Posts Tagged ‘Impact Designers’

Creative Compassion: Impact Designers

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.

Heroes Among Us

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.