November 18th, 2014 | By Serenity Bolt
October 31st, 2014 | By Serenity Bolt
November 8th, 2013 | By Mary Stucky
NESTLED in a former cocoa-farming region in southwestern Ghana, the town of Prestea boasts more than 150 small-scale gold mines in the backyards of abandoned farms. The town, with a population of about 35,000, also sits covered in permanent smog—a red dust that stains white goats crimson. It is the result of lethal mercury, on which miners all over Ghana rely to refine their gold. In Prestea, where gravediggers are in greater supply than doctors, death from mercury poisoning is routine.
Thus begins Maddy Crowell’s powerful story in the Economist Magazine. Maddy is an alum of our Morocco journalism program. A senior at Carleton College, she was reporting in Ghana over her summer break. Maddy and her Ghanaian partner, Jamila Okertchiri, approached Round Earth for mentoring on this shocking and important story.
July 10th, 2012 | By Round Earth Media
Here’s Round Earth Media intern Emma Foehringer Merchant with more about why some nations fail and others succeed.
It is blatantly obvious that certain states have had some sort of leg up in becoming world powers. Just what offered these countries their advantage? Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson explain in their book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, reviewed by Jared Diamond (author of the best-selling Guns, Germs and Steel) in last month’s New York Review of Books. Here’s their take.
What do successful nations have in common?
Good political and economic institutions that form a stable state (in constrast to states with deep tribal divisions) are the main common denominator between rich countries, according to economists Acemoglu and Robinson. These institutions allow for a centralized and well-regulated government. Political and economic institutions the two authors define as “good” are those that encourage citizen participation in the economic system. Good institutions protect peoples’ rights and livelihoods and disallow corruption and insecurity. As Diamond explains, “people are motivated to work hard if they have opportunities to invest their earnings profitably, but not if they have few such opportunities or if their earnings or profits are likely to be confiscated.”
What makes a country poor?
Acemoglu and Robinson provide some reasons for economic deficiencies in certain states including:
June 18th, 2012 | By Round Earth Media
The following is a transcript. To listen to this broadcast, please click the link above.
Bruce Gellerman: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Bruce Gellerman.
[SOUNDS OF PROTESTS IN BOLIVIA]
Gellerman: In Bolivia, the people spoke and the government listened. For three months, a thousand people marched across the Andes Mountains, closing roads, enduring police crackdown and arrest. They were protesting the government’s plan to build a highway through indigenous lands and Amazon forest. Bolivian President Evo Morales gave in to the protesters and scrapped the project. But while demonstrators may have won this round, the fight over how to develop Bolivia’s economy and protect its environmental future continues. Mary Stucky reports.
July 7th, 2010 | By Mary Stucky
Gold mining in El Salvador: Pacific Rim verdict expected in August 2010
As we get closer to our trip to Central America, we will be blogging about some of the most important issues facing the region. One of the most contentious issues facing the country of El Salvador is gold mining. Is it an economic boon or an environmental disaster? From journalist Ambar Espinoza, the latest on the case involving the so-called Pacific Rim mine.
February 13th, 2010 | By Mary Stucky
Now, a month after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I’m reminded of the many conversations I had with people in Mexico City over recent weeks. While I struggled to comprehend what it might have been like to feel the earth shake and buildings topple, many Chilangos, as residents of Mexico City sometimes call themselves, were eager to tell me what had happened and how it had felt in 1985 when a massive earthquake killed at least 4500 people – most likely many more.
(Photo of Mexico City earthquake: Wikimedia)
November 6th, 2009 | By Round Earth Media
In the United States, Canada and Europe, some old hydroelectric dams are being torn down, rejected as environmentally destructive or too expensive to repair or replace. But that’s not the case in parts of the developing world, including Southeast Asia. There dams are being built along the biologically rich Mekong River and its tributaries. In just one small country, Laos, seven large dams are currently under construction, and over 50 more are on the drawing board. Some see this as a major threat to biodiversity.
May 6th, 2008 | By Round Earth Media
By Mary Stucky
Nowhere is the lowly potato more revered than in the Andes of South America. This is where potatoes originated. In just two countries — Peru and Bolivia — there some 10,000 different varieties of potatoes, in colors ranging from green to black to pink. Each has a unique taste and culinary purpose.
November 30th, 2007 | By Mary Losure
By Mary Losure
“There!” Our guide, Cirilo Tapui, points with his machete. “A gigantic woodpecker.”
I follow his gaze. Gigantic is right.
A ray of sun backlights the bird’s brilliant red crest as it pounds its huge beak on a dead tree — THWOK! THWOK! THWOK! Here in the Ecuadorian Amazon, immense and flashy birds like this still thrive, along with monkeys, tapirs, caimans and even, here and there, a jaguar.
And it’s possible, with a reasonable amount of trouble and expense, to see this rain forest wilderness firsthand. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but if you like nature (in rather large doses), it’s worth everything it takes to get there, and then some.