Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality

first_img“When we feel this common sense of destiny, we begin to take ownership of the present,” writes Miller Matola.Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South AfricaWe often hear the term “active citizenship” used in relation to our contribution to the growth and development of South Africa. Do we, however, fully understand what it means? If we do not fully understand what things mean, or if we cannot internalise words so that they mean something to us, they will always remain words without any impact and therefore without the required behavioural change.So what does active citizenship mean? Mirjam van Donk of the Good Governance Learning Network sees active citizenship as “a multi-dimensional image that includes vertical relationships (citizens engaging with the state) and horizontal relationships (citizens engaging with and among themselves)”. She equally concedes that “active citizenship is a contested notion, imbued with different meanings and connotations”. This is not unique and can be said of many concepts in today’s lexicon.The National Development Plan has recently popularised the concept of active citizenship, and gives us some idea of what “active citizenship” refers to. The NDP describes active citizenship as relating to rights, equalising opportunities and enhancing human capabilities. It also finds a strong correlation between active citizenship, government accountability and responsiveness. This is a two-way process, and holding government to account is viewed as a civic duty. This is extended to citizen participation in shaping policies and their implementation at a national and local level.In this two-way process of shaping South Africa’s policy and governance landscape, is also the responsibility – and opportunity – for South Africans to engage with each other. This is the horizontal aspect of active citizenship. This also drives nation building and cohesion in a way that redefines the South African identity. We cannot, even 20 years after achieving democracy, ignore the effect of our history on how we see each other as citizens of a common land, bound by a common flag and anthem, with various starting points but with a common destiny. It is time that we, as South Africans, engage actively in shaping the country we would like to live in, the country we would like our children to inherit.A common sense of identityIn writing this and reflecting upon active citizenship, I was inspired by the words of the South American poet Pablo Neruda who wrote: “To feel affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses – that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being and unites all living things.” I believe that herein lies the essence of active citizenship and herein lies our answer as to why it matters.When we feel this common sense of destiny, we begin to take ownership of the present. So while we need to hold public representatives to account, we also need to take active control of building a country that can nurture the needs, dreams and aspirations of each citizen of South Africa. It can begin with the people with whom we interact most often and it will inevitably grow into a nationwide movement if we each play our part in building our country – for the better and for the future. By playing our part as active citizens, we can each grow South Africa into a competitive nation whose growth and development is sustainable and enduring.Miller Matola is the CEO of Brand South Africa. Follow him on Twitter @MillerMatola. Join the conversation at @Brand_SA and @PlayYourPartSA and with the hashtag #CompetitiveSA.last_img read more

Evaluate this year’s hybrids to plan for 2017

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As farmers open up corn and soybean fields and get the 2016 harvest rolling it is important to take a good look at how this year’s products handled the difficult growing season. Asgrow/DEKALB technical agronomist Brad Miller shares his tips with The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins.last_img

Deep Sea Mining Could Spur Mass Solar Energy

first_imgBy JON MAJORScientists have just discovered massive amounts of a rare metal called tellurium, a key element in cutting-edge solar technology. As a solar expert who specializes in exactly this, I should be delighted. But here’s the catch: the deposit is found at the bottom of the sea, in an undisturbed part of the ocean.People often have an idealized view of solar as the perfect clean energy source. Direct conversion of sunlight to electricity: no emissions, no oil spills or contamination, and perfectly clean. This, however, overlooks the messy reality of how photovoltaic (PV) panels are produced.While the energy produced is indeed clean, some of the materials required to generate that power are toxic or rare. In the case of one particular technology, cadmium telluride-based solar cells, the cadmium is toxic and the telluride is hard to find.Cadmium telluride is one of the second generation “thin-film” solar cell technologies. It’s far better at absorbing light than silicon, on which most solar power is currently based, and as a result its absorbing layer doesn’t need to be as thick. A layer of cadmium telluride just one thousandth of a millimeter thick will absorb around 90% of the light that hits it. It’s cheap and quick to set up, compared to silicon, and uses less material. Is deep sea mining worth the risk?However, the mere presence of such resources, or the wind turbines or electric car batteries that rely on scarce materials or risky industrial processes, raises an interesting question. These are useful low-carbon technologies, but do they also have a requirement to be environmentally ethical?There is often the perception that everyone working in renewable energy is a lovely tree-hugging, sandal-wearing lefty, but this isn’t the case. After all, this is now a huge industry, one that is aiming to eventually supplant fossil fuels, and there are valid concerns over whether such expansion will be accompanied by a softening of regulations.The deposits of tellurium are tempting, but the location is not and the risks of undersea mining are great.We know that solar power is ultimately a good thing, but do the ends always justify the means? Or, to put it more starkly: could we tolerate mass production of solar panels if it necessitated mining and drilling on a similar scale to the fossil fuels industry, along with the associated pitfalls?To my mind the answer is undoubtedly yes; we have little choice. After all, mass solar would still wipe out our carbon emissions, helping curb global warming and the associated apocalypse.What’s reassuring is that, even as solar becomes a truly mature industry, it has started from a more noble and environmentally sound place. Cadmium telluride PV modules, for example, include a cost to cover recycling, while scarce resources such as tellurium can be recovered from panels at the end of their 20-year or more lifespan (compare this with fossil fuels, where the materials that produce the power are irreparably lost in a bright flame and a cloud of carbon).The impact of mining for solar panels will likely be minimal in comparison to the oil or coal industries, but it will not be zero. As renewable technology becomes more crucial, we perhaps need to start calibrating our expectations to account for this.At some point, mining operations in search of solar or wind materials will cause damage or else some industrial production process will go awry and cause contamination. This may be the Faustian pact we have to accept, as the established alternatives are far worse. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. As a result, it’s the first thin-film technology to effectively make the leap from the research laboratory to mass production. Cadmium telluride PV modules now account for around 5% of global installations and, depending on how you do the sums, can produce lower cost power than silicon solar. RELATED ARTICLES Telluride is one of Earth’s rarest metalsBut cadmium telluride’s Achilles heel is the tellurium itself, one of the rarest metals in the Earth’s crust. Serious questions must be asked about whether technology based on such a rare metal is worth pursuing on a massive scale.There has always been a divide in opinion about this. The abundance of data for tellurium suggests a real issue, but the counterargument is that no one has been actively looking for new reserves of the material. After all, platinum and gold are similarly rare, but demand for jewelry and catalytic converters (the primary use of platinum) means in practice we are able to find plenty.The discovery of a massive new tellurium deposit in an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean certainly supports the “it will turn up eventually” theory. And this is a particularly rich ore, according to the British scientists involved in the MarineE-Tech project that found it. While most tellurium is extracted as a by-product of copper mining and so is relatively low yield, their seabed samples contain concentrations 50,000 times higher than on land.Extracting any of this will be formidably hard and very risky for the environment. The top of the mountain where the tellurium has been discovered is still a kilometer below the waves, and the nearest land is hundreds of miles away.Even on dry land, mining is never a good thing for the environment. It can uproot communities, decimate forests and leave huge scars on the landscape. It often leads to groundwater contamination, despite whatever safeguards are put in place.And on the seabed? Given the technical challenges and the pristine ecosystems involved, I think most people can intuitively guess at the type of devastation that deep-sea mining could cause. No wonder it has yet to be implemented anywhere yet, despite plans off the coast of Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. Indeed, there’s no suggestion that tellurium mining is liable to occur at this latest site anytime soon. Green Basics: Photovoltaic SystemsAn Introduction to Photovoltaic SystemsPhotovoltaics, Part 1Photovoltaics, Part 2PV Systems Have Gotten Dirt Cheap Jon Major is a physics research fellow at the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.last_img read more

I’m the Most Ecstatic Baby on the Block! Adding Emotional Words to Babies’ Vocabularies

first_imgBy Jenna M. Weglarz-Ward[Flickr, Simi and Rachael by Jerry John, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015Children begin to learn about relationships and language starting in the womb. As babies listen to their mothers talk to the clerk at the grocery store, sing to the radio, and chat with family members, they begin to develop a brain for language. Once born, they continue to listen to their mothers and family members use language to communicate with each other, solve problems, and develop relationships. Even before their first words, babies understand the language around them and their brains develop pathways to strengthen their ability to understand and express themselves.At the same time, they are learning about the emotional environment. They experience stress, excitement, happiness, sadness, and frustration themselves and observe and feel other’s emotional states. They are learning that when Mom makes a certain face, she does not feel good but when her body feels a different way, she feels better. Similar to language, babies are developing neural pathways to help them learn what do with their own and other’s emotions.Research has indicated that the earlier and more we talk to our babies, the better their outcomes will be. Additionally, children with strong emotional literacy have better academic success and less challenging behaviors [3]. Betty Hart and Todd Risley’s [1] ground breaking work indicated that children who live in low incomes families are not exposed to as many words as children in more affluent homes, as many as 30 thousand less words before they enter kindergarten. This commonly referred to as the Word Gap. Additionally, vocabulary in lower income homes is more likely to be directive and negative (e.g, get your shoes, you’re in trouble). Children in more affluent homes are more likely to have exposure to a larger range of vocabulary. However, family income may not be the only factor that impacts the word exposure to children. Parents who struggle with mental health issues, are experiencing trauma or illness, are single parents, work long hours, have multiple children, or spend a lot of time with their smartphones, may be talking to their children less often than possible. Therefore, it is important to support all families in bridging the word gap.Not only does this word gap impact language and cognitive outcomes including school readiness, a lack of learning and understanding of emotional words can impede social and emotional development. It is common that children with language delays also have challenges in making friends and identifying and coping with their emotions. Therefore, it is important to not only talk to our babies more, but make sure that we are including emotional vocabulary as well.Dr. Dana Suskind at the University of Chicago has more recently expanded on this work through the 30 Thousand Word Initiative. Dr. Suskind, has been working to support parents and communities in talking to their children more in order to close this gap. In addition to the strategies we presented in our December webinar on emotional literacy such as expressing your own feelings, labeling children’s emotions, and reading and singing about emotions, Suskind [4] recommends the 3 T’s.Tune In: Notice what the child is focused on and talk about that. Respond when a child communicates – including when a baby cries or coos.Talk More: Narrate day to day routines, such as diaper changes and tooth brushing. Use details: “Let Mommy take off your diaper. Oh, so wet. Does that feel better now?”Take Turns: Keep the conversation going. Respond to your child’s sounds, gestures and, eventually, words – and give them time to respond to you. Ask lots of questions that require more than yes or no answers.What Emotional Words to Include?Starting with basic emotions such as happy, sad, angry are great. However, adding more complex words, even early, develops a rich emotional catalog from which children can use as they learn to understand and express their emotions. It is important to include both positive and negative emotions in their vocabularies.Complex Feeling Words [2]Affectionate, agreeable, annoyed, awfulBored, brave, bummed, beamingCalm, capable, caring, cheerful, clumsy, confused, cooperative, creative cruel, curiousDepressed, disappointed, disgusted, down, delightedEcstatic, embarrassed, enjoying, excitedFantastic, fearful, fed-up, free, friendly, frustratedGentle, generous, gloomy, guilty, gladHeavenly, hilariousIgnored, impatient, important, interestedJealous, joyfulKindLonely, lost, lovingMerryOverwhelmedPeaceful, pleasant, proud, pleased, positiveRelaxed, relievedSafe, satisfied, sensitive, serious, shy, stressed, strong, stubbornTense, thoughtful, thrilled, troubledUnafraid, uncomfortableWeary, worried, worn outWhile working with families, take time to share with them why it is important to share emotions with their children as well as how. In addition to modeling and practicing with parents, share resources available through our December webinar materials.References[1]  Hart, B., & Risley. T. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.[2]  Joseph, G. E., & Strain, P. S. (2003). Enhancing emotional vocabulary in young children. Young Exceptional Children, 6(4), 18-27.[3]  Joseph, G. E., Strain, P. S, & Ostrosky, M. M. (2005). Fostering emotional literacy in young children: Labeling emotions. Center for Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. [4]  Suskind, D. (2015). Thirty million words: Building a child’s brain. New York, NY: Dutton.This post was written by Jenna Weglarz-Ward & Amy Santos, PhD, members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

U.P. govt. nod for reservation

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government on Friday approved 10% reservation for economically backward among upper castes in jobs and educational institutions. The nod was given at a meeting here of the State Cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, senior Cabinet Minister and U.P. government spokesperson Shrikant Sharma told mediapersons. Third State to do soUttar Pradesh became the third State after Gujarat and Jharkhand to approve the legislation which has to be ratified by at least half the State Assemblies in the country. The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019, providing for 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category was passed by Parliament in its recently concluded winter session. President Ram Nath Kovind has since given his assent to the Bill. “The Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved the notification granting 10% reservation to the poor among the upper castes which has come into effect on January 14,” Mr. Sharma said. “The U.P. government will implement the quota for the upper castes fully without touching the reservation for other sections of society,” he said.Meanwhile, a meeting between Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who holds the Higher Education portfolio, and State and private universities, approved a proposal for implementing the 10% reservation for upper caste poor in higher education institutions after the Cabinet approval.last_img read more

Sensex gains for third day, up 145 pts

first_imgSustaining its upward momentum for the third day, the BSE Sensex gained 145 points to close at over 18,350 on funds buying amid stable crude oil prices and firm stock markets globally.The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex, which climbed 367 points in the previous two sessions, advanced further by 144.58 points to end the day at 18,350.74.The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also rose 42.15 points to close at 5,522.40. It touched the day’s high of 5,529, led by Infosys Technologies, BHEL, Larsen and Tourbo, Tata Motors and Hero Honda.Trading sentiment firmed, led by realty, auto and capital goods. Oil eased a bit to $105.50 in the US, as high crude inventories crossed out the threat of supplies from the conflict-torn Middle East, especially Libya.Investors shrugged off the rise in food inflation, which crept back to double-digit at 10.05 per cent for the week ended March 12, from 9.42 per cent in the previous week.The rally was driven by realty sector index, with a surge of 2.83 per cent at 2,178.70 as Unitech shot up by 9.61 per cent to Rs 40.50 on JPMorgan upgrading the stock.The auto sector index was second best performer by rising 1.40 per cent to 8,717.68 as Tata Motors added 1.65 per cent to Rs 1,155.55, its highest closing since March 16.Mahindra and Mahindra, the sport-utility vehicle and tractor maker, advanced 2.88 per cent to Rs 664.35 after the company revealed plans to set up a plant in Andhra Pradesh.The capital goods sector index rose by 1.27 per cent to 12,735.02 after Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, the top power equipment maker, reached a two- week high by rising 2.82 per cent to Rs 2,050.60.As the buying activity spilled over a wide-front, the midcap index rose by 0.78 per cent to 6,655.30 and smallcap index by 0.67 per cent to 7,920.84.-With PTI inputsadvertisementlast_img read more

Art Of The Brain Celebrates 17th Anniversary Gala For Brain Cancer Research

first_imgOn Saturday, September 17 beginning at 6:30 PM at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall and Plaza, 445 Charles E. Young Drive, East, Los Angeles, CA 90024, Art of the Brain, (AOB) an unprecedented organization of “Brain Buddies,” brain cancer patients and families who celebrate art, creativity and life undefeated by brain cancer, will enjoy its 17th anniversary Gala.Hundreds of friends will gather to enjoy the festivities, food, music, and entertainment. Jason Barry, award-winning reporter from CBS 5 in Phoenix, AZ will reprise his annual role as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.This year’s gala will honor and remember Art of the Brain’s founder, Judi Kaufman, who lost her courageous 18-year battle against brain cancer in September 2015. In recognition of the extraordinary efforts of Kaufman, it will be announced at the gala that the entryway to the UCLA Neuro Oncology clinic, a hallway that Kaufman walked down countless times during her last 18 years, will be named The Judi Kaufman Gallery. In addition to this honor, the entryway to the Reed Neurological Research Center at UCLA is now the Judi Kaufman Lobby honoring Kaufman and Art of the Brain.A successful entrepreneur, community activist and poet, Kaufman was diagnosed with her first brain cancer tumor in 1997. Based on Kaufman’s vision, AOB centers on creativity, in all its forms, as a vehicle to help brain cancer patients survive and regain their self-esteem in the face of debilitating brain cancer side effects. Kaufman turned to poetry as her path back to hope in the wake of the damaging effects of brain cancer and its treatments. A published poet, Kaufman’s books of poetry include “Passion and Shadow: The Lights of Brain Cancer”, and “Do You Want Your Brain to Hurt Now or Later?” The organization also highlights brain cancer patients and their families and is focused on raising funds for brain cancer research. AOB’s unique network of volunteer Brain Buddies, who help to support and mentor individuals and families struggling with brain cancer, also comprise the small army of volunteers who make the annual Art of the Brain gala a success.“Although Judi said goodbye to us just one year ago, her creative soul, courageous spirit, and most importantly, her loving heart will never leave us. Her heart continues to beat in all the lives that she touched. Her spirit surrounds all of us. Through Art of the Brain, her fight, her love and her heart will beat on forever,” said Roy Kaufman, Judi’s husband.Art of the Brain raises public awareness about brain cancer, spotlights the strength and courage of brain cancer patients, and helps raise money for brain cancer research at UCLA’s Neuro-Oncology Program in order to find a cure. Since 1999, AOB has garnered almost $10 million for brain cancer research.Art of the Brain’s 2016 Gala is generously sponsored by: 
The Kaufman Family 
Johnny Mercer Foundation 
Richard Dean Anderson 
Ann Ramer 
Joan and Gerald Doren 
Arlene Spiegelman 
Faramarz Yousefzadeh 
Fred Hayman Family Foundation 
Jadi and Gy Waldron 
Jennifer Kaufman and Vladimir Valdes 
Marlene and David Capell 
Nu Image 
Valerie and Bob Fairbank 
Joyce and Bill Bromiley 
Bunny Wasser and Howard BernsteinFor tickets, or more information email Patti Lawhon at plawhon@kblrinc.com, call 424.252.6908, or visit www.artofthebrain.org.last_img read more