Twitter Roundup – September 24: Student microloans, sparkling water, dog poop, and cruise ship greenhouses
Search for the hashtag #socent and you’ll find wide-ranging interest in social entrepreneurship on Twitter. Here’s a roundup of a few thought-provoking tweets from the last week:
That’s right, microlending leader Kiva (@Kiva) is now financing student loans in the developing world. Similar to the startup Vittana, Kiva now gives potential lenders an opportunity to invest in microloans to hopeful students in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Lebanon. Their stated goal is “to demonstrate that students in developing nations will repay loans if given the opportunity, helping open the door for higher education around the world.” Lenders on Kiva fully funded the initial 36 students on the first day, but there will be more student loans to be funded soon.
According to the New York Times (@nytimes), the city of Paris has introduced a new scheme to help wean its residents off bottled sparkling water, which is extraordinarily popular there. Paris’s public water company, Eau de Paris, recently installed a water fountain that provides free sparkling or flat tap water to the public. A similar project in Italy has reduced plastic bottle sales by the equivalent of 2,300 1.5-liter bottles per day, and the experiment in Paris hopes to have a similar impact.
An installation artist in Cambridge, Massachusetts has created a street lamp that runs off power collected from, well, dog poop. Visitors simply put their dog’s poop in special biodegradable bags and place it in a tank that converts it to methane gas, which in turn runs the lamp. The artist is currently taking suggestions for other ways to use the eternal flame the tank produces. Sponsored by MIT, the project hopes to spread to more cities in the near future.
Finally, from Change.org (@change), we have this story about a startup that will turn abandoned cruise ships into mobile greenhouses. The “Boatanic” (boat + botanic), developed in the Netherlands, will grow vegetables and herbs onboard, then dock and deliver the goods to cities along its route. A website and iPhone app will allow consumers to see what products are available for purchase on a given day, and a crew member will deliver direct to the customer’s door. You can learn more here.
Did you come across any other notable #socent tweets this week? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @dowserDOTorg.