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Well-being, Community, Education

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  • Indo_132_

    Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday.

    The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry.

    "Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement," he said. "It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record."

  • Agro-Housing . . . . WOW!

    Community, Environmental Design


    According to a UN report, in 2010 about 50% of the Chinese population will reside in cities. This huge migration from rural regions to new urban megalopolises will create a dramatic cultural and social crisis, a loss of existing traditions and considerable unemployment. Massive urbanization will form random communities, severely deplete natural resources, exhaust urban infrastructures and transportation systems, and will increase air and soil pollution. The concept of Agro-Housing is a new urban and social vision that will address problems of chaotic urbanization by creating a new order in the city and more specifically, in the housing environment.

    Agro-Housing is a program that combines a high-rise apartment complex with a vertical greenhouse within the same building.

    The Agro-Housing website has more detals

  • Identity, Influence and Power

    Community, Communication Design


    Stephen Reicher, Alexander Haslam, John Turner and Michael Platow have collaborated on investigations into leadership and social identity culminating in their forthcoming book The New Psychology of Leadership.

    They describe: 'When a shared social identity exits, individuals who can best represent that identity will have the most influence over the group's members and be the most effective leaders. That is, the best leaders are prototypical of the group - they not only seem to belong to but also exemplify what makes the group distinct from and superior to rival groups.

    The most desirable traits and actions have to fit with the culture of the group being led and thus vary from group to group. Even some of the most oft-touted leadership traits, such as intelligence, can be called into question in some settings. Some people consider being down-to-earth or trust-worthy as more important than being brilliant, for instance. Where this is the case, being too clever may actually undermine one's credibility as a leader, as Bush's tactics suggest"

    Full article in Scientific American Mind

  • Mirror neurons get a visual arts experience

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design


    Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran shook the scientific community when he announced, “The discovery of mirror neurons is the most important unpublicized story of the decade.” He predicts that the recently discovered system of neurons “will do for psychology what DNA did for biology,” because it provides a biological basis for certain aspects of the human mind, such as social intelligence and empathy, that have eluded scientists thus far.

    Inspired by this daring claim, independent artist Amy Caron is collaborating with Ramachandran and leading mirror neuron researchers Lindsay Oberman and Vittorio Gallese to create the performance installation Waves of Mu. Named after the electromagnetic oscillations that reflect mirror neuron activity in the brain, Waves of Mu is a mix of visual and performance art, designed to stimulate public interest in modern neuroscience. Specifically, Waves of Mu will engage and inform the audience about the brain while simultaneously triggering their own mirror neuron systems. During the evening-length work, the audience will be exposed to a performative sculpture and a film/live theatre experience – each occupies a separate room. Throughout the experience, the artist guides the audience along a constant traverse between the brain and behavior interface - a journey that reveals new knowledge about the composition of our brains and their effect on our socal interconnectivity.

    Amy Caron's website is so interesting!!

  • Panwapa_177_

    Sesame Workshop is about to launch a digital media project for kids about global citizenry. It is called Panwapa. It is in five languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese). It is targeted to 4 - 8 year olds around the world.

    It is about awareness of the wider world, appreciating similarities and differences, and about understanding that there are economic disparities in the world.

    And it is all free--there is no commercial side to this venture.

    Panwapa goes live very soon....Panwapa

  • Words of Gordon Brown

    Peace, Communication Design


    Gordon Brown at the United Nations July 31 2007

    "If not now, when? If not us, who? If not together, how? And I believe the scale of the challenge is such that we cannot now leave it to some other time and some other people but must act now, working together. And so my argument is simple: the greatest of evils that touches the deepest places of conscience demands the greatest of endeavour. The greatest of challenges now demands the boldest of initiatives. To address the worst of poverty we urgently need to summon up the best efforts of humanity. I want to summon into existence the greatest coalition of conscience in pursuit of the greatest of causes. And I firmly believe that if we can discover common purpose there is no failing in today’s world that cannot be addressed by mobilising our strengths, no individual struggle that drags people down that cannot benefit from a renewed public purpose that can lift people up. For you also know what I know: that the world has the technology to cure, the science to heal, the medicine to save lives."

  • 100% Groupie of We Are What We Do

    Environment, Communication Design


    I received my copy of Change The World 9 to 5 recently and have to confess that I am now competely smitten with it. Every page is meaningful, important, warm and funny. The whole We Are What We Do movement is totally inspired and happily are going from strength to strength.

    Here's something interesting from the poster included in the back of the book:

    "If your home has something other than a dirt floor, you are in the top half of the world's population.

    If your home has a roof, a door, windows and more than one room, you are in the top 20% If you have refrigeration, you are in the top 5% If you have a car, a microwave, a video, a computer and this toilet has a cubicle door, then you are in the top 1%"

    I am considering buying an extra copy of the the two books and wallpapering the downstairs loo (bathroom!) with them just so that I can see it all regularly - not just the enclosed poster. Perhaps we all should . . . in schools and offices too :-)

    Thriving is also delighted (the jumping up and down variety) that David Robinson OBE, founder and now Chair of WAWWD has just been added to the main Thriving website as an Inspiration :-) Congratulations to all the other creators of the new book. It is fantastic! I loved the sheet of gold stars, the photography, the humour, the ideas, the size, the shape, the colours, the drawings, the clown, the sandwich, the thank you stickers. . . . . . . .The POSTER FOR the Loo . . . We Are What We Do are arranging some amazi...

  • Orange_upside_down_132_

    "I have watched countless students at all levels of education change their attitude from apathetic to involved when they learn to trust the teacher’s invitation for an expression of their creative ideas and when a classroom climate guarantees respect for diversity from their peers."

    "The creative force is present in all humans to some degree. Pressures to conform within education and society often silence creative expression for many students and citizens. The potential for its development remains, however."

    "The hope is that educational programs will become better designed to make the best possible use of the natural power of the human mind to grow and develop and to be significantly active in service to a cause beyond oneself."

    "There are no limits to the intellectual resource of the human mind when it is provided with an atmosphere for personal growth."

    "Educators have not only an opportunity but an obligation to open the ‘doors of perception’ for all students. The enduring purpose of education is to provide students with a perception of the outer reaches of their talents and possibilities and, ideally, to give them a reason to continue to learn and contribute to their society for all of their lives."

    All quotes from "Education is everybody's business: A wake-up call to advocates of educational change" by Berenice Bleedorn She founded the Institute for Creative Studies at the University of St. Thomas i...

  • Begin Anywhere

    Communication, Environmental Design


    Massive Change</A> [It's not about the world of design. It's about the design of the world] explores the legacy and potential, the promise and power of design in improving the welfare of humanity. It originated as a collaboration between Bruce Mau Design and the Institute without Boundaries in which they researched the capacities and limitations of human efforts to change the world for the better. There is the book Massive Change and the exhibition.

    The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Maue Design is brilliant. It has 43 points on it . . . here are a few:

    • Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

    • Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

    • Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

    • Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

    • Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

    There is also a great article by Bruce Mau on Optimism, Humanism and Desig...

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