It's the last one I promise

Newsletter

Dear Friend,

We've made it. The end is nigh. This is the last newsletter of 2018. It's been a big year for Kinder. Kinder World went live, we vetted hundreds of charities with the help of our amazing summer interns, launched our donation widget and already started collecting donations. I'm looking forward to 2019 and what it will bring us. In the meantime, instead of the classic newsletter I thought I would share some of my favourite storied from Kinder. Here are five stories that I loved reading:

1. If we want to solve the world's problems, we first need to abolish all borders 
This is a very refreshing approach to thinking about global challenges we face as a species. It's about how there's no individual, even national solutions to problems like climate destruction. If we're going to fight this thing, we need to do it as a collective whole. The article suggests a very creative solution that's got to do with sending kids up to space (kind of). I don't want to ruin it by saying too much, better click above and read it.

2. 'Hi, I'm Rosa, I'm 14, and I'm worried for my generation'
This is a letter from 14-year-old Rosa in which she explains her fears for the future. It makes me worried about the planet we're leaving to our children. But the letter is also hope-inspiring because Rosa might be afraid but she's definitely defeated. She talks about working towards solutions, towards making the world a better place. It makes me proud of the generation of activists and do-gooders we're raising.

3. 5 reasons why veganism means much more than fighting for animal rights
There's a misconception about veganism that it's only about animal rights and making sure they don't get hurt or murdered. Sure, that's one aspect of veganism and a reason why many people go vegan but this article taught me that refusing to eat animal products also means taking a stand for your fellow humans and taking a stand for the living planet.

4How Solarpunks saved the planet, a recap of history
Solarpunk is a literary genre, an aesthetic movement,  and a way of living. It’s urban, lush, sustainable, and optimistic. Solarpunks believe that future civilisations can live in harmony with planet Earth again. We write quite a lot about Solarpunks on Kinder World but I think this is my favourite piece. It's a fictionalised history of the future told by a Solarpunk living in the year 2068.

5The Ginger and The Vegan go zero-waste

Okay, I know this technically 30 articles instead of one but I'm cheating here a bit. I loved reading about Kinder's beloved Jas and Morgana's journey in trying to produce the minimum amount of waste possible for a whole month. I would suggest going ahead and reading through all of them because they are not only informative but also quite funny. Maybe you can pick up some zero-waste habits along the way, I know I did.

More Stories

  • Muslim doctors open free clinic for uninsured patients in a Ohio mosque

    Solutions

    In this time of religious tensions, a small piece of good news can go a long way in restoring your faith in humanity. This positive bit, for example, comes all the way from the United States. Northeast Ohio, to be precise.

    👉 In Parma, a small city close to Cleveland, a group of Muslim doctors decided to convert some of the local mosque's spare rooms into a free health clinic where everybody is welcomed, no matter if uninsured or not Muslim.

    As reported by local media outlet News5 Cleveland, The Cleveland Ibn Sina Clinic opened just a few weekends ago but more than 30 patients have already received treatment.

    "We have the ability, we have the potential, we have the resources,” said Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, who is one of the 20 doctors that committed to volunteering their expertise. "Giving a little bit of your time, I think, goes a long way in making a difference in people's lives," he added.

    “A lot of the doctors came here from foreign countries outside the United States looking for better opportunities. Now that they are established, some of them are practicing with hospitals, some of them have their own practice, now they want to come together and give back to the community,” commented Hala Sanyurah, who is the clinic's Communication Director.

    The clinic — that will not just focus on primary health issues but also on more specific diseases like asthma, diabetes, and mental illness  is the first free medical facility in the region.

    Credit header image: Stu Spivack 

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  • Winter was frigid because the polar vortex got ‘drunk'

    Obstacles

    The mere mention of the term “polar vortex” elicits thoughts of bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills. Most people are aware that the frigid air in the Northern Hemisphere is coming directly from the Arctic region, yet they don’t know why polar vortexes happen.

    Not surprisingly, this has led to some rather heated debate. One side of the argument claims that the polar vortex is a result of climate change and human activity. The other side suggests this is a natural phenomenon that proves global warming is false and that humans are not involved in altering our climate.

    The truth is the former is correct. But trying to convince someone to accept this reality might be a difficult challenge. Thankfully, when it comes to the cause of the polar vortex, there is a relatively easy — and for some, relatable — explanation. Quite simply, the polar vortex gets drunk.

    My research expertise is in microbiology, immunology and chemical mechanisms of molecular interaction (think antibiotics).

    As a science communicator, one of my greatest hurdles is defining the intricacies of research into language with which people can understand. This means going deep into the literature and finding the mechanism behind the result. It also means having a deep level of knowledge in a variety of different science branches.

    In some cases, the information can be difficult to convey to a wider audience. But when it comes to the polar vortex, it’s not difficult at all.

    A close examination of the chemistry associated with the onset of these cold snaps reveals a near-perfect resemblance to a chemical shift our bodies encounter during alcohol consumption. The results reveal that both humans and the planet are similarly susceptible to unexpected and unwanted movements.

    Unstable masses

    Most of us can recognize when someone has had too much to drink. Their speech is slurred and they have troubles with their balance. This latter symptom is why the walk-and-turn sobriety test is effective — an inebriated person has trouble moving in a straight line.

    Maintaining posture and balance is a complicated neurological process. Research has revealed that one molecule, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), is necessary for us to achieve this goal. Our brains use this neurotransmitter to help control the signals to our muscles, particularly when we feel the effects of gravity or being pushed by another person.

    When we drink alcohol, GABA helps us preserve our balance and posture. But once we end up losing the necessary levels of GABA needed to keep us upright, we sway, stagger and stumble. Only when we’ve sobered up and increased our GABA levels are we able to regain our balance.

    A similar process occurs in the Arctic.

    Cold sober

    The polar vortex, officially known as the stratospheric polar vortex (SPV), is a stable air mass that tends to stay put when it’s cold sober. In the same way we feel an internal heat during alcohol consumption, the region can warm up with an infiltration of air from the south, better known as a sudden stratospheric warming. When this happens, the steadiness of the vortex is challenged.

    Much like our brains have GABA to maintain stability, the SPV also has a chemical that helps to maintain stability. It’s ozone.

    When levels remain high, the vortex stays in place. But should the levels drop, then the vortex starts to sway, stagger and then stumble southward, a process known as outward eddy transport. Depending on how low the ozone levels drop, the vortex can stretch well into the southern United States and Europe. Eventually, the SPV sobers up, the ozone levels recover, and the air mass stays up north. But this recovery can be slow and leave those affected freezing for weeks instead of days.

    As to what causes the ozone loss, it’s a reaction with a variety of chemicals in the air. Researchers can observe the process in real time and have found that the offenders are not alcoholic in nature but happen to be compounds that contain nitrogen and chlorine. The Earth produces these chemicals in the form of volcanic output and forest fire emissions, and this can lead to a drunk polar region.

    But the frequency of these events has increased from one every few years to one very few months. There must be another perpetrator.

    Thanks to real-time examinations of polar vortex movements over the last 20 years, we can easily finger the culprit: industrial air pollution. These commercial activities produce more than enough of the nitrogen and chlorine chemicals to reduce ozone levels and cause those drunken staggers. The data clearly shows that the blame for the rise in those cold blasts falls squarely on us.

    As this winter’s supply of polar vortex events comes to an end, so should the debate over whether the polar vortex is real — it is — and whether these movements are due to human activity — they are. Until we find ways to reduce our dependence on ozone-removing chemicals, all we can do is hope for the best and brace for the worst.

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. It's written by Jason Tetro, Visiting Scientist at the University of Guelph You can read the original article here

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  • Inside the Hospital of St. Cross, UK's oldest charitable institution

    Solutions

    Here at Kinder, we're often busy thinking about the future of philanthropy and how charitable organizations will look like 100 years from now.

    However, every now and then, it's also helpful to look back at history and realize that there's a handful of charities that have been around for so long that there's certainly something we can learn from them.

    One of them is the Hospital of St. Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester England, that actually prides itself to be the UK's oldest charitable institution.

    Founded around the year 1132, the almshouse was initiated by Bishop Henry of Blois to support thirteen poor men who were unable to work and to feed some 100 people who showed up at the gates every day.

    The thirteen men became known as the "Brothers of St. Cross". Despite the religious connotations of the term "brother", the Brothers of St. Cross were not and are not monks, therefore St. Cross is not a monastery. 

    The Wayfarer's Dole

    The Hospital of St. Cross' most unique and famous charitable endeavor is surely the so-called "Wayfarer's dole".

    According to this delightful tradition, every visitor of the almshouse can ask for a free horn of beer and a morsel of bread. As recalled by the organization's website, the custom was started by a monk from Cluny, in France, whose holy order always gave bread and wine to travelers.

    After so many centuries, this tradition still continues nowadays as seen in the BBC's program Songs of Praise👇

    The Hospital of St. Cross, which is hosted in a beautiful medieval building immersed in the British countryside, is regularly open for visits. Head to the organization's website for additional information.

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