It's big ideas that change the world... but a good idea is only a good idea if you do something with it. That's a message for all of us who want to change the world. See me, Michael Norton, in action promoting this message at the first meet up of the Better World MeetUp group; watch the video at http://vimeo.com/29183871
If I ran the world
If I ran the world, I would…..
What would you do? Just type it in. Do. Organise. Create. Design. Help. Fund. Produce. Whatever it is that you want to do to help make the world better. You are then presented with a list of simple do-able microactions to get you started, and links to others who broadly share your ideas.
“IfWeRanTheWorld is a real-world experiment in tapping good intentions and turning them into tangible, do-able microactions that anyone and everyone can help you to do. All of us can achieve more than one of us, and everything starts with a microaction.”
100 Things to do
With the long school summer holidays approaching, a teacher in the UK decided to set a challenge for her class. She asked her students to make a To Do List of 100 things that they would do during the holidays… to expand their horizons, to do the things that they had always wanted to do but never got around to doing, to learn new skills or gain new experiences, perhaps even to enjoy and make those around them proud and happy.
100 Things is a lot of things, and a school holiday of around 45 days is not that much time. But it’s a challenge. Why don't you create your own 100 Things List, and set yourself a year in which to do everything on your list? Keep a diary to monitor your progress ad to reflect on your experiences.
Make your list both fun and challenging. Use it to stretch yourself and extend your experience. Do things for others as well as for yourself. Your next year could just be a whole lot more fun than you had ever imagined!
100 Thing Challenge
The goal of The 100 Thing Challenge is to break free from the confining habits of American-style consumerism. A lot of people around the world feel “stuck in stuff”. They feel like their closets and garages are too full of things that don’t really make their lives much better. But how to get unstuck? This is Dave Bruno’s idea. We must:
Reduce (to get rid of some of your stuff)
Refuse (to get more new stuff)
Rejigger (to rebalance your priorities)
I totally believe that living without an abundance of personal possessions for an extended period of time is the first step we ought to take in order to realize that we don’t need ever-more stuff.
Give up 100 things in your life. If you do this – even if you just give up your stuff for a while –I am sure you’ll never go back. You’ll spend the rest of your life creating a more valuable life, instead of wasting your money and time on stuff. You will be glad. And best of all, the people around you will be blessed by your efforts to prioritize more meaningful pursuits." http://guynameddave.com
Buy the book, from Amazon in hard copy or Kindle editions: “The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul”.
Dancing with Hugo Boss
Heather Leach is a documentary film director making films based in London. She was living life to the full, when she was diagnosed with cancer. Within four days of being told of her illness, this vibrant workaholic had decided what to do. She made a Life To Do list of things that she had always wanted to do, and then picked up her camera and started making a film about it in order to show people what it’s like to live with cancer and to battle with the fear of a life being cut short. Some of the things on Heather’s list were:
• To get Damien Hirst to make her an art piece.
• To find love.
• To go on a totally unexpected journey
• To be tattooed
• To learn to line dance
• To get Hugo Boss to make her an amazing pair of boots that she had seen in a magazine just before her diagnosis, which she could line dance in.
Dancing with Hugo Boss, Heather’s film, uses footage recorded over 3 years in Rochdale, London, Italy, France and Canada, so she can share her personal journey in battling cancer alongside her personal journey in completing her To Do list.
“Ultimately, this is a life affirming film with universal appeal. It is Heather's witty approach and her ability to see her experience as a humorous life-enhancing journey that sets her apart from the rest, allowing audiences the opportunity to consider the bigger picture and question, how much we really engage in living our lives.” www.gingerarmy.co.uk
What would be your Life To Do List? Think of five things that you really really want to do. Life is quite short, and you only have one life, so it’s up to you to actually do them. If you don’t, then your life will be just that little bit less fulfilled.
Looking good after mastectomy
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. 1 in 8 women in the UK develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Nearly 48,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.
Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone treatment and biological – or targeted – treatment. Most people have a combination of these. Mastectomy, the removal of a breast, causes disfigurement. But there is no reason not to look good. A wide range of mastectomy underwear is available.
Camille set up Pink Ribbon Lingerie because of her mother’s experiences of buying lingerie following her breast cancer surgery: “Before I had my mastectomy 16 years ago, there were no pretty bras for anyone over a size 38. I was 48. All I wanted was to wear was pretty, feminine bras. Back then, many bras were made of nylon and only available in Black, White and Beige and together with the silicone prosthesis they were uncomfortable especially in the heat. Things have improved greatly over the years, but it is still difficult to find good mastectomy products.”
Camille wanted to do something about it. She carried out market research and completed a business plan, but found it hard to get financial backing to start her business and nearly gave up on the idea. But two years ago she read "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, which is about your life journey and not putting things off in your life. She then knew what she needed to do. She told her manager that she wanted to leave her job, trained as a bra fitter, but still struggled to get funding.
Camille and her mother decided together to invest their personal savings in order to start Pink Ribbon Lingerie. They wanted Pink Ribbon to become the perfect destination for women post surgery. All products are tested for comfort and quality before being stocked. And they give something back. 10% of sales income is donated to Breast Cancer charities. On-line customers are given a choice of 3 charities, We currently Bosom Buds of Scotland, Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre and Look Good Feel Better. Customers purchasing via mail order have their donation split equally between the 3 charities.
Pink Ribbon Lingerie: www.pinkribbonlingerie.co.uk
Bosom Buds of Scotland: www.bosombudsofscotland.org
Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre: www.maggiescentres.org
Look Good Feel Better: www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
Spread the word, and click and donate at: www.thebreastcancersite.com
I’ve been turning down quite a few speaking invitations recently. Not because I’m too busy. Not because the organisation or person inviting me didn’t seem interesting. Just because I didn’t feel that I was the right person.
I left school fifteen years ago and have been incredibly lucky to have had some amazing adventures since then.
But let’s get real. I’ve not banked lots of money. I’ve not built large and successful companies. I can show you dozens of people who have done both, and encourage you to invite them to share their stories.
If I’m honest, I’ve managed to a pick up a very small number of clues, and am still working the rest of it out.
1. Get some sleep.
2. Get some exercise.
3. Get some peace and quiet.
4. Write to people out of the blue and ask them if you can come and see them.
5. Write some goals down.
6. Resend emails to busy people.
7. Read some business books.
8. Try to be nice to people
9. Try to be helpful.
Most of all, I have been lucky to meet some phenomenal people. Ask me to give a talk about building an effective network. That’s something I feel confident sharing.
Oli founded the phenomenally successful Make your Mark with a Tenner project, where young people were given a £10 note and told to multiply the amount throguh their enterprise. This has now been rebranded as Tenner Tycoon: www.enterpriseuk.org
If you are interested in philanthropy and fundraising, then read Lucy Bernholtz’s blog, Philanthropy 2173 on the “Business of Giving”, with a US perspective and highlighting and analyzing lots of new ideas in giving. http://philanthropy.blogspot.com
Also, sign up to www.sofii.org for bright fundraising ideas that have actually worked.
Read the small print…. and be Mobile Wise
Blackberry and Apple don’t want you to read it, so they print it really really small….
There is a substantial body of evidence that mobile phone use can cause damage to your health. MobileWise was formed to press the industry and the government to protect young people against the risks. Make sure that children adopt the Safe Mobile Code.
Go to www.saveyourhead.co.uk to find out more about the campaign to get mobile phone companies to do better than just use small print to tell people about the health risks of mobile phones, especially to children. Find out more about the MobileWise campaign at www.mobilewise.org
What would Jesus buy?
Christmas is coming, and the geese are getting fat…. But also your feet are getting itchy to go out and buy, buy, buy… presents for all your family and good friends.
The Reverend Billy (alias of performance artist, Bill Talen) has been campaigning against the consumer society and the rise and rise of global chains such as Starbucks for years through his “Church of Stop Shopping”, next renamed the “Church of Life After Shopping” and now known as The “Church of Earthalujah”. www.revbilly.com
Watch his film "What Would Jesus Buy?”. Overshopping is driving first world debt and contributing enormously to climate changing. So stopping shopping is good for the planet as well as for your bank balance. You'll find Rev Billy performing in all sorts of locations, including big bank lobbies, and backed by “The irrepressible Stop Shopping Gospel Choir”.
So stop shopping this Christmas, and give love and things that you have made or services you can offer or even a Good Gift as a present. Tune in to find out what Jesus would buy at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1056487665981560376
Buy a Good Gift at www.goodgifts.org
Wanna Start A Commune?
Exploring the theme of collaborative consumption and sharing resources, have you ever thought about starting a commune?
According to Wikipedia, a commune is simply “a community that shares resources”. You can start one today, right where you are (in your apartment building, dorm, office or cul-de-sac).
You can use the resource-sharing tools on the wannastartacommune website for all these sharing ideas:
A Childcare Coop
A Buying club
Free boxes (see below)
Seed Swap clubs
A lot more ideas for communal swapping are coming soon. The website provides links to articles, how-to information and websites of organisations promoting the idea. http://wannastartacommune.com
I live in a flat with no garden, I would love a place to grow some veg and have somewhere to grow. Anywhere will do. I hope someone can help me. Thanks.http://www.landshare.net
I wish to grow a variety of veg spuds cabbage carrots cauliflower you get the picture plus A few fruit trees And when I retire I want to have some chickens for eggs meat.
I have a good sized back garden where I have created raised beds with good soil, but I wouldn’t know how to start growing stuff, so if someone wants to use it that is fine by me. No cost. I also have a large unused greenhouse. I have a garden pond that produces good fertile water and soil is very good I am told. The garden is equipped with hosepipes, etc.
Landshare links people with gardens or other land that can be used for growing with people who want to grow but who don’t have any land to do this.
Help can be much more than offering advice on growing. It can be looking after someone’s plot while they’re away, or tips on how to set up a community scheme. You could offer yourself as a Landshare Veg Doctor – someone with experience to share. You don’t need to be a professional.
You can do all of this on the Landshare website. “It began with the tiny seed of an idea – and it’s growing and growing.” www.landshare.net
Crop Mobbing or Flash Farming
Every Sunday morning, a group of metro Atlanta residents who call themselves Crop Mob drives to a different small farm in North Georgia to lend a hand. These people finish the day tired, covered in dirt and sometimes sunburned, but with smiles on their faces.
A Crop Mob is primarily a group of young, landless, and wannabe farmers who come together to get their hands dirty by lending a hand to farmers and vegetable growers.
A Crop Mob is also a group of experienced farmers and gardeners who are willing to share their knowledge with their peers and the next generation of agrarians.
Any Crop Mobber can call a Crop Mob to work together, share a meal, play, talk, and make music. No money is exchanged. “This is the stuff that communities are made of.” http://cropmob.org
How to start a Crop Mob: http://shareable.net/blog/how-to-start-a-crop-mob
Neighbourhood Work Groups
My house needs a lot of work, but I just don’t have the time or skills. Is sharing work with neighbours a solution? How can I do that?
I grew up a city girl, believing that opening the phone book was the way to fix anything that went wrong with the house or the car. I’m not exactly what you would call handy. The idea of collaborating with neighbors to work on home projects would never have occurred to my family. Barnraising, we assumed, was just for barns.
But thanks to a sharing project with my neighbours, I’ve discovered that there is room and a role for someone like me in home improvement projects. And forming a neighborhood work group fosters more connections in your neighborhood, not to mention finally repair those broken steps or rototill the back yard.
Once a month during the warm season, my partner and I report for duty at one of six different neighborhood homes to help build a fence, paint a house, terrace a garden, put in a mosaic path, or what have you—with some eating and chatting thrown in. One month each year, the neighbors come to our house to work on our project. It’s great fun, and over the past four years we’ve saved thousands of dollars having our neighbors paint our house, fix the roof of our backyard patio, and put in retaining walls in the front garden.
Here is some advice on how to operate a Neighbourhood Work Group:
• One project per month, rotating households in an agreed-upon order.
• A regular date, like the third Sunday of the month, with clear start and end times, so people can plan their days around the project. In general, starting around 9 and finishing in the early to mid-afternoon, with a break for lunch, works well.
• Exchange email addresses and phone numbers and agree on how communication will happen.
• The project household is responsible for planning the project and gathering all the necessary materials and for letting the other group members know what’s planned and what tools are needed. They should also provide coffee, a simple lunch and plenty of water.
• Establish a schedule for the whole year. With six households in a group, it can run from April to October doing work at one household per month over the whole of the summer.
• Make an agreement about participation. A good rule would be that at least one person from each household must show up on each work day in order to qualify to have work done on their house.
• Make an agreement about what happens if someone is unready to have the work done on the day that has been allocated to them. They could try to swap with someone else, or forfeit their turn to have work dome. Or what to do if someone has an emergency requiring work to be done urgently.
How to start a Neighbourhood Work Group: http://shareable.net/blog/how-to-start-a-neighborhood-work-group
For more than thirty years, Bolinas, California has been a place where locals have dropped off items they no longer needed or wanted on the sidewalk – clothing, books, appliances, bicycles, and the like – and other locals have stopped by to browse, in hope of emerging with something useful to them.
The original Bolinas Free Box was established almost by accident in 1974. Late one night as they were hurriedly preparing to move out of Bolinas, a young couple dumped a dozen or so large cardboard boxes filled with books, clothes etc. into the unlocked side vestibule of the Bolinas Community Center. When morning came, it was apparent to passers-by that there were some nice things in this soon-messy load of miscellaneous stuff.
A local musician named Dharma Badger took it upon himself to organize everything neatly, and make small signs denoting where each kind of item should be placed: trousers, shirts, skirts, shoes, books, and so on. By the end of the first day, several other local citizens had deposited bags and boxes of their own unneeded items, which other locals quickly came and picked through, and thus the Free Box was inaugurated in Bolinas.
The Free Box in Isle Vista, California has this helpful sign attached to it: Take Something Great... Leave Something Great! Please keep the free box and surrounding area clean and orderly, with nothing left on the ground. Please leave only items small enough to fit in the box. Please do not leave messy or sharp items, or items that may spill or break (brushes, etc..). Please do not leave food. Please distribute newly arriving goodies evenly among the shelves so everyone gets a chance. Please take only what you need. Professional resellers, please look elsewhere for items to resell. Please keep your visits short. Please note: the free box is a community resource that each of us has some responsibility for and each of us can benefit from. Thanks for your help. Together we can make the free box work for everyone. Be Nice, Have Fun.
See also The Diggers in New York who have a free shop: www.diggers.org/free_store1.htm and for the free shops movement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_store
The Really Really Free Market: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Really_Really_Free_Market