Monday, October 29, 2018

The Human Library


The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.

The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers.

A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.

The Human Library or “Menneskebiblioteket” as it is called in Danish, was developed in Copenhagen in the spring of 2000 as a project for Roskilde Festival by Ronni Abergel and his brother Dany and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen.

The original event was open eight hours a day for four days straight and featured over fifty different titles. The broad selection of books provided readers with ample choice to challenge their stereotypes and so they did. More than a thousand readers took advantage leaving books, librarians, organisers and readers stunned at the impact of the Human Library.

Once upon a time in Copenhagen, Denmark. There was a young and idealistic youth organisation called “Stop The Violence”.

This non-governmental youth movement was self initiated by the youngsters Dany Abergel, Asma Mouna, Christoffer Erichsen and Ronni Abergel from Copenhagen after a mutual friend was stabbed in the nightlife (1993). The brutal attack on their friend, who luckily survived, made the group decide to try and do something about the problem. To raise awareness and use peer group education to mobilize danish youngsters against violence. In a few years time the organization had 30.000 members all over the country.

In 2000 Stop The Violence was encouraged by then festival director, Mr. Leif Skov, to develop some activities for Roskilde Festival. Events that would put focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and help to build positive relations among the festival visitors. The Human Library was born, as a challenge to the crowds of Northern Europes biggest summer festival.

One of the main concerns of the creators inventors was what would happen if people would not get the point? Or if the audience just simply did not want to be challenged on their prejudices? Well given that there was a total of 75 books available, the conclusion was that with so many different people together in a rather small space for a long time, then they are bound to start reading each other if no readers come. And so it was to become. Before the first reader could take out a book, the talks where already going on extensively and the feeling of something very special was in the air. The policeman sitting there speaking with the graffiti writer. The politician in discussions with the youth activist and the football fan in a deep chat with the feminist. It was a win-win situation and has been ever since.

One of the creators, Ronni Abergel, realising the potential of the idea, decided after the first event, to begin to work to promote the idea to potential new organizers. Since then he has founded the Human Library Organization, produced a guide to new organizers with the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Council of Europe. Travelled to many countries to help train new local organizers, plan launch events and present the idea to interested organizations and public authorities. Today it is estimated that the Human Library has been presented in more than 7o countries around the world, most of them in partnership with local organizers.

Further to having good partners to realize the project. The Human Library has another advantage to organizers around the world. Its not very expensive and can be organized no matter how big or small your budget is. The biggest ressource needed to facilitate a Human Library is time and idle hands to do the tasks. And due to this great quality it has been possible to stage events in a wide range of countries and with very little funding. This feature has made it possible to present Human Libraries in Romania, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Italy, Holland, Slovenia, Belgium, Portugal and Australia – to mention a few.

Theory of Change

Setting up a Theory of Change is like making a roadmap that outlines the steps by which you plan to achieve your goal. It helps you define whether your work is contributing towards achieving the impact you envision, and if there is another way that you need to consider as well.

The Theory of Change tool not only helps to clearly articulate and connect your work to your bigger goal, it also allows you to spot potential risks in your plan by sharing the underlying assumptions in each step. In large organisations, when there may be several projects running simultaneously, the Theory of Change helps to map these different projects first and then consider how they link and relate to each other.

This tool can also aid in aligning team members to the larger end goal, and help them understand their role in achieving it.

Theory of Changeb

Start by noting down the main problem you want to solve, and also your long term vision on the change you want to accomplish. Then complete the other boxes, such as your key audience and your entry point to reach that audience. Try to be as specific as possible because it will help you to come up with more effective actions that you can take.

Work outwards from your defining problem, and towards your long-term impact. Write down the people that are most affected by the issue that you’ve identified and who you hope to help with your work – this could be a small community group or a large organisation. Then think about where to start your work, you may need to find a place, a person or a thing that will be your first port of call. Try to think of some practical steps that you can take to make changes – like creating partnerships, or making tweaks to existing processes. Try to keep these as action-oriented as possible.

And finally, what would the immediate results or outcomes be? These could be tangible results that you can show to other people to clarify how your work is making a difference. List the key outcomes that your activity would lead to: these are the preconditions that you need to realise your vision.

As you fill each of the boxes in the worksheet, it is critical to also reflect on the key assumptions that underpin these steps in your work. This may help you to spot potential risks or connections between the different projects.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

15 Global Challenges and the Millenium Project

Actions to Address Global Challenge 1:
U.S.-China Apollo-Like Goal, with a NASA-Like R&D program to achieve it, that others can join; if U.S. falters, then an EU-China Goal should be pursued.
Produce meat, milk, leather, and other animal products directly from genetic materials without growing animals: Saves energy, land, water, health costs, and greenhouse gases.
Seawater/saltwater agriculture.
Increase vegetarian diets.
Retrofit older cities to Eco-smart Cities and build new additions as Eco-smart Cities.
Continue policies that reduce fertility rates in high population growth areas.
Reduce energy per unit of GDP.
Increase forest coverage.
Transition from fossil to renewable energy sources (see Global Challenge 13 for more detail and for current global status).
Disinvest into fossil fuels
Introduce cap-and-trade systems.
Establish carbon taxes.
Engage arts/media/entertainment to foster work/lifestyle changes.
Train community resilience teams.
Make long-range coastal evacuation and migration plans.
Evaluate geo-engineering options.

Actions to Address Global Challenge 2:
Increase R&D for lower cost of desalination.
Invest in the development of wastewater products such as fertilizer, algae (for biofuel and feeding shrimp), and recovering nitrogen and phosphorus.
Implement WHO and UNESCO plans for universal water and sanitation access.
Manage all aspects of water resources to promote efficiency, equity, and sustainable development (integrated water management).
Create and promote smart phone apps to show water used to make products.
Produce animal products from genetic materials without growing animals.
Invest in seawater/saltwater agricultural development.
Promote Increased vegetarian diets.
Mass-produce electrochemical wastewater treatment solar power toilets.
Develop point-of-use water-purification technology.

Actions to Address Global Challenge 3:
Support policies to improve child survival, family planning, and girls’ education.
Improve methods that strengthen age differential intergenerational transfers to secure skills and employment for youth and care and services for the elderly.
Implement the UN Urban Agenda.
Integrate urban sensors, mesh networks, and intelligent software to create smarter cities that let citizens help in urban improvements.
Increase training in resilience, disaster forecasting, and management.
Teach urban systems ecology.
Increase R&D in saltwater agriculture (halophytes) on coastlines to produce food for humans and animals, biofuels, and pulp for the paper industry as well as to absorb CO2, which also reduces the drain on freshwater agriculture and increases employment.
Improve rain-fed agriculture and irrigation management.
Invest in precision agriculture and aquaculture.
Produce pure meat without growing animals (demonstrated in 2013).
Genetic engineering for higher-yielding and drought-tolerant crops.
Reduce food losses from farm to mouth (one-third or 1.3 billion tons of agricultural production is wasted each year).[1]
Plant sea grass to bring back wild fish populations along the coastlines.
Expand insect production for animal feed and human diets (insects have low environmental impact per nutrition, and 2 billion people already supplement their diet with insects today).
Encourage vegetarianism.
Build floating cities for ocean wind & solar energy, agriculture, and fish farms.
Accelerate R&D for safe nanotechnology to help reduce material use per unit of output while increasing quality.

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