March 29, 2010

Erykah Badu - Window Seat





This woman is pure genius with her ability to say so much, while saying so little.

'nuff said.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

March 26, 2010

State Of The Planet 2010: Poverty



On March 25, I attended the State of the Planet conference held by The Earth Institute at Columbia University. The forum was a global event, using an HD webcast to connect panel speakers from New York, New Delhi, Beijing, Nairobi, Monaco, London, and Mexico City. I had never been to such a diverse and interesting conference that wasn’t an ethnic event. The speakers included plenty of current and former UN officials, royalty from Monaco and the Netherlands, CEO’s of several major corporations, and a slew of professors and experts from regional universities. Although many issues and topics were discussed, in my opinion the two most pressing and important debates were on reducing climate change and alleviating poverty in Africa using “green” technologies.

The poverty discussion focused primarily on how to achieve the millennium development goals, with a special focus on whether or not “green” technology is the answer for fixing the poverty crisis in Africa. The panel of speakers in NYC consisted of HRH Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Prof. Glenn Denning & Prof. Upmanu Lall of Columbia University, and Hans Vestberg the President & CEO of Ericsson. They had quite a few points to make, stating:


- Child mortality has gone down by 25% in recent years, but all goals envisioned by the Millennium Project are still far away
- More people are starving now than in 1990, and maternity care is also suffering
- There have been no implementations of the policies put into action in the last 10 years, only rare cases like in Malawi where progress is evident
- Broadband and mobile communication will help to alleviate the problem because it allows communication to areas with resources
- Water shortage is the next big challenge in policy making (ex. India & China are both facing water crises, but no global action is underway)
- There is no place for poor people in poor countries to safely have a savings for their money


Next, our host Riz Khan of Al Jazeera English connected us to the panel of experts in Nairobi, Kenya to gain an African perspective on the problems. We were introduced to Jonathan Ledgard of The Economist. He was moderating the panel which included, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka of the Republic of Kenya, Achim Steiner of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Sylvia Mwichuli of the UN Millennium Campaign, Michael Joseph the CEO of Safaricom, and Mike Bushell of Syngenta International Research Centre. They noted that:


- Africa is accelerating faster than any other continent, but 30-50% of it’s biology has died in the last 10 years
- Africa’s population is doubling, while industrialization needs to quadruple to meet demand
- Government structures need to include grassroots organizations so the common people will also have a voice in the decision-making
- Equal opportunity needs to be provided, so not just the rich countries will develop new, “green” technologies
- Mobile phones and proper banking are MAJOR needs
- 50% of all hospital beds are filled with people who are sick due to impure water consumption
- In 10 years, Kenya can have a 0% carbon emissions output due to development of “green” technology including solar, wind, & hydro
- All countries and continents should pay for any damage they have done to Africa because of poor environmental standards
- There can be no progress when finances are not getting to the people and there are no policies to include the people either
- The protection of Africa’s natural resources needs to be taken into account when developing “green” technology
- Bank loans will have to have new regulations and adjustments in collateral, that assess the people as a group rather than as individuals


We were then brought back to the panel in NYC, where the debate was concluded with some practical approaches to how African nations can effectively improve their socio-economic conditions, while also setting a new standard for “green” technology.


- Sustainability and telecommunications will thrive, but more international governments and companies need to be invested
- When you boost agricultural productivity, then economy also rises
- The more countries can develop and produce food on their own (instead of waiting for aid), the better their chances are for progress
- Investing in resources with immediate payoff is necessary, instead of constantly focusing on future technology that is not yet feasible
- The people are ready, but where are the resources?


The conversation, in my opinion, was one that could have been better served if members from the climate change panel had also been involved in the discussion. In my opinion, there needed to be more representation from science experts, rather than the majority being from the technological, political, and corporate fields. I feel that although there were many people on this panel who offered insight for all the right reasons, there were some statements made that clearly had corporate interest as a top priority. It’s not that I did not expect this, because obviously corporations will be jockeying for contracts to invest and produce new technology wherever they want. I just hope that the companies who end up doing so are less worried about corporate greed and are more worried about doing something good for the planet and the creatures who inhabit it.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

State Of The Planet 2010: Climate Change



State of the Planet 2010: Climate Change

On March 25, I attended the State of the Planet conference held by The Earth Institute at Columbia University. The forum was a global event, using an HD webcast to connect panel speakers from New York, New Delhi, Beijing, Nairobi, Monaco, London, and Mexico City. I had never been to such a diverse and interesting conference that wasn’t an ethnic event. The speakers included plenty of current and former UN officials, royalty from Monaco and the Netherlands, CEO’s of several major corporations, and a slew of professors and experts from regional universities. Although many issues and topics were discussed, in my opinion the two most pressing and important debates were on reducing climate change and alleviating poverty in Africa using “green” technologies.


The climate change discussion focused primarily on what it would take to complete the deal known as the Copenhagen Accord, which was agreed upon at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The NYC panel of speakers included Prof. Wallace S. Broecker & Prof. Mark Cane of Columbia University and Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Environment Institute. Some of the strongest points made during their discussion were how:


- Nations failed at coming together in a collective effort to curve climate change
- For the first time, climate change has become a more political debate than a scientific one
- Part of our solution needs to be capturing and storing CO2, but governments and commercial industry won’t support it. (Even though it costs mere 10’s of millions)
- A restructuring of the national power grid is necessary
• Stated by Prof. Mark Cane
- There can be no clear agreement without the endorsement of China


Immediately following those statements, the host (Riz Khan of Al-Jazeera English) connected us live to Beijing, China where James Miles of The Economist was moderating the Chinese panel. Jiang Kejun of the Energy Research Institute, Prof. Qi Ye of Tsinghua University, Xiao Geng of the Brookings Institution, and Prof. Xu Jintao of Peking University were in attendance. They had quite a lot to say about China’s influence on the rest of the world when it comes to climate change, including how:


- China had no carbon emissions problems until 200 years ago
- China will NOT peak before the United States in carbon emissions
- There is a 5-year target for making concrete policies that will help reduce the amount of carbon emissions in China by 40% in 2025
- The G-20 summit may be a better forum for international climate change discussion, rather than the UN
- There is a major need for civil action by the Chinese public for policy change to happen quicker
- NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) are doing the best in educating the public
- Current form of democracy is not effective, there needs to be a new global structure instead
- Global communication is a must, and they are glad to see President Barack Obama doing a lot to encourage this


Heading back to NYC, the experts were able to offer some quick assessments and rebuttals to the points made by the Chinese. They added:


- The rest of the world will not take action, unless the United States does first
o But Prof. Wallace S. Broecker rebutted and said since “China is going to lead the world in the future anyway, they should go first”
- The population growth of the United States is also a major problem in increasing our carbon emissions
- European Union should also show leadership and strive more more than a 30% reduction in emissions
• Stated by Johan Rockstrom


Riz Khan then turned back to the screen and introduced the panel from New Delhi, India. Simon Cox of The Economist was moderating a panel which included Nitin Desai the former UN Secretary-General of Economic & Social Affairs, Devin Narang of the Freeplay Group, Jyoti Parikh of Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), Jagbir Singh who is CTO of Bhari Airtel Mobility Networks, and Leena Srivastava of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). These panelists seemed to have a more practical view of what the problems are that prevent the eradication of negative climate change. Some of their points were:


- There is a crisis of trust in both the scientific field and within the UN
- Technology needs to be developed locally and cost effectively for these solutions to work (ex. India & Africa can’t afford United States’ technology) • Stated by Devin Narang
- National governments need to impose mandates in their own countries, instead of focusing on international reguation • Stated by Nitin Desai
- We need a mandatory base year to set an international standard, because many countries have gotten a free ride in not paying any regulation standards fees (ex. United States has added more than 1 billion lbs. of carbon into the atmosphere since 1990) • Stated by Jyoti Parikh
- Developing countries like India, collectively, will be responsible for 20% of all carbon emissions in the near future
- India and China are working closely together, since there are many of the same environmental problems effecting both countries
- Solar and wind technologies are viable options, now that new regulations have recently been put into effect. There is a HUGE market since there is significant amounts of sunlight in India


After thanking the panel and moderator in New Delhi, Riz Khan brought the discussion back to NYC in order to get some final statements from our panel. They concluded:


- Africa could be the most sustainable continent on the planet in the future, but costs and development need to be better managed in order for this to happen
- New technology will bring new problems, but as long as they are better than the old problems then we’ve made progress • Stated by Prof. Mark Cane
- Alternate energy is key. Costs need to be brought down in producing solar energy, since it’s the easiest to harness
- Nuclear energy will see a resurgence in the United States, but we need hundreds of new power plants and we haven’t built one new one yet
- Scientific experts should no longer pitch the problems to the public, because no one cares to listen. Instead, more marketing experts need to be involved since it only takes tragedies for people to notice any problems.
- Social media (internet) will be more powerful than current media (TV, radio) in it’s effectiveness to spread the message
- It is surprising that many faith communities are not voicing an opinion loud enough. Seeing as people are destroying “God’s creation”


Wrapping up the discussion on climate change was HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. He was broadcast live to speak on the viability of the development and production of electric vehicles in Monaco. Prince Albert II assured the global community that a major shift is underway in his country and if Monaco could do it then major countries should also follow suit.
The entire discussion was a fascinating back and forth between so many influential people in the political, scientific, and technological fields. I feel that after hearing such a lively and comprehensive discussion, many of the people in the audience felt quite reassured that although there are severe problems facing our environment, we are on the right track to save the state of our planet. Things just need to happen faster and the people at the forefront of the debate are all for encouraging this.

- Steve Tyson Jr.

March 17, 2010

iTunes Exclusive: Mr. Tyson - The Virtuous Lyricist

Purchase your copy of Mr. Tyson's debut album "The Virtuous Lyricist" TODAY! Exclusive and only on iTunes, Amazon, Amazon mp3, and SongCast!




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Tracklist:
1. Very Interesting Reality Through Unique Experiences
2. Rise: That 9 Ether
3. The Movement
4. Mind Elevation (feat. T.R.E.)
5. Makin' Moves (feat. T.R.E.)
6. Where Do We Go?
7. To The Left...
8. Illumination In 4D
9. The Reflection
10. Mind Made Up



Parental Advisory Exquisite and Explicit Lyrics

Executive Producer: Steve Tyson
All Tracks (except #10 and Bonus) produced by: DJ ear.2.ear
Track #10 produced by: Brian "Doc" Robinson




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March 12, 2010

Ivory Wars In 2010?!

The African elephant population faces a serious threat to their numbers, as Tanzania and Zambia are petitioning to lift bans that prevent the poaching and sale of ivory. Since 1989, countries at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to ban all sale of ivory, due to the massive slaughter of African elephants. In the 1980's, there were between 700,000 and 1,000,000 elephants killed for their tusks.



In 1997, pro-ivory trade groups forced countries to approve a decision in CITES that allowed a one-time exception to the ban on sales of stockpiled ivory. They claimed that the one-time sale would reduce the amount of demand for ivory, predominantly the demand coming from Asia. However, the sales experiment didn't work. From 1997 to 2007, due to the stockpile sales of ivory, poaching and seizures of illegal ivory began to rise. In Tanzania alone, the percentage of elephant mortality attributed to poaching rose from 22% in 2003 to 62% in 2009.

The fact that CITES can entertain lifting the ban of ivory poaching an absolute outrage! Over the past 30 years African elephants have declined to about 35% of their original numbers, and the population today is less than 500,000. To think that there would be a benefit to slaughtering innocent animals for immoral profit is an absolute joke. I can only pray that this ban doesn't get lifted, and we as a people will continue to do what we can to spread awareness and justice.

But that's just Tyson's Take.... what do you think?

- Steve Tyson Jr.

[for the entire article from "TIME Magazine" click here]