On Sunday September 8th I was at Seaman Stadium, Okotoks, with my buddies Kevin and Roy. We were there to participate in... the TransRockies Tour of Alberta. This was an opportunity for recreational riders to cycle some of the same terrain that the professional teams would be covering on the 6th stage of the Tour of Alberta. It was also my seventh event in TransRockies Quest 888. If I could complete the 130 km course then I would achieve 751 kms towards my target of 888 kms.
On Saturday, July 20th at 1.30pm, I was hurtling down a single track trail, on my mountain bike, at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta. I was holding on for dear life and getting rattled around like a bag of bolts. This was the first lap of two that I would complete during the 24 hours of Adrenalin.
For the past forty years, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has focused much of his charitable work on the well-being of the individual within the community. It is an interdependent relationship, with both requiring sacrifices and allowances from the other. His Royal Highness has taken up this challenge by founding charities that focus on issues such as corporate social responsibility.
While not exactly a certification, like Fair Trade or the Rainforest Alliance, direct trade is really more of a loose concept: remove as many of the middlemen as possible and make sure the most marginalized and impoverished people in the coffee chain, the coffee farmers themselves, are given a bigger piece of the pie.
If there is one person in this world we truly envy, it's Victor Chan. For more than 40 years, Chan has had the incredible opportunity to accompany one of our heroes--His Holiness the Dalai Lama--on his world travels. In a new book, Chan shares stories about the Dalai Lama's encounters with world leaders, children living in poverty, activists, and scientists, among others.
I remember meeting an executive at a corporate reception a couple of years ago who was bemoaning the fact that he's just too busy to deal with what he called "the niceties" of peer-to-peer communication. According to him, there just aren't enough hours in the day to swap insignificant comments of courtesy. When he said, "I wish people would just get to the point" it struck such a chord in me that I Tweeted about it, suggesting that maybe he's missing the point:
The Eritrean Youth Collective is an ambitious youth led organization that is having a profound impact in Toronto's diverse (Eritrean) Canadian communities. In five years, we hope to provide employment and internship opportunities for youth -- being a trusted resource for both first generation and newcomer youth.
To those of us who immigrated to Canada in the 1990s, Namugenyi "Nam" Kiwanuka was our introduction to Canada. She was a smart and engaging celebrity MuchMusic VJ. As if being a new mother is not occupying much of her time, the Ugandan native has used whatever time she has left fulfilling the promise of her Canadian citizenship by bringing attention to worthy causes all around the world.
The non-profit organization, just like the technology start-up with a disruptive, yet unproven, new innovation, must sell its vision as much as its financial model and its metrics for measuring impact. But by reducing organizational survival to a simple sales-pitch ignores the fundamental truth that not all organizations are created equally.
How does a woman who was abused by her father and addicted to drugs by her parents at that age ever get back on her feet? How does she grow up to become a functioning member of society? It can be hard enough for people with parents who care for them to succeed in life and find happiness, but with criminal acts perpetrated by family members this seems impossible.
As non-scientists, we've been casually observing a trend for some time that we'd initially dubbed: the baffling research phenomenon. We still haven't eradicated polio in all parts of the world. Or malaria, for that matter. Or yellow fever. Every day, people die from vaccine-preventable diseases. So we can appreciate science for the sake of science but our collective time and money, as a species, might be better spent elsewhere.