Friday, 28 April 2017

Surely, The Ameri Power Agreement Can Be Abrogated?

On grounds it was procured by an illegality, and is merely voidable at the instance of the party innocent of the illegality, the Republic Of Ghana, surely, the AMERI power agreement can be abrogated?

To quote an incensed old wag I know: "Kofi, to use a pidgin English phrase of infamy, 'To chop Ghana small' to the tune of some US$150 million is intolerable, unspeakable, unpardonable and abominable. No question."  Well said. Patriot.

That a Swedish conman, Umar Farouq Zahoor, wanted for swindling people out of vast sums in Europe, can come all the way from Dubai to get public officials in Ghana to sign a one-sided power agreement favouring the company he was then representing, AMERI, which relieved taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars without bribing anyone in this country is pretty hard to believe.

The question is: Why does the current government not offer anyone with  knowledge of any such bribery offered by officials of the Dubai-based company in the AMERI power agreement, 10 percent of the overpaid US$150 million and immunity from prosecution, on top?

Finally, this blog  has dug up the little beauty below from Allen & Overy, for the brilliant Mr. Philip Addison, to help Ghana make the case that the AMERI power agreement is voidable by Mother Ghana, the innocent  party led up the garden path by the wiles of the  forked-tongued-charmer,  Umar Farooq Zahoor, and therefore ought to be abrogated. Asap. Full stop.

Please read on:.

"Enforceability of contract procured by corruption
16 May 2016

​The English High Court ruled in National Iranian Oil Company v Crescent Petroleum Company International Ltd & Crescent Gas Corporation Ltd [2016] EWHC 510 (Comm) that there is no English public policy that would preclude enforcement of a contract procured by corruption (as opposed to a contract illegal in itself, such as a contract to pay a bribe). Under English law, a contract procured by bribery is voidable at the instance of the innocent party.  

National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Crescent Petroleum Company International (Crescent Petroleum, a UAE entity) entered into a long-term gas supply and purchase contract. The contract was governed by Iranian law and referred all disputes, including disputes in relation to the validity of the contract, to arbitration. In 2003, Crescent Petroleum purported to assign the contract to its subsidiary Crescent Gas Corporation Ltd (Crescent Gas). In 2009, Crescent Petroleum and Crescent Gas (Crescent entities) commenced LCIA arbitration proceedings against NIOC claiming that it had breached its obligation to deliver gas under the contract.

In the arbitration, NIOC argued that the contract was not enforceable because it was procured by a bribe. The LCIA tribunal considered evidence of corruption in the arbitration, including at a 30-day evidentiary hearing. The tribunal rendered an award in favour of the Crescent entities ruling that the contract was valid and binding and that NIOC had been in breach since 2005. On the issue of corruption, the tribunal found that, although there was an attempt to bribe, there was no evidence that the contract was tainted by it and there was no evidence of imbalance in the parties' agreement.

NIOC challenged the award in the English High Court under s67 (lack of substantive jurisdiction) and s68 (award procured by fraud or contrary to public policy) of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (the EAA). NIOC contended that the award was not valid under English law because it resulted from a contract procured by Crescent's corruption, such that enforcement should be denied on public policy grounds (s68(2)(g) of the EAA). NIOC did not rely on any fresh evidence of corruption and argued that, although the arbitral tribunal dismissed the allegations of corruption, the court considering English public policy may take a different view. It also argued, albeit creatively, that even if the attempt to bribe failed, the contract was tainted by Crescent's misconduct, and that the taint was sufficient to deny enforcement.

Burton J ruled that NIOC's challenge was unarguable and had "no reasonable prospect of success".

No English public policy requiring court to refuse to enforce a contract procured by bribery

The principal issues before the High Court on the public policy argument were, in essence:

    Is an award contrary to public policy if the underlying contract was procured by corruption (as opposed to the subject matter of the contract itself being illegal)?
    Can the court reopen public policy issues if they have already been considered and decided by the arbitral tribunal?

On the first issue, Burton J agreed with Honeywell International Middle East Ltd v Meydan Group LLC [2014] EWHC 1344 (TCC), drawing a distinction between the enforcement of: (i) contracts to commit an illegality; and (ii) contracts procured by an illegality. While the former are void, the latter are only voidable at the election of the innocent party with counter-restitution and can accordingly be enforced. The judge noted that there is certainly no English public policy requiring the court to refuse enforcement of a contract which has been preceded, and is unaffected, by an unsuccessful attempt to bribe, on the basis that such contract is allegedly tainted. Introducing a concept of tainting of a contract which is otherwise legal and enforceable would create uncertainty and undermine party autonomy.

On the second issue, the judge agreed with previous decisions of the English courts which generally refuse to reopen the findings of an arbitral tribunal, absent "fresh evidence" or save in "very exceptional circumstances" (see, eg, Westacre Investments Inc v Jugoimport-SDRP Holding Company Ltd [1999] QB 740). Critically, the allegations of bribery were considered and rejected by the arbitral tribunal "after full consideration and evidence" in the arbitration. Burton J ruled that there was no basis to reopen the tribunal's decision on this point because there was no fresh evidence of corruption and no exceptional circumstances that would justify doing so.

Comment: The case confirms previous case law, including Honeywell and Westacre, that there is no English public policy requiring an English court to refuse enforcement of a contract procured by an illegality (to be contrasted with contracts that are illegal per se – for example, a contract to pay a bribe). Where a contract is procured by an illegality, it is merely voidable at the instance of the party innocent of the illegality (in this case, NIOC) as opposed to being automatically void and therefore unenforceable for being contrary to public policy. Here, the contract could have been avoided by NIOC if it had correctly argued that the contract was voidable (but it does not appear to have done so). By contrast, if the tables were reversed and it was NIOC who sought to enforce its rights under the contract against Crescent entities, the latter could not have resisted enforcement because they were not the "innocent" party.

While Burton J held that the court would not interfere with a contract even if one or more of the parties had committed criminal acts for which they could be prosecuted, he considered the claimant's counsel's arguments based on recent international conventions to outlaw bribery and the increase of legislation to criminalise it.  However, these arguments were not sufficient to persuade the court to change English public policy on the enforcement of a contract procured by bribery.

It is worth remembering however that under the English Bribery Act 2010, it is a criminal offence to offer a bribe (even if the bribe is not accepted). Moreover, any proceeds from a contract procured by bribery may constitute criminal property and be covered by money laundering rules. UK companies and foreign companies carrying on business or a part of their business in the UK are caught by the English Bribery Act 2010. 

Parties who are considering making corruption allegations before the English courts in order to resist enforcement of a contract should bear in mind that the evidentiary threshold for proving corruption is high; direct evidence is often unavailable and circumstantial evidence may be insufficient. Moreover, once corruption allegations are made, and regardless of the outcome of these assertions, the commercial relationship between the parties will likely be irreparably compromised. 

This case is also a useful reminder that, where issues of corruption had been considered by an arbitral tribunal, fresh evidence is required in order to reopen the arbitrators' decision before the English courts. The threshold for challenging an award on public policy grounds under s68 of the EAA is very high and the English court will not conduct a review on the merits of an arbitral award.

Further Information

This case summary is part of the Allen & Overy Litigation and Dispute Resolution Review, a monthly publication.  For more information please contact Sarah Garvey, or tel +44 20 3088 3710.

  ©2017 Allen & Overy LLP"

End of culled publication from the website of Allen & Overy LLP.


Climate Central/Brian Kahn: We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshold for CO2

RClimate Central
We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshold for CO2

Carbon dioxide has not reached this height in millions of years

    By Brian Kahn, Climate Central on April 21, 2017

The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million. Credit: Sharloch Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The world just passed another round-numbered climate milestone. Scientists predicted it would happen this year and lo and behold, it has.

On Tuesday, the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million (it was 410.28 ppm in case you want the full deal). Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years. It’s a new atmosphere that humanity will have to contend with, one that’s trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at a quickening rate.

In what’s become a spring tradition like Passover and Easter, carbon dioxide has set a record high each year since measurements began. It stood at 280 ppm when record keeping began at Mauna Loa in 1958. In 2013, it passed 400 ppm. Just four years later, the 400 ppm mark is no longer a novelty. It’s the norm.

“Its pretty depressing that it’s only a couple of years since the 400 ppm milestone was toppled,” Gavin Foster, a paleoclimate researcher at the University of Southampton told Climate Central last month. “These milestones are just numbers, but they give us an opportunity to pause and take stock and act as useful yard sticks for comparisons to the geological record.”

Earlier this year, U.K. Met Office scientists issued their first-ever carbon dioxide forecast. They projected carbon dioxide could reach 410 ppm in March and almost certainly would by April. Their forecast has been borne out with Tuesday’s daily record. They project that the monthly average will peak near 407 ppm in May, setting a monthly record.

Carbon dioxide concentrations have skyrocketed over the past two years due to in part to natural factors like El Niño causing more of it to end up in the atmosphere. But it’s mostly driven by the record amounts of carbon dioxide humans are creating by burning fossil fuels.

“The rate of increase will go down when emissions decrease,” Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said. “But carbon dioxide will still be going up, albeit more slowly. Only when emissions are cut in half will atmospheric carbon dioxide level off initially.”

Even when concentrations of carbon dioxide level off, the impacts of climate change will extend centuries into the future. The planet has already warmed 1.8°F (1°C), including a run of 627 months in a row of above-normal heat. Sea levels have risen about a foot and oceans have acidified. Extreme heat has become more common.

All of these impacts will last longer and intensify into the future even if we cut carbon emissions. But we face a choice of just how intense they become based on when we stop polluting the atmosphere.

Right now we’re on track to create a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.

This article is reproduced with permission from Climate Central. The article was first published on April 20, 2017.


Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers.
© 2017 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Should The Government Collaborate With Telcos To Replicate Estonia's National Digital Ecosystem For The Transformation Of Ghana?

Radio and television frequencies are public resources allocated to private-sector entities to provide services that enable some of them to generate massive profits from.

The Africa-focused telecommunications giant, MTN, is a classic example in our homeland Ghana.

The question is: Should President Akufo-Addo not put Vice President Alhaji Mahammadu Bawumia in charge of a presidential task-force made of software companies, the telcos and Ghana's leading IT experts to put together a strategic plan, to replicate Estonia's national digital ecosystem to make Ghana an e-state, so to speak, in the shortest possible timeframe?

We are posting a culled article by  Vivienne Walt, entitled: "Is This Tiny European Nation a Preview of Our Tech Future?" in which she describes Estonia's digital e-state system.  We hope the powers that be in Ghana will be inspired by it.

Please read on:


Is This Tiny European Nation a Preview of Our Tech Future?

By Vivienne Walt
6:30 AM ET

One Spring afternoon, I’m gazing out the window of an ­office building on the outskirts of Estonia’s capital, ­Tallinn, watching people stroll below, when a cream-­colored plastic container mounted on black wheels rounds the corner and begins maneuvering its way among the pedestrians. The device looks like a kid’s toy. But in reality it’s a high-tech delivery robot called Starship and potentially the next mega-profitable invention to spring from this snowy, miniature country on the northern edge of Europe—one of the more unexpected launching pads on the planet. “If you look at sci-fi movies set 20 years from now, you don’t see people carrying their groceries. Robots just arrive at their homes,” says Ahti Heinla, cofounder and CEO of Starship Technologies. Reality, he says, has caught up to sci-fi. “About two years ago we realized it was possible to create this part of the future right now.”

For a snapshot of how we might all be living tomorrow, there are few better places to visit than this picturesque city of 400,000, whose winding medieval alleyways offer an elegant contrast to its digital present. Creating the future now, as Heinla puts it, is Estonia’s driving project, and increasingly it is its core business too.

Most Americans or even Europeans would be unable to find this pinprick on a map, squeezed between its small Baltic Sea neighbor Latvia and mammoth Russia. Its population, just 1.3 million, is about the same as Dallas or the Bronx borough of New York City. But its ­modest size and remoteness belies its clout. It is here that a group of friends, including Heinla, invented the hugely popular Internet calling platform Skype.

Given Estonia’s history, the invention of Skype in this country was ironic. While Americans were buying their first cell phones, about a quarter-century ago, Estonians were shut off from the world as an outpost of the Soviet Union. You could easily wait 10 years to be assigned a landline phone. By the time the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the country was in a time warp. “We did not have anything,” says Gen. Riho Terras, the commander of Estonia’s armed forces, who had been a student activist at the time. The country had to reboot from zero. Terras says each citizen was given the equivalent of 10 euros, or $10.60. “That was it,” he says, laughing. “We started from 10 euros each.”

One generation on, Estonia is a time warp of another kind: a fast-f orward example of extreme digital living. For the rest of us, Estonia ­offers a glimpse into what happens when a country abandons old analog systems and opts to run completely online instead. That notion is not fanciful. In various forms, governments across the world, including those in Singapore, Japan, and India, are trying to determine how dramatically they can transform themselves into digital entities in order to cut budgets and streamline services (and for some, keep closer tabs on citizens). Estonia claims its online systems add 2% a year to its GDP.

The moment I land in Tallinn, my phone pings with the city’s free Wi-Fi network, which rolled out more than 15 years ago. But the extreme-digital life of regular Estonians is far less visible. At birth, every person is assigned a unique string of 11 digits, a digital identifier that from then on is key to operating almost every aspect of that person’s life—the 21st-century version of a Social Security number. The all-digital habits begin young: Estonian children learn computer programming at school, many beginning in kindergarten.

In 2000, Estonia became the first country in the world to declare Internet access a basic human right—much like food and shelter. That same year it passed a law giving digital signatures equal weight to handwritten ones. That single move created an entire paperless system. Since no one was required to sign with a pen, there was no need for paper documents to pay taxes, open a bank account, obtain a mortgage, pick up a prescription, or perform most of life’s other tasks, other than marrying and divorcing. “I established my company in about 20 minutes, without going anywhere,” says Kaidi Ruusalepp, 41, CEO of Funderbeam, an investment t rading platform for early-stage, non-IPO startups, which she founded in 2013. “We never visited the tax board, the Social Security agency, anything,” she says. “Everything is online.”

So, too, are Estonians’ taxes. Almost all Estonians file taxes online—within minutes. Since public registries are all linked in one system, Estonians can log in to prefilled tax declarations showing their income, property, number of children, and so on. They make necessary tweaks and hit the send button. (Outside the U.S., this type of approach is increasingly common.) Last year then–Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas earned loud cheers on The Daily Show when he described to host Trevor Noah how he had filed his taxes on his iPad during a few idle minutes in the Luxembourg Airport.

When I visit Rõivas, 37, in his office in the Estonian Parliament, it’s weirdly devoid of paper. He says during nearly three years as Prime Minister the only time he signed his name in ink was in ceremonial guest books. Theoretically, he says, the government could issue an online order to send troops into battle. “I never signed any law physically,” he says. “Never.”

Estonians were also first to be able to vote online in elections, back in 2005. When I ask Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid where she voted in last November’s elections, which brought her to power, she responds as if my question is dumb: “From my computer at home.” Kaljulaid was ­speaking to me while we were on a boat to Tallinn from Helsinki, in neighboring Finland, where she had just signed a deal allowing the countries to recognize each other’s digital ID cards. Now, for example, Finns and Estonians can visit doctors in the other country and automatically call up their medical records—all stored online. “We have been using digital identifiers for 17 years,” she says. “People have learned to trust the system.”

Estonians might take all this tech wizardry for granted now, but the country was on its knees economically after the Soviet collapse. It had one huge advantage: It was starting from scratch. “People were paid in cash,” says Martin Ruubel, 41, president of Guardtime, a 10-year-old software security company that developed the country’s blockchain system (more on that in a moment), sitting in his Tallinn office on the grounds of a converted former military barrack. Since no Estonian had ever had a checkbook, once the Soviets were gone the country simply skipped past pen and paper and issued bank cards. It was a money saver, but had another benefit: It pushed Estonians to get online fast.

Scrambling to piece together a country, the new leaders, young and inexperienced, also rapidly privatized the telecom industry. “It was highly successful,” says Mart Laar, 57, who became the first post-Soviet Prime Minister, at age 32, and is now chairman of the board of supervisors for the Bank of Estonia. Since so few people had even landline phones, many simply bought mobile handsets instead. Laar, a historian, says he knew nothing about computers but believed they needed to start with the latest technology. When Finland offered to donate its analog telephone exchange to its poorer neighbor for free, Estonia turned it down.

The government recruited Ruusalepp, now Funderbeam’s CEO, as the new country’s first IT lawyer when she was just 20 and still a student. “I had no law degree and no understanding of technology,” she says. Her first task was to create a law for digital signatures, years ahead of many countries. “We wanted to change the country. We had brains, and we just had to shoot,” she says.

Those early decisions set the stage for today’s thriving tech scene in Estonia. Skype, founded in Tallinn in 2003, spawned a generation of techies and would-be entrepreneurs. “People thought, If Estonian guys could do something like Skype, I can do it also,” says Andrus Oks of Terra Venture Partners, an investment fund in Tallinn. And when Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion, ex-Skypers plowed money into new startups in Tallinn, further attracting U.S. investments. Skype’s founding developers, including Starship’s Heinla, also launched a venture capital fund, called Ambient Sound. “The Skype effect has been enormous,” says Heinla, who started Starship with Skype cofounder Janus Friis; major investors include Daimler A.G., as well as Silicon Valley firms Shasta Ventures and Matrix Partners.

Now, if you order Chinese takeout through platforms DoorDash or Postmates in Redwood City, Calif., or Washington, D.C., your food might arrive as a Starship test run, with a ping on your mobile phone letting you know your delivery robot is at the door. Starship is also doing test deliveries in Bern, Switzerland, and London, and Domino’s Pizza plans to test some deliveries by Starship soon in Hamburg.

The Skype effect does not end there. In 2011, Skype’s first employee, Taavet Hinrikus, cofounded TransferWise, an online money-transfer company, which now occupies four floors of a Tallinn building and handles about $1 billion a month in exchanges around the world. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.
A worker scoots through the headquarters of TransferWise, an Estonian online money-transfer company co-founded by Skype’s first employee. TransferWise handles about $1 billion a month in exchanges and its investors include Andreessen Horowitz. Photograph by Piotr Malecki—Panos

With hindsight, it seems inevitable that Russia would sooner or later collide with its pint-size former territory, which, aside from becoming a major tech hub, had rushed to join both NATO and the EU after the Soviet collapse.

Russia’s payback finally came in 2007—and it would markedly change Estonia. It happened when Estonia’s government decided to move a World War II memorial statue of a Soviet soldier from central Tallinn to a nearby war cemetery. Pro-Russian demonstrators burned barricades and looted stores in days of ri oting. Then Estonia’s banks, its Parliament, and several public services suddenly went off-line, in one of the biggest-ever distributed denial-of-service attacks to hit a country. The 2007 cyberattack still haunts Estonia. “We were already really, really dependent on online. We had no paper originals for a lot of things,” says Guardtime’s Ruubel. Estonia believes Russia was behind the attack.

Shortly after, the only NATO-accredited cyberdefense center opened in Tallinn. And this year Estonia will open the world’s first “data embassy” in Luxembourg—a storage building to house an entire backup of Estonia’s data that will enjoy the same sovereign rights as a regular embassy but be able to reboot the country remotely, in case of another attack. “It was quite clear after 2007 that we knew how to fight against external attacks,” Ruubel says. “The worry was, What if there was an ­attack from inside the system, with someone tampering with the data?”

The answer to that concern came in the form of the technology that now underpins crucial parts of Estonia’s system, as well as some of its most successful startups, and that, in the years ahead, could help power the country’s future growth: the blockchain.

Essentially a distributed database, a blockchain—the system that also underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin—serves as a public ledger that can never be erased or rewritten. The technology allows Estonia’s engineers to strengthen its encrypted data and lets Estonians verify at any time that their information has not been tampered with. Estonians are also required to use two-step verification for many online tasks. These and other security measures, say Estonians, make their system as close to unbreakable as possible. (The U.S. State Department said last year that cybercrime “does not represent a major threat” in Estonia.) They contrast it, for example, to Edward Snowden’s hacking into the NSA, which he continued over 18 months. “No Snowden can crack this system,” boasts President Kaljulaid.
Test ballots wait to be scanned at a Board of Elections Elections voting machine facility warehouse, November 3, 2016 in the Bronx borough in New York City.

Outside the country, however, there are some doubts as to whether the Estonians’ technology is as secure as they claim. In 2014—seven years after the suspected Russian hack—engineers at the University of Michigan studied Estonia’s online-voting system and concluded that determined hackers—such as Russian operatives—could feasibly penetrate it, creating fake votes or altering the totals in order to rig elections “quite possibly without a trace,” they wrote in their report. “Estonia’s system places extreme trust in election servers and voters’ computers—all easy targets for a foreign power,” they said. Estonia disputed the claims, saying that it had worked flawlessly in six elections and that it had “a level of security greater than was possible with paper ballots.”

To Estonians, the potential of ­extreme-digital systems for both governments and businesses is dizzying—and with the blockchain, it has only just begun. Guardtime, which has 150 employees and estimates about $23 million in revenues in 2015, is now among the world’s biggest blockchain companies, with clients around the world, including Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense. Funderbeam uses so-called colored coin technology, based on the public Bitcoin blockchain, to keep track of transactions and investments. That eliminates the need for brokers and clearing agents.

Ruusalepp, whose early backers at Funderbeam included the Silicon Valley venture capital investor Tim Draper, says she regularly hears Americans argue that paper records are more secure. Estonians, by contrast, would be aghast to have their medical records in paper folders in doctors’ offices, she says. “You can never see who has looked at your data,” she says. “Blockchain solves the issue of trust.”

Those who created Estonia’s system say they believe the arguments raging in the U.S. over data privacy are largely misplaced. The focus should instead be to give people control over who accesses their data, by using blockchain technology. “The real issue is data integrity,” says Toomas Hendrik Ilves, an Estonian-American from Leonia, N.J., who served as Estonia’s President from 2006 until last November, and is now a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and sits on the World Economic Council’s Future of Blockchain group. He says it could take many years for the U.S.’s sprawling agencies to create an Estonian-type blockchain architecture. “I’m smack in the middle of Silicon Valley, at Stanford, and the amount of creativity is amazing,” Ilves says. “But the public sector is lagging way, way, way behind.”

Having built perhaps the world’s most seamless digital system, Estonia still faces a major limitation: its size. With just 1.3 million Estonians, it runs like a well-oiled machine. But engineers claim there is vast spare capacity. Built right, the system could work with huge numbers. (The U.S. could in theory reengineer its databases from scratch, say Estonian technologists, and serve 300 million Americans just as well.) To more fully leverage its technological advantage and boost economic growth, Estonia needs more market participants.
Taavi Kotka, a software engineer and entrepreneur, dreamed up the concept of virtual “e-residency' after becoming the Estonian government’s chief information officer in 2013.

Since Estonia had little means for attracting masses of immigrants to its icy Northern European landscape, it came up with a quirky idea—another of its firsts in the world: offering people virtual residency. Taavi Kotka, 38, a software engineer and entrepreneur, dreamed up the concept after becoming the government’s chief information officer in 2013. Kotka wrote a policy paper arguing that the population needed to grow fast, and proposed a target of 10 million people by 2025. Since Estonian women were not about to have 10 babies each, the alternative was to figure out what kind of product the country could offer to the rest of the world. Somewhat like Delaware-based corporations in the U.S., e-residents of Estonia can now run their European operations remotely and do business in euros. “We want to be the office for micro and small companies, because that is basically what our country is,” say Kotka, who now works as a consultant to Estonian startups. “You cannot grow without customers.”

Estonia’s first e-residency cards rolled out in December 2014. The micro­chips inside them are identical to Estonians’ digital ID cards but come without citizens’ rights, like voting or public pensions, and there is no obligation to pay taxes in Estonia. This is no tax haven: Estonia requires that e-residents pay their taxes to whatever country they owe them. But for a fee of 145 euros (about $154) e-residents can register companies in Estonia, no matter where they live, gaining automatic access to the EU’s giant common market—about 440 million once Britain leaves the union. Of about 18,000 e-residents so far, about 1,400 have formed companies in Estonia. On average, each of those companies spends roughly 55 euros (about $58) a month on accounting and office administration in Estonia.

This year the government doubled its budget for the program and intends on doubling it again in 2018, saying it’s determined to ramp up e-residency numbers quickly. As numbers grow, so too will the business services Estonia offers. Officials have traveled to Tallinn from around the world to examine how to start their own e-residency programs. Kaspar Korjus, managing director of the e-residency program, says his office hosts about 500 delegations a year. “So far the only revenue model for countries is taxes,” he says. “But if we get 10 million e-residents paying $100 a month each, maybe we would not need taxes.”

The possibilities do not end there. With its government running on the blockchain, Estonia could in theory begin marketing other inventions as they unfold—creating huge new business. Rõivas, the former Prime Minister, says Estonia is working on developing “precision medicine” that would tap into the genome data of its 1.3 million citizens in order to better diagnose illnesses, treat people, and design personalized drugs. “We can use blockchain to make sure that the data exchanged is able to be traced,” he says.

It’s possible to imagine Estonia’s idea becoming a multibillion-dollar business in the years ahead—turning the whole view of government as a bureaucracy offering public services into an entity generating profits.

Perhaps only a place that started over from scratch in 1991 could reimagine the idea of a country. As I watch the Starship robots maneuver across the company’s office in Tallinn, CEO Heinla says he believes Estonians, after decades of living under Soviet rule, were uniquely suited to creating new ways of doing things, including how to run a government. “People grow up and see an establishment they cannot break into,” he says, so Estonians simply built something new, and more efficient. Older, more set in its ways—and more skeptical—the rest of the world has yet to catch up. Just don’t expect Estonia to wait for us.

A version of this article appears in the May 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline "Welcome to Tomorrow Land."

End of culled Fortune article by Vivienne  Walt.

Should District Assemblies Seek Market-Based Approaches To Rural Infrastructure Development?

President Akufo-Addo's pro-business policies at the national level should also inform the work of district-level administrations across Ghana.

It will enable local officials throughout Ghana to deliver village-level infrastructure through creative thinking, in public private partnerships (PPP).

The Rural Enterprises Project (RAP), the  National Board for Small-Scale  Industries and GRATIS should all be encouraged to look at how the adoption  of a market-based solutions approach through PPPs to deliver village-level infrastructure  is being successfully deployed in emerging economies elsewhere.

As our widow's mite contribution to a national conversation about leveraging creative ideas to develop village infrastructure through  market-based approaches  we have culled a page from the website of Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA).

There is no reason why district assemblies nationwide should not  work with  business organisations  to build and expand village-level power infrasructure - leveraging the 1-constituency-1-million-dollars and 1-district-1-factory initiatives, in collaboration with Ghanaian social entrepreneurs who collaborate with creative development organisations such as VIA.

Please read on:

"Village Infrastructure Angels

    About Us
    Who we are
    What we do

VIA has two major streams of work - it connects investors to village infrastructure projects, and
it helps others develop similar projects.

These are formalized as a two streams of business:
Project Development and Consulting Services

What we don't do is equally as important.

Project Development

Rather than shares in startup companies, VIA and its angels are building up a portfolio of project assets, generally through 3-5 year lease agreements with local communities or intermediate partners. With early support from Rotary (Melbourne and Arlington), the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Hivos and a dozen angel investors, VIA developed a range of pilot projects in Vanuatu, Indonesia, Honduras and a few other locations. These pilot projects proved that local teams could quickly generate sufficient revenue from a modest number of solar power projects in rural villages to cover their daily operating costs, and additional revenue which accumulates in the bank to repay investors. The first projects focused on 5-10W of solar per house for lighting and phone charging services at the household level, then later projects installed 125-500W solar for 20-50 households to share a solar powered agro-processing mill, such as a rice huller, corn sheller, flour grinder, or coconut/cassava grater. In our first target villages that reached 1000 households, women spend up to 1 hour every day processing these staple crops into food by hand, a job that the solar powered 24V mills can do in just 5 minutes. So for 10-20W per household, more advanced solar power stations can be designed and deployed, and support has now been secured to scale up the portfolio to 10,000 households by 2018. See the projects here.


VIA is as happy to help others with their projects as to build its own. For this, a suite of tools and services have been developed since 2012 that bring the team's expertise to partners who may need one or all of the following services that cover the full development process from start to finish:

    Mapping - both at large-scale for national and global planning, but also at the local level to map individual households ( and then create least-length rural electrification networks using open source algorithms, producing plans like this.
    Field studies - after initial analysis and mapping, it is important to fine-tune the desktop project design with on-ground data from targeted fieldwork to verify assumptions, communicate project objectives with communities and prepare for implementation.
    Product development - in some instances, existing products on the market do not exist for an identified need, or are at the wrong price point or are not designed as we believe they need to be. VIA can assist with developing new products and sourcing supply partners to address this.
    Procurement and logistics - VIA can also ensure that the products required for a project are procured and efficiently delivered to the project via sea, air and land transport modes.
    Installation and training - after delivery of the equipment, local partners can be trained on how to install the renewable energy systems into rural villages, and to train local village operators and supply chain partners on technical aspects of the products, and business skills.
    Asset management - in some cases, a client may ask us to manage the project they have financed the construction of, following up on after-sales problems, mobilizing revenue, decreasing default and increasing the capacity of the local team to fully run the business.
    Industry and policy papers - a number of clients have sought assistance in reviewing existing energy and water markets in their country and providing input to government and other stakeholders as to how further develop the markets. VIA consults widely and reviews large volumes of literature to ensure it provides well-researched strategies, often with some new ideas that had not yet surfaced or been fully analysed.
    Capital mobilization - the team of VIA has mobilized over $15 million for micro infrastructure over the past 10 years, some of which has been to help others further develop their project and dream. VIA does not aim to give classic capital advisory services, charging a percentage of any funds raised, but generally bundles such capital raising efforts at little to no cost with other general project management services, as a long-term project partner.

Details on these services can be found here.

what we don't do

A typical angel investment group is mostly focused on buying shares in early-stage companies that might one day become the next Facebook or SKS Microfinance. VIA is not, as it does not believe that the exits of trade sales, IPOs and management buyouts are particularly likely for any but the largest micro infrastructure companies (who probably don't need our help anyway). VIA prefers to focus on project equity and debt opportunities rather than corporate equity and debt, which causes less dilution for existing shareholders, less Board control issues, a much clearer exit from the project rather than from the company, and the ability to ringfence investment returns from the project itself rather than the overall performance of the company. Many creative financial tools exist beyond just plain vanilla purchasing of shares, and VIA is keen to any available tool to get better outcomes for investors and investees than will be generated by blind replication of the "Silicon Valley model" in developing countries that dominates a lot of impact fund management today.

Unlike other fund managers, VIA also does not stretch itself over too many sectors, but prefers to have deep knowledge about one particular sector - small-scale infrastructure. To our knowledge, no such entity exists with this kind of focus, and yet the potential infrastructure that needs to be built is a deep need running into many billions of dollars required each year.

Lastly, VIA is not requesting business plans from entrepreneurs, but is fine tuning a replicable model of infrastructure investment that can be undertaken in any developing country by the right partner."

End of culled website page of Village Infrastructure Angels.

Tearsheet: Investopedia now wants to ‘match’ financial advisers with readers


      The integration of content from accredited financial advisers is one way Investopedia has distinguished itself among a growing family of personal finance and investment news sources.

By Suman Bhattacharyya | APRIL 27, 2017


Far from just a how-to guide to financial and investing terms, Investopedia has evolved into a media brand in its own right. With coverage ranging from bigger economic stories, advice on investments and budgeting, and entertainment with a finance lens (“Investopedia’s Guide to Watching Billions“), its reach is growing.

Now, the publisher is looking to drum up more interest with a new service that will match some of its contributing writers, mostly financial advisers, with readers.

“After talking to a lot of advisers, clearly building the brand is important, but what they really care most about is driving leads and new client acquisition — their goal is to grow their practices,” said David Siegel, Investopedia’s CEO, in an interview with Tearsheet.

The move could help solidify the publisher’s Advisor Insights platform’s reach among a specialized community of advisers and investors, making it even more valuable to advertisers and ultimately generating additional revenue.

“Our aspiration is to have every one of the 300,000 advisers [nationally] work with Investopedia as part of their daily workflow,” he said. “If we have hundreds of thousands of advisers who are using Investopedia, and if we have tens of millions of users who are asking questions of advisers, there is significant monetization in being the intermediary,” he said.

Siegel, who took over as Investopedia’s CEO two years ago, has been working to build a more socially-inclined, specialist audience for the site. It’s an approach that draws 27 million unique monthly visitors and a ranking of 6th among the world’s top investing sites globally, according to SimilarWeb. The site has also beefed up original news content, including video.

IAC-owned Investopedia launched the Advisor Insights section of the site a year ago as a platform to allow accredited financial advisers to answer questions from users, for no fee. While Investopedia doesn’t pay the advisers for answering questions, it said it offers perks and exposure to help them grow their reach — after 25 answers or articles, Investopedia staff will shoot a marketing video about the adviser, and after 50, Investopedia gives them additional visibility by letting be the sponsor of the term of the day.

“They’re not paid and they don’t pay us, but by publishing content, they get tremendous digital exposure and traffic,” Siegel said. “But what they really care the most about is driving leads, driving new client acquisition.”

The new matching service (called Priority Leads) is available to advisers who have contributed at least 200 articles or answers. In response to requests from clients to connect with advisers, Investopedia staff will tap into its pool of top contributors to find a suitable match. Only 50 to 100 of the 25,000 advisers using the platform today have access to this service, but Siegel said he expects it to grow quickly.

Investopedia has quadrupled its staff over the past two years and now has 115 employees — 12 of whom focus on Adviser Insights. Siegel said he intends to keep the online advisory service free, as the site generates revenue from advertisers. The move to offer free curated advice from accredited advisers is one way for Investopedia to distinguish itself among a family of sites dedicated to personal finance and investing, including NerdWallet, Kiplinger, and others. It’s just one step of a larger strategy to drive audience engagement, he said, and future plans include the launch of Adviser Insights as brand on its own; continuing education content for financial advisers; and the creation of a online community for advisers who could discuss industry issues such as succession planning.

“Our focus is how we can create content in a differentiated way, and engage with users such that users are coming back on a more frequent basis and are engaging much more deeply with our content — Adviser Insights has proven the answer to that for us.”

© 2017 Tearsheet. All rights reserved.

TechMarketView: Enter the 'Oscars for Technology Entrepreneurs' now!

This culled content  is posted for the benefit of this blog's UK  readers.  Good luck to those of them who will enter the competition.

Please read on:

HotViews Editor, 16:34, 26 April 2017

TechMarketView is delighted once again to be both a Sponsor of/and Judge in The Enterprise Awards 2017 (in association with WCIT). This year’s event is even bigger and grander and takes place at the Dorchester on 14 June 2017.

Over 300 leaders in UK tech have already booked a place in the audience at the Awards ceremony - for full details and to book a table yourself CLICK HERE.

But what we really want you to do is consider entering for an Enterprise Award. Unlike TechMarketView’s Little British Battlers or Great British Scaleups, the Enterprise Awards are for individuals not companies. So, if you are already an LBB or budding GBS, why not enter yourself, or your CEO/founder, for an Enterprise Award? Indeed, many already have - and won - in the past.

Our dear friend, John O’Connell, established these ‘Oscars for UK Tech Entrepreneurs’ some seven years ago. TechMarketView – together with such notables as Sage, Smith & Williamson, Natwest, Silverpeak, R and D Tax, Questers and ScaleUp Group – are sponsors. And this year’s chosen charity is Sherry Coutu’s Founders4Schools. TechmarketView will be there on 14 June 17. We’d love to see you there too.The Award categories are as follows:

·      Young Entrepreneur

·      Evergreen Entrepreneur - for founders who started their business aged 50 or over

·      Emerging Entrepreneur – up to £1 million annual revenue

·      Developing Entrepreneur – annual revenue between £1 and £5 million

·      Scaling Up Award – fastest growing companies

·      Enterprise Entrepreneur – annual revenue over £10 million

·      Social Enterprise Entrepreneur - for entrepreneurs with a business model that gives something back

·      Public Sector Award - excellence and achievement in the public sector

·      Female Entrepreneur - for outstanding female entrepreneurs

·      Mentor of the Year

·      and the Judges Special Award.

Entries must be received by next Friday, 5 May. Entry forms can be downloaded from Enterprise Awards 2017 Entry Formor contact Sarah Robinson at tx2 Events - or 020 31372541. Good luck!

Forbes Woman Africa Launches First Television Show, “Against the Odds with Peace Hyde”

The show will feature women who are trailblazers in their respective fields of business and who inspire younger women to be bold and break boundaries, contributing to the narrative of growing female power on the African continent

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 27, 2017/ -- FORBES WOMAN AFRICA (, the continent’s first-ever women’s interest magazine from the highly-successful FORBES stable, launches its very first television show through FORBES AFRICA TV, in partnership with Ecobank.

On Friday, April 28th, FORBES WOMAN AFRICA’s “Against the Odds with Peace Hyde” will premieres on CNBC Africa, adding another thought-provoking and inspirational lifestyle show to their arsenal. The show will feature women who are trailblazers in their respective fields of business and who inspire younger women to be bold and break boundaries, contributing to the narrative of growing female power on the African continent.

FORBES WOMAN AFRICA has teamed up with leading Pan African bank, Ecobank to launch the 12-part series celebrating the achievement of exceptional women in business.

Award-winning Presenter and Journalist, Peace Hyde, joins Editor of FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, Methil Renuka, in the premiere episode to discuss the vision behind the series.

Commenting on the importance of having a strong platform like FORBES WOMAN AFRICA translated from a print to a television platform Renuka noted that: “Why only talk about the glass ceiling when you have ceiling-crashers who have done it all and can show the way. They may be very few, but they have had significant successes and a discerning show like this will be lessons from those who made it, to those who would like to scale those same heights and more, very much in line with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA’s own rich content philosophy.”

“The essence of the show is to really celebrate exceptional women. It’s about women who have tapped into their courage and persistence, and chosen to keep going in spite of all the hurdles. I think that in order for you to do that you need to have a very strong understanding of your purpose...” explains Peace Hyde.

“Against the Odds with Peace Hyde” premieres on CNBC Africa, Canal Plus Channel 171, DStv Channel 410 and StarTimes Channel 309 later this year.

To find out more about “Against the Odds with Peace Hyde” visit:

Distributed by APO on behalf of Forbes Woman Africa.

View multimedia content

For Further Media Requests Contact:
Frederic Van De Vyver
Head: West Africa
O: +234 (1) 279 8034

About ABN:   
ABN offers a holistic approach to telling Africa's business story - first. With much-esteemed international brands such as CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa providing a broadcast and print platform respectively, the ABN conglomerate also offers resources to organize world-class events across the African continent, through ABN Event Productions. The recently-launched ABN Training Institute boasts state-of-the-art facilities to provide media training among many other courses, while ABN Digital is the company's online presence for your up-to-date business and markets news. Through its sub-brands, ABN aims to be Africa's leading aggregator and distributor of business and economic.   

About CNBC Africa:   
CNBC Africa is Africa’s most powerful multiplatform business media brand; owned by Africa Business News and headquartered in Johannesburg, is part of the global CNBC family, reaching audiences in over 100 countries. Together with its companion site, CNBC Africa focuses on business, money, finance and economic news originating from Sub Saharan Africa. CNBC is available in 90% of Sub Saharan Africa through DTH and Satellite TV operator, MultiChoice Africa, DStv, StarTimes Nigeria and Canal Plus. You can also access CNBC Africa through our digital live stream. CNBC has bureaus in over 15 cities, including, Lagos, Abuja, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra, Kigali. CNBC currently has an estimated patronage of over 500,000 viewers in South Africa. Viewership data in other markets is not currently available.   

FORBES WOMAN AFRICA ( is the continent’s first-ever women’s interest magazine from the highly-successful FORBES stable. Launched in October 2013 and published in Johannesburg, FORBES WOMAN AFRICA has exponentially grown its readership over the years, reaching new markets on a continuous basis. The publication targets business tycoons and trailblazers in politics, society and life who are inspiring the next cadre of leadership on the continent. FORBES WOMAN AFRICA is published on a bi-monthly basis. FORBES WOMAN AFRICA is distributed across Africa from Southern Africa to East and West Africa and is also available as a digital version on Magzter and Zino.   

Forbes Woman Africa

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Alasdair Allan: Digital Banks Are Moving Past the Idea of Passing Around Paper Money


Digital Banks Are Moving Past the Idea of Passing Around Paper Money

By Alasdair Allan

April 26, 2017 12:00pm

Cash is king, until it's not.

Part of the emerging generation of fintech startups, the new digital-only banks—colloquially known as the challenger banks by the financial technology "in" crowd—appear to be approaching consumer banking very differently than the existing major main street banks. The question is, how deep does that commitment go?

Trying to get a feel for them then, it's sort of interesting to see some of the same security anti-patterns developing in the challenger banks that exist in the traditional big banks. For instance, one of them just phoned me and asked me to provide personal information for "security verification" before they'd discuss what they were calling me about.

Providing information to someone cold calling you isn't something you should be prepared to do—no matter whether you're expecting the call, or who they say they're calling from. It also shouldn't be something a company asks their customers to do, at least not if they have a solid security culture.

This security anti-pattern is one of the most irritating consumer-facing security problems that large institutions like banks suffer from, as it has the potential—as a pattern—to assist fraudsters attempting to extort data from customers to commit identity fraud. If you're used to handing over your identity in the opening seconds of a phone call, you're far more likely to hand it over to the wrong person.

Unfortunately there really is no way to mutually, and securely, authenticate using a single-channel medium like a phone call. However the digital-only challenger banks have an easy way around this problem, they have an app, and a second channel.

One possible solution then would be to send a push notification "The person you're talking to on the phone is really from your bank" once the the phone call has begun. This is a perfectly reasonable way to prove that the caller is legitimate, after all, making their own app do something while they're talking to you is a decent first-cut at a second channel proof of authenticity.

Banks are slow to adopt technology. More than a couple of years ago now I worked out some interesting rather back-and-forth technology that would allow your smartphone to geo-authenticate credit card transactions without letting your bank know where you were all the time. I even packaged it up—along with other side projects to enable things like securing emergency cash advances based on geo-fencing—and sold the intellectual property to some friends of mine in the industry. They weren't able to interest any of the major banks in picking it up. This didn't really surprise me.

Banks are notoriously conservative, and to a certain extent I'm okay with that. I really rather like the fact that the people that have all my money are a bit stick in the mud. As an early adopter I can tell you that all new technology has problems, it breaks. A lot. But unfortunately, despite existing on the technological trailing edge, so do banks.

On the face of it the banking industry, at least outside the United States whose continued reliance on cheques makes them a bit of a laughing stock to the rest of the world, looks like it's moving forward slowly and steadily.

This appearance is, however, skin deep. The networks between the banks themselves were designed in a very different era, and are creaking under the threats of a more uncivilized age. Similarly, the backend technology of most banks has reached a breaking point beneath the weight of the layers of new technology that have been added on top. These systems weren't designed with the web in mind, let alone smartphones. The idea that customers would directly interact with their accounts was never a design criteria.

This is where the current crop of fintech startups come in, and along with them the so-called "challenger banks." Some of these new banks, notably Starling and Monzo, have gone with a full stack approach and built their back end systems from the ground up. In the short term that's leaves them a long way behind their competitors—notably Atom Bank, the first of the new clutch of banks to pick up a banking license—who built their core banking systems on existing commoditized banking software. But in the longer term it's a gamble that could well pay off in a big way.

The banking industry is heavily reliant on legacy technology stacks, built up in layers of different architectures and languages laid down over the years. When new technologies come along most banks don't replace existing technology, they put the new technologies on top. The old technology sticks around, lurking behind the scenes. For most banks legacy technology encapsulates their institutional knowledge, all the corner cases that come up when you have software that deals with the that many transactions every second.

For the challenger banks, at least those that have gone down the full stack route, the encapsulated institutional knowledge might not be present, but that means they can build a banking system with design criteria that actually reflects how consumers use money today, rather than how they used money last century. After all, some of that encapsulated knowledge is about how to hand pieces of paper around, and the digital-only banks are hoping to move past that.

Interestingly, one of the reasons that a lot of these new digital-only challenger banks are based in the United Kingdom is that there the Treasury, along with the Competition and Markets Authority, has advocated and eventually mandated the adoption of open banking standards, which are even now being rolled out—although it's notable that of the banks it's Monzo and Starling, the full stack banks, that have developer sites, Github repos, and an actual working API you can develop against.

The whole point of the challenger banks is to think differently, and that shouldn't just be a surface thing. It needs to go all the way down into the culture, security isn't about the back end, it needs to be customer facing. In the end security isn't really about computers, it's about people. So when it comes to calling your customers the onus is on, must be on, the company making the call to identify themselves first. After all, they called you.

AdvantageEnvironment: Efficient floating filter for storm water purification

Advantage Environment    

Efficient floating filter for storm water purification

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 05:15 AM PDT
Swedrop’s unique storm water filters manage pollution as close to the source as possible. The filters float in the storm water drain, purifying both incoming and already present water from more than 30 pollutants.

The EU water framework directive clearly states that our waters are to be clean and unpolluted. The directive sets minimum objectives for EU countries in terms of water quality and access to good quality water in sufficient quantity. One of the sources of water pollution is storm water – that is, rainwater and runoff from yards, streets, roofs, industrial lots and other sites.

Storm water may be polluted by vehicle emissions, pollutants in the rain water, oil and heavy metals. Swedrop’s storm water filter absorbs more than 30 different substances in a three-stage process. Photo: Swedrop.

”Ensuring water quality is a challenge, and we have developed a unique storm water filter, patented in 40 countries, to prevent harmful substances from reaching lakes or streams. We want to treat the water cost-efficiently, as close to the source as possible”, says Bengt Jäderberg, Chief Communications Officer at Swedrop.
How the filter works

”Rainwater is channeled into the filter by a funnel placed right below the stormwater drain. This simplifies maintenance, since sand, leaves and twigs are directed outside of the filter and end up in the sludge trap. The filter fits all kinds of storm water drains, and purifies the water in a three-stage process”, Bengt Jäderberg says.

The first stage captures hydrocarbons, oils and certain organic solvents, by means of a polypropylene fibre filter. The second stage uses granules of activated carbon to filter out heavy metals. The granules have a very large active surface area, that adsorbs ions of chrome, copper, led, zinc and other elements that commonly occur in runoff from roads and parking lots. The ballast is five kg of blast furnace slag, with great capacity to absorb heavy metals, phosphorus and ammonium.

In the third stage, both the surface water and the standing water in the drain is purified, thanks to the fact that the filter floats. According to Swedrop, the filter maintains it capacity for a year, and is then easily replaced with a new one with a quick operation. The used filter is collected for incineration, in order to remove the pollutants from the water cycle.
Minimized cost

The floating storm water filter purifies both the incoming rain water and the standing water. Photo: Swedrop.

”Our solution is simple and low-weight, which makes handling, transport and maintenance easier. The shape and the fact that it floats makes sure that it purifies both the incoming rain water and the water that is already present in the storm water system. We see many benefits over conventional filters, such as:

    The floating filter does not obstruct water flow. Most of the incoming water goes through the filter capsule and out on the side of the float. When flow is high, more of the incoming water can pass through, without reduced flow capability.
    When it is not raining, the filter continues to treat surface and standing water, removing oils and other contaminants.
    An independent laboratory (ALS Scandinavia) has evaluated the filter’s capacity to adsorb 33 substances that are prioritized according to the water directive. Ten of the substances were removed by more than 90 percent. Thirteen of the pollutants had removal rates of 51-90 percent. The remaining substances, except for one, were reduced 5-50 percent.
    The filter is simply dropped in the drain, and the used filter is removed and sent to a proper incineration facility. RFID-tags makes it possible to monitor the filter throughout the life cycle, and to verify that it is properly disposed of.
    To minimize maintenance cost, the filter exchange operation can be combined with the regular sludge removal from the drain”.

”We believe that it is essential to clean storm water cost-efficiently. Many conventional methods have substantial deployment costs and require continous maintenance. A simple, disposable absorbing filter that is dropped into the drain dramatically changes the cost structure of cleaning storm water at the source.

The purpose of the EU water directive is of course to ensure water quality, but it also creates a business opportunity for companies that develop efficient water treatment technologies”, Bengt Jäderberg says.

The article was published in April 2017.

Why Ghana's Environmental Activists Ought To Support President Akufo-Addo

As a committed environmental activist, one hopes that the government of President Akufo-Addo will always be wary of the World Bank. We must never forget that it was the selfsame World Bank that advised Ghana to permit surface gold mining.

Today, as a result of the negative impact of illegal gold mining on the natural environment, we face a water-stressed future; are witnessing land degradation of apocalyptic proportions; and seeing the unfortunate  consequenes of the poisoning of soils, streams, rivers and groundwater nationwide.

And all because decades ago during the 1980s our country followed what has turned out to be very  bad advice given by the World Bank to our leaders then - the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) military regime - to permit surface gold mining in Ghana, to boost investment in the sector.

Ghana will prosper only if our leaders are as honest, dynamic, farsighted and committed to the well-being of the people they lead,  as the leaders of the United Arab Emirates are.

Leadership is the key factor to Ghana's future as a prosperous society.

If President Akufo-Addo always remembers the Asantehene's wise counsel that he should never forget that it was to him personally that the mandate to lead Ghana was given by voters, he will turn out to be the greatest leader Ghana has had since President Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966.

And he must follow President Rawlings' example: by calling all his blood relatives to a meeting and warning them that they owe him an obligation not to engage in any corruption - and that if they do, they must not expect the President of the Republic of Ghana to come to their rescue. He will not. Full stop.

President Akufo-Addo's blood relatives  must be made to understand clearly that family ties notwithstanding they will always face the music alone when they mess up.

As Ghana's leader, President Akufo-Addo must  make no distinction between his blood relatives and the rest of the people he leads - when it comes to infractions of Ghana's laws.

It is a philosophy of leadership that worked well for President Rawlings - and it will work well for him too.

This is the first time that Ghana has had a leader whom the whole country is fervently praying to succeed - for all our sake.

Nana Addo must be ruthless with those in his inner circle who would want to ride on his coattails to amass wealth by stealth.

Companies like Apple sit on massive cash mountains (Apple: over US$246.09 billion). And Google sits atop a cash mountain of over  US$75billion.

By abolishing personal income tax, strengthening the security agencies to effectively maintain law and order nationwide, and paying the judiciary very high salaries and super-generous retirement benefits, as well as making Ghana the nation with Africa's lowest corporate tax rates, the wealthiest people from around the world will want live here for part of the year to qualify for permanent resident status.

That will create a boom that will last for decades. Literally. They will build or buy properties here, set up a plethora of businesses, and, best of all, partner Ghanaian entrepreneurs to create jobs galore.

This government must step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking and focus exclusively on collaborating with those Ghanaian entrepreneurs who are succeeding in the real economy to design policies that will free businesspeople to thrive.

Why tax Ghanaians to build roads, for example, when by inviting bids from around the world for companies to build, own and maintain a network of concrete motorways, and railway lines to all the regional capitals, and not have to pay any taxes on their profits for 35 years, they will rush here to do so - with each one of them being required by law to have Ghanaian partners to qualify to bid?

We have it within our power to be a very prosperous society - if we are creative in our thinking, and, above all, can get rid of our negativity, do away with our unhelpful pull-him-down syndrome, and, worst of all, end our envy of hardworking people who succeed.

God bless a Ghanaian leader who is determined to save what is left of our nation's natural heritage - very valuable natural capital on which we can anchor ecotourism and generate billions of dollars from (Thailand earned over US42 billion in 2016 from over 30 million visitors, incidentally), and create millions of jobs on top of that.

We are definitely better off leaving the gold in the ground.

Akyem Abuakwa is a classic example. It has some of the most beautiful natural environments anywhere on the surface of the planet Earth.

If the Atewa Range is declared a national park and all mining banned from Akyem Abuakwa, it will have a local green economy creating wealth and jobs.

Thank God for a president who is actually intent on stopping galamsey and illegal logging, by deeds, not words. Fantastic.

As a committed environmental activist of many years standing (since I was a precocious 8-year old boy at University Primary School, Kumasi) President Akufo-Addo - but not the NPP - has my full support:  if he sticks to being a pro-business, a natural-heritage-supporting  and incorruptible leader.

And so must every other environmental activist in our homeland Ghana. A pro-Mother Nature and anti-galamsey president of Nkrumah's Ghana is a godsend. God bless, protect and guide him always!

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Modern Agriculture Drives Hunger, Obesity and Disease While Simultaneously Threatening Food Chain and Worsening Water Crisis

View All Health Topics

Modern Agriculture Drives Hunger, Obesity and Disease While Simultaneously Threatening Food Chain and Worsening Water Crisis
April 25, 2017 | 93,801 views
| Available in EspañolDisponible en Español
modern food production
Story at-a-glance -

    Growing environmental, climate and health problems can be traced back to modern food production, including food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste, and rising obesity and disease despite growing health care outlays
    Conventional, chemical and energy-intensive farming is also depleting fresh water supplies, while toxic agricultural chemicals pollute air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom
    Answers to pressing global problems hinge on the widespread implementation of regenerative farming and decentralized food distribution

By Dr. Mercola

    "Regenerative food, farming and land use can provide a solution to the health crisis, the water crisis, environmental degradation, climate change, rural poverty, hunger and war." ~ Ronnie Cummins, Founding Meeting of Regeneration International, June 9, 2015, Finca Luna Nueva, Costa Rica

If you'd walked up to a farmer 100 years ago and told him farming would one day threaten life on Earth, he probably would have laughed in your face, saying such a thing simply isn't possible.

Agriculture is necessary for food production, and therefore for life, the farmer would have said with firm conviction — and farming the land or raising cattle is not going to unduly harm anything or anyone.

Today, however, such an impossible scenario is precisely what we're facing. Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production. This includes but is not limited to:

    Food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste
    Rising obesity and chronic disease rates despite growing health care outlays
    Diminishing fresh water supplies
    Toxic agricultural chemicals polluting air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom
    Disruption of normal climate and rainfall patterns

The good news is there are viable answers to all of these problems that do not merely scratch at the surface, and the answers hinge on the widespread implementation of regenerative agriculture and decentralized food distribution.

It's easy to forget that at one point, not so long ago, all food was organically grown in a way that supported the ecosystem and environment as a whole. This all changed in the 1940s when the Green Revolution took hold and industrial, chemical-dependent farming techniques quickly spread to become the norm.
Industrial Farming Has Proven Itself a Failed Experiment

Farming has sustained mankind for millennia. Industrial farming, on the other hand, has managed to create a series of unsustainable situations in less than 70 years, and evidence suggests we will not make it until the end of the century if we continue along the path of degenerative food and farming.

Topsoil destruction, erosion and desertification are exacerbated by tilling, monocropping and not using cover crops. Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has warned that at the current rate of topsoil degradation, all the world's topsoil will be gone in less than 60 years.1

At that point, it'll be "game over" because without topsoil you cannot grow food no matter how many chemicals you add to it. Closely related problems are the loss of soil fertility and biodiversity, which is directly related to the loss of natural carbon in the soil.

An estimated 80 percent of soil carbon in heavily farmed areas has already been lost,2 due to destructive plowing, overgrazing and the use of soil-destructive, carbon-depleting chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Industrial monocropping has also led to the loss of diversity. Seventy-five percent of the world's crop varieties have gone the way of the dinosaurs in the last 100 years, and another 20 percent of all plants worldwide are threatened with extinction.3

Toxic contamination adds to the problem. According to studies by the Chinese government, 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination,4 and important crop pollinators such as butterfly and bee populations have collapsed, thanks to widespread pesticide application.5

Modern agriculture also promotes water waste through use of flood irrigation, destruction of soil quality and poor crop choices.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 80 percent of U.S. consumptive water (and more than 90 percent in many Western states) is used for agricultural purposes6 and, worldwide, groundwater is being used up at a faster rate than it can be replenished.

According to James Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the majority of our global groundwaters "are past sustainability tipping points,"7 which means it's only a matter of time until we run out of fresh water.

Without food or drinkable water, the end of civilization as we know it is pretty well-assured. The question is will enough people have the foresight to change course?
Industrial Food System Promotes Both Obesity and Malnourishment

The industrialization and centralization of food production was done to increase farmers' capacity to grow more food at a lower cost. Unfortunately, a core principle was lost in this efficiency equation — that of food quality and nutrient density.

Today, we have ample amounts of "good-looking" foods, thanks to genetic engineering and agricultural chemicals. What you don't see is the loss of nutrients. Tests reveal that the nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925.8

As just one example, to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples; today you have to eat 36, and this is a direct consequence of industrial farming techniques and use of chemicals that destroy soil quality by killing essential microbes.

We now know that, just as the human gut microbiome plays integral roles in human health, so the soil microbiome influences nutrient uptake and plant health. Soil microbes even help regulate the invasion of pests.

It's not surprising then that as nutrient density declined and toxic exposures via food increased, obesity and chronic disease rates have dramatically risen — so much so that obesity now threatens to overtake hunger as the No. 1 global health concern.
Obesity Is Becoming Greater Health Concern Than Hunger

In 1950, an estimated 700 million people were starving; obesity affected approximately 100 million, primarily in wealthy nations. These statistics have changed dramatically over the past six decades as the industrialization of agriculture has become the norm.

By 2010, the world's hungry had grown to 800 million while the number of obese citizens ballooned to 500 million. Four years later, 641 million people were obese,9,10,11,12 and estimates suggest that by 2030, more than 1 billion people worldwide will fall into this category.

This would not be happening were it not for the adoption and spread of processed foods as dietary staples.

Along with excess body weight come a wide range of other health problems and associated health care costs. In the U.S., just eight obesity-related diseases account for 75 percent of health care costs.

These diseases include type 2 diabetes — which now affects nearly 1 in 11 adults worldwide13 — non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.14 In fact, 1 in 5 American deaths is now associated with obesity.15

The ramifications of poor diet and toxic exposures from food are perhaps most notable in the U.S., where for the first time in two decades, life expectancy has actually declined.16,17,18

Remarkably, half of all Americans now struggle with some kind of chronic illness,19 and the cost of health care in the U.S. accounts for 17 percent of the gross domestic product.20 The direct and indirect annual cost of diseases attributed to obesity alone tops $1.4 trillion.21

All of these statistics tie back to our food supply, starting with how food is grown. On the whole, there's really no way to reverse these disease rates without addressing agriculture and food production. Our very lives depend on it.
Hunger Is the Result of Inadequate Food Distribution and Waste, Not Lack of Production

While the chemical technology industry claims we cannot feed a growing population without industrialization, chemicals and genetically engineered seeds, few facts support this ideology.

On the contrary, studies have repeatedly shown organic farming is more likely to succeed in feeding a population of 9 billion strong, especially during drought conditions.

A recent report by two U.N. experts — Hilal Elver, the UN's special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics — also firmly refutes the notion that pesticides are essential to ensure sufficient amounts of food for a growing world population.22

In fact, the report calls for a global treaty to phase out toxic chemicals and transition toward sustainable farming practices worldwide, to preserve and promote human and environmental health. According to Elver and Tuncak:23

    "The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading. In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it …"

Food waste is another facet of this inequitable system. It's been estimated that one-third24 to one-half25 of all the edible food in the world — as much as 2 billion tons' worth26 — is simply thrown away each year. In 2010, 133 billion pounds of food were wasted at the retail and consumer levels in the U.S. alone, with two-thirds of it attributed to household food waste.

So, while 13 percent of American households struggle to obtain enough food,27 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten. This is a problem that simply cannot be solved through increased use of pesticides, GMOs, animal drugs and intensive confinement factory farms.

The fact that industrial farming and cheap food is not the answer becomes even more obvious when you consider that the poorest Americans actually have the highest rates of obesity and chronic disease.28 They're not suffering the effects of lack of food or starvation. They're suffering from obesity-related disorders resulting from cheap processed foods, devoid of much-needed nutrition — the only foods many of these people have access to and can afford.
Solving Obesity and Hunger by Sharing Fresh Surplus

While there are many solutions for reducing individual household waste, we really need to think bigger. We need to radically improve the supply channels between producers and consumers to ensure food gets equitably distributed, rather than thrown away somewhere along the way. We're not wanting for ideas here. It's just a matter of implementing them more widely.

For example, Ample Harvest has created a novel and effective food bank distribution system for fresh produce. Billions of pounds of fresh foods are in fact available, but the conventional food bank distribution system does not allow those foods to enter the system. Instead, all that fresh nutritious food is tossed into urban landfills.

Meanwhile, the poor end up eating mostly processed fare that promotes obesity and chronic disease. Ample Harvest connects farmers and home growers who have too much food with those who really need it by donating the produce directly to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. now has a database of nearly 8,000 participating food pantries across the U.S.

The system is very efficient, and associated costs are a mere fraction of other national food programs. It's also universal in that it can work in any community, large or small. And it works with both home growers and larger farms. This is just one example showing that food insecurity can be inexpensively and relatively easily solved. But to do so, we need to step outside of the conventional distribution channels and create new ones.
Regenerative Agriculture Is a Must for Food and Water Sustainability

In addition to destroying soil and denaturing our food, industrial agriculture is also draining aquifers and polluting waterways across the globe, thereby threatening human survival in more ways than one. The frightening reality is we're running out of drinkable water and poisoning what little is left.

One-third of the largest groundwater aquifers are already nearing depletion,29 with three of the most stressed aquifers being located in areas where political tensions run high as it is.30 To give you an idea of how quickly groundwater is being depleted, consider what's happening in the High Plains Aquifer (also known as the Ogallala) in the American Midwest.

Here, the water level has been dropping by an average of 6 feet per year, while the natural recharge rate is 1 inch or less.31 Once this aquifer is depleted — and many wells have already run dry in the area — 20 percent of the U.S. corn, wheat and cattle output will be lost due to lack of irrigation and water for the animals.

The average American will feel the effects of aquifer depletion directly as well, because with scarcity comes price hikes. According to a report32 from Michigan State University, published earlier this year, if water prices continue to rise at the current rate, five years from now nearly 36 percent of Americans may be unable to afford their monthly water bill.
Corporate Agribusiness Has Become the No. 1 Water Polluter

Precious water sources are also threatened by pollution from large-scale monocrop farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).33 According to a report34 by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is "one of the biggest threats to America's waterways." Tyson Foods Inc. was deemed among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014.

Researchers have warned that many lakes around the world are now at grave risk from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful blue-green algae (cyanobacteria),35,36 and once established, it's far more difficult to get rid of than previously thought. The answer, according to the authors of this study, is better land-use management that addresses fertilizer runoff. Dramatic reductions in fertilizer use are also recommended.

Indeed, the long-term solution to many of our water quality and water scarcity issues is to phase out the use of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers and soil additives, and to grow crops and raise food animals in such a way that the farm contributes to the overall health and balance of the environment rather than polluting it and creating a dysfunctional ecosystem.
Addressing Three Key Food Production Areas Can Help Solve Multiple Environmental Crises

Three key areas of food production that can help solve many of the environmental crises currently facing us are:

    Regenerative agriculture (food crops)
    Regenerative grazing (livestock)
    Restorative fishing (seafood)

As noted in my interviews with a number of sustainable farming pioneers and ecological experts over the past few years, the separation of livestock from crop farming is a significant part of the problem. This was supposedly done to increase efficiency and reduce costs, but the hidden costs of this segregation are quite enormous.

Our modern agricultural system, which focuses on monocropping and CAFOs as two separate food streams, puts more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the actual burning of fossil fuels, contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than all vehicles in the U.S. combined, turns farmland into desert and reduces organic matter in soil, thereby reducing rainfall and worsening droughts. We'll take a closer look at all of these issues in subsequent sections.
Industrial Agriculture Prevents Critical Carbon Sequestration

Carbon management — pulling carbon out of the air and sequestering it into the soil — is a critical aspect of environmental health and the growing of food. Scientists have also noted the importance of carbon sequestration for the reversal of climate change.37 Through their leaves, plants use sunlight (photosynthesis) to remove carbon dioxide from the air, converting it into a carbon fuel used to stimulate and promote their own growth.

Up to 40 percent of that carbon fuel also goes to the roots of the plant, where it's leaked out into the soil. There, it becomes food for soil microorganisms. So, the plant nourishes the soil as much as the soil nourishes the plant. As mentioned earlier, we've already lost up to 80 percent of the soil carbon in heavily farmed areas — a fact that really highlights the urgent need to improve carbon sequestration.38

A key strategy to sequester carbon in soil is to use cover crops. In other words, soil should never be left exposed, as without root systems holding the soil in place, soil erosion speeds up. Mixed grasses also nourish the soil microbiome, which need the plant interaction. Nature abhors monoculture. In 1 square foot of pristine prairie land, you'll find about 140 different plants, and this is the type of natural biodiversity regenerative farmers aim to mimic. As noted by Regeneration International:39

    "Storing carbon in the soil and maintaining perennial living soil cover (trees, pasture, grazing animals …) brings a host of benefits, including: increased soil fertility and biological activity, improved wildlife and pollinator habitat, less vulnerability to disease, increased crop yield, increased drought and flood resilience and increased water-holding and filtration capacity."

Fertilizers Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions in More Ways Than One

Scientists have also declared farming and fertilizers as the No. 1 cause of particulate matter air pollution in much of the U.S., China, Russia and Europe today, specifically the nitrogen component of fertilizers.40,41 Industrial food and farming also release dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Interestingly, while fertilizer mining operations produce their share of greenhouse gases42 — yet another environmental hazard I've not touched on here, but have written about in previous articles — most of these emissions actually occur upon application. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, 1 out of every 100 kilos (220 pounds) of nitrogen fertilizer applied to farm land ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2.43

In 2014, the amount of N2O created by nitrogen fertilizer spread on American farmland was equal to one-third of the N2O released by all cars and trucks in the U.S. More recent research suggests the real number may be three to five times higher than that.
Grazing Animals Are an Important Part of Regenerative Agriculture

By preventing carbon sequestration, industrial farming contributes to desertification — turning land into desert — which cannot support plant life and photosynthesis, thereby worsening atmospheric CO2 levels. According to Allan Savory, an African ecologist, dramatically increasing the number of grazing livestock is really the only thing that can successfully reverse both desertification and rising CO2.44,45

An article46 by Pure Advantage notes how "there is no current or envisioned technology that can simultaneously sequester carbon, restore biodiversity and feed people. But livestock can …" Indeed, Gabe Brown, a regenerative land management pioneer, discussed this in depth in our 2014 interview, covered in "How to Regenerate Soil Using Cover Crops and Regenerative Land Management."

As explained in Peter Byck's short film, "One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts," farm animals form symbiotic relationships where one species helps keep parasites from overwhelming another. It is the separation of crops and animals into two distinctly different farming processes that has led to animal waste becoming a massive source of toxic pollution rather than a valuable part of the ecological cycle.

The success of Will Harris' grass fed ranching operation in Georgia (detailed in my July, 2016 interview with him),47 and thousands of other ranches across the U.S. and the world, also testify to the regenerative power of grazing animals. The percentage of organic matter in soil is a good indicator of quality, and Harris has been able to increase organic matter in his soil from less than 0.5 percent to as much as 5 percent in a 20-year period.

Not only does increasing organic matter in soil and pastures produce higher-quality produce, meat and dairy, it also saves water in two ways: First, by retaining more rain water and reducing irrigation needs; and second, by encouraging rainfall and preventing extended droughts. In fact, satellite data reveals plant-soil evapotranspiration may exert a far greater influence on weather and rainfall patterns than previously thought.48

The more organic matter there is in the soil, the more moisture is captured and released back into the atmosphere through plant transpiration. Remarkably, for each 1 percent increase in organic matter, each acre of soil can retain another 20,000 gallons of water.

Raising organic soil matter by 1 percent in Oklahoma alone would allow the soil there to retain an additional 894 billion gallons more water after each rainfall of 1 inch or more! As noted by Beef Producer, which reported the satellite findings:49

    "This is exciting because it strongly suggests grazing and farming that builds soil is not only directly beneficial to those practicing it for higher yields, lower inputs, more profit and more drought resiliency, it also appears it helps make more rain for everybody."

Land Rehabilitation Projects Confirm Even Large-Scale Environmental Devastation Can Be Reversed

Based on the current state of affairs, it's easy to see the situation as hopeless. However, there is good news. Land rehabilitation projects — both by private farmers and larger government-sponsored endeavors such as the Chinese Loess Plateau regeneration project — unequivocally confirms that we can reverse even severe and large-scale environmental destruction.

The Loess Plateau was until recently one of the poorest regions of China, where centuries of agriculture had eroded once-fertile soils into a desert-like landscape, unable to support plant growth. Similar situations exist all over the world. The documentary above features soil scientist John D. Liu of the Environmental Education Media Project, who has followed the Loess Plateau regeneration project for over 15 years.

Today, the once barren landscape is again filled with thriving forests, and farmers are again producing abundant amounts of food. This just goes to show that, given a fair chance, the entire ecosystem can regenerate itself, and with the appropriate interventions, it can do so faster than would occur naturally. This, truly, is the beauty of regenerative agriculture. As so eloquently summarized by Tim LaSalle, CEO of the Rodale Institute:50

    "Regenerative agriculture is an approach to food and farming systems that works with nature's rhythms in ways to feed our growing population, to regenerate topsoil, to enhance biodiversity and to ensure life now and long into the future. Specifically,regenerative agriculture regenerates or builds fertile topsoil, primarily through the practices that increase soil organic matter and soil carbon.

    This essential soil nutrient not only aids in increasing soil biota diversity and health, but increases biodiversity both above and below the soil surface, while increasing water holding capacity, sequestering carbon thus drawing down climate damaging levels of CO, and improves soil structure to reverse civilization threatening human caused soil loss."

Restoring grasslands is of particular significance, as evidenced by researchers comparing the effect of naturally restored forest versus grassland on carbon sequestration in the Loess Plateau.51 According to the authors, "[N]aturally restored grassland would be a more effective vegetation type for [soil organic carbon] sequestration due to higher carbon input from roots …"
Regenerative Agriculture Builds Sustainable Economies Too

The good news doesn't end there. While profitability is commonly cited as a determining factor for why farmers "cannot" farm organically anymore, research refutes such scaremongering. One such study52,53 found organic farmers earn anywhere from 22 to 35 percent more than their industrial counterparts.

What's more, regenerative agriculture can also help create regenerative economies based on values and principles that go far beyond merely making money,54 thereby benefiting society in practical ways beside a cleaner, healthier environment and more nutritious, less toxic food.

In a 2015 article, John Fullerton, founder and president of Capital Institute, presented the organization's views on regenerative capitalism, which is built on universal principles of health and wholeness. "We have identified eight key, interconnected principles that underlie systemic health," he writes. These eight principles, which he proposes be part of a regenerative economic system, include:

Right relationship: Economy based on the understanding that damage to any single part ripples outward to damage every other part of the system

Holistic wealth: The understanding that true wealth is more than just money. It can also be measured in wellbeing of the whole and broadly shared prosperity

Innovation, adaptation, responsiveness

Empowered participation

Seeking balance: "A regenerative economy seeks to balance: efficiency and resilience; collaboration and competition; diversity and coherence; and small, mediu and large organizations and needs.

It runs directly against the (short term) "optimize" ideology that is at the root of modern financial logic"

"Edge effect" abundance: "Creativity and abundance flourish synergistically at the "edges" of systems … For example, there is an abundance of interdependent life in salt marshes where a river meets the ocean …

At those edges the opportunities for innovation and cross-fertilization are the greatest"

Robust circulatory flow of money, information, resources, goods and services

Honoring community and place: "A regenerative economy nurtures healthy and resilient communities and regions, each one uniquely informed by the essence of its individual history and place"
How to Affect Change, Seven Days a Week

A growing number of home owners are now responding to the call for cleaner, healthier foods by converting their front and backyards into edible landscaping using organic and regenerative methods.

But even if you're not growing your own foods, you can still help steer the agricultural industry toward safer, more regenerative systems by supporting your local farmers and choosing fresh, local produce over "cheap" conventional varieties commonly sold in larger grocery chains. Remember to choose organic, grass fed beef, poultry and dairy, in addition to organic produce. If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods:

American Grassfed Association

The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.

Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; and born and raised on American family farms. provides lists of farmers known to produce raw dairy products as well as grass fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass fed products.

Weston A. Price Foundation

Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

Grassfed Exchange

The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass fed meats across the U.S.

Local Harvest

This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass fed meats and many other goodies.

Farmers Markets

A national listing of farmers markets.

Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food From Healthy Animals

The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.


The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.

The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.

If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out and They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund55 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.56 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at

For more information on Regenerative food, farming and land use, visit the website of Regeneration International.
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