Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

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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25 OCTOBER, 2010

PICKED: Neighbor Dining

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Living alone and dining alone can get boring, expensive, energy-intensive and, well, lonely. Neighbor Dining, a new social dining concept with Foursquare integration created on spec for European energy company Vattenfall by art director Luong Lu, offers a brilliant solution that we hope to see materialize.

(Thanks, Natalie)

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20 OCTOBER, 2010

Search for the Obvious: A Homage to Everyday Objects

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A quest for ordinary brilliance, or what sewers, eyeglasses and famous writers have in common.

The brilliance of problem-solving lies in solutions so seamless they become invisible. That’s exactly the premise of Search for the Obvious — a wonderful new initiative from our friends at Acumen Fund, the global nonprofit venture fund investing in business models that support access to water, shelter, healthcare, energy resources and agricultural technology in the developing world. Search for the Obvious is out to find everyday objects and ideas that have dramatically improved our quality of life, collecting submissions ranging from asphalt to zippers. They are then asking a jury of cross-disciplinary judges — including writer Daniel Pink, Swiss Miss founder Tina Roth Eisenberg, designer Daniel Burka, writer Alain de Botton, Design Observer founder Bill Drenttel, writer Steven Johnson and, erm, yours truly, plus a handful more to be announced over the coming weeks — to select the most compelling examples.

Once these are identified, Acumen Fund launches challenges to the community to creatively show the world why that topic is indeed critical through anything from “the most retweetable tweet of all time” to a New-Yorker-worthy essay to a stride-stopping poster. The first challenge is inspired by sewers, the obviousness chosen by Daniel Burka, and focuses on sanitation — a basic human right the lack of which is among the most critical issues in the developing world today.

Submissions — in the form of tweets, essays, videos, or anything at all — are due by November 21 and winners will be chosen by the judges on November 30. The winning entires will be spotlighted by the challenge’s media partners, Design Observer and GOOD, and will be featured on the YouTube homepage for 24 hours. (We’re supporting them too with a bit of pro-bono ad space to get the word out about the challenge — look over on the right.)

So go ahead and submit an idea or get busy with the an open challenge. And in the meantime, use this as a reminder to appreciate all the wonderful objects and ideas we’re surrounded with, whose role in our daily well-being we often forget.

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15 OCTOBER, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

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What conversationality has to do with dirt-digging and twenty years of good life.

Okay, here’s the deal. Today is Blog Action Day 2010 — an annual effort to start a global conversation around a specific issue that affects us all, focusing on water this year — and we’re in. Are you? We hope so. Because, at this very moment, a nearly billion people on the planet can’t do what you can: Get up and get a glass of clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. Add to that the 38 million children that die from waterborne disease every week, and it becomes apparent a mere “conversation” won’t solve the problem.

So what can you do? We suggest three main courses of action: Building awareness, supporting the right causes, and changing your personal habits. So let’s tackle these one by one.

VIRTUAL WATER

Virtual Water will tell you the footprint of water. (Did you know that it takes 24 liters of water to produce a single hamburger?).

It comes as a gorgeous poster and an iPhone app.

CHARITY: WATER

Here are three smart water-related projects we stand behind. Topping our list is charity:water, which brings clean drinking water to people in the developing world by building freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters. You can support them by making a donation ($20 can buy one person clean drinking water for 20 years — think about that for a moment) or getting involved by volunteering or fundraising.

GET OFF THE BOTTLE

Last but not least, walk the walk. We’ve been off the bottle since 2003 and we strongly encourage you to try the plastic-free life.

Our weapons of choice: A sleek, colorful Klean Kanteen steel bottle and a space-saving PUR water pitcher, complete with an LED lamp that tells you when to change the filter.

So go ahead and have that conversation about water with someone today, but don’t stop there.

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