Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

02 DECEMBER, 2011

Introducing the Regifting API: Free Tools to Destigmatize Regifting

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How to give and receive with honesty, love, and no guilt.

The season of giving is upon us — a time to receive a lot of stuff we don’t really need from people we care about, give them stuff they don’t really need in return, and do it all graciously, dancing a dance of feigned stuff-needing. But what if we could pass that stuff we don’t really want or need along to someone who might? What if we could normalize regifting, remove the guilt that bedevils it, and bake it into the gift-giving process from the get-go as an open and beautiful expression of honesty? Introducing the Brain Pickings Regifting API — a free set of tools that aim to remove the social stigma from regifting, letting your loved ones know that you openly endorse regifting and encouraging them to pay your gift forward if there’s someone in their lives better suited for it than themselves. Here’s how:

STEP 1: DOWNLOAD THE GRAPHICS

I asked the lovely and talented Josh Boston, mastermind behind the current Brain Pickings redesign, to design a regifting icon, pattern, and stencil stamp. These are available as free, shareable downloads under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) license, which basically means you’re welcome to use, remix, and share with attribution for non-commercial purposes.

[ download hi-res PNG ]

[ download vector file ]

[ download hi-res PNG ]

[ download vector file ]

[ download hi-res PNG ]

[ download vector file ]

The stencil font is Bandoleer from indie type foundry Mad Type by designer Matt Desmond. It’s nice, isn’t it?

STEP 2: PRINT OR STENCIL YOUR GIFTWRAP OR CARD

You can use the regifting graphics to make your own giftwrap, either by printing them on paper, or by making a stamp or stencil to use on basic monochromatic wrapping paper. You can also use the stamp or stencil to make your own paper or cardboard greeting card.

Eco Green Crafts has a great selection of vibrant, non-toxic, acid-free ink pads for your stamp and acrylic paints with no or low volatile organic compounds for your stencil.

STEP 3: GIVE AND BE MERRY

That’s it, you’re done. You can now give freely, with love and with honesty, and receive accordingly, guilt-free.

And from my friends at Do The Green Thing, here’s a lovely animated reminder that, sometimes, it might be best to give nothing at all, except of course love.

In 2011, bringing you Brain Pickings took more than 5,000 hours. If you found any joy and stimulation here this year, please consider a modest donation.





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15 NOVEMBER, 2011

Meat the Future: An Animated Case for In-Vitro Meat

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Petri dish to plate, or how to feed the world of 7 billion without starving the planet.

To anyone who’s read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., the wretched state of the meat industry and its noxious impact on the environment is no news. Meat the Future proposes an intriguing alternative to the traditional meat industry that neither requires you to become a granola-crunching vegetarian nor holds the foolish expectation that meat companies will suddenly take responsibility. And while that alternative might not seem appetizing at first, this beautiful and compelling animated short might just make you see the issue with new eyes.

In theory, a single cell from one animal can be used to feed the entire global population, without stressing the environment.”

The film ends with an emphasis on the need for publicly funded science, something we’ve made a case for before.

The project is the brainchild of Afshin Moeini, Christian Poppius and Kim Brundin from Sweden’s Beckmans College of Design.

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10 NOVEMBER, 2011

The Holstee LifeCycle Film: Visual Poetry for Bike-Lovers and Creators

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“Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them.”

My friends at Holstee have just released a beautiful short film that marries two of my great loves: bikes and creative restlessness. This cinematic take on their famous Holstee Manifesto, one of these 5 favorite manifestos for the creative life, is an exquisite piece of visual poetry, bound to give you goosebumps and leave you itching to get up and do — or make — something great. Enjoy:

And, lest we forget, the original Holstee Manifesto itself:

The manifesto is now available as a gorgeous 18×24″ poster printed on 100% recycled post-consumer paper, locally made with hydro-electric power and benefiting Kiva, as well as a letterpress card printed on handmade acid-free paper derived from 50% elephant poo and 50% recycled paper. Yep, elephant poo.

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24 OCTOBER, 2011

All Nothing: Poetic 1978 Animated Allegory about Mankind’s Greed

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Frédéric Back’s beautiful short film about harmony and the tragic entitlement of our species.

French-born artist and activist-filmmaker Frédéric Back got his professional start in Canada in the 1950s, where he was asked to draw still images promoting moving pictures at Radio-Canada’s graphics department. In 1967, his giant stained glass mural entitled L’histoire de la musique à Montréal (“history of music in Montreal”) became the first work of art to be commissioned for the Montreal metro system. But most striking of all are his animated short films. In 1978, his Tout Rien (“All Nothing”), a delicate and pensive 11-minute animated allegory set to the music of Igor Stravinsky about how our human greed is stealing the happiness of our species, earned him an Oscar nomination. It tackles, with remarkable elegance and sensitivity, our tragic tendency towards anthropocentricity in a world we share with countless other creatures.

Possessions, like happiness, are always eluding our grasp. Instead of constantly wanting to have, wouldn’t it be better simply to be-to watch and let the natural environment exist in peace? A world whose true joys and riches, continually renewed and replenished, we have yet to fully appreciate?” Frédéric Back

The following year, while working on another film and applying a coat of fixative to a drawing, the fumes got into Back’s right eye. The film eventually won him his first Oscar, but his eye never recovered. Back, nonetheless, continued to produce breathtakingly beautiful work underpinned by a thoughtful environmental message through the early 1990s.

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