Maximpact Blog

Efficient Solar Still Makes Seawater Drinkable

DesalDiagram

A new level of efficiency in using sunlight to turn seawater into fresh drinking water has been achieved. The completely passive solar-powered desalination system could provide more than 5.6 liters (1.5 gallons) of potable water an hour for every square meter of solar collecting area.

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Post-Brexit Britain Flips Decarbonisation Switch

BritainWindOffshore

Last Monday, on his first day in office, Jonathan Brearley, the new chief executive of Britain’s energy market regulator Ofgem, launched his agency’s “Decarbonisation Action Plan” to foster the growth of renewable energy and roll out 10 million electric vehicles over the next 10 years.

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Circular Cars of the Future: 100% Recyclable

RobotsFordAssemblyLine

A global, multi-stakeholder effort to completely decarbonize the automotive manufacturing sector is underway. The Circular Cars Initiative enlists a consortium of private and public-sector stakeholders all along the automotive value chain who are committed to eliminating manufacturing emissions.

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Refugee Kids Quicker Than Adults at Languages

This boy from Syria was 11-years-old at the time of this picture in 2013. He was living with his family in a makeshift tent shelter in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. He hadn't been to school for two years because of the conflict, but then he was granted two hours of schooling every day. "The best thing about being back at school is that I can study again," he said. "I want to be a doctor when I'm older, and I really like to study and learn." (Photo courtesy UK Dept. of International Development) Creative Commons license via Flickr

As millions of displaced people move around the world in search of safer lives, learning the language of their adopted homes is a skill best acquired young. Scientists say there appears to be a critical period for language learning, although the length of this period and its underlying causes remain to be unraveled.

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Guided Self-help Eases Refugees’ Distress

SudaneseRefugeeWomen

A guided self-help approach that offers strategies for managing distress and coping with adversity is safe, and resulted in meaningful improvements in functioning compared to enhanced usual care in female refugees living in a settlement in Uganda, according to a randomized trial involving nearly 700 South Sudanese refugee women…

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Controlling The Rising Tide of Plastics

PlasticBuckets

The United States, the world’s largest exporter of plastic waste, is making renewed efforts to handle its waste plastic in environmentally-conscious ways, but despite these efforts, American plastics are flooding into poorer countries, causing public health and environmental concerns.

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Trump, Thunberg Clash at World Economic Forum

Thunberg Greta Davos Speech

After a year of floods and droughts, when wildfires devastated Australia and the Amazon, and Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report finds for the first time that environmental issues dominate leaders’ concerns for the future.

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Quenching Human Thirst Creates a Salty Problem

CarlsbadDesalPlant

The fast-rising number of desalination plants worldwide, with capacity concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa, satisfy a growing thirst for fresh drinking water but create a salty dilemma – how to safely deal with all the chemical-laden leftover brine.

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Capacity Building is Building the Capacity to Grow

Capacity-building presentation at 21st Annual Meeting of National Authorities that are parties to The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an intergovernmental organisation that is the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. November 6, 2019, The Hague, The Netherlands (Photo courtesy OPCW) Creative commons license via Flickr

“Frequently invisible, and often overlooked, capacity building is the all-important ‘infrastructure’ that supports and shapes charitable nonprofits into forces for good,” declares the National Council of Nonprofits based in Washington, DC, the largest existing U.S. network of nonprofit organizations.

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Refugee Camps Rely on Renewables

Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp made the switch to clean energy in November 2017 with the inauguration of the largest solar power plant ever built in a refugee setting. (Photo by Yousef Al Hariri courtesy UNHCR) Posted for media use

In Iraq, displaced people struggle with the loss of electric power as blackouts and brownouts remain frequent even at grid-connected settlements, leaving refugees and the humanitarian community dependent on expensive, polluting diesel generators. In Ethiopia, most refugees lack any reliable access at all to electric lighting.

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Children, Hope of the World, At Risk

Children of trainee carpet weavers at an in-house kindergarten at the Afghan Bazar Carpet Company in Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan's Balkh Province. December 3, 2019 (Photo courtesy International Labour Organisation Asia-Pacific) Creative Commons license via Flickr

Young people are his greatest source of hope, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the world in his New Year’s message today. “From climate action to gender equality to social justice and human rights, your generation is on the frontlines and in the headlines,” he said. “I am inspired by your passion and determination.”

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Billions Pledged at First Global Refugee Forum

Azeem, 27, at his shop in Karachi, Pakistan. Afghan refugees like Azeem have recently been allowed to open bank accounts. 2019 (Photo by Roger Arnold courtesy UNHCR)

The world’s first Global Refugee Forum ended Wednesday with hundreds of pledges and a “decisive shift” in approach. More than 770 pledges were made that ranged from financial support to more inclusive government policies to improving access to refugee employment, education, clean energy and resettlement.

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Weak COP25 Outcome Disappoints, Despite Achievements

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses thousands of delegates from around the world, opening the UN’s annual climate conference, COP25, Dec. 2, Madrid, Spain (Photo courtesy Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

Climate negotiations lasting 16 days have failed to find common ground on international carbon trading rules, one of the important issues at the UN’s COP25 climate summit in Madrid, which wrapped Sunday with a weak accord despite urging from the United Nations and civil society groups to address the climate emergency with “ambition.”

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Courageous Young People Battle Climate Crisis

Illinois Youth Climate Strike marchers start out from Millennium Park in Chicago in solidarity with demonstrations at the UN climate conference, COP25, in Madrid, December 6, 2019 (Photo by Ted Cox / One Illinois) Posted for media use

As environmental disasters unfolded across the world in 2019, it is fearless children and young adults who have dared to speak out in defense of their rights to a safe and healthy future with a liveable climate, clean air and clean water.

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