Nuit Blanche—What is Work Worth Doing? installation
On Saturday September 29, we opened our doors to passersby during Nuit Blanche, an all-night contemporary event, to explore the question “What is work worth doing?”
This gallery installation presented a combination of artefacts and images illustrating 120 examples of work worth doing from Canada and around the world including current projects that our studio is working on.
If you were there, thank you for stopping by and writting on our chalk wall. Photos from the night are now ready for viewing.
Below is the list of examples of work worth doing that we exhibited that night.
These are 120 examples of work we think is worth doing. These selected projects, people and products are prime models of work that is creating positive social, political, economical and environmental change.
United Nations Mandates
- 1. UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
Under former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the UN spearheaded a global plan to address the challenges facing contemporary society, uniting 188 countries who signed an agreement consenting to execute the plan by 2015. The MDG include eight targets ranging from education to extreme poverty eradication.
- 2. Gapminder
A Stockholm based non-profit, Gapminder is a visualization tool for data that makes statistics, complex charts and graphs comprehensible and interesting. Their extraordinary interactive graphs help you visualize complex global trends like the distribution of poverty, in different regions of the world, over time.
Design and Water
- 3. Life Straw
A personal water purification tool that prevents waterborne diseases.
- 4. Hippo Roller
Hippo Rollers take the load off women and children whose daily task of transporting water usually means carrying heavy pails of water on their heads for several kilometers. Operation Hunger is an NGO in South Africa delivering Hippo Rollers to some of the poorest areas of the country. Work Worth Doing partnered with Operation Hunger to raise funds towards the purchase of Hippo Rollers for households in need.
- 5. KickStart- Foot powered irrigation pump
KickStart’s manual MoneyMaker irrigation pumps allow farmers to convert small subsistence farms into vibrant new commercial enterprises. With irrigation they can grow and sell three to four high value vegetable crops every year, and ensure that the crop is ready for market when the price is high.
- 6. “Tippy Tap”
A design for simple, economical, and effective hand-washing stations.
- 7. Terracotta Water Purifier
Ceramic water crocks and purifiers are natural gravity feed purification and filtration systems that turn ordinary tap water into pure, great tasting drinking water. This system offers the safest, most economical way of removing harmful impurities that are present in regular tap water.
- 8. Creating business opportunities for the Bottom of the Pyramid
In his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, C.K. Prahalad exposes business models currently used by corporations in parts of the world where 4 billion people earn less than $4/day. In “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP) markets, companies are able to innovate in the way they design and market products and services. According to Prahalad, BOP business models can be effective methods for lifting billions of people out of poverty. Case studies in this book include the $35 Jaipur prosthetic limbs, low-cost cataract surgeries in Aravid Eye hospitals in India, home loans provided by CEMEX cement company in Mexico, among others.
- 9. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes in the power of science and technology to improve people’s lives. Their overarching priorities are to improve health and reduce extreme poverty in the developing world, and improve high school education in the U.S.
- 10. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank (micro-credit loans)
Yunus conceived and successfully applied of the concept of microcredit- the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank, a community development bank in Bangladesh that makes small loans without requiring collateral. The system is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 11. Kiva
This organization partners with existing microfinance institutions to gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities worldwide. Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.
- 12. The Now House™
Now House will turn a 60-year-old WWII house into a near zero energy home —one that produces almost as much energy as it uses. By reducing the energy use and GHG emissions of one wartime home in Toronto, we are developing a model that can be applied to similar houses that are scattered throughout Canada. We will start with one house, then a community of wartime houses, then a million houses across the country. The Now House project is a collaboration of designers, architects, engineers, homeowners and sustainable building experts led by Lorraine Gauthier from Work Worth Doing.
- 13. Green roofs and Mayor Richard M. Daley
In the city of Chicago, there is a rooftop garden on top of City Hall that supports busy beehives- they produce 100 lbs of honey every year. Mayor Richard M. Daley, was named one of the top five mayors in the U.S. by Time Magazine in 2005. He has significantly increased environmental efforts throughout the city and pledges to have Chicago be the most environmentally friendly city in the U.S., be the nation’s center for environmental design and the manufacturing of components for the production of alternative energy.
- 14. Defining sustainable building standards (LEED and BREEAM)
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was created in the United States as a benchmark system for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.
The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the United Kingdom’s equivalent system. This family of assessment methods and tools are designed to help construction professionals understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of the developments they design and build.
- 15. Solar Decathlon
Held bi-annually in Washington, D.C., the Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Teams made up of students from colleges and universities around the globe, participate in a solar competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.
- 16. Fab Tree Hab
Fab Tree Hab is the work of Mitchell Joachim and MIT colleagues Lara Greden and Javier Arbona. The goal is to propose a method to grow homes from native trees by allowing plants to grow over a computer-designed plywood structure. Once the plants are interconnected and stable, the plywood is removed and reused. They are experimenting with Israeli plants that grow quickly and develop an interwoven root structure that’s soft enough to “train” over the plywood, but then hardens into a more durable structure.
- 17. CNIB Universal Design
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a voluntary, non-profit rehabilitation agency that provides services for people who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind. CNIB provides expertise in universal design, accessibility and adaptive technologies. Accessible design translates products, services and facilities into a form that is usable by everyone, regardless of ability.
- 18. WindShare
WindShare is an innovative, for-profit wind power co-operative that develops locally owned wind power projects, which are scaled to the size and characteristics of the host community. WindShare provides an alternative to large, centralized energy generation with the development of local, profitable and inclusive community power projects.
- 19. Bullfrog
Bullfrog sources power exclusively from generators who meet or exceed the Canadian federal government’s standard for renewable electricity. Power comes from clean, emission-free sources like wind power and low-impact water power instead of carbon-intensive sources like coal and oil.
- 20. World Wildlife Fund—Meeting global energy needs sustainably
According to research findings by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world has enough sustainable energy and technology to curb climate change. Climate Solutions: WWF’s Vision for 2050 details six key solutions, which must be aggressively employed as a package to meet growing global energy demand without damaging the global climate.
- 21. Solar plant in Spain
Europe’s first commercial solar power station recently went into operation in a region outside Seville, Spain. The first stage of the solar power station, known as PS10, is a 300ft tall tower surrounded by 624 solar panels that will produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes. There is also a secondary component, known as Sevilla PV, which is a photovoltaic power plant composed of 154 panels, which will generate enough electricity for about 1800 homes.
- 22. Billion Tree Campaign
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign entitled the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. Citizens, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to assist the goal of planting at least one billion trees worldwide during 2007 via online tree planting pledges.
- 23. Wangari Maathai
Professor Wangari Maathai is Africa’s foremost environmental campaigner, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Professor Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, a movement that has seen 900,000 rural women working to establish tree nurseries and plant trees to reverse the effects of deforestation. Now an international campaign, the Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees throughout Africa.
- 24. Urban Tree Salvage
Approximately 9,000 urban trees are removed each year from the Greater Toronto Area, due to storm damage, disease and insect damage, safety concerns and construction projects. Often their waste becoming firewood and mulch. Urban Tree Salvage creates a better use for these wonderful trees by turning them into a usable products such as lumber and furniture.
- 25. Green Dimes
Green Dimes offers a junk mail reduction kit and service. Their business is to reduce a household’s unwanted mail; their mission is to put an end to it for good. Their service can reduce your junk mail by up to 90% and they’ll plant 10 trees on your behalf.
Waste Treatment and Management
- 26. Terra Cycle
At TerraCycle, affordable, potent, organic products are manufactured from waste materials and also packaged entirely in waste. The company’s flagship product, TerraCycle Plant Food, is made by feeding premium organic waste to millions of worms. The worm’s natural waste is then liquified into plant food and bottled directly in used soda bottles.
- 27. Tactical biorefinery machine (Waste Eating Machine)
A group of scientists have created a portable refinery that efficiently converts food, paper and plastic trash into electricity. The machine, designed for the U.S. military, processes several kinds of waste at once, which it converts into fuel via two parallel processes. The system then burns the different fuels in a diesel engine to power a generator.
- 28. Bio-remediation
Bio-remediation can be defined as any process that uses microorganisms, fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the environment altered by contaminants to its original condition.
- 29. Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments
Established in 1999, Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments
(CL:AIRE) is a non-profit organization in the U.K. that stimulates the regeneration of contaminated land using practical and sustainable remediation technologies.
- 30. Digestive table
A living ecosystem of worms, sowbugs and bacteria are invited to this table. They are a part of the digestive system that starts with discarded food leftovers and shredded paper that are tossed into the portal at the table top. The bacteria and sowbugs begin breaking down the waste and the worms soon join in to further digest it into a rich compost that sprinkles out of the bottom of the fabric bag that hangs beneath the table. Keeping an eye on the action, an infrared camera sends images to the LCD screen imbedded in the tabletop.
- 31. Living Machines and John Todd
John Todd is the inventor of living machines, or Eco Machines – miniature ecosystems that use the natural abilities of bacteria, plants and fish to turn toxic sewage and industrial waste into food, fuel, clean water and commercial crops.
- 32. Carpets (Interface, Mohawk)
American consumers use and discard millions of plastic soft drink containers every day. Mohawk has perfected a way to recycle these plastic containers into beautiful, luxurious carpet.
Likewise, Interface believes that there’s a cure for resource waste that is profitable, creative and practical. Their creative, manufacturing and building decisions strive to eliminate any negative impact flooring and fabric companies may have on the environment by the year 2020.
- 33. Rammed earth
Rammed earth construction is an age-old building method that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek low-impact building materials and natural building methods. This process entails compressing a damp mixture of earth with suitable proportions of sand, gravel and clay into an external frame that creates a solid wall of earth.
- 34. +1 Water bottles
+1 Water comes to you in a bottle made from a renewable resource, corn, as opposed to petrochemical bi-products. The bottle is compostable and also recyclable along with other plastics. This is significant considering that every day in North America, more than 60,000,000 plastic water bottles end up in landfills.
- 35. Bio-polymers
Polylactide (PLA) is a versatile polymer. Essentially, PLA is made from corn and is popularly used to create biodegradable food containers, cups and cutlery. The normal heat tolerance of PLA is 110 degrees (F) and in commercial composting conditions, PLA will compost in about 40 days.
- 36. Corn products (cornstarch packing peanuts)
Replacing traditional Styrafoam, cornstarch packing peanuts are made from naturally occurring polymers. This FDA approved, static-free organic cornstarch decomposes safely in water, leaving behind minimal waste that is non-toxic.
- 37. Soy plastics
The biodegradable nature of the plastic means it is environmentally friendly, and can be economically and safely disposed of. Benefits include: lower energy consumption in the manufacturing process; degradation by-products are non-toxic and the ability to safely biodegrade in sea and fresh water.
Ford Motor Company has continued research into bio-based foams and plastics for use in automobile body panels and interior parts. In 2003, Ford showcased the Model U concept vehicle, which contains soy-based polyurethane seats.
- 38. Cradle to Cradle certification
Cradle to Cradle Certification provides a means to tangibly and credibly measure achievement in environmentally-intelligent design. This means using environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting; the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency; efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production;
and instituting strategies for social responsibility. For example, gDiapers- the world’s first flushable diaper, and Wet Women Surf Wax- a nontoxic, biodegradable, and compostable substance, meet the C2C Certification standards.
- 39. Spray concrete
Spray a product like Grancrete over a frame of Styrofoam, metal, wood—even woven sugarcane stalks—and in 20 minutes you have a waterproof, fire-resistant structure that has more than twice the strength of traditional concrete and can withstand extreme temperatures without cracking. A liquefied concrete-like mixture of sand, ash, magnesium oxide and potassium phosphate, Grancrete descends from a product developed to encase radioactive waste.
- 40. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
SIPs are high performance building panels that are usually made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective.
- 41. Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL)
LVL is an engineered wood product that uses multiple layers of thin wood assembled with adhesives. It offers several advantages over typical milled lumber: it is stronger, straighter, and more uniform. A comparable material is PSL, which is used in the same applications but is manufactured from large flakes of wood, and so is markedly different in appearance.
- 42. FSC Certified Wood
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization that finds methods to promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests. Over the past 13 years, 90 million hectares in more than 70 countries have been certified according to FSC standard. The FSC label enables consumers to choose forest products with the confidence that they are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests.
- 43. Ecosphere Technologies and Ecos LifeLink
Ecosphere Technologies identifies and solves business and environmental challenges with innovative clean air and water technologies.
Ecos LifeLink is a new generation of portable, self-contained “micro utilities” that provide life-sustaining services: clean water, electricity and wireless Internet connectivity. Powered by renewable solar and wind energy, LifeLink can be adapted for a variety of cost-effective environmental applications, deployed into any locale in the world, and put to use by any community.
Addressing Climate Change
- 44. Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is the first, and only, binding international agreement that sets targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. As of December 2006, a total of 169 countries and other governmental entities have ratified the agreement. Notable exceptions include the United States and Australia. Other countries, like India and China, which have ratified the protocol, are not required to reduce carbon emissions under the present agreement.
- 45. David Suzuki Foundation
Since 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation has worked to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us. There are four program focus areas: oceans and sustainable fishing; climate change and clean energy; sustainability; and the Nature Challenge. An independent charity, the Foundation does not accept government grants and is supported with the help of some 40,000 individual supporters across Canada and around the world.
- 46. Offsetting carbon emissions – Climate Friendly
Climate Friendly™ is an organization dedicated to positive, meaningful and real action to address our global greenhouse problem. Since 2003, they have provided a simple and effective way for individuals and large corporations alike to make a contribution to slowing global warming. Their ‘neutralise’ philosophy is three-fold: Reduce, Renew and Neutralise. This means that each person or business should take action to reduce carbon emissions, support the renewable energy industry, and neutralise carbon emissions.
- 47. Bjørn Lomborg
Author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, Lomborg has been named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. In 2002, Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, which sought to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics.
- 48. Gro Harlem Brundtland
Brundtland is a Norwegian politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She is a former Prime Minister of Norway, and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization.
- 49. Otesha Project
The Otesha Project’s education programs and bicycle tours use theatre, multi-media, and storytelling to engage a wide range of audiences, and have reached over 60,000 people to date. Otesha’s presentations focus on re-evaluating our daily choices to reflect the kind of future we’d like to see - rethinking what we really need, conserving resources, and voting with our dollars.
- 50. [murmur]
[murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. The stories recorded range from personal recollections to more “historic” stories; they are told from a personal point of view, as if the storyteller is just out for a stroll, casually discussing their neighbourhood. In each location, a [murmur] sign with a telephone number directs callers to a story linked to the exact spot where they stand.
- 51. Good magazine
GOOD magazine is media for people who give a damn. While so much of today’s media is taking up our space, dumbing us down, and impeding our productivity, GOOD exists to add value. Through a print magazine, feature and documentary films, original multimedia content and local events, GOOD is providing a platform for the ideas, people, and businesses that are driving change in the world.
- 52. World Changing
In the form of a website and a book, World Changing works from a simple premise: the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. Many people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. The motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. Another world is not just possible, it’s here. We only need to put the pieces together.
“World Changing might well be the most complete, compelling articulation of the possible look and feel and actual operation of a sustainable society ever written.”
—Denis Hayes, Earth Day Founder
- 53. World Social Forum
The World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual meeting held by members of the anti-globalization or alter-globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and inform each other about movements from around the world and their issues. In 2006, the WSF was held in different cities around the world, including Caracas, Mali and Pakistan. In January 2007, it was held in Kenya.
- 54. An Inconvenient Truth and the 11th Hour
From director Davis Guggenheim comes the film An Inconvenient Truth, which offers a look at Al Gore’s crusade to halt global warming’s deadly progress by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.
In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio made “The 11th Hour”, a documentary film concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity. The intention and hope was to inspire action at every level: from individual action, up through our communities, to the state, national and international level. The actions can shift our civilization to a sustainable future.
- 55. Idealist – Action Without Borders
Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.
- 56. Lunar charged streetlights by Civil Twilight Design Collective
Lunar resonant streetlights sense and respond to ambient moonlight, dimming and brightening each month as the moon cycles through its phases. Utilizing available moonlight saves energy and mitigates light pollution, while facilitating the urban experience of one of the most beautiful cycles of nature.
- 57. LED
The Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulb uses 90% less energy than a standard light bulb. LED’s also last over 60,000 hours.
- 58. Center for Eco-Literacy and Fritjof Capra
The Center for Eco-literacy (CEL) is dedicated to education for sustainable living. Founded in 1995 by Fritjof Capra, Peter Buckley, and Zenobia Barlow, The Center for Ecoliteracy studies the processes and patterns by which ecosystems sustain themselves and their evolvation over billions of years. Designing human communities that are compatible with nature’s processes requires basic ecological knowledge, which is one of the key components of ecological literacy.
Redefining the Economy
- 59. Hazel Henderson
Henderson primarily focuses on the unexplored areas of standard economics, or the “blind spots” of conventional economists. Most of her work relates to the creation of an interdisciplinary economic and political theory, with a focus on environmental and social concerns. For instance, she has delved into the area of the “value” of such unquantifiables as the love economy, clean air and clean water. This work led to the development, with Calvert Group, of the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators.
- 60. Paul Hawken
Hawken’s principle of comprehensive outcome was influential in the development of full cost accounting practices and the eventual emergence of ecological footprint and triple bottom line (TBL) standards for sustainability. TBL accounts for People, Planet, and Profit to capture an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational success.
- 61. Lester Brown
Brown is an environmental analyst and founder of both the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute. The former organization was the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues; the latter exists to provide a vision of what an environmentally sustainable economy will look like and a plan for how to get from here to there.
- 62. Jonathon Porritt
In the 1970s, Porritt was the driving force behind the Ecology Party. As chairman of the UK Ecology Party (now the Green Party), membership grew from a few hundred to around 3,000. Since 2000, he has been chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, set up by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Water Rights and Distribution
- 63. WaterAid
Based on London, England, WaterAid is an international non-profit, dedicated to helping people escape the poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation.
- 64. Sandra Postel
Postel is a former fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, and a renowned expert in water issues. She is the director of the Global Water Policy Project, an organization dedicated to promote a sustainable handling of fresh water.
- 65. Vandana Shiva
Shiva is a well-known scientist and activist, author of Water Wars: Pollution, Profits and Privatization. Her more recent work focuses on changing agriculture and food practices in corporations and public policy.
- 66. Amnesty International
Founded in the UK in 1961, Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international standards. It works to mobilize public opinion, which exerts pressure on those who perpetrate abuse.
- 67. Oxfam
Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working with over 3000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.
- 68. Nelson Mandela
Mandela is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress. He spent nearly three decades in prison for his struggle against apartheid. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Since his retirement, one of Mandela’s primary commitments has been to the fight against AIDS. In 2003, he lent his support to the 46664 AIDS fundraising campaign, named after his prison number.
- 69. Desmond Tutu
Dr. Tutu became one of the key leaders in South Africa to oppose apartheid in the 1980’s. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work promoting equal civil rights. Dr. Tutu also serves as the chair of The Global Elders, a group that uses their collective skills to catalyze peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulate new approaches to global issues that are or may cause immense human suffering, and share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world.
Access to Information
- 70. $100 laptop
This inexpensive laptop computer is intended for distribution to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge. The laptop is developed by the One Laptop Per Child organization.
- 71. Linus Torvalds/Linux
As a student at the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds developed the Linux operating system that is now used widely by around the world since it is free and open-source, allowing other programmers to modify and distribute the operating system.
- 72. Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman to support the free software movement and in particular the GNU Project. Being consistent with its goals, only free software is used on all of the FSF’s computers.
- 73. TeraGrid
TeraGrid is an open scientific discovery infrastructure using large computing resources (including supercomputers, storage, and scientific visualization systems) at nine Resource Provider partner sites to create an integrated, persistent computational resource. TeraGrid resources are integrated through a service oriented architecture in that each resource provides a “service” that is defined in terms of interface and operation.
Practical Methods to Change the World
- 74. Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada
A Canadian resource for practical tips and products that help you do your part for the earth. Find out what not to buy and why, and get advice on great gifts, clothes, home supplies and more. Based on the popular and authoritative “Ecoholic” column that appears weekly in NOW Magazine by Adria Vasil.
- 75. We are What We Do
We Are What We Do is a movement. They aim to inspire people to use their everyday actions to change the world by creating 50 simple, everyday actions that can improve our environment, our health, and our communities - making our planet and the people on it much happier.
- 76. Work Worth Doing’s 36 Ways to Change the World without Leaving your House booklet
It’s great to save a few dollars on your utility bills, but with global warming ranking as the number one environmental problem facing the world community, bigger fish are frying. In this guide the technologies we have selected are designed for energy efficiency and to conserve resources, saving on utility costs for the homeowner and lowering the environmental impact of the home.
- 77. Global Ideas Bank
One of the greatest ideas site on the internet today. A not-for-profit website that is part suggestion box, part networking tool, part democratic think-tank and part inspirational entertainment.
- 78. Reusable shopping bag
- 79. Dual flush toilets
- 80. Wind up radios
- 81. Tom of Maine’s natural tooth paste
- 82. Biodegradable shampoo and conditioner
- 83. Carbon water batteries
Environmentally friendly batteries that are activated when moistened.
Designers Creating Positive Change
- 84. Massive Change (Bruce Mau and the Institute without Boundaries)
In 2003, Bruce Mau hosted a post-graduate design program called the Institute without Boundaries (IWB) in collaboration with George Brown College. The goals of this year-long program were to develop a public project about design, human ingenuity, and our collective capacity to change the world. The result was the Massive Change publication and exhibition. Lorraine Gauthier and Alex Quinto founded Work Worth Doing inspired by the Massive Change project after they finished their year at the IWB.
- 85. World House Project
The second project of the Institute without Boundaries is called the World House Project. Its goals are to develop a knowledge-base system for building sustainable, intelligent, universal and balanced housing.
- 86. Index: Design Awards
Index: is an organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark that promotes the understanding of design to improve life. Every year, it awards the best designs from around the world that improve the lives of people regardless of their geographic location.
- 87. Design 21 Social Design Network
The mission of this organization is to promote social innovation through design. Their website connects people, organizations, and projects that have a social and environmental agenda.
- 88. Buckminster Fuller Challenge
This competition, organized by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, awards $100,000 to the development of a project has the potential to solve one of the world’s most pressing challenges. The projects must be based on Buckminster Fuller’s anticipatory design science.
Campaigns to Eradicate Poverty
- 89. Live Aid and Live 8
Live Aid was a multi-venue rock music concert held on July 13, 1985. The event was organised to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated 1.5 billion viewers, across 100 countries, watched the live broadcast.
Live 8 was a string of benefit concerts that took place on July 2nd, 2005, in the G8 states and in South Africa. They were timed to precede the G8 Conference and Summit and also to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid. Run in support of the aims of the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty, the shows planned to pressure world leaders to drop the debt of the world’s poorest nations, increase and improve aid, and negotiate fair trade rules in the interest of poorer countries. On July 7th the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to poor nations from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010. Half of the money was to go to Africa.
- 90. Peter Gabriel
In the late 1990’s, Peter Gabriel and entrepreneur Richard Branson discussed their idea of starting a small group of leaders, working objectively to solve global conflicts. In 2007, Nelson Mandela formally announced the formation of this new group, called the Global Elders. The group is sponsored by Branson and Gabriel, who have helped raise $18 million for the organization over the last three years.
Also founded by Gabriel, WITNESS is a non-profit group that equips, trains and supports locally-based organizations worldwide to utilize video and the internet in human rights documentation and advocacy.
- 91. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Brown took office on June 27, 2007. Brown believes it is appropriate to remove much of the unpayable Third World debt. On April 20, 2006, in a speech to the United Nations Ambassadors, Brown outlined a “green” view, or environmentally conscious view, of global development.
- 92. Bono
Bono has become increasingly involved in campaigning for third-world debt relief and raising awareness of the plight of Africa including the AIDS pandemic.
Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa (DATA) was established by Bono and Bobby Shriver: some of DATA’s goals are to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Product Red is another initiative begun by Bono to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Product Red is a brand which is licensed to partner companies such as American Express, Apple Computer, Converse, Motorola, The Gap and Giorgio Armani. Each company creates a product with the Product Red logo and a percentage of the profits from the sale of these labelled products will go to the Global Fund.
Bottom-Up Social Change
- 93. Centre for Social Innovation
Toronto’s Margie Ziedler created the Centre for Social Innovation in downtown Toronto in 2004 to provide office space for organizations and companies dedicated to cultural, humanitarian, environmental goals. The Centre acts a hub in the city that connects like-minded people.
- 94. Rubicon programs
Rubicon Inc. uses the tools from the corporate world to help the poor and marginalized in the San Francisco Bay area. One of its well-known companies is the Rubicon Bakery that produces baked products made from scratch with premium ingredients. The bakery employs, trains, and provides support services to people who live in poverty and with disabilities. The cakes made at Rubicon are highly sought out in the area.
- 95. Ashoka
With offices in eleven countries, Askoka invests in social entrepreneurs around the world. By providing grants to social change agents, assisting them with a living stipend and professional support, many individuals and groups are able to achieve their maximum social impact.
- 96. Fast Company social capitalists award
Fast Company awards organizations that use the tools from the corporate world to solve daunting social challenges.
- 97. HoodLinc Youth Organization
The primary objective of HoodLinc. is to improve life outcomes for multi-barriered youth living in Toronto Community Housing (TCH) communities by providing youth with recreational and social development opportunities. The core activities of the program mentorship, employment assistance and cultural activities (workshops providing youth with opportunities to engage in activities such as dance, steelpan drumming, etc.) HoodLinc promotes development of youth leadership, reduction in gun use and anti-social gang behaviour. This program mainly serves youth who live in the Empringham community and other neighbourhoods in Malvern.
- 98. Evergreen
Evergreen explores the relationship between nature, culture and community in urban spaces. Their mission is to bring communities and nature together for the benefit of both. They engage people in creating and sustaining healthy, dynamic outdoor spaces - in schools, communities and homes.
- 99. Banyan Tree Initiatives
Banyan Tree commits to educating at-risk youth about build cost effective sustainable communities. This organization is led by youth, for youth. The goal is not just about learning how to build sustainable housing, but also about learning how to build community and a strong sense of place.
- 100. Rural Studio
Founded in 1991 by the late architect Samuel Mockbee as part of Auburn University’s architecture program. The Rural Studio has built over 80 housing and civic architecture projects for the most impoverished in rural Alabama.
- 101. 54 East Project
The goal of this project is to heighten awareness of the various cultures and history of the Lawrence Avenue East area in Toronto, where the 54East bus route runs through. As part of the project, a number of exhibitions, public art, cultural products, and building retrofits are underway. The project is being headed by ThinkTankToronto.
- 102. Wal-Mart and Adam Werbach
Wal-Mart is on a mission to become a green company and be the retailer of affordable ecological products. To head this vision, Adam Werbach joined Wal-Mart last year to implement new sustainability practices in the company. Mr. Werbach was the youngest president of Sierra Club at age 23. The biggest private employer in the U.S. has developed a handful of eco-stores; it has retrofitted energy-efficient retrofits to their stores to maximize energy-efficiency; and has started to green their fleet of trucks to run on less-polluting fuels. It recently announced it manufacture its own Compact Fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
- 103. Natural Step (Karl Henrik-Robert)
Dr. Robert is well-known in Sweden as a leading cancer scientist and former head of the Karolinska Institute. He is the founder of The Natural Step, an international organization that sets up frameworks for companies to achieve sustainable business practices. The Natural Step uses a scientifically-proven method to advice corporations, governments, and organizations.
- 104. Ford Rouge Dearborn Truck Plant
Ford has opted to revitalized the Rouge Dearbon Plant. By combining emerging technologies with timeless understandings, Ford is cleaning storm water and renewing degraded soil using natural processes and bringing daylight and fresh air back into the factory. Of all the innovations coming out of the revitalization of the Ford Rouge Center, nothing has attracted more interest than the living roof now growing on top of the new Dearborn Truck Plant final assembly building. At 454,000 square feet, it will be the largest living roof in the world, effectively turning the roof into a 10.4-acre garden.
- 105. Ray Anderson and Interface
After founding Interface in 1973, Anderson and his company revolutionized the commercial floor covering industry by producing America’s first free-lay carpet tiles. Now, he has embarked on a mission to “be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits - by 2020 - and in doing so, to become restorative through the power of influence.”
- 106. NIAS DNA Bank
The NIAS DNA Bank collects the DNA of agricultural organisms, such as rice and fish, for scientific research. Most DNA provided by these banks is used for studies to attempt to develop more productive or more environmentally friendly agricultural species. Some DNA banks also store the DNA of rare or endangered species to ensure their survival.
- 107. Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Goodall is an UN Messenger of Peace, primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist. She is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania for 45 years, and for founding the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). With 19 offices around the world, JGI is widely recognized for innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa and a global youth program, Roots & Shoots, which currently has over 8,000 groups in 96 countries.
- 108. E.O. Wilson
Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his scientific humanist ideas concerned with religious, moral, and ethical matters. Wilson has studied the mass extinctions of the 20th century and their relationship to modern society, arguing strongly for an ecological approach.
- 109. World Resources Institute
The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an environmental think tank based in Washington, D.C. Their main objective is to develop and promote policies with the intention of protecting the Earth and improving people’s lives.
- 110. Craig Venter
Venter is a former president and founder of Celera Genomics, which became famous for running a parallel version of the Human Genome Project. DNA from 5 individuals was used by Celera to generate the sequence of the human genome; one of the five individuals used in this project was Venter. The Human Genome Project, which was composed of many groups from around the world, rendered the attempt to privatize the process unfeasible.
- 111. Car sharing – Zipcar and Auto Share
The car sharing concept is demonstrated in Toronto by Auto Share. Members receive 24 hour self-serve access to clean, modern cars at over 85+ locations across the city. Auto Share is dedicated to providing greater mobility and personal freedom to people living in Toronto.
As a continuation of a new model for automobile transportation, American initiative Zipcars put a fleet of cars on Canadian roads in June 2000. They strive to combine the promise of the Internet and online communities with reliable and convenient access to on-demand transportation.
- 112. Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF)
The objectives of TAF are to promote global climate stabilization by the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through education, scientific research and technology development and to provide support and funding for projects related to energy efficiency and global climate stabilization in co-operation with governments and NGO’s.
- 113. Bio-fuels
Also called agrofuel, bio-fuel can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass. Examples of first generation bio fuels include: vegetable oil, bio-diesel, bio-alcohols, butanol, bio-ethanol, bio-gas, bio-methanol and solid bio-fuels. Second generation bio-fuels under include: bio-hydrogen, bio-DME, mixed alcohols and HTU diesel.
- 114. Experimental Cars – Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster is a fully electric sports car, and is the first car to be produced by electric car firm Tesla Motors. Tesla claims prototypes have been able to accelerate from 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in under 4 seconds, and reach a top speed of over 130 mph (210 km/h). Additionally, the car will be able to travel 245 miles (322 km) on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery system.
Globalization and International Relation
- 115. Hyperborder
Work Worth Doing collaborated with LAR/Fernando Romero to research and design a book called Hyperborder. This study begins at the global level before narrowing down to the U.S.-Mexico border, the world’s most contrasting and dynamic border region in the world. The book presents a brief summary of the U.S.-Mexico border region’s recent history providing a much-needed context for a detailed portrait of the many unique issues the two countries face today. Using current economic, political, social, and environmental trends, Hyperborder presents future scenarios—both positive and negative—for the border at the midway mark of the twenty-first century.
- 116. Urban agriculture
Urban farming is practiced for income-earning or food-producing activities. It contributes to food security and food safety in two ways : first it increases the amount of food available to people living in cities, and second it allows fresh vegetables and fruits to be made available to urban consumers. A common and efficient form of urban agriculture is the bio-intensive method. Because it promotes energy-saving local food production, urban and peri-urban agriculture are sustainability practices.
- 117. Farm to Table initiative
The Farm to Table Initiative raises awareness of the environmental, social, and health benefits of sustainable agriculture and cuisine among food professionals, policymakers, and the general public. We believe that exposure to the concept of sustainable cuisine can inspire anyone engaging in the production, distribution, preparation or consumption of food.
- 118. Everdale Farm
Everdale operates as a not for profit education organization, its purpose is to teach sustainable living practices and operate an exemplary organic farm. The Everdale classroom is a fifty-acre property. It encompasses a working organic farm, models of sustainable technologies, specialists in the areas of straw bale construction, solar and wind systems, farming, and eco-landscaping.
- 119. 100-Mile Diet
The phrase 100-Mile Diet was coined in 2005 by James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith of Vancouver, British Columbia, to describe their one-year local eating experiment. By eating food grown or produced within 100 miles of their home, they confronted the statistic that food in North America typically travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.
- 120. Professions without borders
Doctors Without Borders
MSF was founded in 1971 as the first nongovernmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and bear witness publicly to the plight of the people it assists.
Architecture for Humanity’s Open Architecture Network
Architecture for Humanity is a charitable organization that seeks architectural solutions to humanitarian crisis and brings design services to communities in need. Cameron Sinclair, its founder is developing the world’s largest open-source database of sustainable buildings.
Engineers Without Borders – Canada
Engineers Without Borders is responding to an urgent need to help people in developing communities gain access to technologies. EWB believes that technology, when appropriately incorporated into each community’s social, cultural, economic and political context, can drive extraordinary change.
Designers Without Borders
Founded in Uganda in 2001, DWB delivers technology, instruction, and design consulting to schools and select non-profits in Africa.