Welcome to the One Seventeen.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday that still isn't fully recognized in every US state. It's as good a time as any to look back on the extraordinary life and work of Dr. King, as well as the extraordinary work of those who have committed themselves to his dream of a "positive peace" of justice. And those still working today who, among others, refuse to let his legacy get whitewashed.

Is it ironic that only this week the US president has given us a great example -- in both comments and policies -- of what this fight is against?

This year, let's take justice over order.

From The Atlantic

Sh*thouse racism, DACA, MLK's legacy.

Trump's now-infamous comments about Latin American, Caribbean and African countries raise the veil on his thinly concealed racism. Meanwhile, the president has been tweeting a sh*tstorm about DACA (which has protected hundreds of thousands of young unauthorized immigrants from being deported). Trump ended the program in September, giving Congress until March to strike a deal (it hasn't, yet). Meanwhile, the rest of the world is outraged. #sametho

Iranian oil tanker sinks off the coast of China.

After a crash, the oil tanker has gone under. Curiously (to me, at least), officials are downplaying the risk of environmental disaster.

570 million tons.

That's how much carbon dioxide emissions were reduced in 2017 by LED lightbulb adoption. It's the equivalent of closing 160 coal power plants.

Image from Fast Company

Blockchain for social impact accountability.

The South Africa-based Ixo Foundation is developing a way to track and guarantee authentic use of donations, so donors to charity can be sure their funds have been used in the right way. What's the future for this? A world where "anybody with a bit of money can fund a project anywhere."

Image from Fast Company

An army of AI robots could feed the world.

Jorge Heraud was motivated to build AI weeding robots to keep indiscriminately sprayed fertilizer and herbicide from running off into waterways and wreaking environmental havoc. Now Blue River Technology is trying to build robots to help us "restore the world". But will the problems of industrialized agriculture persist anyway?

Image from Big Think

Like fitness for your brain.

A nice video on how meditation boosts focus and resilience, and helps you fight the brain's "junk food" (stress). It's 2018. Let's meditate!


The Finalists for the Circular Economy Awards.

Among the finalists is Banyan Nation, a company that recycles plastic for use in new products. There's still time to vote for the winner.


Meritocracy as a tool of whiteness.

A December article in the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education is about how to educate for equity. The author says that meritocracy is a tool of whiteness. Why? Because it's based on the wrong assumption that effort always equals success. This assumption, the author says, "ignores systemic and institutional structures that prevent opportunity and success" for kids of color. And ignoring these structures is no way to beat them.

Image from Kottke

How Haiti became poor.

The short version: It's essentially a story of racist myths creating economic realities (that racists then use to reinforce racist myths).

Slightly longer version: First, the French colony that became Haiti provided the wealth that fueled the French empire. Then, Haiti's revolution marked the first time an indigenous army overthrew a European power. Then, Europe and the US punished Haiti by refusing to trade with them for decades. Then, Haiti only got recognition by paying a massive sum to French landowners in compensation for their freedom (which took them nearly a century to pay). Then, when Haiti got a loan from some US banks to pay it, the banks convinced US President Wilson to steal it back. And so on, through racially-driven theft and exploitation. Concise and insightful commentary for the anti-colonialists out there.

I love you. Thanks for reading. :)

Please send all non-whitewashed legacies, tweet sh*tstorms, farming robots, and brain junk food to me at

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The One Seventeen is a weekly email that presents the latest in how the world is doing on ending poverty, protecting the planet, and reducing inequality, delivered in plain English. Each email has 5 parts: Recent developments; a resource; a profile of someone to watch; a summary of recent research; and commentary from around the web. It's called the One Seventeen in reference to each one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Copyright © 2018 Christian Petroske, All rights reserved.