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Photography Spotlight: Blue Planet Run

World-changing photography, or why the oil crisis is the least of our liquid worries.

The best of photography goes beyond visual fascination and stunning imagery, and serves as a moving call to action.

That’s exactly what photographers Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt do in Blue Planet Run, their latest project with the ambitious goal of bringing clean drinking water to the world.

And if that’s where you roll your eyes because the blue-is-the-new-green card has been played before, stay with us: The seat of privileged is about to get a bit more uncomfortable.

The book, which Amazon offers as a free PDF for a limited time, is a tumultuous blend of photography both stunning photography, chilling revelations and — ultimately — a call to action that puts the solutions to the water problem front and center, and each of us in the driver’s seat to change.

Here are a few factoids about “the other half”:

  • 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. That’s 1 in 6.

  • Half of the world today doesn’t have access to the quality of water available to Romans 2,000 years ago

  • 1.8 billion children die of waterborn disease every year. That’s one child every 15 seconds, or 3 dead children by the time it took you to get this far in the post.
  • 4,800 people die every day of waterborn disease. That’s the equivalent of 11 jumbo airplane crashes.
  • 5.3 billion people — or two thirds of the world — will suffer from water shortages by 2025

And a few factoids about the kind of excess we Westerners roll in:

  • A single quarter-pound hamburger — just the meat — takes 2,900 gallons of water to make
  • The average American uses 100-175 gallons of water per day. And that doesn’t include agriculture.
  • 3,350 gallons of water are used to water the grass for every single round of golf — there are 16,100 golf courses in the U.S., on which 90 rounds are played every day. That’s 4,839,678,000 gallons of water. Supporting golf. Every day.

But because information is useless if it doesn’t effect change, the book ends on a hopeful note — Blue Planet Run Foundation was born, an ambitious hunt for solutions both at the individual and organizational levels.

In 2007, the foundation held its first real run — a 95-day, 15,200-mile race where 20 dedicated runners from 13 countries go around the world — literally — to raise awareness about the water problem.

Proceeds from the race go to the Peer Water Exchange, the foundation’s radical initiative to tackle thousands of grassroots water and sanitation projects around the world by revolutionizing the funding model and funneling it through a pool of NGO’s rather than an endless loop of bureaucracy.P

But perhaps most importantly, there are things each of us can do to alleviate the severity of the water problem. Because simple behavioral changes have a greater long-term impact than we could ever suspect.

Grab a copy of Blue Planet Run, even only for the gripping, magnificent photography. But, we promise you, somewhere in the 122 pages you’ll discover a drowning desire to get up and do something about it.


Nomadic Living 2.0

What European gypsies have to teach us about sustainability and the housing market.

Real estate crunch got you in the dumps? Too broke for a boat and too proud for a trailer? Fear not, the Danish have your back.

Copenhagen-based artist and activist collective N55 just released the first prototype of WALKING HOUSE, a 10-foot-high pod home that actually walks at a strolling pace.


The solar- and wind-powered pod includes a fully-functional kitchen, toilet, living room, bed, and wood stove. An on-board mainframe computer controls the six giant legs.


Developed in collaboration with MIT, the prototype cost nearly $50,000 to make, but the team believes that as design and the production process get streamlined for larger quantities, cost will go down significantly.

Inspired by the area’s large population of travelers, the WALKING HOUSE offers a unique hybrid of traditional nomadic culture and modern design solutions.

N55 Walking House roof

Today, the pod is taking its inaugural stroll around rural Cambridgeshire at the Wysing Arts Centre in Bourn.


We love the nomadic-living-gone-high-tech appeal of the house and its decidedly sustainable twist. The inside looks absolutely cozy — not in that Craigslist-euphemism-for-shoebox-dump kind of way. Makes us wanna curl up inside with Kings of Convenience playing oh-so-lazily in the background.

via Slashdot


Dan Price, Revealed

What the 80’s and great shoes have in common. Seriously.

We’re big fans of Simple Shoes. That’s how we first got introduced to illustration artist Dan Price, of Moonlight Chronicles fame, who does a lot of their artwork.

Dan PriceHis distinctive, quirky style is a reflection of his undeniably eccentric personality — he dug himself a cave he calls Indian River Ranch, a sanctuary where can spend his life drawing. From this unusual homebase, he roams the world with little more than a bike, a sketchbook and a camera, which he uses to photograph his illustrations and send them over to Simple. (Meh, scanners are overrated.) His style is all about taking a child’s perspective of the world. In short, the self-described hobo artist is quite a character — and one we really, really dig.

Although known mostly as an illustration artist, Dan spent the 80’s as a photojournalist for a number of major publications. A rather talented one, we may add. He spent months living with his fascinating subjects, from isolated wagon-riding farmers to highly religious church communities, asking permission to photograph their intimate existence with unusual cameras like the Diana.

Dan Price photography

Which is why we were excited to come across this interview with Dan Price, where the elusive artist talks about his lesser-known photography career. Read it, get inspired, maybe even dig yourself a cave.


Creative Clockwork

What Flavor Flav, wildlife preservation and Dali have in common.

We love clocks. And we love creative communication that technically falls within the advertising industry, but is actually oh-so-much-more. Today, we look at five supremely creative executions involving clocks.


Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Brussels
Creative Director: Jan Teulingkx

University of Gent: Dare to Think

Brilliantly captures the very point of a liberal arts education: Studying the traditional and universal, then challenging it.


Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg
Creative Director:
Deneke von Weltzien

Dali Clock

To bring the great artist to life, Hamburg agency Jung von Matt replaced a number of public clocks with the iconic melted Dali clock for the duration of the exhibition.


Agency: Asatsu Thailand, Bangkok
Art Director: Romerun Chueawongprom

The recognizable WWF logo, reconceived with a new sense of urgency. So simple, but it gets the point across so powerfully


Agency: Y&R, Dubai
Creative Directors: Shahir Ahmed, Guilherme Rangel

LG Time Machine TV

Creative visual translation of the basic product proposition: 24-hour live recording that makes TV run on your own time.


Agency: DDB, Berlin
Creative Directors: Bert Peulecke, Amir Kassaei, Stefan Schulte

Knocking down knock-off culture one hum-drum old couple at a time. Winner at the New York Television & Radio Advertising Festival.


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