Posts about Altruism

Workers burning harmful waste at the Agobogbloshie dump in Ghana.

Electronic Waste: Intoxicating Agbogbloshie

15.11.2018

At breathtaking speed, our world is being inundated with ever more sophisticated electronic equipment. Used devices hardly a year or two old, are replaced with increasing frequency, to be cashed in or be thoughtlessly dumped for the next much fancier gadget. Most “outdated” models are added to a recycling bubble already stressed at the seams. Considering that resources are scarce and thus valuable, this sort of rotation system is still unrivaled. Yet, have you ever wondered how – and above all – where, your discarded cell phone, laptop or PC may have ended up eventually? It is estimated that more than half of the electronic waste from, e.g., the United States, is shipped to countries fairly ignorant of environmental issues - and there it is successfully buried in oblivion. Like for instance in China, India or Ghana in West Africa. A young company in Boston, Mass., sets an example of how fruitful sensible recycling can be.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Beethoven's Ode to Joy

The Sound of Friendship: Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“

23.04.2018

Whenever there is reason to celebrate on a festive scale, a dramatic sound scape must not be missing. Worldwide, solemn ceremonies are carried by Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“ (Ode an die Freude), being played by enthusiastic orchestras and sung by effervescent choirs in front of a mesmerised audience. Since its debut in Vienna in 1824, the compassionate tune and emotional lyrics manifested themselves as the epitome of the brotherhood of man.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Inverted Age Pyramid

Out of shape: The inverted Age Pyramid

18.07.2016

Longevity and the future Population Structure

A World Bank report makes it clear: owing to the demographic evolution, and the consequent shrinkage of a working age population, it becomes important to keep older workers in the labor force longer. A changed pension policy accompanied by a flexible labor market should enable them to remain in the workforce and retain a high level of productivity. Presently, the prognosis for the future population structure resembles a column and may even take the shape of an inverting pyramid – with smaller cohorts of working age population expected to support the larger ones of elderly retirees. With rising longevity suggesting an average life expectancy after retirement of 15 years, the elderly are encouraged to spend their healthy years in the labor force rather than in retirement. This not only feeds pension funds, it also helps maintain the living standard enjoyed while working and reduces poverty among the elderly significantly. The following poem is a reminder of all those well-known facts – and relates to the meetings industry.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
TED talk on Food Waste

TED Talk. Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

8.06.2016

Most rich countries produce three to four times the amount of food needed to feed their own population – and almost half of the produce is being discarded before it even reaches the consumer. Not mainly because it’s expired and has become inedible, but often solely for cosmetic reasons. „What we see is only the tip of the iceberg. Food waste is happening on a gargantuan scale“, says Tristram Stuart, activist and strong advocate against global food waste. By 2050, Earth will be inhabited by around nine billion people who expect to be fed. This talk helps understand the implications of food waste and how urgent immediate action is.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
A social business: the magdas hotel in Vienna

A refugee programme in Vienna: magdas – the not-for-profit hotel

17.09.2015

The magdas hotel’s homepage not only displays a pretty witty sense of humour and fluffily formulated descriptions. It also shows deep respect for a cause. When scanning the site for the hotel’s location in Vienna, visitors casually learn that it is situated near the city centre, in the vicinity of the Danube Canal mottled with cool clubs and pubs and close to the „Prater“, the popular amusement park that offers space for a wide variety of outdoor activities and sports Vienna’s famous landmark, the Ferris Wheel. Good access from all angles, a key factor for hotels getting booked, is definitely given.

But most importantly for the magdas, it lies within easy reach for its employees „because we want to spare them another round-the-world trip when commuting to their workplace“: magdas staff almost exclusively comprises refugees who descend from 14 different nations. Amongst them, they speak 23 languages. Dinis, the receptionist from Guinea-Bissau, alone is versed in seven! He came by boat. It took almost ten years to be granted asylum.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes