Contraception – More Affordable for the Poorest

Former US president Clinton just announced that the pharmaceutical company Bayer is going to lower the price of modern contraceptives by a healthy 50%. In return, the Norwegian, British, US and Swedish governments agreed to buy the pill for their family plan programs.

Brightnews! This agreement will prevent 30 million unplanned births, 30’000 maternal and 280’000 children deaths. It’s therefore really very positive news for many people that couldn’t afford modern contraceptives.

Source:  Neue Zürcher Zeitung


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Growth – Not a German Prioritiy Anymore

As the global economic crisis frightens people all over the world, destroys jobs and shatters public and private finances, growth seems to be the universally accepted solution. And this notwithstanding the fact that there is little doubt that economic growth cannot be sustained forever, at least not on a planet with limited resources. Another issue with growth is, that it has been clearly established that at high income levels, growth that does contribute to more happiness. Therefore, growth not only seems unsustainable but also pretty useless. As it happens, Germans seem to be starting to understand that there are more important goals than consuming more and more goods. According to a recent poll, only 33% consider economic growth to be helpful for the well-being of a society, and 8 in 10 citizens think that Germany needs to fundamentally reform its economic system.

Brightnews! It is certainly very positive, that the general focus on economic growth as problem solver gives way to a more comprehensive and sustainable world view. Germany, already a frontrunner in the green economy, could also lead to way to a more balanced and sustainable mix between economic, social and environmental goals. We clearly need a more sustainable solution to the current structural woes of many countries than just create new bubbles laying the basis for the next crisis. I am persuaded that any real long term solution needs to take into account that we cannot rely on indefinite growth in order keep going. It will be a long process, also in Germany, but this should not deter anybody from starting it, but on the contrary should motivate us to try harder.


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Solar Panels replace Diesel Generators in India

The constant fall in solar panel prices claims a prominent victim: Diesel powered generators. Electricity produced by solar panels is now about half the price compared to electricity produced by a Diesel generator. Consider noise and pollution reduction and you can easily see why a new and potentially huge market for solar panels is emerging in India. A quarter of a billion Indians don’t have access to the grid, which delivers electricity for about half the price of a solar panel – if it delivers at all. Given the frequent power cuts, solar power may soon even become a better option for people on the grid.

Brightnews! The advantages of solar panels are obvious and if announced further price cuts for solar panels materialise, they will all but replace diesel generators in a short matter of time and soon even starting to replace the unreliable coal powered grid. This is bright news for consumers having access to a reliable and cheap energy source, solar panel manufacturers and countries investing in the solar industry and of course for the environment reducing pollution and CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Source: New Scientist


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