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Seaweed farming to telemedicine — 14 crowdsourced projects trying to make a difference

The importance of sustainable solutions came to the fore in 2020, as communities across the world faced the threats of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The importance of sustainable solutions came to the fore in 2020 as communities across the world faced the threats of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital crowdsourcing platform UpLink was created to address such challenges and help speed up the delivery of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Unveiled at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2020, the platform connects the next generation of change-makers and social entrepreneurs to networks of contacts with the resources, expertise and experience to help bring about change.

Since its launch, UpLink has surfaced the best entrepreneurial solutions through competitions such as its Ocean Solutions Sprint, Trillion Trees Challenge, COVID-19 Social Justice Challenge and COVID Challenges. Here are some of the most innovative.

Ocean Solutions Sprint

Cubex Global

Oman-based Cubex Global aims to cut global shipping emissions by enabling businesses to easily buy and sell unused container space on existing cargo routes. The company claims that its blockchain-based marketplace could help reduce emissions from shipping vessels by up to 20% and recover about $25 billion in lost freight revenue each year.

RecyGlo

Waste management service RecyGlo works with businesses in Myanmar and Malaysia to recycle and process material in a safe and non-hazardous manner, helping to avoid mismanaged plastic being dumped in the region’s rivers and ending up in the ocean. The Yangon-based company manages 500 tonnes of waste and saves 1,470 tonnes of CO2 each month.

Oceanium

Scottish biotech start-up Oceanium uses sustainably-farmed seaweed to create food and nutrition products and compostable biopackaging. It believes that a sustainable seaweed farming industry can help mitigate the effects of climate change and create jobs.

COVID Challenge

Intelehealth

Developed at Johns Hopkins University, Intelehealth is a telemedicine platform that connects patients and frontline health workers with remote doctors to deliver primary care services at a distance in countries such as India.


Also read: Not just for flu but even BP and gynaecology — how telemedicine is filling a Covid vacuum


Flare

Emergency services app Flare provides next-generation 911 for those who do not have access to help in case of an emergency. In Kenya, its ‘Uber for ambulances’ platform has reduced response times by 87% and helped save 2,500 lives since its 2017 launch.

Carbon Health

Tech-enabled primary care provider Carbon Health aims to improve access to world-class healthcare. In the US, it established pop-up COVID clinics in 30 cities, with doctors available on video call, and has so far tested more than 500,000 people.

Desolenator

Desolenator’s solar-powered water purification systems help remote communities produce clean drinking water, without the need for filters, chemicals or external energy sources. This helps them build water resilience in the face of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trillion Trees Challenge

Borneo Nature Foundation

For over a decade, Borneo Nature Foundation has developed planting methods to reforest degraded deep peatland, which is an important carbon store, key to local economies and home to populations of orangutans. It has planted more than 30,000 seedlings, and established community seedling nurseries in villages near Borneo’s remaining tropical rainforests.

Reforestum and Ecosphere+

Spain-based CO2 offsetting service Reforestum teamed up with UK climate solutions company Ecosphere+ to enable individuals and businesses to finance forest conservation and restoration by offsetting their carbon footprint.

Inga Foundation

Slash-and-burn farming is the only source of income for millions of farmers but it’s devastating the world’s rainforests. This is something that the UK-based Inga Foundation wants to counter through its Inga Alley farming method, which helps farmers build long-term food security on one plot of land.

Social Justice Challenge

citiesRISE

Global platform citiesRise seeks to transform mental health policy and practice for young people across the world through its Mental Health and Friendly Cities framework – something that is only likely to become even more relevant in the COVID-19 era.

TheraWee

Philippines-based telerehabilitation platform TheraWee aims to improve access to rehabilitation services for children with difficulties by connecting their parents with individuals, groups and communities that can offer them support.

Noora Health

US start-up Noora Health provides families with medical skills training to help look after their loved ones, both in health facilities and at home. Its Care Companion Program has already reached more than 1 million relatives in India and Bangladesh.

Family Mask’s #PPEforAll

Global Citizen Capital and its company Family Mask’s #PPEforAll initiative was set up to boost access to affordable personal protective equipment (PPE) as the pandemic hit. By July 2020, more than 1 million masks had been distributed to elderly people across the world.

Natalie Marchant, Writer, Formative Content

This article was previously published in the World Economic Forum. 


Also read: Why telemedicine could remain popular across Asia even after Covid is controlled


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Whilst social justice is very important, we should first be in a better position to properly understand of what our society comprises, how it can be expressed as a system, and in particular about HOW IT WORKS. The following article is an introduction to this matter:

    Making Macroeconomics a Much More Exact Science

    Today macroeconomics is treated inexactly within the humanities, because at a first look it appears to be a very complex and easily confused matter. But this does not give it fair justice, because we should be trying to find an approach to the topic and examine it in a better way that avoids these problems of complexity and confusion. Suppose we ask ourselves the question: “how many different KINDS of financial (business) transaction occur within our society?” Then the simple and direct answer shows that that only a limited number of them are possible or necessary.

    Although our sociological system comprises of many millions of participants, to properly answer this question we should be ready to consider the averages of the various kinds of activities (no matter who performs them), and simultaneously to idealize these activities so that they fall into a number of commonly shared ones. This employs some general terms for expressing the various types of these transactions, into what becomes a relatively small number of operations. Here, each activity is found to apply between a particular pair of agents—each one having individual properties. Then to cover the whole sociological system of a country, the author finds that it requires only 19 kinds of exchanges of the goods, services, access rights, taxes, credit, investment, valuable legal documents, etc., verses the mutual opposing flows of money. Also these flows need to pass between only 6 different types of representative agents.

    The analysis that led to this initially unexpected result was prepared by the author and it may be found in his working paper (on the internet) as SSRN 2865571 “Einstein’s Criterion Applied to Logical Macroeconomics Modeling”. In this model these 19 double flows of money verses goods, etc., are shown to pass between the 6 kinds of role-playing entities. Of course, there are a number of different configurations that are possible for this type of simplification, but if one tries to eliminate all the unnecessary complications and sticks to the more basic activities, then these particular quantities and flows provide the most concise result, which is presentable in a comprehensive and seamless manner, and one that is suitable for further analysis of the whole system.
    Surprisingly, past representation of our sociological system by this kind of an interpretation model has neither been properly derived nor presented before. Previously, other partial versions have been modeled (using up to 4 agents, as by Professor Hudson), but they are inexact due to their being over-simplified. Alternatively, in the case of econometrics, the representations are far too complicated and almost impossible for students to follow. These two reasons of over-simplification and of over-complexity are why this non-scientific confusion is created by many economists and explains their failure to obtain a good understanding about how the whole system works.

    The model being described here in this paper is unique, in being the first to include, along with some additional aspects, all the 3 factors of production, in Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” book of 1776. These factors are Land, Labor and Capital, along with their returns of Ground-Rent, Wages and Interest/Dividends, respectively. All of them are all included in the model, as a diagram in the paper.

    (Economics’ historians will recall, as originally explained by Adam Smith and David Ricardo, that there are prescribed independent functions of the land-owners and the capitalists. The land-owners speculate in the land-values and rent it to tenants, whilst the capitalists are actually the owners/managers of the durable capital goods used in industry. These items may be hired out for use. Regrettably, for political reasons, these 2 different functions were deliberately combined by John Bates Clark and company about 1900, resulting in the later neglect of their different influences on our sociological system– the terms landlord and capitalist becoming virtually synonymous along with the expression for property as real-estate.)

    The diagram of this model is in my paper (noted above). A mention of the related teaching process is also provided in my short working paper SSRN 2600103 “A Mechanical Model for Teaching Macroeconomics”. With this model in its different forms, the various parts and activities of the Big Picture of our sociological system can be properly identified and defined. Subsequently by analysis, the way our sociological system works can then be properly seen, calculated and illustrated.

    This analysis is introduced by the mathematics and logic that was devised by Nobel Laureate Wellesley W. Leontief, when he invented the important “Input-Output” matrix methodology (that he originally applied only to the production sector). This short-hand method of modeling the whole system replaces the above-mentioned block-and-flow diagram. It enables one to really get to grips with what is going-on within our sociological system. Subsequently it will be found that it is the topology of the matrix which actually provides the key to this. The logic and math are not hard and is suitable for high-school students, who have been shown the basic properties of square matrices.

    By this technique it is comparatively easy to introduce a change to a preset sociological system that is theoretically in equilibrium (even though we know that this ideal is never actually attained–it simply being a convenient way to begin the study). This change creates an imbalance and we need to regain equilibrium again. Thus, sudden changes or policy decisions may be simulated and the effects of them determined, which will point the way to what policy is best. In my book about it, (see below) 3 changes associated with taxation are investigated in hand-worked numerical examples. In fact when I first worked it out, the irrefutable logical results were a surprise, even to me!

    Developments of these ideas about making our subject more truly scientific (thereby avoiding the past pseudo-science being taught at universities), may be found in my recent book: “Consequential Macroeconomics—Rationalizing About How Our Social System Works”. Please write to me at chesterdh@hotmail.com for a free e-copy of this 310 page book and for additional information.

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