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Category Archives: Poverty

The lie of “expired” food and the disastrous truth of America’s food waste problem

Vox: Stop throwing your food away. “Maybe you know the routine. Every so often, I go through my refrigerator, check labels on the items, and throw out anything that’s a month, or a week, or maybe a few days past the date on the label. I might stop to sniff, but for my whole adult life, I’ve figured that the problem was obvious — my jam or almond milk or package of shredded Italian cheese blend had “expired” — and the fix was simple: Into the garbage it goes…. I know, on some intellectual level, that throwing away food is probably wrong. The statistics are damning. Forty percent of food produced in America heads to the landfill or is otherwise wasted. That adds up. Every year, the average American family throws out somewhere between $1,365 and $2,275, according to a landmark 2013 study co-authored by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s a huge economic loss for food growers and retailers, who often have to ditch weirdly shaped produce or overstocked food that didn’t sell. Environmentally it’s bad, too. The study found that 25 percent of fresh water in the US goes toward producing food that goes uneaten, and 21 percent of input to our landfills is food, which represents a per-capita increase of 50 percent since 1974. Right now, landfills are piled high with wasted food, most of which was perfectly fine to eat — and some of which still is. On top of this, I know that in the same country that throws away so much food, about 42 million people could be living with food insecurity and hunger. Yet state-level regulations often make it difficult to donate past-date food to food banks and other services…”

The Broken Promise of Retirement

The New York Review: “If the US does nothing to fix its retirement system, 2.6 million formerly middle-class workers will be plunged into poverty by 2022….Pensions represent more than their economic value. They carry a powerful moral recognition: workers deserve financial stability and the freedom it brings throughout their lives. Municipal and state employees contribute… Continue Reading

Why more public libraries are doubling as food distribution hubs

The Conversation: “In the summer of 2021, public libraries everywhere, from Idaho and Oklahoma to Tennessee and Arizona, will offer free meals to families with children in their local communities. What might look like a new role for libraries builds on their long tradition of serving as innovation spaces, community centers and sanctuaries for people… Continue Reading

A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms

Qanta Magazine: “When Rediet Abebe arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate in 2009, she planned to study mathematics. But her experiences with the Cambridge public schools soon changed her plans. Abebe, 29, is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city. When residents there didn’t have the resources they needed, she attributed it to community-level scarcity.… Continue Reading

Where Are We: The Latest on Library Reopening Strategies

Library Journal: “In the messy middle of the pandemic, library leaders share how things have changed since March 2020, their takeways, and continuing challenges. It’s been 10 months, at press time, since those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home left our offices, yet the pandemic continues to rage. While the… Continue Reading

Aging Connected – Closing the Connectivity Gap for Older Americans

Aging Connected Report – “OATS, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, released a report in January 2021 that for the first time quantifies the size and degree of the digital isolation crisis among seniors in the United States, finding that millions older Americans continue to lack broadband internet access – particularly those who live in… Continue Reading

Economy and COVID-19 Top the Public’s Policy Agenda for 2021

“As the United States faces twin crises of high unemployment and a global pandemic, large majorities of Americans want Joe Biden and Congress to prioritize strengthening the economy and addressing the coronavirus outbreak in the coming year. Yet there are wide partisan gaps over most of the 19 items asked about in a new Pew… Continue Reading

COVID-19, Death Records and the Public Interest: Now is the Time to Push for Transparency

Sanders, A. K. (2020). COVID-19, death records and the public interest: Now is the time to push for transparency. Journal of Civic Information, 2(4), 1-22. “As the U.S. has grappled with COVID-19, the government has resisted repeated requests to follow open records laws, which are essential to transparency. Current efforts to reduce access to death… Continue Reading

DC Resources and Assistance Fund for Washington, D.C.’s Frontline and Essential Workers

“With the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, The District of Columbia has undergone a seismic shift in daily life. Residents are resilient, but many across the District and from all walks of life are feeling the impacts of the novel coronavirus physically, emotionally, financially, and otherwise. In order to help meet the critical and dynamic… Continue Reading

These are the charities where your money will do the most good

Vox: “Giving to charity is great, not just for the recipients but for the givers, too. But it can be intimidating to know how to pick the best charity, especially when there are thousands of worthy causes to choose from, and especially when the world’s in the midst of a massive pandemic and economic calamity… Continue Reading

A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus

“Despite the worldwide effort to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 and ramp up production capacity, it is inevitable that initial vaccine supply will be limited. Therefore, policymakers must develop plans to ensure the equitable allocation of limited doses until there is sufficient global supply. In response to a request from the National Institutes of… Continue Reading