Leaning over a tiny wooden table, dressed in a shapeless gray-green prison uniform, she described her first encounter with him. “I was scared,” she said. “Why should I open up? But after Chris posted my picture on the Internet, I felt amazing. People commented and made me feel like I could accomplish a lot. After that, they knew my pain.”
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A Cuban governmental official spoke with me on the condition of anonymity. She told me the salary of the average Cuban, under $20 U.S. dollars a month, is almost impossible to survive on. I had no idea then that, a few miles away, people were living with original Matisse prints in their bedroom.
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They stand on street corners and in airports like miniature museum exhibits of another era. Who needs a pay phone anymore? We have our smartphones; they do so much more and they fit in our pockets.
But that doesn’t mean pay phones have run their course in the world. For people who are down on their luck, public pay phones are the phones they’ve got — and without any pocket change, you can still call the toll-free lines of social-service agencies, which, operators say, is where many pay-phone calls go, according to a report in USA Today by Janine Zeitlin. […]
Some of the demand for pay phones comes at airports where, presumably, international travelers don’t have Amercan cell phones. But much comes from places serving a less fortunate demographic: correctional facilities, transitional housing, substance-abuse-recovery centers, homeless shelters, jails, and prisons.
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Really, the question isn’t how will we feed 9 billion by 2050? The question is how many people will we really have and what will they be eating?
Poverty of course plays a big role in both these issues because, as Juergen Voegele, director, agriculture and rural development, the World Bank, pointed out to Revkin: “We already have close to one billion people who go hungry today, not because there is not enough food in the world but because they cannot afford to buy it.”
Raising incomes, or course, is a difficult nut — one that doesn’t succumb to a solution hatched in a lab. But more income means better-educated families, and even declining population growth. The flip side, though, is that rising incomes are also associated with higher meat consumption, which can get us closer to option five on Smil’s lifestyle if we are not careful. So the best case: to raise incomes and to incentivize less resource-intensive food consumption.
But we don’t need to become vegans to save the world (which would doom us even if we did because so few would go along). In many developing countries, such an approach would amount to culinary imperialism, given the importance of meat for both income generation, the result of having a cow or goat or two, and as a source of much-needed calories for children from milk and scant meat. Never mind the use of manure to grow crops. We’re not talking about factory farms here, but animals that play a central role in cultures and livelihoods.
Read the rest of the story at The Atlantic.