Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wonderland Clothing That Melts In Water

The Wonderland Project has designed environmentally friendly dresses that melt in water.

The project is a collaboration between designer Helen Storey - professor at the London College of Fashion - and Professor Tony Ryan from the University of Sheffield. It is a collaboration between designers and scientists seeking a solution the problem of discarded clothing being sent to landfills. You can see more about Professor Storey's work at the Helen Storey Foundation.

They have created plastic dresses – made out of a similar material to washing capsules – that disappear on contact with water, with the aim of drawing attention to the problem of waste plastic. "It is about getting different disciplines together to solve a global problem," Professor Storey said.

The dresses went on a touring exhibition last year where the dresses were hung from scaffolds and lowered into gisnt fishbowls, dissolving in dramatic patterns as they submerged.

The Wonderland team has since been working on a project to design "catalytic clothing", which would use the surface area of clothing to harness pollutants that would then be neutralised by washing. "Clothes have a massive surface area, and this surface could be used to purify the air," Professor Storey said.

You can see here a short documentary on the Wonderland Sheffield exhibition from last year and work by the Helen Storey Foundation

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Earth Hour 2009

In case you haven't heard, 8.30p.m. on Saturday March 28th is Earth Hour. People and organisations all over the world are being encouraged to 'switch off' for 1 hour at that time. The target is 1 billion people, which will be like a vote to take decisive action on climate change. This global vote is particularly aimed at the meeting of world leaders in December, 2009 in Copenhagen to agree on a post-Kyoto policy for tackling climate change.

This has been called a global call to action for every individual, every business and every community to stand up and take control over the future of our planet.
For more information click on the banner at the bottom of this post. You can also watch this short video on Earth Hour.


Saturday, 21 March 2009

Water Tower Converted Into Green Student Housing In Denmark

A great example of of how to make use of abandoned and 'useless' buildings and structures in a sustainable way is this water tower in Jaegersberg, Denmark, which was converted into a student housing complex.

This structure was left unused until the architects Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter ApS won a competition to renovate it into a 10-storey multi-purpose building for student housing and a youth centre, which was completed in 2006. The top 5 floors are reserved for student housing and feature roomy and bright apartments with multi-faceted protrusions that extend the living space as well as draw more light into the apartments. Daylighting through the extensions brightens the interiors, providing a warm and sunny space with a view of the surrounding landscape.

The bottom floors are used for a youth centre that features several large multipurpose rooms. This section of the building has tall windows and coloured panels to make the space more playful and alive. Large garage-style doors on the very bottom floor can be raised to open the room to the outdoor playground.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Music For Mankind

I just wanted to say something about Music For Mankind in this post. Music For Mankind is a series of benefit concerts, the proceeds of which are donated to the UN World Food Program, as well as to other humanitarian organisations for disaster relief.

The performances feature Kelly Moore & Emerald Dreams, who play folk, pop, rock and contemporary Celtic music. Guitarist and composer Kelly, who had the idea of doing these concerts, started Music For Mankind in 2007 and since then has been able to feed over 31,000 people on a global, national, and local scale.

He is one of only three persons in the world with the title Community Delegate for the Friends of the World Food Program.

Kelly has also been invited, as a UN Delegate, to Peru, as part of a team from the Friends of the World Food Program to observe and take part in UN World Food Program field operations in the Andes Mountains for 5 days, March 15 to March 20. You can read about it here in his blog.

Below is a short video "Silently Hoping" introducing their work.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Roadmap To End Global Hunger

A coalition of more than 30 non-governmental organisations launched the "Roadmap to End Global Hunger" on February 24th at Capitol Hill. The Roadmap provides a description of specific activities, suggested funding levels and inter-governmental coordination needed to successfully alleviate global hunger.

If the steps are implemented, then world hunger could be cut by half by the year 2015. All that is needed is the political will.

The Roadmap calls for the following key elements:

  • Strengthened emergency response to better address short-term hunger needs.

  • More flexible safety nets to mitigate the impacts of shocks on vulnerable populations.

  • Improved nutrition programs to ensure that people in the developing world have access to the nourishment needed to lead healthy lives.

  • Expanded programs to enhance the productivity of smallholder farmers, which is critical in addressing chronic hunger.

Nine individuals, including two Members of Congress, spoke on behalf of the organisations committed to implementing the Roadmap to End Global Hunger.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)

  • Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.)

  • Ambassador Tony Hall

  • Carl Leonard, chairman, Alliance for Global Food Security

  • David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World

  • Ken Hackett, president, Catholic Relief Services

  • Karen Sendelback, president and CEO, Friends of the World Food Program

  • Nancy Lindborg, president, Mercy Corps

  • Charles MacCormack, president and CEO, Save the Children

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