Posts by Kelsey

Fox Business

I was wearing a suit, and no one was getting married. No one had died. I felt like I was going to my own funeral. I felt like I had lost myself. I was going to be on Fox Business.

This was 2007. Fox was Fox, but it wasn’t quite the Fox it is today. And business? There isn’t much business in my soul. But the PR person at my publisher had booked me on a show on Fox Business to share my “expertise” “on” “trade” “in” “China.”  

I had been to China exactly one time. I met a couple who worked in the factory that made my Teva flip flops near Guangzhou. I had traveled to the…

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Local Business

The Rings

My friends Dave and Sara Ring own and operate an organic grocery store in my hometown of Muncie, Indiana. 

I wrote about them in my book Where Am I Eating?”: 

The Downtown Farm Stand is located in the heart of Muncie.  Like our food moving overseas, like farmers moving to the burbs, life in Muncie has moved to McGalliard Road, a long strip of middle America strip malls and every chain restaurant a binge eater could want. The Farm Stand is the only place downtown where Munsonians can buy groceries these days.”

Recently Dave and Sara announced that for a variety of reasons, including declining grocery and deli sales, their store…

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Staying in it

(Cliff playing a song for Enemias)

When I was in Colombia learning from the Arhuaco about their relationship with nature, my friend Cliff accompanied me. Cliff is a talented musician and photographer. (And he is exhibiting his work on Saturday December 10th at 201 E. Charles St. Muncie, IN 47305, starting at 2 pm and ending with some words and music from Cliff at 7 pm.)

The Arhuaco are an Indigenous People who live in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern Colombia. Like most Indigenous People around the world, they’ve had less than favorable interactions with the outsiders. They were hesitant to have us visit and much of our first day was spent sitting with one of their spiritual leaders, who had…

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Change Starts with a $6 Soccer Ball

The World Cup is underway, so I thought I would share a few soccer stories from around the world from my reporting involving the beautiful game.

In India, I got to spend time with Ashok Rathod, who founded the OSCAR Foundation. I wrote two chapters in my book Where Am I Giving? on my experiences in Ashok’s community. In the chapter below I meet Ashok and learn how he’s impacting his community through soccer.

If you like what you read, consider following OSCAR on Facebook and consider buying a copy of Where Am I Giving? for more stories of awesome givers like Ashok. 

Buy Where Am I Giving? at Bookshop / Indiebound / Barnes & Noble /Books-A-Million / Amazon

 

Chapter 16: Start With Your Local…

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What is land worth?

Winter is almost here and the field beyond the auction sign looks like a desert. Corn stalks as tumbleweeds. Lifeless soil, dusty as sand. Vultures feasting on mammals that couldn’t outrun the reaping. 

It’s a windy day in Indiana, and if you picked up a handful of dirt and threw it into the air, it would blow to the highway? The next county? The Sahel?

Yesterday a mammal lifted a bidding number and bid $15,000 per acre for the land. To be clear, the animal was a human. Although the mental image of a raccoon lifting up a number with its five, long, tapered raccoon hands, little nails scratching on the paper, is one I’d like to sit…

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Ugly Truth, Beautiful Game

(These ladies in Mumbai showed me how they played the beautiful game)

In Indiana, when I was a kid, we had wooden goal posts painted white. 

In Cambodia, the goals were orange cones.

In the Mosquito jungle of Honduras the goals were piles of fresh wood shavings–leftovers from crafting dugout canoes. 

In a slum in Mumbai, the goal was a puddle of water filled by a monsoon. 

In rural China, the goal was not to have to chase a ball down the terraced fields. 

Beautiful Game

While reporting around the world from some 60 countries, I’ve seen soccer/football played in almost all of them. Often the ball wasn’t a ball but a plastic…

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FTX, SBF, and EA: When a Do-Gooder Does Bad

One of effective altruism’s biggest givers, crypto-bro Sam Bankman-Fried (often referred to as SBF), may have built his billion-dollar empire on lies and under the cover of goodwill bought by his extreme giving. 

Ross Douthat of the New York Times referred to Bankman-Fried’s actions as “playing Robin Hood using proceeds from an over-leveraged Ponzi Scheme.” And he did so from his penthouse of pills and polyamory in the Bahamas. At least he had fun, but now the entire Effective Altruism (EA) movement is under fire. 

Just look at these headlines written after SBF’s fall:

Effective Altruism Committed the Sin It Was Supposed to Correct

Effective altruism solved all the…

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Toilets

I don’t mean to brag, but my son Griffin has flushed more toilets on Ball State University’s campus than any other person in history. And he’s only eleven.

Most Fridays after I pick him up from school, we head to campus and choose a building or three to explore. We start at the first floor and work our way up and down the floors and halls. We check the floor plans, which sometimes show toilets, sometimes not.

We’ve visited the bowels of museums and auditoriums. New buildings with fancy efficient toilets, and old porcelain dinosaurs that flush with the ferocity of a T-Rex roar. 

It’s not completely stress-free. He wants the bathroom to himself. He narrates his…

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Election Day in Kenya

Today is election day in Kenya. Presidential elections are sometimes violent and chaotic in Kenya (in the United States, now, too). I was in Kenya for the 2017 elections and thought I’d share an excerpt from my book Where Am I Giving? about what that was like. 

***

Mom thought we were being abducted. But it was worse than that.

Her flight landed in Nairobi at the absolute worst time of the last 10 years. After days of contention in the presidential race, the election commission had declared incumbent, Joseph Kenyatta the winner. Nairobi had essentially been closed since the election—stores were boarded up and the streets of a city with 3 million people were empty. The few times I had ventured out it felt…

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Where is Bernie Wearing?

Where is Bernie wearing?

Bernie’s coat is from Burton, a snowboard apparel company in Vermont. Of course, it wasn’t made in Vermont. As someone who has traveled around the world to ask where my clothing came from, I took a few minutes to look at Bernie’s jacket. Some thoughts:

1) It’s sold out because Bernie is a fashion icon.

2) The Burton site simply states that the coat was Imported. Sometimes that’s because an item is made in several countries. Nothing necessarily nefarious, but I like to see companies acknowledge where their products actually come from.

3) The Burton CEO visited 5 of the factories from which they source in 2017. That’s good to see.

4) The company has the addresses…

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