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A User Centered Design For Planet Earth  

:: Monday, June 27, 2005 ::

Sometimes management decisions leave the rest of us wondering what could possibly have been substituted for their brains. When those in power make their world maintenance decisions, the inability to care properly for fellow human beings has always been a frustrating ordeal to stand by and watch unfold.

Why the USA pays farmers to not grow food is one of those terrible crimes against humanity that continues to go on. Where I live, farming as a way of life has all but disppeared because its no longer profitable to grow food and too expensive to try and make a go of it. This is made all the more ridiculous when we see news coverage of starving people in other countries, and locally, stories of last generation farming families pulling up stakes and selling off their land to housing developers. These new houses demand more resources, schools, roads, water, power and, um, food.

On July 6 an annual gathering of leaders from the world’s eight wealthiest and most powerful countries will meet in Scotland to have yet another chat about what to do about poverty. They have short memories, these so called "leaders". It's not like every day folks like me and you haven't worked to raise awareness before, donated money to causes and traveled to suffering counties to physically be present and lend a hand. And yet here we go again, with songs, concerts, celebrity campaigns to rally us to let our "leaders" know there's a problem and we want them to fix it.

The ONE campaign offers several ways to have a say and take action with Earth management. There are letters to be signed and items for purchase. There are concerts to raise money. The goals are cancel debts, fund assistance to end AIDs and poverty and create fair trade laws that allow countries and their people to be self-sustaining.

It's hard for someone like me, who has a passion for usability and human-computer interaction, to hear stories of human suffering. It bothers me that citizens in Iraq have no electricty or water, despite billions of dollars going there to rebuild the country. Nobody is wearing white bands for them.

But what bothers me more is that so many people want to help and can help any country that's experiencing problems and yet we're held back from doing so. Ask any US farmer who has been forced to sell their tractor and is now driving a Suburu station wagon.

For them, a user centered earth is rich with dirt and tended to with hard work, generosity, courtesy and an understanding of how connected we all are.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 6/27/2005 02:36:00 PM

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