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Greater Middle Eastern and North African representation on Yale campus

Greater Middle Eastern and North African representation on Yale campus

As Yalies continue to push for greater Middle Eastern and North African representation on Yale campus, the student organization advocating for the creation of a MENA Cultural Center held a launch event Thursday.

MENA students association holds launch event by Alayna Lee & Ella Goldblum on September 27, 2019.

Asha Prihar

While there are only four institutionalized cultural centers at Yale, the Middle Eastern and North African Students Association has advocated for MENA to become the fifth cultural center for the past two years. Spearheaded by members of the Arab Students Association and other cultural groups, the association is still in the midst of advocating for full-fledged cultural center status from the University. With support from the Yale College Council, the club plans to proceed in the meantime with programming similar to that of existing cultural centers.

Thursday’s MENA “Welcome Mixer” was intended to connect students and faculty who identify as Middle Eastern, as North African or who are interested in the region. The event was the club’s second official event since becoming a formally registered student organization last semester.

“[Last year], I started thinking about why a MENA house did not exist on campus to act as a [homey] umbrella for various students on campus who did not identify with the existing four institutionalized cultural centers,” MENA Co-Presidents Shady Qubaty ’20 and Yasmin Alamdeen ’21 said in a joint email to the News on Monday. “After all, breaking up the MENA region into an ‘Asian’ identifying region in the [Asian-American Cultural Center] and an ‘African’ identifying region in the [Afro-American] House disregards the social and cultural realities of Middle Eastern and North African identifying persons.”

Approximately 40 people attended the welcome mixer, including undergraduate Yale students, a student from Gateway Community College in New Haven and Jackson Institute World Fellows. They served a wide array of food, including treats from the MENA region such as baklava and grape leaves. The desserts came from Havenly, a startup bakery created by Yale students that employs refugee women in New Haven.

Qubaty and Alamdeen explained that the cultural house project first started to gain attention at the YCC Elections Debate in 2018, where Qubaty introduced the idea of a fifth cultural center to each of the candidates. They added that each candidate then incorporated the initiative into their platform, starting the YCC’s involvement in advocating for the MENA club.

According Qubaty and Alamdeen’s email, three questions related to the MENA club received a “nearly [unanimously]” positive reaction on the 2018-2019 YCC survey, motivating Qutaby and Alamdeen’s team to move forward with the project. Since then, they explained, the club has secured a base room at 305 Crown St., which is also next to the AACC and La Casa Cultural.

Qubaty and Alamdeen also emphasized that the momentum gained since receiving the official endorsement of the YCC signals that a MENA cultural center is “no longer just the demand of [their] association, but one concerning Yale’s official undergraduate student government.”

They added that this “huge step forward” has provided a YCC-based task force that has helped facilitate contact and advocacy on the prospective cultural center’s behalf.

“In addition, we have managed to garner the support of countless faculty members and are now in the process of forming an advisory board for the club consisting of Yale Alumni who are very passionate about this proposal,” the email said. “In that respect, we will have students, faculty and alumni all heading in the same direction.”

YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21 said that while MENA is “still in the process of advocacy that started last year,” the first step in establishing an official cultural center has already been achieved.

According to the email, Qubaty and Alamdeen characterized the process of achieving formal recognition as “very sticky” and one that “involves a lot of bureaucracy that is not just related to funding.”

They noted that the establishment of the other cultural houses took decades and that Yale administration has to be convinced that demand for a new cultural center is “real.” The email also explained that from there, the Administration will have to form a committee devoted to discussing its need and its feasibility “which takes time.”

Still, Qubaty and Alamdeen emphasized that formal recognition is “definitely possible” and that they “will not stop pushing” for a MENA house to be established.

Zakaria Gedi ’22, communications chair for the MENA Students Association, told the News that there is a large group of students who could be served by a MENA house and that this need applies “especially for a first-year who is trying to find their identity and make friends of similar heritage.”

Onur Burcak Belli, a Turkey-based journalist and Jackson Institute World Fellow at Yale, attended Thursday’s event and told the News that she was “really disappointed when [she] learned you don’t have a particular place to represent an area that has a lot to do with U.S. politics.”

She is proud of the students who have pushed for the establishment of the MENA Cultural Center and hopes to send a message that people living in the MENA region “are much more than victims.”

As the MENA Students Association does not currently have their own space, the Welcome Mixer took place on the first floor of the Asian-American Cultural Center.

Alayna Lee | alayna.lee@yale.edu

Ella Goldblum | ella.goldblum@yale.edu

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Fossil Fuel Complicity as No Longer Hidden

Fossil Fuel Complicity as No Longer Hidden

­CleanTechnica Fossil Fuels elaborated on the more and more overwhelming tendency of eying Fossil Fuel complicity as no longer hidden in America’s investments institutions. as well as elsewhere in the world. Here it is.

Fossil Fuel Complicity No Longer Hidden Behind ‘Fiduciary Duty’

May 7th, 2019 by Carolyn Fortuna 

They’re not giving up. Yes, several attempts were defeated to persuade the Massachusetts municipal and county retirement systems to remove fossil fuel investments from their portfolios. But the Massachusetts Legislature is still considering measures that open up possibilities for divestment. To do otherwise, they argue, is to engage in fossil fuel complicity.

And they’re not alone. All over the US, organizations are pushing for divestments within institutions and municipalities. Led by FossilFree.org, individuals and advocacy groups are raising the discourse around the necessity to stop and ban all new oil, coal, and gas projects bypassing local resolutions to divest and by building community resistance.

fossil fuel complicity

Divestment has been a tool used to promote social change since at least the 1970s, when anti-apartheid activists urged institutions to move their investment dollars away from companies that did business with South Africa. Fossil fuel divestment has been gaining momentum in recent years, with more than 1,000 institutions pledging to remove $8.55 trillion from investments in the fossil fuel sector.

fossil fuel complicity

Fiduciary Duty is Now a Companion Argument to Social & Environmental Reasons to Divest

In 2017, Somerville, Massachusetts’ governing board agreed to move $9.2 million — 4.5% of the total invested funds — out of fossil fuel investments. The regulatory body that oversees public pension systems rejected the move, however, with reasons ranging from procedural to breach of fiduciary duty. The Massachusetts Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) claimed Somerville was failing to put the financial needs of its beneficiaries ahead of social and environmental causes. PERAC oversees 104 public pension plans across the state, with about $86 billion in total assets.

However, 2 counterarguments quickly made that position untenable.

  1. Demand for fossil fuels is likely to drop as much of the global economy shifts to renewable energy.
  2. Increased storm frequency due to climate change can cause supply chain disruption and infrastructure damage for oil companies.

“From the fiduciary perspective, there are a lot of questions as to the economic health of the fossil fuel sector moving forward,” Alex Nosnik, a member of the Somerville board, said. “Risk, certainly in concert with the environmental and social issues, was driving our decision to move forward.”

Ultimately, after lots of divestment advocates worked alongside sympathetic legislators to craft a local option bill that would authorize any municipal or county retirement system to divest from fossil fuels should they so choose. Standalone bills have been filed in the House and Senate; similar language has also been included in a wide-ranging clean energy bill pending in the Senate.

Several of the state’s environmental groups have come out in favour of these measures, including the Massachusetts chapter of the Sierra Club, the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, and the Climate Action Business Association.

“We have to stop putting money into fossil fuels,” said Deb Pasternak, director of Sierra Club Massachusetts. “We need to take our money and direct it toward the renewable energy economy.”

Read more on CleanTechnica.

Renewable energy investments grew to $297 billion in 2016

Renewable energy investments grew to $297 billion in 2016

Solar Overtakes Fossil Fuels for the First Time

North Hollywood, CA — (ReleaseWire) — 12/07/2018 –

2019 is just around the corner, and across the globe observations and statistics indicate that clean, renewable energy production is growing faster than fossil fuels, and multiple studies predict that this trend will continue to grow. Renewable energy investments grew to $297 billion in 2016 (the last time full-year data was collected), while only $143 billion was spent on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels as early as 2020. Bloomberg’s New Energy Outlook 2018 forecasts that “By 2050 wind and solar technology provide almost 50% of total electricity globally – ’50 by 50′ – with hydro, nuclear and other renewables taking total zero-carbon electricity up to 71%.”

Developing nations are now forging ahead of the wealthiest countries (and previous leaders in renewable energy) by practicing the use of producing energy through environmentally friendly methods, like wind and solar, more than traditional, harmful methods.

Because many developing countries are plentiful in natural resources and equipment costs are relatively low, clean energy has been shown to be financially beneficial for less wealthy countries allowing them to dominate in clean energy production. In fact, research shows that, in many cases, due to the sharp decline in prices of solar technology in recent years, the same amount of energy produced from fossil fuels can be produced by solar panel systems at half the cost of coal.

According to an article on Bloomberg News, “Emerging markets added the least new coal-fired power generating capacity last year since at least2006.” The article continues, “New coal plants in these countries slumped 38 percent from a year earlier to 48 gigawatts in 2017, which was about half of the peak in 2015, according to BNEF.”

Countries like the US can learn from these developing nations. Nicki Zvik, founder of Green Solar Technologies, states, “As resources for fossil fuels diminish, and as the need take measures to prevent climate change remains at the forefront of people’s minds, it is essential that wealthier nations take advantage of the flourishing clean energy market, and thankfully, they are.”

According to an article published on Engadget,”Renewable energy played an important role in the US last year…” The article continues to note, “solar and wind power represented 94.7 percent of the net new electricity capacity (15.8GW out of 16.7GW) added in 2017.”

2018 has been a banner year for renewable energy. The rapid progression of investment in clean, reliable, eco-friendly renewables continues at record-breaking levels, and all indicators point to strong and steady growth in renewable energy into the foreseeable future. More than ever, global awareness that renewable energy is the only viable answer to the world’s growing energy demands, and hope for the future grows apace.

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Source: Green Solar Technologies
Posted Friday, December 07, 2018 at 11:41 AM CST – Permalink

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

An article of The Tech Edvocate written by Matthew Lynch and published on Aug 09, 2017 gives an idea on how education has evolved into increased depth mainly through more reliance on digital computation. This calls on diverse and bespoke application software. In the author’s opinion, these number 7 must have student-collaboration Apps that are the most used ones for the specific capabilities of each.

Would this article apply to the MENA region as well ?

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources

Collaboration in the classroom helps students process and deepen knowledge. Students also develop important real-world skills like problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership.

When you choose the right tools, incorporating technology can further enhance student collaboration and learning outcomes. Here are seven of the best student-collaboration apps, tools, and resources for you to try this school year.

  1. Google Apps for Education

With Google Docs, students can share and collaborate on documents. Color-coded icons show who is typing or editing what in real time.

Google Hangouts facilitates small group discussions, and it’s compatible with any device. Students can also create presentations together with Google Slides or collaboratively build diagrams using Google Drawings.

  1. Debate Graph

Students can participate in group debates or build collaborative brainstorms on any complex topic. Subject maps and spider graphs can be saved and presented to the class or scored by the teacher.

  1. TalkBoard

According to Forbes, it’s an “indispensable tool for illustrating collaborative ideas on the fly.” Students can visually express and build on ideas using iPads.

This app can be particularly excellent for language learners, autistic students, and visual learners.

  1. Padlet

Essentially a virtual bulletin board, Padlet is perfect for collaborative discussions. Teachers or students start by posing an open-ended question. Students respond with words, images, audio, or video. All responses appear on the original “wall” in real time, and students can comment on one another’s posts.

  1. Twiddla

Twiddla calls itself a “meeting platform” where students can collaboratively mark-up graphics, photos, webpages, and uploaded documents. Students may opt to brainstorm on a white canvas or create mind maps as well.

  1. TodaysMeet

This very easy-to-use backchannel tool allows teachers to create a chatroom for the class. Students can ask questions, respond to questions, have collaborative discussions, or provide feedback on your lesson. The site also has a polling feature.

  1. Wikispaces Classroom

WikiSpaces Classroom gives you and your students a safe, private network for having discussions, collaboratively editing pages, and completing group projects. There are pre-built templates for a variety of projects, but students can also work from a blank slate.

You can track all student progress in real time and immediately communicate feedback to your students, whether they’re at home or in your classroom.

These apps, tools, and resources can all be quickly and easily implemented to enhance communication and collaboration in your classroom.

The post 7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources appeared first on The Tech Edvocate.

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The United Kingdom gave up its use of coal

The United Kingdom gave up its use of coal

Following our Earth Day commemoration article Climate Change and Environmental Awareness , where it was mentioned that on that day, the United Kingdom gave up its use of coal for mainly generating its electrical power, today we are happy to republish a World Economic Forum’s article written by Alex Gray, Formative Content on April 26, 2017 on the same subject. It is about the US and Europe abandoning coal generated energy altogether and for the first time for generations, in fact from as it were the launching of this technology.

The media are increasingly reporting that renewable power now accounts for more than 30% of all installed electrical capacity worldwide, exceeding coal, and this whilst some politicians who riding a wave crest of popularity have promised the contrary, that is to dig deep for more coal.

We would take opportunity here to mention that despite the advent of fossil oils, the coal industry never ceased to be sourced for one purpose or another to generate and / or second energy production.
As per this article, Alex is proposing the idea that this is it and there is no looking back.  So, thank you Alex for this piece of good news; wondering however, what’s next?

Image: REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo

Coal mining jobs aren’t coming back. But clean energy is already creating millions of new ones

The benefits of renewable energy are obvious: it’s giving us a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet to live on.

But clean energy is also a massive contributor to the economy.

recent report says that “advanced energy” is a $1.4 trillion global industry, almost twice the size of the global airline industry, and nearly equal to worldwide apparel revenue. This is a 7% increase compared to the 2015 total of $1.3 trillion.

Image: Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report

In fact, the advanced energy industry, which encompasses energy sources, technologies and services that are clean, affordable and secure, is also growing much faster than the world economy overall – 7% versus 3.1%.

And it is creating jobs. The industry now supports 3.3 million positions in the US alone. That’s equal to the employment provided by retail stores, and twice the jobs in construction.

What is driving its growth?

Globally, advanced energy has grown by nearly a quarter (24%) since 2011, adding $257.7 billion in revenue over six years. The top three performers were electricity generation, transportation and building efficiency, in that order, according to the report, which was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a trade association representing the advanced energy industry.

Electricity generation remained the largest advanced energy segment globally, with $455.6 billion in revenue (up 5% over 2015).

Transportation was the second largest advanced energy segment, growing 8% last year and reaching $447 billion.

At 15%, building efficiency capped a fifth straight year of double-digit growth with a record increase, reaching $271.6 billion in revenue in 2016.

Image: Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)

 

The picture in the US

In the US, the advanced energy industry generated $200 billion in revenue, nearly double that of beer sales, equal to pharmaceutical manufacturing, and approaching wholesale consumer electronics.

Image: Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report

Advanced energy in the United States has grown by an average of 5% annually for a total of 28% compared to 2011.

What is advanced energy?

The report defines advanced energy as “a broad range of technologies, products, and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow”.

That includes things like the transmission, distribution and storage of electricity; vehicles that are powered by fuel other than gasoline or diesel; fuel production including ethanol and biodiesel; advanced industry processes (such as combined heat and power); fuel delivery and electricity generation through renewables.

Another report has reached similar conclusions.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that, by 2050, renewables will add about $19 trillion to the world economy, and will create about 6 million jobs.

The increase in use of renewable energy, plus improved energy efficiency, will achieve the emissions reductions needed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2C, according to IRENA. The aim of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is to keep global temperature increase well below 2C and if possible below 1.5C.

IRENA says that while changing the energy landscape requires massive investment – some $29 trillion –
this only represents 0.4% of global GDP.

In addition to boosting the economy, it will create enough jobs to offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and of course, give us a healthier planet to live on.

Renewable energy now accounts for 24% of global power generation and 16% of primary energy supply. To achieve decarbonization, the report states that, by 2050, renewables should be 80% of power generation and 65% of total primary energy supply.

 

Thousands Marching for Native Nations

Thousands Marching for Native Nations

This most beautiful article produced and published on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Common Dreams and written by Nika Knight, staff writer about Thousands Marching for Native Nations, a movement of populations reacting to the newly elected president of the United States standing for the Big Oils forcing their way with a pipe-line through indigenous lands in the Dakota plains.

We would take this opportunity to remind that the right of marginalised indigenous individuals as well as communities are almost unknown or unheard of in the MENA region populations. The very best example that could laid out for illustration would be the Kuwaiti Bidoons that are by the way found in pockets in almost all countries of the Gulf, Palestine and North Africa.

We recommend reading the article in its original setting for a better appreciation of the embedded message of justice, and eventually provision of some equity as it were in our consumption of the environment.

 

‘We Exist, We Resist, We Rise’: Thousands March for Native Nations

 

‘Standing Rock was just the beginning’

 

The Native Nations Rise march was the culmination of a week of workshops, actions, and prayers to battle for native rights in the face of the right-wing Trump administration and the ongoing #NoDAPL fight.

The march began at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters and ended at Lafayette Square, in front of the White House. En route, demonstrators erected a tipi at the Trump Hotel to “reclaim stolen land”:

Afterward, the rights and land defenders marched on to the White House:

The march culminated in a rally at Lafayette Square. Indigenous people and protesters spoke, prayed, played music, and repeated calls for environmental justice, sovereignty, and a meeting between President Donald Trump and leaders of tribal nations.

“Standing Rock was just the beginning, “said a journalist with Indigenous Rising Media, speaking to a plaintiff in one of the multiple lawsuits against the U.S. government for permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction.

A live broadcast of the march and rally can be found here. Throughout the day, participants and journalists are also posting photos and videos of the action under the hashtag #NativeNationsRise: