Tapping Into Tech for Human Rights and Human Welfare

The consideration of internet access as a human right has been topical as of late.  But before we get to that, I think sharing this humourous image* (an update to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) recently circulated online is a good start (and indeed related):

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Comically (and in many ways unfortunately), for those of us who are used to being digitally connected and logging on to our social media sites, WiFi access seems almost like our life blood and fundamental need before even our physiological needs at times. However, not everyone has access to the power of the internet.

Is the internet a fundamental human right?  As vice.com cites, “Amnesty (International) argues that technology is transforming society so completely, it’s forcing the notion of ‘a human right’ to evolve. The UN even released a special report on how important the internet is, ‘not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and promote the progress of society as a whole.”

Companies like Facebook and Google are working on bridging the connectivity gap in areas of the globe without such access.  Is this to ensure equity? To facilitate the process of keeping up with contemporary life? Or is it about business and economic progress?  Or maybe all of the above?  Check out the full article:  Why We Think the Internet Is a Human Right.

And while we’re thinking about global access to tech tools, an interesting article recently posted on dowser.org highlighted how innovative tech tools can be instrumental in initiatives to prevent atrocities in the world.  The piece shares info on winners of an innovative tech challenge and illustrates how modern online and mobile tools help collect data, catalogue stories, and build awareness–ultimately to create impact.  Continue to article–Powerful Tech: New Innovations to Fight Rape, Murder, and Atrocities

StoryMaker-Brian

* I’m not sure of the original source of the image shared at the top of this blog but it could be from mdcounselling.

The appeal of walkable neighbourhoods

Check out this link:  The appeal of walkable neighbourhoods

It’s an article from The New York Times about how neighbourhoods that are walkable are coveted–where everyday needs can be met by walking, transit or biking.  The piece links residing in such neighbourhoods with economic status and higher valued real estate.

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In thinking about walkable neighbourhoods, I’m reminded of an interesting book I read years ago:  Great Good Place:  Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, And Other Hangouts At The Heart Of A Community.

 

Some excerpts from the book:

“Having the necessities within easy walking distance is the defining characteristic, the common denominator, of vital neighbourhoods.  Convenience does not emerge where local residents make little more use of the neighbourhood than to eat, sleep, and watch television (well, now-a-days Facebook, Netflix, and surf the internet)–all within their homes.  But in localities where an easy walk secures postage stamps, dry cleaning, groceries, a magazine, or a sweet roll and a cup of coffee, there will be life beyond private dwellings.”

“In using nearby facilities, in visiting them afoot and regularly, the residents of an area effectively create a casual environment and reap its benefits…People get to know their merchants and their neighbors; from among the many, the compatible few are able to discover one another.”

“Such an environment is well described as casual because the elements of accident and informality are strong within it…Without having to plan or schedule or prepare, those who move about in a familiar and casual environment have positive social experiences.  They bump into friends; they receive daily doses of novelty, diversion, and social support.”