Instead of giving away cheap T-shirts or promotional clothing items at Austin’s convention center during the massive SXSW festival, the tech company Medallia is collecting it from attendees. The Silicon Valley-based customer management company has partnered with Austin’s Foundation for the Homeless to collect the marketing apparel given away by other companies (know as SWAG—“stuff we all get”) to donate to the local homeless community. Michael Scott would approve ... Discuss
Slices | February 27, 2014
Giorgio Armani has teamed up with UNICEF for a campaign that encourages people to go without something for 10 minutes, to understand how a small sacrifice can save lives around the world. If you can go 10 minutes without touching your smart phone, the designer will make a donation that will provide clean water to a child in need for one day. All you have to do is use your phone to go to the UNICEF Tap Project website, and follow the instructions—there’s no cheating though. The site actually uses the phone’s built in accelerometer to make sure you haven’t picked it back up ... Discuss
Slices | February 26, 2014
The New York Times has posted this interesting story about the growing movement to construct tiny, but well-built, houses that would give the chronically homeless a place to stay. The story looks at “Quixote Village” just outside of Olympia, Wash., that now houses the residences of a former tent city. Each of the 144-square-foot homes contains enough room for a mattress and bathroom, with a shared community center providing a kitchen, laundry and showers. Because of the advantages the “micro-housing” movement has over conventional homeless shelters and micro-apartments (including costs), the trend is catching on. In Wisconsin, the “Occupy Madison” organization runs workshops on how to build tiny wood cabins and the developers behind Quixote recently fielded inquiries from delegations and advocates in cities including Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, Ann Arbor and Salt Lake City ... Discuss
Music super-producer and fashion entrepreneur Pharrell has announced plans for a new line of jeans made from plastic currently floating in the ocean. Constructed from “bionic yarn”, G-Star’s “RAW for the Oceans” denim will utilize plastic trash that’s been disregarded and ended up polluting the ocean. The material will be melted and transformed into stylish (and likely expensive) pants. As Discovery News points out, the plan won’t be easy, especial to do sustainably: “The fuel needed to remove the plastic and clean it could end up being more than the petroleum saved through recycling” ... Discuss
Slices | January 31, 2014
The organization Rethink Mental Illness has released this preview of an upcoming documentary that looks at the story of Johnny Benjamin, who set out to find the man who saved his life. Years earlier, after Benjamin was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, he became so distraught, that he went to the Waterloo Bridge in London to take his own life. That day, a stranger named Mike intervened. After a massive online search, Benjamin was finally able to find Mike—and their reunion is truly something special ... Discuss
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates thinks a lot about how he and his wife Melinda can use their wealth to help solve problems affecting much of the world. But in his most recent annual open letter, Gates’ wants to dispel three commonly held myths the he believes “block progress for the poor.” Gates believes that too often, people think that because of the state of current conditions “poor countries are doomed to stay poor,” that the spending of “foreign aid is a waste”, and “saving lives leads to overpopulation.” If you have a few minutes today, the graphic-heavy letter, which is loaded with stats about current anti-poverty efforts and ways you can get involved, is a fascinating read.
The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.