In a conversation with Chris Anderson, Bill and Melinda Gates talks about their work at the Foundation, as well as about their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their wealth away.
Ending hunger and ending poverty are goals on which we all agree. The world has thousands of schemes to attempt to achieve these goals, but we often overlook the simplest, most direct and effective method to change the world: investing in women.
Women are the adults whose roles are to take care of every family member every day. Women are the adults in the family who invest their incomes and assets to support the family. Women are the people whose education and economic success have the most impact on the family.
Throughout the developing world, women are central to agriculture and comprise at least 43 percent of the agricultural work force. Hundreds of millions of women toil every day in fields with babies on their backs and toddlers at their feet, leaving only to return home to fetch water and firewood and to cook dinner for the family. Most work by hand on land that they do not own, with limited farm implements and fertilizer, if any, following the same practices their mothers followed. They seldom have access to credit or to advice on how to be more productive. Most cannot count the rows they plant, nor read the back of a bag of seeds.
Yet International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) findings tell us that educated farmers are more productive than non-educated farmers, and that women are more likely to follow the practices of other women. Thus, insuring that women are educated is a key to more productive farming, higher household incomes, and a decrease in poverty and hunger.
Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, breaks down the steps needed to scale-up nutrition and get more nutritious foods to millions at The 2nd Global Conference on Biofortification.
One Acre Fund farmer, Epiphany Mukamuzungo of Rwanda, harvests potatoes from her land to cook for dinner.
Photo by Hailey Tucker, courtesy of the One Acre Fund blog. One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the tools and financing they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Working with farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, One Acre Fund provides a complete market bundle of seeds, fertilizer, training, and market support on credit—and delivers these services within walking distance of the 180,000 farmers they serve.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.
Norman Borlaug now stands in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol, a man still at work. He stands in a stylized field of wheat, hat on his head, sleeves rolled up, notebook in his hand, a researcher for the ages.
“The Father of the Green Revolution,” says the engraving on the pedestal of the great crop breeder and humanitarian, etched by sculptor Benjamin Victor.
Norman Borlaug now stands beside Rosa Parks—two great emancipators side by side. Rosa Parks helped to free millions from racial discrimination. Norman Borlaug freed a billion from hunger.
He took his place among the nation’s icons on March 25, the 100th anniversary of his birth. It was also National Agriculture Day in America.
It is all so fitting. And especially this: his statue will reanimate his work. How many millions of people in coming years will look at his statue and learn of his accomplishments in eliminating famine from wide swaths of the earth and hear about his vision to eliminate hunger everywhere? How many children will see the statue and wonder “Who’s Norman Borlaug?” and then turn to their parents or their teachers or Google for answers.
According to the UN, 17 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions are due to deforestation. Of that total, Latin America contributes 46 percent – which alone, accounts for roughly 8 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. For a region that is home to the largest basin of tropical forest in the world, effectively managing these forests is no small task. But for the 40 million local and indigenous people who call these areas home, effective forest management and land conservation is just something they’re good at.
Indigenous Peoples and local communities have vested interests in protecting these forests. The forest provides not only food and shelter, but it serves as the very basis of their livelihoods, and the social landscape from which many define their identity and culture.
Yet despite their proven delivery on sustainable development goals and their unique relationship to the forest, when it comes to creating effective climate change mitigation strategies, Indigenous Peoples and local communities are too often overlooked. Their rights to these lands and resources are often infringed upon by governments and institutions in favor of costly, suboptimal conservation schemes and large scale land projects that harm forests, accelerate global warming, and dispossess forest communities from their lands.
Recent years have seen advances in satellite remote sensing technology that can be used to address land and property rights globally. Some key innovations include the ability of these remote sensing systems to collect large areas at very high pixel resolutions, sped up information delivery, and unprecedented accuracy. These innovations, coupled with the ability of the satellite systems to collect information frequently, have opened up new opportunities for efficient and economical ways to create, maintain, and update land and property databases.
Recent advantages in spectral technology, which enables capturing information in both the visible and invisible parts of the sun’s light, allows automated extraction of various information about man-made surfaces and agricultural crops, at very high accuracies. This spectral advantage of the satellites permits the creation of a consistent process for land and property management systems globally.
Satellite technology has been successfully employed in various developed nations to create and maintain urban parcel databases that are used for land administration. Satellite images can be used to delineate property boundaries, and recent studies have shown the utility of satellite imagery for nationwide agriculture cadaster map development, which can be a key part of securing land rights for people in developing countries.
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