The Panama Papers Worked

money

Tax evasion is a problem in every country and it’s up to teams of investigative journalists to expose mass illegal international operations. A few years ago the Panama Papers exposed an efficient tax dodging operation by a large group of wealthy people. The results of the exposure from the Panama Papers has led to millions being collects in countries with more results coming in.

Not only did the Panama Papers catch a bunch of criminals it also proves investigative journalism works.

More than a dozen people are in prison or awaiting sentencing in Ecuador, the United States and Panama for their roles in a bribery scheme at the Ecuadorian state petroleum company that was exposed in the huge document leak.

In South Korea, the leak led to bribery indictments against a former army general and a former executive of a major defence company.

And in Pakistan, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been serving a seven-year sentence after the Panama Papers revealed assets his family had hidden overseas. He is appealing his conviction, calling the charges against him politically motivated.

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Birch Bark Coffee Provides Drinkable Water

Coffee production takes a lot of water and produces a wonderful bean filtered drink at the end. In Canada many aboriginal communities are suffering from a lack of potable water let alone good coffee. The plight of these communities enrages Canadians since one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t even provide drinkable water for its citizens. Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow saw the hardships faced in these communities and decide to do something: make coffee that will fund sustainable healthy potable water.

In March, Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, a member of the Whitefish River First Nation, launched the Birch Bark Coffee Company, an Ottawa-based coffee roastery that produces fair trade, certified-organic coffee.

More than just a coffee company, Birch Bark is a social enterprise: $2.50 from the sale of every pound of coffee will go into a trust to purchase water purifiers for every home in an Indigenous community in Ontario that’s experiencing water issues.

“I really can’t fix the bigger problem of the water plant, but I can definitely bring clean water into a home instantly,” Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said. “And when I’m done Ontario, I’m moving my way across Canada to work on every province.”

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How Bogota Convinced People to Give up Cars Once a Week

a couple, bicycles
Not Bogota, but a nice place nonetheless.

Every Sunday the city of Bogota stops cars from entering the city and they let the streets be used by everyone. Once cars are out of the equation it’s amazing what communities can do to make life more enjoyable and help their culture thrive. National Geographic took a look into how Bogota’s famous Ciclovía grew from an idea to an event copied around the world.

“One gets bored just going from home to work and back again,” said Martha Cubillos, a pleasant general services employee for the city who said she had biked with her husband to the Ciclovía from the far outskirts of town. She could stand to lose a little weight, according to her doctor, “so I come here every eight days and they teach us how to do aerobics.”
Was the Ciclovía one of the things she liked best about Bogotá? Oh, definitely. She took a swig of water and jumped back into the sweaty throng.
Ciclovía’s director, Sarmiento, said that in a highly stratified society like Colombia’s one of the things she loves about the program is its egalitarian nature. “No one cares about the clothes you’re wearing or what social class you’re from: everyone is welcome, and everyone is equal,” she’d said. The line-up of bikes leaning next to each other alongside the Zumba class—some rusted and wobbly, some with comfortably upholstered seats—supported that statement.

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Yogic Breathing Looks Gross but can be Good

hands

Breathing is naturally good for you and you’re hopefully doing it right now. Interestingly there are different levels of breathing with different effects on our health. Most of us who site around all day at computers are likely breathing too shallowly and not getting complete breaths. Those of you who’ve been to yoga might know the importance of deep breathing. That is taking long, deep, breaths using the diaphragm for a serious amount of time. Early research is examining what positive effects this type of deep breathing can have on our health.

Q: What made you examine this technique through a cellular biology lens?
A: In 2005, I noticed while I was practicing pranayama, I was producing so much saliva that I was almost drooling. I wondered why and what the overall impact of that was. This led me and my team to study whether increased saliva production was a common response to the practice, and we found that it was.
Q: Most people wouldn’t think much of getting spitty when they focus on breathing and relaxing. But your 2016 study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed this bump in salivation seems to matter. Why?

A: Saliva has numerous antibodies and proteins that do everything from suppressing tumors to regenerating the liver. For example, it contains immunoglobulin, which are antibodies that bind to germs, as well as DMBT1, a tumor suppressor that blocks the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells.

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Intensify the Suburbs to Save Ontario

the suburbs

The government of Ontario hates the environment so much that they are removing simple environmental protections and firing people who care about the environment. Thankfully some of those who are losing their jobs just published a fantastic report before they are forced out. The report points out we know the solutions to our overuse of fossil fuels and high carbon output. It also highlights that change needs to come from cities since there is only so much individuals can do. A key aspect of saving the planet that Ontario can do is revisit its land use policy.

Automobile-dependent suburban landscapes must be our focus for change. The vast majority of Ontarians who live in metropolitan areas live in such landscapes: 7.7 million of 11.3 million people.

Cars alone produce 20% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transit is 10 to 50 times more energy efficient. In other words, if we all took transit instead of driving, we could make all the same trips we do now (i.e. no change in lifestyle) for a fraction of the fossil fuel use.

The report makes an excellent case for the steps that municipal governments can take, even in the absence of provincial leadership. Municipalities have great influence in land use – changes in zoning and development approval processes, for example, would make a difference in facilitating more “missing middle” housing. Don’t provide free parking for staff. Build cycling lanes and strong, accessible public spaces. We don’t have to accept the low bar set in the Growth Plan.

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