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He also insisted that mayors have an important role to play on environmental issues, according to the AP.

Mayors have long played a crucial role in addressing climate change. This makes sense because cities hold the bulk of the world's population and mayors can often take action more readily than leaders overseeing larger bodies of government.

By Joe McCarthy

Former President Barack Obama appeared at a gathering of mayors from around the world in Chicago Tuesday to talk about climate change and encourage leaders to take action, according to the Associated Press.

It was the latest in a series of appearances from the former president who offers a perspective that differs from his successor. Just last week, Obama met with Chinese president Xi Jinping.


The North American Climate Summit was gathered to explore how city leaders can take action on climate change. More than 50 mayors attended the event, including those from Paris, Mexico City, Montreal, Austin and Atlanta. It was partly inspired by the recognition that cities may have to play a bigger role if action at federal levels of government recedes.

The U.S., for instance, intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement, opening up a larger opportunity for action on the local level. Mayors throughout the U.S. have since reaffirmed their commitments to the global arrangement.

While Obama didn’t refer to Trump by name, he expressed opinions that are at odds with the current president, the New York Times noted.

He also insisted that mayors have an important role to play on environmental issues, according to the AP.

“Ultimately the work is done on the ground,” Obama said during the event, AP reported. “Cities and states and businesses and universities and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change.”

Mayors have long played a crucial role in addressing climate change. This makes sense because cities hold the bulk of the world’s population and mayors can often take action more readily than leaders overseeing larger bodies of government.

Obama echoed these points during the event and drilled down even further, calling on individuals everywhere to play their part in mitigating climate change.

“Climate change can be solved by human action,” he said. “We lead respectively where there is no consensus or directive out of our national governments.”

Global Citizen takes action on the Global Goals which call for strong climate change. You can take action on this issue here .

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

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Transfernation

The number of people requesting food pickups has spiked since our app was introduced. Many food donors don't want to go through the hassle of having to call or e-mail to schedule pickups. Using the app, it takes less than 5 minutes to send out a pickup request.

The app has helped paid opportunities to do good and reach populations that we could not have reached manually. Many of the individuals completing our pickups on a regular basis are people who have experienced homelessness or major financial setbacks and are actively trying to re-enter the workforce.

By Andrew McMaster

In some ways, New York is a city of excess. From Midtown’s tall skyscrapers to Grand Central’s arched ceiling to SoHo’s hundreds of shops and boutiques, the city always seems to take things to the next level.

More people, more money, more noise, more entertainment, more food.


But for some, in fact many, New Yorkers, there is often not enough to go around—at least when it comes to the last of those things: food.

The food charity Feeding America estimates that 1 in 8 New York City residents suffer from hunger. For children, that number is 1 in 5.

But one app is trying to change this.

Transfernation, which brands itself as “NYC’s first tech-based, on demand food redistribution system,” has been making significant strides to tackle the pernicious issue of food insecurity—by taking it online.

Their online platform allows corporate and social institutions to easily donate excess food from large events to local feeding programs.

Global Citizen spoke with Transfernation Co-Founders Hannah Dehradunwala and Samir Goel to see what’s new with Transfernation, and how their work is changing communities for the better:


Transfernation

It’s been over two years since you last spoke with Global Citizen. How has Transfernation changed over time?

Our mission, of course, is still the same, but we’ve almost completely changed the way that we operate. Two years ago, we were using volunteers to complete our pickups and a manual system of communicating with them. Our pickups are now completed by paid, independent contractors instead of volunteers, which allows us to partner with existing transportation networks, work outside of the confines of a 9-5 work day, and facilitates our on-demand pickups.

We also launched our app for iOS! The app works like Uber, but for food instead of passengers. Food donors are able to reach our base of contractors in real-time and schedule pickups on-demand and contractors receive push notifications for pickups in their vicinity. It completely removes the middleman and all of the manpower it takes to coordinate logistics.


Transfernation

Has the app succeeded at bringing excess food to more people in need?

The number of people requesting food pickups has spiked since our app was introduced. Many food donors don’t want to go through the hassle of having to call or e-mail to schedule pickups. Using the app, it takes less than 5 minutes to send out a pickup request.

The app has helped paid opportunities to do good and reach populations that we could not have reached manually. Many of the individuals completing our pickups on a regular basis are people who have experienced homelessness or major financial setbacks and are actively trying to re-enter the workforce.

The massive amounts of extra food in cities isn’t just an opportunity to fuel shelter feeding programs, it’s a valuable economic opportunity.


Transfernation

How many people have you been able to feed over the last few years?

This past year Transfernation has seen exponential growth compared to any priors years. Through our new automated system we have rescued more than 165,000 pounds of food in a single year and provided approximately 140,000 meals in 2017. This is more than triple than what we were able to accomplish between 2015 and 2016 combined! Moving forward we to aim to maintain a similar growth rate.


Transfernation

How much do you pay contractors?

Today our independent contractors make between $30 and $45 dollars per hour. Many of our independent contractors or “food rescuers” are people that work at or rely upon the New York City shelter system. Transfernation has become an important source of income for them and empowers them to play a critical role in fixing a problem they’ve experienced first-hand. As a result, we received one of our favorite nicknames at Crossroads Community Center: the People Who Bring the Good Stuff. In total we work closely with eight local New York City shelters of which three rely entirely upon donations from Transfernation.

What have been some of your biggest challenges to growing, and how have you overcome them?

Every phase of growth comes with an entirely new set of challenges. The upside is that these challenges help us think critically about how we can continue to scale in a financially sound, sustainable way.

We recently transitioned our operations from being entirely manual to be being entirely technology-driven. Our approach was to test the app with a small beta group who were part of Transfernation’s core contractor base. We’ve been testing for about six months and it’s given us valuable feedback on what works and what doesn’t without risking our entire operation.

Lastly, balancing the logistics of an on-demand pickup service has always been tricky. Because we are currently the only service in NYC that picks up food donations on-demand, we’ve found that the best way to do it is to partner with existing transportation infrastructures. That way, we can ensure that if a donor requests a pickup, we can be there within the hour to take it to a local shelter.

What’s next for Transfernation? Do you plan on expanding even further?

Right now, we’re in the process of launching a marketing campaign for our app, building our food donor base and exploring partnerships with existing transportation companies. As we grow our team, we are looking to expand into other cities where the population and business density and shelter networks can support this model—in short, nearly every urban market globally. As short term next destinations, we’re looking at Washington DC and Chicago.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

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The collaboration is meant to put money in the hands of farmers and families in indigenous cultures in two very different places across the globe and it provides a model that could be followed elsewhere.

A partnership between a biotech startup and a major power company in London has resulted in the first ever fleet of public buses that can run on a mix of diesel and new biofuel made from oil extracted from coffee waste.

By Andrew McMaster

There’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee in the morning. Whether it’s from your local shop, brewed at home or snagged from a tiny cart somewhere, people all over the world start and their days with the centuries-old psychoactive beverage.

And aside from being a the only thing that can drag some of us out of bed on tough mornings, there are actually some more significant reasons—including health, economic and more—why it’s a good way to start your day.


Check out the list below to see why you should definitely be drinking more coffee.

1. It has a variety of health benefits.

For starters, coffee is probably, more than likely, almost definitely, great for you. Years ago, research led to the understanding that coffee was unhealthy to drink regularly, raising alarm bells for pretty much everyone everywhere.

But recently, studies have revealed that the opposite is true: Those who drank coffee regularly were found to have lower instances of liver disease, neurological disorders, heart disease and diabetes.

Less scientific studies conducted in my apartment also showed that drinking coffee significantly increases your chances of not putting on your shirt inside out.

2. It’s helping in the economic empowerment of women.

All around the world, women provide up to 70 percent of the manual labor for coffee cultivation, though they own only 15 percent of coffee farms and traded beans. However, efforts are underway to shift this power imbalance so that women receive more of the profits from coffee production.

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance is one organization trying to help women in the coffee industry. Their mission is to help women get higher paying jobs and decision-making powers in trade groups. They currently have chapters in 22 countries around the world. The organization also advocates to change laws that prevent women from economic independence all over the world.

You can find International Women’s Coffee Alliance-approved beans beans from brands like Blue Bottle Coffee in the U.S.

3. It’s also empowering indigenous communities.

In Alaska, one company is moving forward with a plan to help empower indigenous cultures through coffee. Global Citizen spoke with the owners of Cafe Vasquez, a coffee shop that buys beans from indigenous farmers in the north of Peru. The shop is operated by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, an Alaskan indigenous group dedicated to preserving indigenous cultures.

The collaboration is meant to put money in the hands of farmers and families in indigenous cultures in two very different places across the globe and it provides a model that could be followed elsewhere.

4. Third-wave small batch coffee is putting power in the hands of small-scale farmers.

The rise of Fair Trade coffee certification means that the small-scale farmers at the heart of coffee production are ensured a fair wage for their labor. This is important because up to 80 percent of all coffee is produced by only 25 million small farmers across the world. Ensuring that the money you pay for beans directly supports the people that grow them is a form of global consumer ethics.

Now, there seems to be renewed interest in the more delicious and unique varieties of heritage beans that can only be grown in specialized parts of the world. This is good news for farmers in Africa and South America, who are beginning to find new markets for their artisanal beans in the U.S. and Europe especially. When you buy fair-trade beans, or even better direct trade beans, you can be sure that the profits are fairly distributed among farmers.

Try new blends each time you buy beans, and support a different group of farmers somewhere in the world!

5. Its waste can fuel buses.

Yes, you read that right. At this point, you might be wondering what can’t coffee do?

A partnership between a biotech startup and a major power company in London has resulted in the first ever fleet of public buses that can run on a mix of diesel and new biofuel made from oil extracted from coffee waste.

Used grounds are collected from shops and restaurants, converted into efficient and clean fuel, then pumped into buses that take busy Londoners from one end of town to another.

On mornings when you miss you morning cup, you should hope that these buses got theirs.

6. In fact, coffee waste can be used for a lot of things.

Coffee waste can actually be repurposed for a ton of really cool uses. Maybe you’ve seen coffee flour, made from the unused husks of coffee beans?

We hear it can make a great batch of cookies.

Your used coffee grounds can also be used as fantastic fertilizer in the garden, an odor neutralizer in your fridge, a skin exfoliant and caffeinated soap. Considering that coffee grounds release methane into the atmosphere when degrading in landfills, finding ways to repurpose them can make you feel a lot better.

You’re hopped up on caffeine anyway, might as well do something productive, right? *Watches 3 hours of cat fails*

7. Climate change could eliminate it soon.

This is the saddest reason you should be drinking coffee. Scientists have reported that by 2050, climate change will have reduced farmers’ ability to grow coffee by half. Half. Imagine getting only half of your daily coffee fix. Not good.

But what’s way more serious is the fact that more than 120 million people in low-income countries earn their livelihoods from the coffee industry. Climate change will seriously affect the way millions of people live and work every day.

The good news is that you can support these farmers by continuing to purchase ethically produced and sustainable varieties of beans. As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, the future of the coffee industry might just come down to the ingenuity and expertise of small farmers all over the world. Continue to support them, and take steps to reduce your own contributions to climate change however you can.

So now you have no excuses not to take advantage of everything coffee has to offer. Check out our guide to the best ethically sourced coffees here and get sipping as soon as possible.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

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