These are the projects that make me feel that we are getting somewhere, in trying to help make the world a better place.

I don’t want to think that I’m posting like this just because I need something good to hold onto in this world right now.  I’d like to believe (or, at worst, embrace the illusion) that current culture, although also trapped in the frenzy of consumerism, is also trying to take steps towards using intelligence and creativity for peace, education and overall improvement of quality of life.

Forgive me, I just want to be part of something that moves in this direction.  I’m guessing I’m grasping at straws or gasping for air, or whatever metaphor might be appropriate in describing a feeling of frustrated and lost lack of hope.

(Sorry, that just seemed like a very very gloomy intro, for a list of noble and empowering things like…)

1.  The Halfsies project, a non-profit by Sydney Berry Ling and co-founders.

Featured in Co. Exist, Halfsies takes advantage of the oversized U.S. restaurant food portions, to help provide funding for organizations working to combat hunger.

I hope this works.  I really do.  I don’t want to be a cynic and be wary of the inner workings of this, but sadly, I am after realizing that their site doesn’t provide examples or updates on the project.

Besides that, though, this is a beautiful idea, that would be great to replicate.

2.  Make It Do, by Meg Hourihan.

Co. Exist writes that Hourihan thought of this project, not to buy anything new unless worn out or not usable anymore, to challenge “the central tenet of consumer culture: that acquiring things will make us happy”.

I’m a sissy when it comes to doing things like this.  I want to do my part in reducing consumption and consumerism, but I also can’t help it; I like going around malls and looking at clothes, and shoes, books and magazines.

I’d like to believe that I’m not some shopping-hungry person.  But I realize that if I took a picture of my stuff, it’d probably prove me wrong.  I’m a pack-rat.  I have a strong tendency to hoard – I still have make-up bottles of facial foundation that I bought back in 2005 and 2007.

I also have 4 pairs of sneakers (which I featured in previous posts), one in brown leather, two in grey and one in black and purple.  That’s aside from one pair of running shoes, 4 pairs of ballerina flats and three pairs of pumps for formal occasions.

The worst bit is how I impulse-buy magazines and notebooks.  And my love for branding adds to the call of the mall.

We’ll see what I have the discipline to do or how I can somehow streamline my stuff.

3.  I have always been a fan of TED.  I remember sitting at my first job, back in 2005, getting to see this Jennifer Lin improv feature, and in 2006, Majora Carter’s “Greening the Ghetto” talk.  Those videos made it to my portable hard drive back then, and are actually still there.  It was so inspiring to get to see good people, brilliant minds and awesome art skills coming together.

I liked the relative “intimacy” in those earlier videos, compared to the global juggernaut that it is now.  But that’s still a great thing, since that just means it now influences so much more people and countries.

And I love all of the offshoot conferences now, particularly TEDXTeen and TEDXYouthDay.  Because it’s amazing (and culturally interesting) to see officially “renowned” young people sharing their views, from a fresh vantage point of being on the earth for less than 2 decades.

That means they’re still hormonal and idealistic, and that’s the beauty and difference of it.  They aren’t as…tainted as cynicism and daily-grind responsibility.

4.  Design agencies that make money while trying to do some good.

I know, I’ve probably mentioned Ideo in every 5 posts on this blog.  But I am a fan of how they weave their business, their passion, skill and values altogether.

User-Centered Design like this inspires individual projects like Wicked Problems.

5.  Education for everyone! With access to a computer and an Internet connection.

450 Free Online Courses from Top Universities

The School of Life – Sermons

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