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May 4, 2008

MDG!

Looking into the presentations of the Millennium Development Goals, two projects stood out to me as being striking. I especially liked the honors presentations, specifically Kelly and Broc’s version of Goal 8. They focused on Somalia, specifically investigating the development of communication technologies. It was astounding to note that 10% of this area is using technology which is known to be common across the world. Africa has seen a huge growth in modern communications. The images which they presented were really weird to see, it’s odd to see a man wearing traditional Somali dress while talking on a cell phone. I feel hypocritical in saying this, who am I to say what’d odd? I’ve been called odd many a time…
Some stats from their presentation which stood out to me were: for every African with a landline telephone, three more are using cell phones, over the past six years, the number of people using cell phones jumped from 15,000 to 6 million. Sadly, I never think about things such as communication in other countries, so this was a completely new concept for me.
I liked their approach to wireless internet connection: it all made sense. Skip the older technology, just bring them the good stuff. It will be cheaper in the long run, and the other technologies are becoming outdated, thus making it more painstaking to replace when we could just be introducing.
How exciting was it to see the $100 laptop?! I feel that this is a great idea. Through this product, the kids can foster a special kind of learning environment which engages their culture more readily than other possible forms of technology. The view that children are our most important natural resource is valid in my eyes…educating them now means a promising tomorrow. That sounds super cheesy, by the way. :)

Moving on to my second MDG reflection, I find myself intrigued by a certain Goal 7 presentation. The group approached the topic by looking into sustainable design in affordable housing for Minneapolis. I found their ideas very future forward and focused, while still keeping reality in perspective. It was alarming to hear about the redevelopment statistics, specifically the massive amounts of energy which is consumed in that process.
It’s so true that the renovations are attempts to bring about newer, younger residents. One can see this exaggerated in downtown Minneapolis. Known for its hip and trendy qualities of life these days, I’m sure this area was not always viewed in that light. When searching for apartments in that area, all I saw were features which young, hip yuppies would enjoy…not too much going on for the bag lady.
How amazing is it that just by installing different light bulbs or using different washing machines, we can make an impact on our environment, let alone a positive one! I feel that this group did a great job in investigating simple ways which any one of us could do; it helped me see how I can change too. Thinking about the future is exciting, especially if you know you’re making a smaller footprint than generations before. These project presentations helped me to see that every little bit helps and counts, so I should not make excuses for being unhelpful when it comes to things like child mortality and our environment.