Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

02 NOVEMBER, 2010

SAVED: Upcycling Through Design and Storytelling

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What old tees have to do with indie music A-listers and shrinking carbon footprints.

We love upcycled tees and we love smart, creative efforts to make sustainability an actionable thing rather than a fluff-phrase. Last season, our friends at Do The Green Thing made waves with their Buy Nothing campaign and this fall, they’ve one-upped themselves with another brilliant effort.

Every year, more than a million tons of clothing are thrown away, even though most of it has over 70% of its useful life left, so Green Thing asked the world to donate their unwanted t-shirts and SAVED was born — a new initiative that saves old, unwanted, unloved t-shirts from the grip of time by giving them a design and story that make them loved again.

Each SAVED upcycled shirt features a lovely hand-stitched typographic patchwork-label and a heart-warming “Saved from neglect” tag.

For an added layer of coolness, SAVED has some of our favorite musicians on board, including Imogen Heap, Marina and the Diamonds, Chipmunk and Lissie, who have donated some of their own unloved tees. And this isn’t a mere de-facto celebrity endorsement — it means you could actually end up with an upcycled t-shirt that once belonged to one of today’s most talented indie artists.

You can buy a SAVED tee directly through Facebook and revel in the glory of knowing that 100% of your contribution goes to Green Thing Trust, the nonprofit dedicated to helping more people live more sustainable lives.

Green Thing is instituting a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-like Golden Ticket system, so whether you end up with a star’s upcycled shirt is between you and your lucky star. And even though we were never ones to fall for the whole “everyone’s a winner” shenanigans, in this particular instance, everyone truly is.

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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.