A positive Ripple effect from a few Aussies

Ripple (verb) – to cause small waves.

A ripple effect is often used to describe a situation where an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally. These effects can be either negative or positive and occur quite frequently in society and yes, the Internet. But let’s switch it up for a few seconds – We use search engines (like Google) to look for things on the web (news, entertainment, products, information, etc.).

Alright, so imagine combining the two and creating a search engine that creates a positive and socially conscious ripple effect.

Well on May 4th 2007, 4 friends from Australia (Jehan Ratnatunga, Simon Griffiths, Matt Tilleard and Mack Nevill) did just that.

Together they decided to use Google’s built in search engine (Google Co-op) to build a non-profit website that harnesses the power of the Internet, leverages affiliate advertising to generate revenue, and use that money to help people, instead of Read more…

SODIS: Solar Water Disinfection

3 litres of water per day.

According to the Water Encyclopedia, that’s how much the average human needs per day for survival.  This amount increases with physical activity and with temperature.  Aside from replacing our body’s water we need water for a number of purposes including agriculture, cooking sanitation and hygiene.  This amounts to 50 liters required to meet human needs.

Treatment and delivery of water costs a lot of money.  The water needs to be pumped from a source like a lake, river or well to a water treatment plant.  Depending on requirements the water can be treated in different ways.

Commonly it is filtered and then disinfected with a chemical such as chlorine.  However, the equipment to do this costs thousands of dollars.  Plants also need a building to be situated in, sensors to monitor the process, and an operator to run and maintain the system.

Costs for this are often Read more…

Inside the pages of Equal Treatment

South Africa has the largest HIV population in the world, with more than 5.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Because of its widespread prevalence and increasing acceptance, HIV has become a part of the everyday fabric of society.

South Africa’s AIDs history is marred by poor decisions by denialist leadership, resulting in unnecessary lost lives. Fortunately, Treatment Action Campaign, born out of system frustration, was founded in 1998.  TAC held the South African government accountable in up keeping basic tenants of the constitution, and is largely responsible for the implementation of antiretroviral treatment and mother-to-child transmission prevention programmes in South Africa. TAC is a member-based organization that advocates for increased access to treatment, care and support services for people living with HIV. For a detailed history of TAC, read the recently published Fighting for Our Lives. TAC’s vibrant history is also chronicled in the documentary TAC: Taking HAART.

Equal Treatment is the Read more…

Krochet Kids: Knitting the Fabric of a Society

Quick question: “When you buy a winter hat, where does your money go?”

Hold on to that thought and feast on the countless possibilities while you read on.

Winter is coming.

You can just tell by breathing in the morning air. And I guess I am lucky enough to be able to say that, living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, by far one of the cleanest cities in Canada. Along with winter comes the obvious shift in fashion. Out with the shorts and in with the jackets. The bandanas make way for scarves and toques.

Speaking of which…

I reached into my closet and pulled out my hat bin. You see, I’m a cap/hat/toque lover. (For those of you who think I’m talking gibberish when I keep saying the word ‘toque’, a toque is the Canadian equivalent of a knit winter hat. A beanie if you may.)

As I pulled out the storied heroes of past winters Read more…

The Bahamas: New King of the Deep?

Ah, the Bahamas.

So warm, so relaxing, so…. progressive?

Hey, I’m not just talking about their ever expanding drink menu, or the arguably the greatest invention ever – island time.  Nope, I’m talking about something even better, something that’s even got our environment-loving friends to the North beat, and it can be wrapped up in one word.


photo by Rob Stewart

No, really. It’s their sharks, or more importantly, the Bahamas approach to this long-feared fish of the deep that’s leaving countries around the world in its clear blue wake.

More specifically, it’s the July 2011 banning of shark fishing in the nation’s territorial waters that’s making everyone else look primitive in comparison.

What’s shark fishing anyway you wonder?

Feeding a Caribbean reef shark, Bahamas. Photo David Hannan.

Well, according to award-winning shark conservationist Rob Stewart, it involves the sale, import, and export of shark products that were acquired by fishing, most often Read more…

UNESCO: Something for Everyone

In today’s time and age, there are countless social organizations that all tug at our heartstrings – how can we choose only a handful of charities when we’re pumped up and ready to save the world? It’s like going to a restaurant and choosing only one entree out of hundreds of other equally delectable dishes.

Well, fear not, those who are hungry for positive change: UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization) is more like a buffet where you’re can find plenty of everything.

UNESCO is undoubtedly one of the largest charitable groups in the world, and no matter what your passion is, whether it’s marine preservation, sustainable education, or poverty eradication, this international mega-organization has it covered!


UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and has been active in perusing its missions since it was founded in 1945.

It covers five major fields of focus:

Read more…

The Girl Store: Buying Back the Power of Education

The day I completed my undergraduate studies was a joyous day for me.

This milestone that I’d passed has been something I have dreamed about since I was 10 years old. At that age, never did I think my gender could have prevented me from accessing this dream in the very way it does for many girls around the world today, especially in India.

A cycle persists in many parts of India where girls are subject to being married at young ages or sold into sex slavery. In order to end this tumultuous cycle, The Girl Store was created.

Not Your Typical Kiosk

It’s not your typical online store; instead it is a place where you can “purchase” a young girl her life back so that she may have the opportunity to obtain an education by supporting her with the items that she needs to go to school.

Sponsored by the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust Read more…

Khan Academy: The Future of Education

Education for most people around the world is not free.

It actually costs money – and a lot of it.

I’m not going to delve into the numbers too much (as they vary according to country and grade level), however picture this for a moment…

The cost of raising a child alone (form birth to age 17) is approximately $182,857.

17% of that is child education = $31,085.69. If education costs money, it becomes an expense – and essentially schools become a business, and a business’ responsibility is to cater to the bottom line – profit.

Education = Expense
Schools = Business
Education = Profit

In today’s consolidating economy, people are getting paid less to do more, yet the cost of education continues to rise at an average rate of 6% annually.

If a parent’s income suffers in any way, they’re forced to make a very tough decision – one that may force them to pull their child out Read more…