One of the great things about being in London when the volcano halted our flights home this past weekend was that I was stranded with some of the greatest philanthropists alive today: Larry Brilliant, Paul Farmer, and Peter Gleick, just to name a few. Since we all had nothing else to do but wait until there was some indication that we could get home, the folks at TED (who were also in town) put together an impromptu TEDx Volcano meet-up on Saturday night. Here, Larry Brilliant — the former head of Google.org who famously helped end the smallpox epidemic in 1980 — gives me a post-TEDx recap of what he thinks of the volcano and climate change. "Climate change is the great exacerbator," he says. "What we need to learn from this volcano is that the world gets pretty messy very quickly when our science is uncertain. We need to invest to get the best science in the world, to support the best scientists, to create careers in science in the 21st century." Read the rest
Meet Bennett Grassano. His wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in San Francisco last Thursday, but he hasn't been able to get home to see his daughter because of the ash cloud.
I took this short video clip of Bennett at a tapas bar in London while we — along with many other folks from last week's Skoll social entrepreneurship conference — were stranded together in the UK. Some of us had started to enjoy the idea of being "volcano refugees," but Bennett (who, by the way, is the development director at Kiva) was understandably anxious to get home to his wife and daughter. As I listened to him talk about his baby girl and admire a photo of her on his iPhone, I realized that this guy deserved to get home more than any of the rest of us.
Bennett is currently in Madrid after a ferry ride from Portsmouth to St. Malo and a drive through Bordeaux and Biarritz, hoping to catch a flight back to San Francisco via Mexico City tomorrow. Things are looking upwards, so let's all wish him luck and hope that he will be holding little Opal in his arms soon. Read the rest
I'm at the airport in Paris waiting for my flight to Dubai, which will presumably get me out from under the volcano ashes. What an amazing journey this has been. Once I get to safety, I will process it all and tell you guys about my escape. For now, please enjoy this photo showing the flights going out and not going out of Charles de Gaulle. Here's to hoping that mine does not turn into a red Canceled sign.
Image via Joi's Flickr Read the rest
Like hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people around the world, I've been stranded by the Iceland volcano, caught on the North American landmass and unable to return home to London. We're fine, but incredibly busy trying to keep up with our commitments at 9,000 miles' remove.
Andrew Losowsky is also one of the stranded, and he's starting a (short-lived, I hope!) magazine made by and for stranded people around the world:
If you're out there and interested, email me and tell me what you do. I'll then give you an assignment to complete today/tomorrow. Depending on how long this thing lasts, we'll work the rest of it out from there. The copyright will remain yours on anything you produce, I just ask for permission to include it in the currently-untitled ashcloud magazine (working titles include Grounded, SkyFail and Someday We'll Fly Away.)
If you'd like to be a part of the core creative team who will put together this impromptu publication, let me know as well. The only criterion for any contributor is that, like me, you have to be stuck somewhere unintentionally.
If all goes well, the results will be published, probably via MagCloud and/or the Newspaper Club, and any proceeds sent to a charity that helps mitigate the effects of climate change on human populations. After all, we have to repent somehow.
(Image: Incredible Iceland volcano photo, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from paulmiller's photostream)
So far, Icelandic volcano isn't likely to cause a cooler summer ... Read the rest