Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘activism’

01 NOVEMBER, 2010

Marvelous Movember

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What Frida Kahlo has to do with Lance Armstrong and neo-hippie jewelry.

2010 has been the year of the mustache. And now it’s the month: We’ve been longtime supporters of Movember, the global monthlong mustache-growing movement raising awareness about prostate cancer. Since 2003, Movember has been encouraging guys to grow “sponsored” mustaches for 30 days, just like one would do a charity run or marathon. Funds raised through Movember benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG.

We’ve already seen some stellar efforts, but if you happen to lack the necessary Y chromosome for joining the movement directly — or you’re already sporting a ‘stache — you could still have some mustachey fun while benefiting a good cause. We love these Movember plugs and wooden Movember pendant by Denver-based indie eco-jewelery handcraft studio Omerica Organic.

This black-and-pink mustache wallet is a gem and the Mellow mustache tote made of all-vintage fabric from the same Etsy seller is just delightful.

Lastly, for some quasi-literary fun, The Little Book of Beards: …and a couple of mustaches! by illustrator and hardcore pogologist (that’s beard nerd for the uninitiated) O. S. Belgie is an absolute treat. And for those truly serious about the cultural heritage of the good ol’ ‘stache, Sweet ‘Stache: 50 Badass Mustaches and the Faces Who Sport Them offers an analysis of history’s best mustaches and the men (and women!) who wore them, from Gandhi to Frida Kahlo to Salvador Dali.

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29 OCTOBER, 2010

KOMAZA: Fighting Poverty Through “Microforestry”

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What 2,000 trees have to do with your weekly mocha frappuccino budget.

Deforestation and poverty are two of today’s most pressing socio-environmental problems, but most people don’t realize they’re closely connected. In Africa, the average dryland farmer will cut down 2,000 trees in her lifetime in order to power her home and farm, a necessity of basic economic survival. KOMAZA, Africa’s first nonprofit forestry company, is an inspired social enterprise that addresses this correlation through “microforestry” — small tree farms that offer profoundly lifechanging sustainable economic opportunities for farmers.

KOMAZA spends less than $1 to plant a tree, and each tree returns at least $20 to the family. That’s over $6,000 from half an acre — you can imagine the powerful impact this income can have on people many of whom live on under $1.25 a day.

Komaza is Swahili for “promote development” or “encourage growth.”

Please consider supporting KOMAZA with a modest donation — think about the negligible cost of going without Starbucks for a week and the remarkable gift this change allocation would be for an Elizabeth.

We’ve got a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays, offers the week’s main articles, and features short-form interestingness from our PICKED series. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

28 OCTOBER, 2010

Oil + Water: Posters Printed with Oil from The Gulf

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What dirty coastlines have to do with graphic design and talking trees.

The Gulf oil spill may well be the greatest environmental disaster of our time and we’re yet to feel the full impact of its aftermath. Cleaning up the mess is one slow but important step towards recovery and creative outfit Happiness Brussels — they of social media talking tree fame — are making a lovely effort towards it. They’ve created Oil & Water Do Not Mix — a limited edition of 200 posters screen-printed with oil from the Gulf disaster, collected on the beaches of Louisiana’s Grand Isle and benefiting the region’s restoration.

Each poster is signed by London-based designer Anthony Burrill and all proceeds go to nonprofit Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

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