend cannot continue without the wider business community’s support. Right now the rest of the business community is stuck with conventional business models, which are not recognizing the huge, looming environment and social problems that await.
The things that these social enterprises or the B Corporations are helping on a micro scale, but cannot really be effective without support throughout the entire business community. Large scale change is the only thing that will address the crises that we are facing as a global community. However, it may not be the fault of those businesses that have not jumped on the B Corporations bandwagon yet. Really, business simply responds to consumer demands, so the real issues is getting consumers to be environmentally and socially conscious and demanding those products and services. It turns out that the Stanford Social Innovation review found that “consumers want to act green, but they expect businesses to lead the way.” So essentially, we have hit a chicken or egg situation. Who is going to act first? Business is waiting for consumer demand and consumers are waiting for business.
There are advantages for business like reducing pollution, waste and energy in order to be green. However, this requires some initial investment and it seems that many are not willing to take that leap. So really, this change overall must come from both the business and the consumer sectors. Someone must educate both consumers and enlighten the business community at the same time. There is mounting evidence that we need to change and a growing global consciousness of our human impact on the earth. Hopefully both consumers and businesses will realize that they need to change their ways before it is too late.
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Medicine has struggled to keep up with the amount of Alzheimer’s disease in this country and around the world. There is still no cure and very little medicine to reduce symptoms. Even more shocking is that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth largest killer in the United States. Fortunately, tech companies like Apple and Google have been working to create products and services that will keep patients with Alzheimer’s more comfortable and safe.
Google has been working with Google Glass so that it is useful for those affected by Alzheimer’s. The device will use facial recognition software to tell the patient who is in front of them by alerting them to their name and their relationship. Additionally the Glass device can give the patients reminders like when to take their medicine or when they have to go to the doctor. Glass, along with wearable devices can track Alzheimer’s patients and their movements throughout the house and beyond. If a patient wanders away, as is known to happen with over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, the wearable devices will indicate where they are.
In addition to health concerns and knowing who people are, tech experts have been working on therapeutic games. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is working with game developer Akili Interactive Labs to create and test a game called Project EVO for Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The point of the game is to keep up memory through therapeutic activities and it also tracks the development of the Alzheimer’s patients disease symptoms and how rapidly they changing. Pfizer is currently working on a clinical trial that will test 100 people both with and without brain plaque, one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s. They are looking to see whether Project EVO can be a biomarker for the disease. All of these companies are working to help those who are affected and offering solutions in the meantime while medical experts continue to search for the cause and cure for the disease.
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The most imminent threat facing us today is climate change and Caltech is looking to do something about it. The Caltech Resnick sustainability Institute is raising money to help support scientists and their research in renewable energy. So far, Caltech has received $15 million in gifts for the researchers to deal with the realities of climate change.
The Caltech organization has its home in Pasadena, California campus of the California Institute of Technology. They are publically announcing their contributors to drum up support. Lynda and Stewart Resnick gifted the latest donation to the cause. The fund was started by a donation from the co-owners of Roll Global that own POM Wonderful and Wonderful Pistachios. In 2009 they donated $21 million and that helped to kick start the institute as a whole.
The scientists are using the funds to explore many options for sustainable technologies and sources of energy. So far they have examined wind energy, fuel cells and batteries, smart grid systems, solar photovoltaics, and biofuels, among others. The executive director of Resnick, Neil Fromer says of the work, “we style ourselves as a studio for sustainability. Our goal is to capitalize on the unique culture at Caltech of interdisciplinary collaboration and playful scientific exploration to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world, in terms of how do we use energy and natural resources in ways that can sustain our future?” The fossil fuels that we are currently using to get energy are filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses. Scientists have noted that we have already crossed a dangerous threshold so we must come up with other ways of harnessing energy for our purpose so we stop harming the planet to ease the consequences. Currently, the use of fossil fuels is causing the loss of species, rising sea levels, severe weather, and international conflict. The work that Caltech is investing in may be the only option to help stop this process and start the world on a healthier path for
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In the United States, we understand what it is like to have veteran return home from the Iraq and Afghanistan with post-war trauma like PTSD. The continent of Africa has also been plagued with wars as over the past 20 years, 18 African countries have been engaged in war. This means that war trauma has affected not only soldiers, but citizens and it is estimated that as many as 100 million Africans have been victims of war and the violence and sexual abuse it brings and therefore suffer from post-traumatic stress. Therefore, PTSD is an epidemic on the continent and has caused many Africans from living the most productive and healthy lives they can. If PTSD is not treated it can lead to violent or self-destructive behavior, depression, alcoholism, anxiety, unemployment, and suicide. In the United States these symptoms are often deal with using physician prescribed drugs and therapy. These options are not available to many Africans because of the shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists in the area.
An option for those in African countries affected by PTSD may be transcendental meditation. The technique has been through many peer-reviewed studies and they all show great benefits to those suffering from post-war trauma. TM is an evidenced-based solution and has frequently outperformed other healing techniques by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, among other PTSD symptoms. TM has already been used effectively in the Congo, demonstrating that it is effective in the African region. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Brian Rees, M.D., M.P.H. was the primary author for the Congo study and notes that TM, “provides the mind and body with a unique state of ‘restful alertness’ that reduces deeply-rooted stress and improves brain function.” Without access to psychologists and psychiatrists, Transcendental Meditation is a proved effective way to help treat those ravaged by war throughout Africa and around the world.
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