For many years now, the level of conflict around the globe has been on the decline. This fact, however, often surprises many people used to consuming the endlessly negative news cycle, which seems to indicate that the world is a dangerous and unstable place.
Granted, we still live in a world where conflict flares up from time to time, but the overall trend is one of decline. The world has actually been getting a lot more peaceful according to the raw data.
The Global Peace Index Says That The Middle East Is Getting Safer
If you follow Middle East news, then you’re used to the idea of conflict. In 2003 there was the US invasion of Afghanistan followed two years later by coalition forces invading Iraq because of alleged weapons of mass destruction. Then there was the ongoing civil war in Syria, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, not to mention unrest in Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen.
All of this together makes the world seem like a dangerous place with constant ongoing wars. But the truth is that there has been a continual war somewhere on Earth and that today’s wars, however horrible, are less widespread than they were in the past.
Several factors are driving the trend towards lower conflict. Perhaps the most powerful is the rise of democracy, not just in the West, but all over the world. There are more democracies today than in history, and that number continues to grow with each passing decade. The era of authoritarian governments appears to be coming to an end, and with it, the ability of elites to wage wars.
The renowned development economist Amartya Sen made the observation many years ago that no two democracies have ever gone to war. His view holds to this day, making it much less likely that we’ll see armed conflict in the future. It’s almost impossible today, under the current political setup, to imagine two democratic countries, say New Zealand and Canada, going to war for any reason.
Another factor that’s driving the reduction in military conflict is the fall in population displacement. Despite the news from Sudan and the displacement in Syria, the total number of people worldwide forced to become refugees is on the decline.
What Are The Most Peaceful Countries In The World?
The Institute for Economics and Peace compiles the list of the most peaceful countries in the world, a New York think tank. It ranks countries based on their level of military spending, the number of refugees, the level of internal and eternal conflict, and the export of weapons.
According to their metrics, the most peaceful place in the world is Iceland, an island nation of a little over 300,000 people. The next most peaceful place is New Zealand, followed by Canada, Japan and parts of Western Europe. The least peaceful places are those that you hear about regularly in the news: Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
History is a wonderful thing. Records which have been kept over the years and events which have happened have all come together to make us who we are today, and this is something amazing. One event which is particularly relevant right now as the anniversary was mere days ago is D Day. It saw the allied forces of the UK and USA amongst others storm the beaches at Normandy to save countless lives. To honour that today we are taking a look at some of the facts you should know about D Day.
1. D-Day launched operation overlord.
On the 6th June 1944 allows forces launched a large naval, air and land assault against the Nazis in France. This was codenamed operation overlord and it was the beginning of the end of the war for the German side. By the end of the day on the 6th June the allied forces had managed to establish a camp on the beach and this allowed them to start really helping French soldiers.
2. It opened a second front against Germany
As the war started and became more and more aggressive in 1941, allied forces can together and decided that the needed to be stopped. The idea of opening a second front would allow France to be freed from the Nazis and this would put more pressure on Germany and the Nazis. The idea would be that this assault would drain German resources and also cut them off from access to key sites.
3. It took a lot of planning
If you think it is hard to get a team of people in your office to come together and complete a task; imagine how hard it is for different countries to band together in a time of need. D day took a lot of planning and was first drawn up in July of 1943. This means it took almost a year to happen.
4. It was international
As you will know, the allied forces of World War II featured a few countries working together to help the Germans be defeated. It took the efforts of all of these people to come up with and plan d day so that it would be a success.
5. It remains the largest in history
As far as a collaborative effort of naval, air and land forces goes: this remains the largest in history and the most significant one of all. The operation took the skills of many forces to use again the Germans for different goals. After midnight on 6th June, 18,000 paratroopers were the first to hit the beaches. After this forces flew over heard, and boats also began to travel in bringing soldiers with them.
6. Germans tried to defend
Germans had already invaded much of france at this point in the war and this meant that they were ready to defend themselves against an attack. Germany tried to defend the coast with something known as the ‘Atlantic Wall’. However their defences were not very good.
7. It wasn’t just allies who were present that helped
The reason why this event was possible and so effective is because of all of the efforts of allied forces in and around the time of the operation. There were many allied forces who made efforts to weaken the Germans before D-Day and it was this that made a difference.
8. Normandy is a great place
Because of the significance of this event in history, many people will only really travel to Normandy for the memorials. However there are a lot of reasons to visit Normandy and it can be a great place to visit for a holiday.
9. It was the most significant
Out of all of the events during the war, it is safe to say that this one was the true turning point for the allies and it provided them with the strength to be able to go on and eventually liberate the continent of Europe. Now that 75 years have passed, we can look back and see that this day made a huge impact on the world today.
10. It’s not the only one
D day isn’t the name of a specific event, it is simply a general term for an operation of this sort and scale. When we wonder How Many WW2 Veterans are Still Alive? We need to think also that there were many of these kind of events happening throughout the war and all of them had an impact on the final result.
It is becoming more important than ever that we all do our part for the planet, and it is so pressing that we can no longer really afford not to do this. If you are aware of this and you want to make sure that you are doing your part, then a good place to start is always going to be with your business. Businesses in general can be very wasteful, and there is much that they have to answer for when it comes to the way they can treat the planet a lot of the time. But if you have a business of your own then you will know at least that one of the things you can do is to make sure that you are running it as environmentally friendly as possible. The more businesses do this, the better a chance the world has of survival, so it’s something we should certainly think about. In this article, we will look at some of the ways in which you can ensure that you run your business as green as possible.
The idea of a paperless office may still be just something of a dream, but it is a dream which we can still try to work towards as best as we can, and doing so is bound to mean that we are going to experience some significant shifts towards it in our lifetime at least. In general, the less paper you use, the better, but it can be very challenging to make sure that you are doing this in a normal everyday office. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to try and make it a little easier, and it is worth thinking about some of the issues that you might need to face in order to make sure that using paper less is a lot simpler to do.
For a start, you should aim to do everything that you possibly can on computer. These days, you should be able to find pretty decent software solutions for most tasks, and it is often just a matter of trial and error and a little patience in trying to find the right one. Don’t go thinking that you will always have to pay out, either: generally you can also find very good open-source and free versions of the more proprietary software, which are always good to have and mean you can keep an eye on your money at the same time.
Beyond that, using less paper also means that the paper you do use is recycled, which should be an absolute must these days. You can create your own recycled paper by using scrap paper that would otherwise be thrown away, or ensuring that any paper products you do buy are certified as being forest-friendly, meaning that the company in question plants new trees to make up for the paper being used. The less paper we all use, the more trees we have, and the more oxygen there is for us to breathe.
Water might just about be our most precious resource on the planet, yet we so often treat it as though it is completely expendable and replaceable. Part of this might come from a misunderstanding about the water cycle. Yes, it is true that there is a water cycle and that every drop down the drain ultimately becomes rain clouds again, but the less water we waste, the less that has to go through that cycle, which inevitably drains the planet’s resources in doing so. It is much better to not use that much water in the first place, as this puts less pressure on the planet more generally. But using less water is one of those things that, despite everyone knowing it is a good idea, people often find difficult to do. Let’s look at some of the things your business can do to make this aspect of being green a little easier for everyone.
For a start, make sure that you are collecting and conserving rainwater for your usage. It is a simple matter to do this, and it’s something that any business can do if they hope to use less water on the whole. If you use some Tuffa Tanks or the like, you can simply set them up to collect rainwater, which you can then use for whatever purposes you need it for. If it is to drink or wash up or whatever, then you will need to purify it too, but that is easy to do these days too. This is a great way to conserve water, and will make a profound difference to the kind of impact your business is having on the world.
Another way is to simply encourage people in your business to be more mindful of the water that they do use. Whenever they go to the tap, they should be thinking about how much water they are using, and whether it is a little too much. You should not underestimate the power of a well-placed sign here, as that could really make all the difference in the world.
A scheme which is becoming particularly popular amongst businesses everywhere these days is for the company to encourage its employees to find greener ways to travel to work. If you really want to do your part, this is something that you can absolutely think about doing. You can set up a simple program whereby those who show that they cycle or walk to work are able to receive a dividend in their pay, for example. Or you might just want to offer to buy your employees a bicycle instead. However you do it, this is something that can add up to make a really profound difference to the world.
All of the above will help your business to be a little greener, and it is all stuff that you should consider as soon as you possibly can. You’ll find that you are happy to do your part.
As a small business owner, you’re going to have a whole lot on your mind. You’re likely to have a seemingly never-ending to-do list and you’re going to be dedicating most of your attention to things that will push your business forward – product design and development, manufacturing, packaging, market research, advertising and marketing… the list goes on and on. But it’s also important that you pay due attention to areas of your business that may usually fly under your radar. Waste removal and disposal is an extremely important factor in any business – big or small – and it’s absolutely essential that you do tackle it and ensure that waste is being disposed of appropriately. This will ensure that working spaces are clean and that you are complying to special regulations that your business may have to align to. Let’s take a moment to look at a few different areas to help get you started in the right direction!
Recycling Paper Waste
If you’re running a business with an office, chances are that you’re going to generate a whole lot of paper waste throughout the working year. Of course, for the sake of the environment, you should aim to minimise your office’s paper usage anyway. Go paperless with documents, use emails instead of sending letters, and cut down in any other way that you can. For paper waste that is produced, you should try recycling. This means that the paper can, at least, be reused rather than more trees having to be cut down to accommodate our businesses. Put bins specifically designated for paper waste in your office spaces and ensure that employees know to use them. Arrange for these to be collected by recycling agencies. When recycling paper waste, you do need to make sure to bear your customers and other individual’s privacy in mind. Make sure any documents with personal information on them are appropriately shredded before being placed in the paper recycling bin.
Recycling Other Waste
While paper tends to be the most used recyclable resource in offices, it’s important that you consider recycling any other waste that your business produces. If it can be recycled, make sure to recycle it! Ink cartridges, water bottles, excess food packaging from employee lunches – the potentials are endless. Make sure to provide appropriate bins for recyclable materials to be separated for collection.
Removing Construction Waste
The majority of businesses will have construction work carried out on them at some point or another. Not all construction companies will remove leftover materials and other waste on your behalf. If you find that you have a lot of material (gravel, rubble, etc) to dispose of you need to look into professional removal. This kind of material can’t just be thrown in the usual bin – that’s if you could even fit it into a usual bin. Instead, look into cheap bin hire where the waste can be safely stored in a strong bin and removed to an appropriate site elsewhere.
Disposing of Food Waste
There are plenty of businesses out there that dispose of a whole lot of food waste or edible waste. More obvious businesses include restaurants, cafes, and other establishments that prepare and serve food. Less obvious examples include any business that disposes of employees’ food waste from the staff room (leftover lunches and old tea bags and coffee grounds, etc). It’s extremely important that you dispose of this sort of matter responsibly. Remember that when businesses are built, humans are consistently encroaching further and further onto wild animals’ territory, so it’s really not all too surprising that many creatures will start roaming around your business premises in search of food. Where else do they have to find something to eat? While they will generally stay away from people, it’s still a good idea to be extra careful when disposing of any food waste. Ditching bags outside will just result in the bags being ripped open. This is messy and unpleasant to deal with when you and your employees return to work in the morning. Make sure you have sealable and lockable food waste bins and that you arrange for them to be delivered by appropriate services.
Increasing numbers of business owners are investing more time into developing gardens around their commercial properties. There are various reasons for this. Not only is it a great pastime, but it can make your business a whole lot more appealing to customers, clients, employees, partners, and all of the other people who work together to make you a profit. But remember that garden waste can’t just be thrown in with your usual waste. Many collections will refuse to take garden waste away. Make sure to collect all garden waste up in biodegradable bags and to dispose of them according to the regulations set by your local council.
These are just a few areas of waste disposal that you should focus on at some point or another when it comes to running a small business. There are, of course, other areas that you should look into too – these may be more niche and specific to your own business and the field that it operates within. Medical waste, nuclear waste, and other hazardous waste, for example, will have more stringent and regulated rules that you have to abide by. But hopefully, the above information will get you off to a good start! Sure, this may not be the most thrilling area of your business to focus on, but it is an area that needs to be considered!
When our friends, colleagues and family members head out to vote on Election Day, there is always a sense of community spirit in the air. The democratic process is an integral part of society and should be made accessible to everybody, no matter what. Unfortunately, not everybody feel confident to head out and make their vote, which means a lot of votes have been wasted over the years. Every eligible person should feel able to make their mark without any hassle, but how can this be made easier? Encouraging people to vote is constantly in the forefront of the media, but there are a few ways in which the process could be made hassle free for all.
1. New Technology
There is something about putting a cross or a tick inside a box that seems quite ancient to us all. Why not shake up the way voting happens and use smart technology to create a smoother, simpler and most honest process. Smartmatic creates and offers voting technology and services designed to make elections more auditable and transparent. With their robust portfolio of election solutions it gives authorities all of the hardware, software and services they need to successfully manage each phase of the election process. They focus on designing technology that guarantees more efficient elections, which will improve the experience of all poll workers and voters.
2. Registration Help
Automatic registration isn’t in play in most states, however California recently automated their voter registration through the DMV. This means that when people review their driving licences or change their address, they are automatically registered to vote. This reduces a tonne of paperwork and hassle, so people are free to go out and vote whenever necessary.
3. Reduce Waiting Times
Understandably many people are put off the idea of voting as queues can get extremely long at the various polling stations. These long wait times are avoidable as long as the states can plan ahead and get the right resources in place before voting day.
4. Election Day Should Be a Holiday
If we were to make Election Day a federal holiday, people would see it as a much bigger deal. Most of the time it is a working day for most people, so it really isn’t convenient. If it was a holiday introduced by the national government people would have the day off work and have more chance to vote.
5. Make Early Voting an Option
Election Day is only one single day, where everybody is expected to make their way to a local poll. However, most people might not be able to get there on that day due to commitments, appointments and vacations. If every state offered early voting as an option, many more people would be able to cast their vote.
6. Improve Portable Registration
Most people will move house at some point during their lives and every time this happens you need to re-register. This means a tonne of forms and headaches every single time you move house. Portable registration means that voter’s registration could be kept active when they move within the same state.
With these six simple methods voting can be made much easier for the public and voters can feel at ease when Election Day rolls around.
At the moment, we’re in a happy place. Solar technology is getting cheaper and becoming more accessible to those with high disposal incomes to spend on solar roof installations. Great. But there’s a problem: all those people switching to solar power are affecting those who still rely on the grid.
The Problem For Traditional Power Companies
The underlying problem goes something like this: as people switch from grid power to independent electricity generation, there are fewer people left over to pay for all the fixed costs of the regular coal- and gas-powered electricity supply. And when fewer people are paying, each person has to pay more.
You can quickly imagine the problems that this situation might create in the future for grid power if the economics change. Not only will cheaper solar be more enticing to people on middle and low incomes, but grid power will become less attractive, forcing many to switch. We could end up with a runaway situation as grid power prices rise as each person abandons it for solar power generation.
Load management software will, of course, take care of part of the problem, namely the constant fluctuations in energy demand. But there will be times when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow, and people will need to rely on grid power to some degree.
Knowing exactly how this whole thing will play out is difficult. The runaway scenarios outlined above is a possibility, but it is limited by the ability of solar power companies to supply new units to homeowners and businesses. If the price of grid power starts rising because people leave it en masse in favor of solar panels, the solar panel industry may not be able to keep pace. If that happens, then the total cost of solar installation will rise, making grid power attractive once more – at least in the short term.
A Way Out For Traditional Power Companies
Traditional power companies love to spend lots of money on big infrastructure projects, believing that is the way to get the cost per unit of electricity down to competitive levels. But if solar continues to fall in price, the industry may have to change its tactics and instead opt for smaller, more distributed networks of solar power generation.
To be fair, we already see this. Many of the regional monopolies in the US are announcing plans to expand their renewable fleets while committing not to build new fossil-fuel-fired power stations in the future. But they need to come up with a way of making the grid pay, even if they do end up switching to renewables wholesale, as many analysts predict. The only way to do that is to use economies of scale, deploy solar in large installations, and undercut electricity prices offered by solar roofs.
The grid may also try to sell itself as offering support during peak demand or when people run out of their own electricity. But with things like home batteries, that doesn’t look viable long term.