exclusives | November 05, 2015

Lavin Weekly #14: Agrawal, Packer, Harada, & Jackley

1. The Globe Writes on Miki Agrawal’s Efforts to De-Stigmatize the Menstrual Cycle

There’s a feature in The Globe and Mail on Do Cool Sh*t author Miki Agrawal’s latest undertaking, THINX: the long-lasting, washable feminine undergarment (i.e., “period-proof underwear”)—and The Globe is calling it “smart, innovative and helpful.” Not only useful for women in the First World, Agrawal’s product is also positioned to assist women and girls in places that still stigmatize and shame the menstrual cycle—to disastrous social consequences. As Agrawal informs The Globe, “feminine hygiene is a root cause of cyclical poverty in the developing world.” To combat sexist conditions, THINX—called “Period Panties for Modern Women”—donates money with each sale to Afripads, a Ugandan organization that helps women get access to reusable, affordable products. So far, they’ve helped about 30,000 girls in Uganda alone. THINX is the kind of successful social endeavor that’s made Agrawal one of Forbes’ Top 20 Millenials on a Mission, and an Amazon #1 bestseller.

2. Conservatives Struggle to Address American Inequality: George Packer in The New Yorker

According to National Book Award-winner George Packer, “2016—even more than the historic election of 2008, during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression—looks like a year of major political recalibration.” So he argues in his new long-form essay in The New Yorker, “The Republican Class War.” Throughout, Packer looks at the “reformocons”—Republicans who’re trying to inject new policies into the G.O.P.’s economic platform, often aimed to help the middle-class, and often acknowledging the role of government in doing so. Such efforts are a response to shocking defeats at the hands of Obama’s Democrats. But with Trump’s nasty divisiveness, individualism, and other straining factors in the party, it appears, as one reformicon writes, “The G.O.P. Is Killing Itself.” Ultimately, Packer reports that conservatism in America is a mercurial force—and even the most well-meaning reformicon is yet unable to “grasp the nature of the world in which their cherished middle-class Americans actually live. They can’t face its heartlessness.” 

3. Cleaning the World’s Oceans and Waterways with Cesar Harada

A new video from TED Fellows Retreat 2015 features the work of groundbreaking entrepreneur Cesar Harada. Harada, who teaches science and invention at the Hong Kong Harbour School, has been inspiring his students to track the amount and distribution of plastics found throughout the world’s oceans—“today more than 80 percent of the oceans have plastic in them,” he reports—using floating robots. They’ve also built a “rough prototype of a spectrometer” that can help identify what’s in the water in the mangrove forests of Bangladesh. Furthermore, Harada shows how the Fukushima nuclear leak, having spread cesium-137 throughout the world, is in desperate need of accurate tracking. With his students, he’s been taking samples to “produce [a] map of the seabed radioactivity, especially in areas where the fish will reproduce.” It’s all part of Harada’s work to combat the horrifying legacies of plastics, oils, and radioactive materials, and “prepare the next generation that cares about the environment and people, and that can actually do something about it.”

4. Jessica Jackley Shares Her First Job: A Strong Foundation for Success

In TIME’s Money section, KIVA co-founder and author of Clay Water Brick Jessica Jackley shares how she got her start, professionally. In an article called “First Jobs of Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World” (phew), Jackley reports that her first gig was as an art teacher, providing drawing and painting lessons to kids as young as three years old. “What I took from that job was the ability to teach,” she writes. “To be able to meet somebody where they are and walk them through something totally new. I am also pretty good at getting people inspired about something. I like to face a problem together and help them figure out where they want to go.” This background should come as no surprise: Jackley’s keynotes show that synthesizing disparate skills, and finding meaningful connections between individuals, are powerful aids for social innovation and change. 

To hire Miki Agrawal, George Packer, Cesar Harada, or Jessica Jackley as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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