Check out these business and community efforts to tackle big systems. They're trying to provide cheaper medicine, help former inmates, tackle extreme heat, and find safer, more fun ways to get kids to school.
“I raise up my voice — not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai, education activist
1. David vs. Goliath
While some pharmaceutical companies have a reputation for setting high drug prices, others are figuring out how to provide drugs at-cost. These companies show that the free-market is searching for a solution where political players have stalled. Billionaire Mark Cuban's venture has managed to offer the cancer treatment imatinib for $47 per month — while the average wholesale price is $9,657 per month. These companies are still working through some pretty big barriers, but their efforts show that it is indeed possible to challenge the health care industrial complex.
2. Hope Ambassadors
After incarceration, reentry efforts typically focus on education, housing and employment. But some formerly incarcerated individuals say there’s an important factor missing from that list: mental health. Several groups have come together to offer mental health care before, during and after incarceration. The key factor: involving peers who can act as hope ambassadors, showing others, “I did it, and here’s what helped me. It may help you, too.”
As reporter Allen Arthur writes, it’s a story of forgiveness — and of depriving the prison system of its fuel: trauma.
3. Beat the Heat
From Los Angeles to Phoenix to Philadelphia, an idea is spreading. City leaders have been grappling with how to address high, sometimes deadly, temperatures in urban areas. In Phoenix, a water-based, reflective, spray-on asphalt street coating helped lower temperatures — prompting Philly to explore similar ideas, particularly where natural cooling factors don’t exist.
These cooling factors, like trees and lakes, are often most sparse in neighborhoods subject to historical, racist redlining policies. Some East Coast cities are reforesting these areas to both reduce heat and build equity.
On school mornings, pedestrians in San Francisco might hear them before they see them: the sound of kids shouting and laughing before they whiz past on bicycles. Families at home and abroad are turning to these “bike buses” as ways to get their kids to school with safety, health and camaraderie in mind. Could your community do it too?
Happy Monday! Our bright spot today was a beautiful, sunny morning with earl grey tea and a mountain view. What’s yours? – MO
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