Archive for August, 2009
The “Impact Designers” are a dynamic duo of Earthkeeper heroes using their design skills to battle social and environmental problems. Sami Nerenberg and Nate Bastien first met at the Rhode Island School of Design where Nate was Sami’s star student, and now both are committed to sharing their professional passion and expertise to create positive impact.
While Sami has been managing a 6-week eco-design boot camp, Nate has been busy with his own project — designing environmentally-responsible products for marginalized communities and the organizations that serve them. First up, a low-cost, durable backpack designed for people experiencing homelessness. The need behind the design, in Nate’s own words:
“Because the shelters are only open at night, you are forced out on the streets between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm every day. And don’t expect the shelter to provide any storage for your belongings, the conditions can be so poor and degrading that some individuals actually prefer to sleep on the streets or in a tent. In both cases, homeless individuals, and all of their belongings, are exposed to the weather every day. Through these conversations I recognized a design opportunity – displaced individuals need a means to carry their belongings that is affordable, durable, and waterproof. And why tap into virgin materials when there are heaps of quality materials heading to the landfill right now.”
The result is a waterproof, durable, adjustable Street Pack, made from discarded materials and featuring a multi-functional emergency shelter / solar blanket. Nate field-tested the pack himself during his 3-day Boston street retreat, and now he’s looking for other volunteers. If you (or a friend) are currently living on the streets and are interested in testing one of the first production Street Packs, please let Nate know. Testers will receive a free prototype of the Street Pack, along with a disposable camera … in return, they’ll be asked to use it and provide feedback (via photos and testimonials) on the pack’s functionality and durability.
Stay tuned as Nate and Sami share their observations and experiences in designing for positive impact both here on Earthkeepers and on their pages at Changents.com.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Earthkeeper hero Andrea Bakacs has got a lot to say about environmental issues – and solutions – she’s witnessing in New York City. Photographer and photo editor by trade and Earthkeeper at heart, Andrea has spent the past several years putting her personal and professional passions together to raise environmental awareness.
According to one of Andrea’s latest blog entries, summer in the city is hot, wet and garbage-laden:
“Walk around New York City after some torrential downpours, like the ones we’ve been having more and more recently, and you’ll struggle to find clear swatches of concrete near sidewalks that aren’t drowning in water and floating debris. 1/4 inch of rain and runoff starts pouring into the Hudson via pipes underground. 2 inches of rain and the subways start flooding. Sewers are now totally backed up. Sewage, runoff, and the street garbage that floats in it is carried into the Hudson and the Atlantic. Beach anyone?”
Rest assured that Andrea’s photo adventures take her to cleaner, greener spots of New York as well, including community gardens and salt marshes – busting any myths that the great outdoors can’t be found within city limits.
You can find more of Andrea’s updates and photos on Changents.com – and we’ll continue to share her stories here on Earthkeepers, too.
Step off, G.I. Joe – the heroes have arrived.
We’ve already introduced you to a few of the 2009 Earthkeeper heroes … environmental educator and activist Christopher Swain, swimming 1,000 miles down the east coast in the name of cleaner water; eco-trendspotter Cate Trotter, inspiring others to live and work more sustainably by showcasing all that’s good and green in London; and Project Dirt, connecting eco-conscious Londoners with local greening projects via their website. By land, by sea and by internet, our heroes are working hard to raise environmental awareness and create Earthkeeping impact.
We’re excited to add to that roster:
Sami Nerenberg and Nate Bastien (a.k.a. the “Impact Designers”) — creating break-through, environmentally friendly design solutions for impoverished and low-income communities. As part of their Earthkeeping adventures, Nate is creating a ‘Street Pack’ for the homeless made entirely of scrap material, and Sami (one of the youngest teachers to run a program at the Rhode Island School of Design), is busy designing green “makeovers” for environmentally-challenged homes.
Eco-photographer Andrea Bakacs is harnessing the power of photography to deliver eco-messages, capturing on film amazing pockets of nature and a host of green projects across New York City. Ever seen Manhattan’s composting nuns? How about a farm (complete with goats and chickens) located on an east village rooftop? Andrea is creating a visual story of green NYC, one photo at a time.
Passionate, powerful, environmentally-committed individuals excited about sharing their talent for the good of the planet? We feel safer already.
You can follow the Earthkeeper heroes and read / hear / watch their adventures in real time on Changents.com.
“The clock is ticking and we’ve got a planet to save.”
- Jamie Henn, 350.org
Last year, we introduced Jamie Henn as “Agent 350” – one of our original Earthkeeper heroes and lead member of the 350.org team, working to create a global movement to solve the climate crisis by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (that’s the number leading scientists say is the safe “upper limit” if we’re to avoid critical climate destruction).
Jamie and 350.org are back and better than ever, calling for conscious, creative involvement from Earthkeepers everywhere on the International Day of Climate Action, October 24th. Think Earth Day with an edge … this is your opportunity to be part of thousands of simultaneous actions around the world, leveraging local effort for global change.
Here’s Jamie’s call to action, in his own words: