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London 2012

Last week I went to a fabulous event, put on by The School of Research and my friend Charlie Tims. For the past year, Charlie has been working on a project with A New Direction’s Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth programme (Biglop), which brings together artists and cultural organisations with schools across London to explore the London Olympics and Paralympic Games.

The aim of the project was to look at what the Olympics means to young people in London and to use creativity to explore historical, cultural, social and economic value of their city. Here’s a lovely video that shows some of the kids’ findings.

I think this programme is ace. (I even asked Charlie if I could have his job. He said no). With all of the Olympic ticketing scheme drama, huge commercial sponsorship deals, doping athletes and massive infrastructure overhauls in host cities, the Olympics feels really far removed from the community, especially young people. What the Biglop is trying to do is engage with kids to inspire them to be creative, curious and involved in the games and the city in which they live.

Another really cool part of the night was learning about the Olympic truce. The Olympic Trucecalls upon humanity to lay down its weapons and work towards building the foundations of peace, mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation”.  It dates back to the 9th century BC, in Ancient Greece and asks for people around the world to be free to participate and travel to and from the Olympics in peace. Sadly this truce hasn’t been observed since 1993.

Embarrassingly I didn’t know such truce existed. The first I heard of it was via Lord Bates on a pre-recorded Skype call at the event.

Lord Bates is a man who believes so deeply in the need for the truce to be honoured that he is walking from Athens all the way back to London. He’s walking 3,000 miles in order to gain support from other world leaders and the public to honour the truce once again. Crazy inspiring.

I’ve never lived in an Olympic host city until now. I came quite close for the Vancouver winter games but left just as the construction was beginning. Now with London 2012 only one year away I hope for two things:

1. The Olympic Truce is honoured (You can show your support here).

2. That there will be loads of opportunities for young people – and anyone – to get involved and aspire to be good at something.

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The New Kid on the Block

Last night saw the launch of the Andor Bureau, a new cafe and gallery space on Mare street, just beside the canal. Replacing Eddie’s cafe, the greasy spoon that used to occupy the space, Andor is really a nice addition to the area.

What should one expect from Andor Bureau? An array of different art exhibitions, film screenings and events, in addition to locally sourced food, Mommouth coffee and lovely homemade cakes.

Also, I hear the chef they have lined up is pretty good to. He might just be my other half. Ignore the bias and go check it out for yourself. 3 Mare Street, E8 4RP.

UPDATE: Timeout did a little review on the cafe. You can read it here.

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A Little Gem In The Heart Of Dalston

Last week I went to the Print House to meet Les, from East London Food Access project (a fabulous organisation) and have a chat about work related things. I spent waaaaaay to much time there, one, because Les and I couldn’t’ stop talking and two, because the building is such an exceptional place.

Loveliness in the stairwells …

and a place to chill out on the roof.

Solar panels on the roof …

and the energy meters monitoring and displaying usage.

Upon leaving I found out that the space, known as Dalston Roof Park and run by Bootstrap Company has loads of events on including vintage clothing sales, gigs and parties. And flexible working spaces too!

If you’re ever in the Dalston area, poke your head in. It’s a really nice space.

 

 

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Environment Uncategorized

World Water Day 2011

Today is World Water Day. For the 17th year running, it’s all about raising awareness of the importance of water and seeking out new ways of making sure it’s accessible and protected as a resource.

Enjoy this beautiful video made by Pilgrim Films for World Water Day. Watch it and pass it on.

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Fashion Uncategorized

Ethical Fashion in the Age of Austerity

Last night, I popped into the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green to check out an event hosted by Papered Palour, called “Ethical Fashion in the Age of Austerity. The evening was full of live workshops, great speakers, loads of activities and plenty of craft stalls. Such a brilliant night.

Making and mending are increasingly growing as a trend in the fashion and consumer goods world. Instead of buying cheap things, there’s a move towards buying sustainable, long lasting, adaptable and mendable things. Things that don’t cost you or the earth.

Make and mend are two words that have a lot of meaning to me and my family. Growing up my mum made everything. I’m talking about EVERYTHING. Christmas presents, toys, clothing, curtains, sometime curtains turned into clothing (yes, just like in the Sound of Music). My sister on the other hand, inherited the ‘fixit’ gene, and whilst my mum can make anything, my sister can fix anything. She was only 2 years old when she figured out single-handedly how to removed the bathroom door from its hinges. Terrifying.

And then there’s me. I think I’m more of a maker. And, last night at the Museum of Childhood, I was reminded of the satisfaction and pride you feel when you make something. And I decided that I’m going to continue to make things on a regular basis from now on.

Check out this wallet I made from an old apple juice tetra pack, thanks to instructions from The Otesha Project UK.

Then a few folds later:

And then …

An adorable, sustainable, handmade wallet.

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Environment Uncategorized

Cuddle

This is *probably* one of my all-time favourite Green Thing videos. It’s beautiful to watch and the message is spot on. Cuddle someone you love. It’s nice, makes you happy and most importantly, it’s a great way to stay warm. I’d pick human heat over central heating any day!

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Brands Design Uncategorized

Spotted on the High Road

Ah, how funny branding can be. It’s all in the name. Here are a few jems I spotted while out and about last week.

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Environment Uncategorized

Born to Walk

Yet another lovely piece of walking inspiration from Do The Green Thing. Born to Walk is all about our lives spent walking. One third of our life is spent walking. We walk over 3000 steps per day. Watch this video and get out walking – we were born to walk through life.

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Animals and Advertising

A while ago, I read a fascinating article in the Guardian, “Payback time for Tigers and Polar Bears” by Ed Gillespie. Ed explores the idea of advertisers paying for imagery rights when using animals and other parts of the natural world to promote a commercial product. The idea is novel, and also timely as we exit 2010, the International Year of Biodiviersity. This is his big idea:

“Image usage rights for nature. Wildlife photographers and film-makers would be exempt, but every business that wishes to use a plant, animal or even a landscape to promote a commercial product or service would have to obtain the equivalent of a model release form and pay a licence fee to an international agency in order to do so. The scheme could be overseen by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) or the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the funds either put towards the protection of the species or habitat concerned, or focused on threatened biodiversity hotspots.”

I think it’s a fantastic idea. The more I thought about the number of adverts that use the natural world to sell something, it’s pretty high – and the connection made between the environment and the product being sold rarely correlates (but I guess that’s the nature of the beast). There are also a lot of brands whose identity and name depend on a species, like Gorilla Glass or Panda Cheese. It makes sense for commercial products to contribute financially to preserving the natural world, least not because places are profiting from using the imagery to sell something, but more so because many of the species and landscapes bring used are fading out. As climate change threatens the existence of polar bears, they remain one of the most widely used animals in advertising. I wonder what there are more of: adverts that use polar bears or actual polar bears?

After a bit of time looking around (not actually much as there are so many!) here is a random sampling of some particularly *special* ads.

(Advert for Corning’s Gorilla Glass)

(Polar Bears for Nissan Leaf)

(Elephants for Mastercard)

(Easter Island for EDF)

(Gorillas for Cadbury)

Last but not least, this is perhaps one of my favourites because it’s so ridculous.

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Get on the Bus Already!

This is one of those simple, but genius ideas that the world needs more of. The ‘Do Good Bus‘ is a service that encourages people to get on a bus and do good. The best part about it? Where people are going, and what they’ll get up to is always a secret.

People can sign up to get on the bus where they’re wined and dined and then they end up somewhere, doing something good. Activities range from volunteering in a homeless shelter, helping to build a school, guerrilla gardening and much more. The beauty is that you never know what you’re going to do, you just know that you’re being helpful to people in a community.