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These before-and-afters will make you question everything about how our economy works.

You'd think it was some sort of natural disaster. Nope. Totally man-made.


Images via GooBingDetroit.

Yup. These images were taken only two years apart. And what you're seeing was not an accident.

When the economy crashed in 2008, it was because of shady financial practices like predatory lending and speculative investing, which is basically gambling, only the entire economy was at stake.


When the recession hit, it literally hit home for millions of people. And Detroit was right in the middle of it.

I spoke with Alex Alsup, who works with a Detroit-based tech company that's mapping the city's foreclosed homes to help city officials see the bigger picture and find solutions. He also runs the Tumblr GooBingDetroit, where he uses Google Street View's time machine to document the transformation of Detroit's neighborhoods over the last few years.


It's a pretty cool feature that you can try out for yourself.

"There's a common sentiment that Detroit's looked the way it does for decades, but it's just not true," Alsup said.

It's astonishing to see how quickly so many homes went from seemingly delightful to wholly unlivable.


GIF via GooBingDetroit.

When the recession went into full force, home values took a nosedive. But the city expected homeowners to pay property taxes as if they hadn't.

Not only does the situation defy logic, but it's like a brass-knuckled face punch to the people the city is supposed to be looking out for. Alsup explains:

"You had houses — tens of thousands of them — that were worth only $20,000 or so, yet owed $4,000 a year in taxes, for which very few city services were delivered (e.g. police, fire, roads, schools). Who would pay that?"

Indeed.


GIF via GooBingDetroit.

A local group calls what happened to Detroit a "hurricane without water."

And like a real hurricane, homeowners aren't the ones to blame. They're even calling for what is essentially a federal disaster response.

Here are the three strategies they want to see in action — and they can work for basically anywhere in the country that's struggling with a housing crisis.

1. Stop kicking people out of their homes.

They want the city to end foreclosures and evictions from owner-occupied homes. Many people aren't just losing their homes — they've lost jobs, pensions, and services because of budget cuts. Putting them on the street is like a kick in the teeth when they're down.

2. If a home is worth less on the market than what the homeowner owes on their loan, reduce what they owe.

Those are called underwater mortgages. Banks caused this mess, and governments ignored it. It's only fair that people's mortgages be adjusted based the current value of their home.

3. Sell repossessed homes at fair prices to people who actually want to live in them.

Selling to banks and investors only encourages what led to the financial crisis in the first place. Wouldn't it make more sense to sell to people who are going to live in them and have a genuine interest in rebuilding the community?

Housing is a human right. And an economy based on financial markets doesn't care about human rights. Maybe it's time for a new economy?

Click play below for a silent cruise down a once lovely residential block in Detroit.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
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It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

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Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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Photo from Dole
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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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Most women, at one point or another, have felt some wariness or fear over a strange man in public. Sometimes it's overt, sometimes it's subtle, but when your instincts tell you something isn't right and you're potentially in danger, you listen.

It's an unfortunate reality, but reality nonetheless.

A Twitter thread starting with some advice on helping women out is highlighting how real this is for many of us. User @mxrixm_nk wrote: "If a girl suddenly acts as if she knows you in public and acts like you're friends, go along w[ith] it. She could be in danger."

Other women chimed in with their own personal stories of either being the girl approaching a stranger or being the stranger approached by a girl to fend off a situation with a creepy dude.

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