John Converse Townsend's blog

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Who needs women, really?

Who needs women? Humanity does. Desperately.

The world's markets depend on women. Today, women own 40 percent of all private firms -- ten times more than they did 30 years ago. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade, all but two are occupied primarily by women. And women dominate today's education system, receiving more degrees at a higher rate than males.

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The Fun Theory: Why fun should be used to change behavior for the better

The Fun Theory is a site dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better.

Fun might be more than just a simple way to effect change -- it might be the best way.

Kevin Richardson was recently recognized as the winner of The Fun Theory Award for answering the question: "Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do?"

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The Constant Gardener: Protecting our most vulnerable ecosystems one coral at a time

Austin Bowden-Kerby was a coral killer at a very early age, buying pieces of coral from his local five-and-dime store, Woolworth’s. Both Bowden-Kerby’s interest and relationship with coral changed when his family moved to Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands. There, at age 11, Bowden-Kerby first snorkeled a pristine coral reef "too beautiful to comprehend" and was hooked forever.


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The Grand Prize Winning Film: Kakenya

Link TV, with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, officially launched yesterday evening. is a next-generation multimedia platform for global development which uses the power of video to tell stories about real people and progress in global development.

Yesterday's launch party -- co-hosted by Devex and AED -- featured powerful speakers, interactive discussions, and short films, as well as the announcement of Link TV's six ViewChange Online Film Contest winners. The film categories included Innovation, Leadership & Governance, Empowerment, Sustainability, Local/Global Partnerships, and Overcoming Conflict. Winners received $5,000 each.

The event's capstone was the presentation of the Film Contest's $20,000 Grand Prize Winner: New York director and communications consultant Aaron Kisner. Kisner's award-winning short film "Kakenya" tells the story of Kakenya Ntaiya; whose courage and vital voice were drivers of change in her life and for her Massai village community.

"I have built the first primary school for girls in my village. A place where girls can be free, a place where they can dream ... a place that let's them know their dreams are possible."

The Film: "Kakenya":

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James Cromwell opens TEDxYSE with a bang

James Cromwell just rocked the stage at TEDxYSE.

He gave a rousing speech that brought several members of the audience to their feet.

“There is so much optimism and enthusiasm and hopefulness in the young people that I’ve met this morning,” said Cromwell. “But I do have to say from and older perspective, we made a hash of it. We really made a hash of it. We have left you a disaster.”

Cromwell compared the world’s current state of affairs to a roaring, violent locomotive racing toward a cliff. There won’t be time for incremental changes, and therefore we are in desperate need of dramatic system-changing impact; a necessary paradigm shift to save our species from its worst enemy: ourselves.

Fortunately we have young social entrepreneurs fueling world-changing initiatives. For Cromwell, young entrepreneurs are undoubtedly the hope for the world. He closed with this statement:

"The heart, not the mind, is the organ which connects us to the natural world and to each other. And so with all my heart, I wish all of you the best of luck. Persevere, question authority, and seize the day."