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Volunteer Your Student Debt Away, Breakthrough Business Models, Lyft's New Social Impact and Sus

As the Director of Sustainability at the Smeal College of Business, it is my responsibility to keep my mind constantly steeping in a solution of: 1 part business, 1 part technology, and 1 part each of environmental and social impact, including emerging science, news and events. (Stir together and steep for years until it reaches desired level of understanding).

In "That's News to Me" I share what I am steeping my

mind in with the growing TBL Smeal community. I

recently finished the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, a scientific exploration of our connection with the natural world, and am reading Andrew Winston's The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, More Open World.


Volunteer Your Debt Away: These Women Have a Clever Answer to the Student Loan Crisis (Crazy Good Turns podcast)

Shared Harvest Fund website: "We are three mission driven, community centered physicians who have witnessed (and personally experienced) the negative physical and mental consequences that carrying debt has on borrowers.

We recognize that a human approach to managing ballooning student loan debt is necessary. Our goal is to help combat the stressors of carrying this particular type of debt by encouraging people to re-focus, re-energize, and re-invest in building stronger communities. We have collaborated with savvy tech stars and built the first and only fintech solution to the student debt crisis.

Watch this!


Breakthrough Business Models

Achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is a huge market opportunity for business. As part of Project Breakthrough, Volans and the UN Global Compact have been speaking to leading innovators to find out what it will take to seize this opportunity.


Lyft Hires New Social Impact and Sustainability Directors (GreenBiz)

"We have made our entire fleet and office carbon neutral and we’re covering 100 percent of our electricity consumption with renewable energy. We’ve signed on to letters that we’re still in the Paris Agreement, and we advocate for policies that will help fight climate change.

Impact is embedded in our mission — to improve people’s lives. That’s why we created the "Round Up & Donate" tool. We also launched "The Ride to Vote" program. This year we launched the "Relief Rides" program, which is how we help people in crisis, such as women who’ve been domestically abused. People are very proud of this and it’s brought a lot of focus. Externally it’s changed the way people see Lyft."


Diverse segments of the US public underestimate the environmental concerns of minority and low-income Americans (National Academy of Science)

From the authors: "We document widespread underestimation of the environmental concerns of a broad range of sociodemographic groups among the US public.

This underestimation was largest for judgments of minorities’ and low-income Americans’ concerns—groups that indicate high levels of environmental concern in public opinion surveys—and tracked with stereotypes of environmentalists as white and highly educated, similarly widely shared across demographic groups."


How US policy in Honduras set the stage for today’s migration (The Conversation)

Image credit: Newsweek

"This continues Washington’s longstanding willingness to overlook official corruption in Honduras as long as the country’s ruling elites who serve what are defined as U.S. economic and geopolitical interests."

The author claims the U.S. government, among other interventions into Honduras, "helped deregulate and destabilize the global coffee trade [bananas as well], upon which Honduras heavily depended. These changes made Honduras more amenable to the interests of global capital. They disrupted traditional forms of agriculture and undermined an already weak social safety net."

In conclusion, the author says: "These decades of U.S. involvement in Honduras set the stage for Honduran emigration to the United States, which began to markedly increase in the 1990s."


Within two years, we must commit to saving the web of life (CNN)

Image credit: Frits Ahlefeldt on Flicker

"Mammal, bird, fish and reptile populations have fallen on average by 60% since 1970, finds a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report involving 59 scientists from around the world. “If there was a 60% decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done,” says Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at the WWF."

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