lhowell

Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Women Create Successful Recipe for Business

In mindset 3.0, social networking, Third World Business on June 24, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Known as a “kitchen incubator,” La Cocina (la-koh-SEE-nuh) is a shared-use space created two years ago to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs without assets. Offering a low hourly rate for access to 2,200 square feet of restaurant-quality kitchen space, the nonprofit La Cocina also provides training from high-profile mentors and technical assistance on creating business plans and building marketing programs. To read the full story, click here.

When I read these stories, it is further validation that the basis for our social networking site, which is to provide “free of charge” marketing to people from developing countries or in support of people from developing countries, is further evidence we have a tremendous business opportunity on which Google and Yahoo have not given much credence to, at least not yet.

Visit the La Cocina, to see relevant and real-life innovation at work. Taken from the La Cocina website. “Welcome to La Cocina Community Kitchen, a nonprofit shared use commercial kitchen and business incubator. La Cocina was founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching or expanding their food businesses. La Cocina assists low-income food entrepreneurs by providing access to a fully approved and equipped commercial kitchen and to the training and technical assistance they need”.

So, the more people that know about La Cocina, the more opportunity. Again, we focus on synergies that can help these innovators create scale, earn more business and create value for their families. This is www.spangy.com up-close and personal on why our business is so exciting.

Where’s My Vacation

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Our family makes an annual trek to South Padre Island for fun, sun and relaxation.  It was great this year because the boys are now old enough to manage themselves on the beach and know how far to advance into the big blue ocean.  But I am came across this most timely and insightful article that I had to share it.

sunset.jpg

On my vacation this year, I felt this sense of wanting to be needed “back at the office”.  In contrast, the last three years in which I owned and operated my own consulting practice, I never felt that way, even when I was between projects.  So, what’s it like when you take a real vacation?  To my fellow spangy.com members who reside outside the United States (and there are many of you) can you please explain and describe your vacation experiences and feelings as it relates to your organization’s policies, how your superiors view vacation and help educate us on what it is like to relax and know that you will have a job when you return.

Banning Alcohol in Aborigine Area

In aborigine, australia on June 23, 2007 at 3:17 am

In the Northern Territory of Australia child sexual abuse, alcohol, poverty is running completely a muck.   The solution for the Australian government: widespread ban on alcohol for six full months, welfare payments will be linked to school attendance while the government takes away land.  Just think if this was the penalty in other parts of the world?  What do you think about this approach to changing behaviors?

Do These People Enjoy Their Work? Do You Give a Damn?

In China kilns, Human Condition and Treatment, human trafficking, slave labor, Trafficking on June 16, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Authorities have freed another 80 slave laborers who were starved, beaten and forced to work 14 hours or more per day at brick kilns and small mines in central China, state media said Saturday.

Police in Henan and Shanxi provinces have staged a dayslong series of raids on kilns and small coal and iron mines, acting with a rare speed and thoroughness indicating high-level government concern.

chinaslaves.jpg 

The newly freed workers bring the total of slave laborers rescued in the past month to 548, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Shanxi province has mobilized more than 14,000 police officers to raid some 2,500 kilns and mines, Xinhua said, citing Du Yulin, director of the provincial public security bureau. Authorities have been given 10 days to investigate every facility and interview each worker, Du said.  One simple question to those that read this: Would you continue to buy from stores that obtain goods from manufacturers that condone this type of workforce?  

 

Human Trafficking

China Second Only to US in Environmental Damage

In carbon emissions, China, Environment, greenhouse gases on June 16, 2007 at 3:58 am

This is a vicious cycle of greed, gluttony and lack of respect for the environment and the future. Let’s make it real simple: China’s economy is bursting at the seems because Americans love low priced goods. To keep pace with demand, China continues to cut corners in terms of protecting the environment. The U.S. has a similar position regarding the environment since they are number one in further damaging the environment. So what’s a suburban family to do, with Wal-Mart only a quarter mile or less from your home? What would be the economic impact? What would be the social impact? What would be the environmental impact? Are we willing to pay more for products shipped from China if they (the Chinese government) have a change of heart?  The people of China do care about their environment as evidence by the video.  Check it out.

Largest Migration on Earth & Rare Gorilla Orphaned: Same as Evening News

In Africa, gorilla, migration on June 12, 2007 at 12:53 pm

This sounds like the evening news, but it’s happening to animals.  In Sudan, more than a million gazelles and antelope are migrating due to the fighting in Darfur where fighting continues to kill millions of rival tribes.  As Dr. J. Michael Fay, a conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, put’s it, “it’€™s so far beyond anything you’€™ve ever seen, you can’€™t believe it,€ Dr. Fay said. €œYou think you’€™re hallucinating.”  In other appalling news, National park rangers are battling to save a 2-month-old gorilla found clinging to its dead mother, who was shot dead through the back of the head.”  These two scenes sound like news from any major urban city in the United States, where people are moving to seek a better life (can you say immigration) or daily robberies over $20 (can you say any city USA).

 

So this says to me, that our so-called developed countries behave like people in undeveloped countries through senseless killings (which of course the perpetrators always believe they are right for their behavior).  Whether you watch the news of rebel leaders in Darfur or gang members in Los Angeles, they have the same logic for their behaviors and tend to be extremely articulate and guile in expressing their views.  So, are we really that much more developed in our behaviors and thinking in certain populations?  This would be a great debate, because the men in Darfur, and other African nations have the same complaints: no jobs, no opportunities for jobs, wanton sexual behavior, drug abuse and addiction.  Fly over the ocean and in the United States, we experience the same set of circumstances.  What do you think? 

Female Genital Mutilation

In Africa, genital mutilation, world health on June 12, 2007 at 3:19 am

For 3-year-old Amira, a law banning female genital mutilation in Eritrea came too late. Wrapped in an orange traditional dress, Amira’s mother, who gives her name only as Gerejet, says she circumcised the child to please her future husband. Like Gerejet and Amira, some 100 million women worldwide have been circumcised, a procedure that at its most extreme involves cutting off the clitoris and external genitalia then stitching the vagina to reduce a woman’s sexual desire.Meriam Mohamed Omar, a former circumciser, pulls the fabric of her purple dress to mimic external genitalia and sticks a small needle through it.

“I used to use a thin stick from a palm tree. You hold the genitalia in two then cut it,” she says. For a more in-depth look at this practice with the World Health Organization site. To stand up to this practice takes courage. This is a good time to take a break from promoting entrepreneurship to discuss what it really means to stand up for something that is not right. I got to thinking, what am willing to stand up for? What are you willing to stand up for?

Norwegian-Somalian Kadra, who became famous in Norway for exposing imam support of female circumcision, was beaten unconscious on Thursday. Kadra was attacked and beaten senseless by seven or eight persons of Somali origin, newspaper VG reports. The video you are about to see contains extremely graphic images and may be disturbing to view.

What are you willing to stand up for?

Should We Globalize Labor Too?

In economy, mindset 3.0, Tibet on June 11, 2007 at 3:04 am

Adapted from the New York Times Magazine, June 10, 2007.

Outside Africa, no country is poorer than Nepal. Its per capita income looks like a misprint: $270 a year. Sudan’s is more than twice as high. Nearly two-thirds of Nepalis lack electricity. Half the preschoolers are malnourished.

Two years ago, an organizer appeared in the canyon to say that the Nepal government (with money from the World Bank) was making local grants for projects of poor villagers’ choosing. First villagers had to catalog their problems. With Sarki as chairman, Chaurmuni village made its list:

“Not able to eat for the whole year.”

“Not able to send children to school.”

“Lack of proper feed and fodder for the livestock.”

“Landslide and flood.”

“Not able to get the trust of the moneylender.”

“Insecurity and danger.”

The punch line is this, it’s time to really do something beyond writing a check or having some meaningless debate to impress your friends to show how current you are with globally significant social issues. What do you think?

read more | digg story

Living or Conservation: Is There a Choice?

In Africa, conservation, famine on June 10, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Yes, there is a choice, but for most people in Central Africa, killing elephants and selling the meat for profit is a growing business.  For people that live on less than $1 dollar a day, making $6,000 or so by selling elephant meat is a no-brainer.
People in the forest live in such poverty they do not have time to think about animal conservation, said Andrea Turkalo, a researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society who works in the Dzangha-Sangha National Park.  “This country can’t run their health dispensaries, they can’t educate their children, how can you expect them to think about conservation?” she said. “I think people are still killing for ivory, but there has been a shift in the meat trade because of the human demographics. There are a lot more people here.”  Read more for full content.

Climate Change Opinion – Do People Really Care

In carbon emissions, climate change, commute, Environment, greenhouse gases, hybrid vehicles on June 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Climate change will take a long time for people to embrace fully, but especially so in developed countries and more precisely the United States. Now, to be sure, I’ve lived in Houston since 2001, so my perspective is likely a bit skewed, but here are my reasons why most people in the United States do not embrace climate change fully:

  1. Human Behavior
  2. Cost
  3. No consequence for not changing behaviors
  4. Corporate infrastructure and manufacturing processes are cost prohibitive to change
  5. Most people simply don’t care in the United States

Human Behavior

Most Americans are lazy! Here’s an example to support this, on the weekends in Paris a family may walk 1-3 miles together to enjoy a day together or to have a picnic. Here, you would be hard pressed to find a group who will regularly walk 2-3 blocks for lunch. Yet, I often see people ordering Diet beverages only to bring back desert to snack at their desk in their sedentary position. I could say more, but you get the idea, but changing this mindset and engrained behaviors is hard for most people.

Cost

I want to buy a Toyota Prius, which is the hot new hybrid vehicle. Now, my buddies with large SUVs and high-performance sports cars would probably tease me about this, but they are too damn expensive. More importantly, though is that they are too expensive for the average family whose median income is around $48,000 a year or so. The value proposition is not compelling enough for people to switch. You almost get this sense that gas prices will stabilize till US automakers can catch up to the Japanese automakers to provide a more affordable option.

No Consequence for Not Changing Behavior

Simply put, people don’t feel enough pain to do things differently. My wife is a huge recycler, and our trash is now down to one bag as a result, so now I have don’t have to lug that huge can down to the curb–thanks honey. Since we try to budget things, her trips to visit her friend for play dates are much less frequent; mind you, this trip is roughly 1 hour each way an consumes a half a tank of gas once the trip is over; that’s an expensive play date. So, now they travel their once per month.

Cost Prohibitive for Corporations and Manufacturing

The road to change is not easy to be sure, but it can be done. I will simply refer you to a company that exemplifies the 3.0 Mindset. They are Interface, Inc. located in Georgia. Once you read about them and see their video, write back to share your perspectives.

Most People in the United States Simply Don’t Care

Yes, this is true. Now, I have lived in Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Tiburon California (just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco), San Diego, Des Moines Iowa and Nashville (my hometown). From what I can surmise is this: it depends on how you are raised and what you learn about the environment. For example, in Texas if you have an F-150 or even better an F-250 for increased towing capacity, you don’t worry about climate change. But also, many of the jobs here (in Houston that is) that are some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, also provide for families. Entire ecosystems of business would shut down, if companies were forced to comply with hard-line carbon emissions limits. The result, job loss, economic hardship for what (climate change) is perceived to be the domain of the idle rich or “tree huggers” from the Northwest.

So what could happen? What if Jay-Z or Lil Wayne started driving Prius and made an announcement that they were eliminating the millions of dollars in automobiles that litter their garage and driveway? What if influential celebrities like Paris Hilton walked the proverbial climate change talk by driving a Ford Escape Hybrid rather than continuously wrecking gas guzzling $150,000 automobiles like they and disposing of them like panty hose with a run? So, when influencers of popular culture change and show that it is cool to protect our atmosphere just maybe, there is a glimmer of hope here in the U.S. for change.

Paris Hilton Could Impact Lives in India

In Environment, Hot Third World Products, Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0 on June 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Seem like an odd title, but after she gets out of jail and see how the other half lives, a terrific way to support global sustainability is to wear it.  By this, Paris should endorse this great company based in India to make a fashion statement that she means business about the environment. We will be in touch with her representatives over the next several weeks to see what we can come up with.  I could see her wearing this bag for a night out.  Trends start because something is cool, typically worn by a famous celebrity.  Hollywood stars can afford to drive $450,000 automobiles, but many of them are choosing to drive a $23,000 Prius.   So, Paris can start by ordering the handbag or shoes we show below. 

nouveau.jpgnouveau_16.jpg

This bag represents the ultimate in promoting environment sustainability, while adding economic value to the lives of women in India who face social injustice each day.  To be clear, these items are made from recycled polythene bags!  Yes, those flimsy bags you get at most grocery stores, assuming you don’t ask for paper.  CONSERVE, a non-profit organisation, using a blend of creativity, design & innovation have turned, what was once a dull environmental hazard, into a clean, funky and fashionable material, from which have been crafted a range of appealing handbags and fashion accessories.

The company doesn’t stop there.  With the support of the Asian Development Bank, we are currently working on a project to generate income, through the production of this material, for the less advantaged communities in Delhi.

conserve_logo.jpg

 

What State Leads the United States in Carbon Emissions?

In carbon emissions, Environment, greenhouse gases on June 3, 2007 at 2:07 am

The state in which I live is the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the United States.   My current state emits more greenhouse cases than California and Pennsylvania combined.  Can you name the state? Before, you click the link, share your answer.  For more on the answer continue on.