All in Poverty

by Amy Kochanowsky, staff editor A new solution to feeding the world’s burgeoning urban population in a sustainable way may be the introduction of vertical farms. A vertical farm is essentially a skyscraper that largely makes use of hydroponic techniques to support crops. Dickson Despommier, a Columbia University professor and main force behind the movement, touts the benefits in his recent book, the Vertical Farm. I applaud Despommier’s vision of a more sustainable future and his ability to inspire innovation. However, this concept is still in a nascent stage and there are many details to be worked out before any designs could be successfully implemented.

By Tia Brueggeman, staff editor While visiting Belize, I was struck by the dichotomy between the tourists and local people. Thousands of tourists disembark cruise ships on the shores of Belize every year. This influx of tourists is beneficial to the Belizean economy, but there are consequences for the local people and the natural environment. This trend in Belize began in 2002 with an agreement between a major cruise line and a local Belizean businessman to construct a mega-terminal. An agreement needs to be reached to share the profits with the community, including local contracting. The future is potentially hopeful for the Belizean people as long as the government can work with private industry to find ways to distribute the growing wealth to the local people.

By Gillian Grissom, staff editor A recent New York Times article observes the blossoming friendship between Big Beverage and interest groups opposed to New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed plan to redefine eligible items for purchase under SNAP. While the beverage lobbies initially seem unlikely partners for what the author calls the “[t]raditional, old-line liberals in the shaggy, idealistic, antihunger, antipoverty sector,” the groups have plenty on which to agree regarding this proposed policy modification.While I typically cast myself in the “shaggier” camp, I do think Bloomberg might be on to something here.

By Patricia J. Liever, staff editor Following last month’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there has been increasing coverage of the impending failure of developed countries to reach their lofty goals by 2015. Critics have suggested amending the goals, replacing them with something a bit more realistically achievable. By suggesting this, critics disregard one of the central purposes of the MDGs: uniting those passionate about development under the banner of ending global poverty.

By Jenny Orgill, staff editor Cram schools known as buxibans are contributing to the widening education gap between the wealthy and the poor in Taiwan. The richer the family, the better the buxiban they can afford. Thus, a rich child attending the same public school as a poor child will have a much better chance to obtain a good university education because of the quantity and quality of "buxi" that his or her parents can afford.