The Follow the Data podcast features conversations with Bloomberg Philanthropies program leads and our partners – experts in the field, doing the work to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Each episode features a data point, illustrating the work of partners across Bloomberg Philanthropies five program areas: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – Climate Mayors, 20 Leading Cities, and New Partnerships Lead America’s Electric Transportation Future
This past month the United States sold its one-millionth electric car (more than 4 million have been sold globally). The event marks a significant milestone and demonstrates that mobility in the U.S. is on the threshold of a major technological transition to an electric mobility future. This monumental transportation transition is coupled with unprecedented levels of subnational engagement on climate change. Leadership on climate change and clean transportation is increasingly coming from states and cities who have come forward to uphold the Paris Climate Accord in the face of federal resistance.
Many low- and middle-income countries have little or no regulatory standards for vehicles.
For example, in the United States all cars must have seat-belts and airbags, which together reduce the risk of death by 61%. But in many countries where we work, car manufacturers are not required to install seat-belts or airbags, leaving the passengers at higher risk for death and injury.
That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – How Cities are Taking Charge in the Next Wave of Clean Energy Procurement
By Alexandra Rotatori, Rocky Mountain Institute and Celina Bonugli, World Resources Institute
Cities in the United States are uniquely positioned to spur growth in demand for renewable energy procurement, accelerate the transition to a clean energy system, and provide visible and practical examples for the country as whole. By demonstrating to states, regions, and the federal government that it is possible to take practical, actionable steps to decarbonize electricity use, city leaders have the potential to inspire impact far beyond their limited jurisdictions. (Case in point: the Washington, D.C., City Council just unanimously voted “yes” to require 100 percent of the district’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2032—against a background of political gridlock at the federal level.)
Fulfilling America’s Pledge on Climate Change Means Turning Data-Driven Research into Real World Action
By Carla Frisch, Principal at Rocky Mountain Institute
In the United States, as in every country around the world, opportunities for climate leadership exist at every level of governance. So despite what the headlines may say about current inaction on climate change at the federal level, businesses, cities, and states are laying the groundwork for America’s low carbon future. The thousands of day-to-day investment decisions made by businesses, local solutions implemented by mayors and city councils, and win-win energy and environmental policies set by state governors and legislatures are adding up.
Launched in July 2017 in response to President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate, the America’s Pledge initiative has developed a comprehensive model for transformation across all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, including electricity, buildings, transportation, industrial gases, and natural lands.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. At last month’s 5th Annual Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg announced the expansion of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, dedicating $86 million to support coastal communities across 10 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru and the US. The announcement marks the second phase of the initiative, expanding efforts into new countries.
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies
Earlier this summer, I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the middle of a drenching monsoon. In this part of the world, monsoons are common and fortunately don’t deter our partners at various government ministries and nonprofits from carrying on their life-saving work. I found the same to be true 1,734 miles (2,784km) away in Manila, Philippines, where two days later, I connected with government and NGO partners from our Road Safety, Tobacco Control, and Data for Health Initiatives.
Though vastly different in many ways, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines face similar obstacles in both controlling tobacco and making roads safer, so that their citizens can live longer, healthier lives. And there’s a lot we can learn from these countries as they make progress on these critical public health issues.
Without action, road traffic crashes will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015 we began implementing evidence-based interventions in our global network of ten cities, strengthening road safety legislation in five targeted countries, and crash testing new vehicles in four world regions. One of the cities included in the initiative is Fortaleza, Brazil.
Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team spoke to two partners about their efforts in Fortaleza and in other cities. Luis Sabóia is the Executive Secretary for the Department of Public Services in Fortaleza – where road traffic deaths dropped 32 percent from 2014 to 2017.
By Global Cities, Inc., a Program of Bloomberg Philanthropies
Global Scholars teachers and school administrators from Madrid welcomed their counterparts from Taipei on Wednesday for a celebration of international collaboration. Through Global Scholars, our pioneering digital exchange program, we emphasize professional development and a supportive global network for teachers as well as students. It includes a robust teachers’ community online as part of our mission to provide middle school students with opportunities for international conversations about important global issues in e-classrooms. This live visit allowed that collaboration to deepen.
By James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation program lead
Whether it’s drone-based pizza delivery in San Francisco or cutting-edge cancer advancements in Boston, innovation-related news often focuses on what’s happening in our country’s biggest cities — places with lots of investment, the most people, and an undeniable abundance of bright ideas. I get it, many of these projects are worthy of the headlines. And, speaking of drones, this father of toddler twins can’t wait for the day when clean diapers can be dropped from the sky.
Through the Bloomberg Arts Internship program, rising public high school seniors receive paid summer jobs at non-profit cultural organizations in Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. Participants gain professional experience in arts management, exposure to overall workplace protocols, and college-readiness preparation. The program is designed to serve students curious about the many facets of a career in the arts.
By Dr. Neena Prasad, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Obesity Prevention Program lead
According to the World Health Organization, without intervention, the number of overweight and obese infants and young children globally will increase from 41 million in 2016 to 70 million by 2025—leaving them vulnerable to premature onset of illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. That’s why I was so encouraged to see G20 Health Ministers last week place childhood obesity prevention among their priority issues. Obesity is a public health issue that virtually every country either is—or soon will be—grappling with, and the ensuing health and economic consequences could be catastrophic, particularly for developing countries.
By Anita Contini, Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Team
ArtHouse opened in 2016, after Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Gary as one of four winners of our national Public Art Challenge. The center has quickly become a hub of community activity through exhibitions, concerts, and the culinary arts. So far, it has provided more than 3,000 free meals for Gary’s young people, hosted more than 100 events and programs, and trained more than 50 entrepreneurs through its business incubator.
For decades, tobacco giants have tried to deceive the public. In addition to aggressively marketing its combustible cigarettes to children and teenagers in low- and middle-income countries, the industry is pushing alternative products, such as heat-not-burn and e-cigarettes, although the evidence about long-term safety is not yet clear. Tobacco industry-funded research has repeatedly been a smokescreen for behavior that has led to worse outcomes for smokers.
Professor Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath spoke to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead, Dr. Kelly Henning. They discuss the importance of shedding light on tobacco industry tactics, collaborating with STOP partners, and data’s essential role in the fight against misinformation.
Three years after Mike Bloomberg launched The Young Men’s Initiative and heavily reflective of the program’s efforts, President Barack Obama announced the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. It aims to address opportunity gaps among boys and young men of color by offering new support from cradle to career through young adulthood. The initiative challenges jurisdictions to act to ensure that no matter who you are or where you come from you have an equal opportunity to thrive in this country and reach your full potential.
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead
For the first time in history, more people are dying of noncommunicable diseases (we call them NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease than infectious diseases. These diseases, which are responsible for 41 million deaths every year, including 17 million people who die prematurely before the age of 70, are responsible for cutting promising lives short around the world. On top of that, 5 million people die every year from injuries, and road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years.
At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are dedicated to “following the data” — and the data on gun violence could not be more compelling or urgent. Americans are 25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries. Every day, 96 Americans are killed by gun violence. And every year, approximately three million American children bear witness to gun violence.
By Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries
Thanks to our beautiful location in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine is never busier than during the summer months. If you’re not in London right now, you need only check social media, where visitors to our two galleries have been sharing images of their encounters with art and architecture in the heart – and heat – of the city.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. One of our partners, Rare, specializes in local fishing reforms, targeting some of the 12 million small-scale fishers that operate 15km from shore.
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team
Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century. It’s the most preventable cause of death in the world. But saving lives means more than just quitting smoking. It means pushing back against a powerful, wide-reaching global industry that spends tens of billions of dollars every single year to recruit tobacco users through aggressive marketing campaigns.
Public art can be a tool mayors use to build strong communities.
That’s the premise behind the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, an initiative designed to support cities undertaking temporary art projects that address pressing civic issues. Last month, 14 U.S. cities learned that they’re finalists in the Challenge, with a chance at receiving up to $1 million to carry out their ideas. Information on all of the finalists is here.
Cornell Tech is the first campus ever built for the digital age, bringing together academia and industry to create pioneering leaders and transformational new research, products, companies, and social ventures.
By The Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Team
With some of the world’s most well-known museums and galleries, it’s no secret that cities like New York and London are great places to see art. This summer there are also a number of engaging art pieces sparking dialogue and inspiring wonder right on the city streets, or in some cases, on rivers and lakes.
By Becky Bavinger, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team
The Global Road Safety Leadership Course – a two-week course organized by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Global Road Safety Partnership – has trained over 300 people from 50 countries since 2016. Held twice each year – once in Baltimore and the other at a rotating location so far including Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and Nairobi, Kenya – the course is part of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety which focuses on spreading effective road safety solutions and building capacity of municipalities to implement road safety interventions, and supports national governments in strengthening legislation.
Mayor of Gary, Indiana, Karen Freeman-Wilson believes resident engagement is integral to effective governance. Highlighting the important role residents play in helping Gary care for public spaces, Mayor Freeman-Wilson seeks to collaborate with the community:
“Not only tell citizens what you’re doing but make them a part of it. We’ve seen that with our comprehensive city plan which we’re engaged in right now. We’re allowing citizens to plan it with the guidance of the professionals… But, by the end of the process, it will be the citizens of Gary’s comprehensive plan.”
Global Health Checkup: Celebrating Progress in Vietnam to Reduce Tobacco Use, Seeking Opportunities to Go Further
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies
An astounding 45 percent of adult males in Vietnam use tobacco, compared to only 1 percent of women. These high smoking rates among men in Vietnam are at the core of the country’s health problems with more than 40,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.
The challenges in Vietnam are difficult, but surmountable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ deep collaboration with the government and local organizations demonstrates that together we can make real strides toward reducing tobacco use in this country of nearly 100 million people.
By Mayor Adjei Sowah, Accra, Ghana
Last week, my colleagues and I broke ground at the Lapaz intersection. It is the first step in making Accra’s roads safer for all our citizens.
The Lapaz intersection is the most dangerous intersection in the city, poorly designed with limited speed restrictions and no safe passage for pedestrians. In 2015, 25 of the 253 traffic-related fatalities were around the N1 highway, along which the Lapaz intersection sits.
It is cities like Accra, in low- and middle-income countries, that bear the greatest burden of road traffic crashes. The majority of the world’s countries lack adequate laws to counter growing numbers of traffic deaths and injuries. As a result, 90 percent of the 1.3 million deaths on the road every year occur in low- and middle-income countries.
This week, we revisit an episode featuring a conversation with Dr. Tom Frieden, one of the world’s leading public health experts, and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, and Allison Jaffin of Bloomberg Philanthropies as they discuss noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and what it takes to protect the world.
The C40 Climate Leadership Group has been helping cities achieve climate goals for over a decade, and their climate planning tools are now public and available to all.
By Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies
One year ago, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the American Cities Initiative, our umbrella initiative that includes all of our work in U.S. cities. Since then, we’ve made several major investments aimed at helping cities tackle their most pressing issues. We’ve doubled down on helping cities build their capacity to use data and evidence to save money, be more efficient and ultimately improve quality of life for citizens (who doesn’t like their potholes filled more quickly?). We’ve expanded a program that provides training to small and mid-sized cultural organizations in more than a dozen cities to help them think more like small businesses. And, most recently, we launched a $70-million competition to help 20 cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of our larger effort to ensure the U.S. meets its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, despite backpedaling in Washington.