For the good

Good Light

 

Recognizing that cooking oil is one of the largest causes for water contamination, a Netherlands company devised a method for re-using the oil to make fragrant, lovely candles. The company collects spent oil, turning it into ready-made candles for purchase in 8 scents, and they also offer candle-making kits for the adventurous who want to try their hand at home.

 

Joy of Going Local

Knowledge of where our food comes from is becoming easier these days, along with sourcing ingredients as local as possible. Good recently shared a nice infographic in this vein, helping to illuminate ways to have a 100-mile Thanksgiving. But what if your meal was literally in your yard? A new video series, The Perennial Plate, shares the endearing story of a Japanese man doing just that with Udon noodles – he grows the wheat on his farm, then serves it up in delicious form at his neighboring restaurant. He puts love into the whole process, stating, “If happiness spreads from what I am doing, I am happy.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, with plenty of food on our tables, we’re remembering that food waste goes far beyond not cleaning your plate. Finding that nearly half of edible crops harvested get tossed or go to animals because they aren’t visually appealing enough, a catering company in Germany based its mission on making delicious food from the discards. With delightful dishes like Crooked Parsnip and Twisted Cucumber Soup, Culinary Misfits embraces the not-so-pretty, yet perfectly yummy veggies, illuminating the possibilities in what is otherwise discarded.

(Image of Maria Schoettler Calendar)

Multi-Cultural Community

A new kilometer-long park in Copenhagen’s most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhood reflects the population surrounding it, while interacting with and integrating its people as well. Architecture firm BIG worked with landscape architects Topotek1 and artist collective Superflex to conceive of a public space that gives the community what they asked for – via suggestion boxes, and public meetings throughout the process. The resulting design is a playful expanse that incorporates design elements from the various cultures – benches from Brazil, a Thai boxing ring, a slide from Chernobyl, and a set of swings from Iraq live harmoniously with Belgian benches, a Norwegian bike rack and a Moroccan fountain.

Teeth Tunes

No one likes opening up for the dentist – especially kids. A doctor in Indonesia found that children hate the dentist’s drill most of all, so he modified the tool to be more of a toy – looking more friendly, blinking lights, and most essential – playing music from an mp3 player rather than the typical drill buzz. Patients can even request songs to be played, both calming and allowing them to feel in control.

City Greening

How green is your city? A new infographic compares New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam and London – to show how these already “green” cities measure up. The stats are interesting to say the least. An incredible 93% of Stockholm residents walk, bike or use public transport to get to work; Vancouver gets 90% of its resources from renewable energy; and Copenhagen has legislation in place requiring all new buildings to have green roofs.

Working Well With Others

A good workplace environment is essential to creating our best work – so we’re not surprised that some great new co-working spaces are hitting their stride. Makeshift Society in San Francisco offers up an inviting space supporting collaborative and community projects. And The Hub in LA includes an on-site cafe, and events, lectures, and workshops on sustainability. And WeWork continues to expand throughout NYC, with locations also in SF and LA, offering an extensive network, in addition to lounges, conference rooms, and screening rooms.

Fish Phone Home

A phone booth is essentially just a big glass & metal box. Making it the perfect aquarium. Japanese art collective Kingyobu realized this, and have been upcycling unused photo booths into lovely aquariums all over Osaka. And in France, artists Benoit Deseille and Benedetto Bufalino did the same for the Lyon Light Festival, creating a glowing new home for exotic fish.

Fair Trade For Good

It’s Fair Trade Month – time to start supporting the companies that protect the environment, pay fair wages, and produce quality goods. Many companies have Fair Trade practices, and are now certified and supported by labeling as such. Learn more about what fair trade is, and what you can some companies are doing for it here.

Forward-Thinking Flint

Many may know Flint, Michigan for its former life as a GM town, and Michael Moore’s portrayal of it in his documentary Roger and Me. Now, the city of Flint is transforming – with art as a starting point to connect with, and improve upon, the city. Flint native and NY based journalist- curator Stephen Zacks has spearheaded The Flint Public Art Project a group organizing “workshops and temporary installations to inspire residents to reimagine the city and reclaim vacant and underutilized buildings”, encouraging collaborations among local residents and beyond. Currently, the organization has the community-gathering-hub the “Spacebuster” on loan from NYC’s Storefront for Art & Architecture.

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