Malawi Handing Out Free Drugs

The African country of Malawi is expanding a successful program that gave out free drugs to fight AIDs. The country is founding a new company to make the drugs for their people and to export drugs to their neighbours.

“Some 250,000 Malawians are receiving ARVs. We are doing well because many of these could have died by now,” Mutharika said at an AIDS candlelight memorial on the outskirts of the commercial capital Blantyre.

Describing the drugs roll-out as a “success story”, Mutharika said Malawi would establish a local company to “produce ARVs locally and export extra drugs to neighbouring countries”.

Sears Tower to Undergo $350 Million Green Retrofit

You may already now that Sears Tower is getting a huge energy retrofit costing $350 million because it’s got a lot of media attention. Still, it’s really good to see old office towers see the benefit of spending a lot of money on increasing efficiency of their buildings.

Operators of the nearly 36-year-old, 110-story building say they have cut annual electricity consumption by 34 percent since 1989 and that increased energy efficiency has reduced annual CO2 emissions by 51 pounds since 1984.
Proposed renewables at Sears Tower.
Their five-year renovation plan is expected to bring base building electricity consumption down by 80 percent. The reduction is estimated to be equivalent to 68 million kilowatt hours or 150,000 barrels of oil a year. The retrofit project is also expected to slash annual water consumption by 24 million gallons. And the work is expected to create 3,600 jobs.

The improvements, detailed on the Sears Tower website, are to involve replacing and glazing the 16,000 single-pane windows; and upgrading boilers, elevators, escalators, lighting restroom fixtures and water management systems.
Sears Tower and hotel.
Wind turbines, solar panels to heat water for the building and green roofs are to be installed on various terraces and tiered roofs of the complex.


Respect: A photo odyssey celebrating Canada’s boreal forest is currently on exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and it looks amazing. I encourage anyone in or near Toronto to check it out.


Images tell stories that might otherwise not be heard. Nowadays, we like snapping pictures to capture our very own. We use our cameras to record life’s moments, both momentous and mundane. We cherish these photos because they allow us to recreate our personal experiences. We also seek out other types of photos, ones that evoke emotions, questions and answers. For photography to elicit this collective human experience we need professionals.

Thus, I asked nine Canadian photojournalists to take part in RESPECT, not only because they are among the best, but because of their dedication and skill in telling poignant stories through imagery. I had the privilege of working with some of Canada’s finest: Allen McInnis, Kazuyoshi Ehara, Jim Ross, John Woods, Todd Korol, Dan Riedlhuber, Jeff Bassett and Andy Clark. In 2009, a newcomer joined this select club: Chris Young, a British-born photojournalist who has worked in Canada for the past two years. Their photographs convey the essence of the Boreal Forest and the meaning of our journey.

This journey began in Quebec and took us westward through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia and the Yukon between October 2006 and July 2007. We were guided by Phillip Wilmer, affectionately nicknamed Douglas the aviator, whose knowledge of the land is truly unique. Phillip is more than just the project’s pilot: he shapes the project vision, he lifts our spirits when things aren’t going so well, he embodies the passion of a forest explorer. The going was tough; we encountered many challenges before, during and after the assignment – from turbulent weather to adverse flying conditions to unexpected interruption to delays for equipment repair. While the photographers captured the forest from above, I ran interviews on the ground – discovering rich details that could later be used in photo captions. Throughout the crossing, we were constantly awed by the majestic landscapes of the Boreal Forest and its fragility; we took in breath-taking views few have had the privilege to see. We worked hard to get results and the outcome is truly outstanding.

Building Green Homes is Cost Effective

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has done a study on the real cost of building a green home and they have busted the myth that building green is too costly. The bank has concluded that building green doesn’t break the bank, so to speak.

The intuitive view of most people might be that building green is going to be vastly more expensive and complex than building to the most basic standards required by local code. It follows that we assume affordable housing probably isn’t going to be green. But a recent article in the Communities and Banking magazine published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (FSB) this spring busts the myth that affordable housing and green housing are opposite and mutually exclusive concepts.

The myth doesn’t hold up locally either. We’ve looked at a study of green housing and the energy savings it creates for residents of the Seattle Housing Authority. And in Portland the Housing Authority built its first HOPE VI project green as well. We’ve also looked at the study of housing and health where there is growing evidence that along with materials the location of housing can have an effect on resident’s health – and health care costs. And we’ve considered the savings that building green can create for schools and their communities.

This Summer Use Social Media for Good

Mashable has put together a short collection of five good uses of social media this summer. It’s good to see all these practical uses for social media and hopefully we’ll see some real world changers come out of these initiatives.

People are talking green online. Between the Obama administration’s unwavering focus on environmental initiatives as part of the economic recovery and the upcoming U.N. Conference this December in Copenhagen to revise and strengthen the Kyoto environmental pacts, green conversations are taking place everywhere.

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