Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Innovative water purifier

Appropriately on World Water Day, I learned of the Midomo - a water filtration and storage system powered by the kinetic energy produced by its wheels. The device was a hit with the Dragons' Den investors three years ago but talks about funding broke down. Undeterred, inventors Amanda Jones and James Brown raised £200k of private investment and the first 50 units have now been delivered to villages in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Currently, funds for additional units are being raised through sales of a limited edition silver bracelet designed by Alex Monroe. Each £275 bracelet covers the entire cost of sending a Midomo to an African community. And they're gorgeous!

Monday, 21 March 2011

A nation's suffering in 20 pictures

National Geographic is rightly renowned for the quality of its photo-journalism and its collection of 20 photos documenting the Japanese earthquake and tsunami lives up to expectations. If you need reminding of the need to show solidarity and support for the survivors and the bereaved - especially now that events in Libya have pushed Japan off the front pages - then take a look at the photos at this link. Heartbreaking.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Responding to adversity

How nations respond to natural disasters tells us a great deal about their national psyche. The harrowing scenes from Japan following the earthquake and tsunami can only provide the smallest of insights into the hardship and distress suffered by its people, but their stoicism is truly remarkable. Most impressive of all, though, is that law and order seems to be more or less completely intact. The  queues for food and essential supplies are peaceful and orderly, and there have been no reports of looting. Yet this is not the result of an oppressive regime or heavy policing, but entirely self-directed. I wonder how many other nations would respond in such a positive way to such a devastating event?