Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dangers Plastic Bags


I thought that Elise and Mandie might find this site about the dangers of plastic bags interesting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NYT 10/23/09 Sweden Looks to Diet to Cut Global Waming

Sweden is trying a new strategy to cut global warming. They are including the carbon footprint of food products on the label to discourage consumers from purchasing items that are less environmentally friendly. This will steer consumers to purchase items that are readily produced in the area. Even vegetables are weighted on having a better or worse impact on the environment, in Sweden carrots are better than tomatoes and cucumbers because they don't have to be grown in a greenhouse. Europes stock of fish is depleted so despite health benefits they are discouraged from choosing fish. If food guidelines are followed Sweden could cut its emissions fom food production by 20 to 50 percent. It is somewhat difficult to accurately estimate the carbon footprint of foods because it depends on where they are being shipped since emissions generated by fertilizer, fuel for harvesting machinery, packaging, and transport are taken into account. I think this is a great idea because consumers may be guilted into choosing items with a smaller carbon footprint or at the least they will become more conscious of the effect products have on the environment.

NYT Shout if You're Against Spanking 10/22/09

This article discusses how parenting has at times traded the disciplinary method of spanking for yelling. Parents lose their cool in front of the kids and explode at them which can come off as rejection and can damage self-esteem. Parents may feel at a loss of what to do for discipline so they resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and get frustrated if those tools don't work. There aren't many studies on the effects of yelling but there are many studies on the negative effects of spanking. Psychologists and psychiatrists generally agree that yelling should be avoided so parents should try to be aware of what triggers yelling and attempt to prevent those situations. It must be hard for parents to discipline their kids if they really won't listen. There should really be more parenting classes that assist new parents with skills and advice on how to best handle situations because this knowledge isn't always passed down from parents to children.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Design Research and Critical Thinking

The problem/issue I am addressing is the lifecycle of products through recycling paper and making it into seed paper that can be planted. The product has an obvious life path that makes the consumers aware if only at an unconscious level about where the products they buy end up. I am still trying to determine which direction I want to take my project in so I might also want to incorporated ways that consumers can become involved in the Green movement. I orginally wanted to focus on informing consumers about their environmentally friendly options in order to tie in my considering alternatives idea. But the whole egg crate seed idea does tie that in as well in a way. I'm rambling...so back to design research.

One of the ideas discussed during brainstorming was post-its. http://www.3m.com/us/office/postit/products/prod_sustain.html?WT.mc_id=www.post-it.com%2Fsustainability Post-it currently has recycled post-it paper but I didn't see seed paper. I looked on-line to see if there was a how to make post-it adhesive and I couldn't find it since it's such a big secret but I did find a glue stick that is suppose to be restickable.

http://www.ecofriendlyideas.net/ Has information about why people should make environmentally friendly decisions and how to do so.

http://collegeuniversity.suite101.com/article.cfm/green_tips_for_college_students Has 10 easy tips about how college students can make a difference being green.

http://www.toolbarn.com/blog/post/view/identifier/tips-to-be-green/ 21 Environmentally friendly home improvement ideas

http://www.ecomall.com/ This website is a compilation of all things Green.

http://www.plantamemory.com/fbulb/flowbulb.html These eco boxes have flower bulbs for wedding favors.

http://www.cleanairgardening.com/basileggling.html plantable herb "egg" garden

http://www.cleanairgardening.com/kitchen-herb-seed-mat.html pre-seeded mat you just plant

I'm still trying to tie all my ideas together and figure out exactly what I plan to do but with the herb paper planting box I'm working out how the herb paper would get used as paper before planting because I don't want to be accused of creating a product that doesn't serve a purpose since the seeds don't need the paper to be planted.

The opposing view could say that the awareness issue is already being addressed online with resources of how to learn more.

I think that paper is used for writing and packaging so it needs to serve that purpose in whatever design I choose.

I could do post it notes with an eco friendly suggestions on the four edges of the pack of paper. I am a little concerned that if I made post-it notes that I would get criticized for not being as clean cut as a manufacturer.

To be continued?

Brainstorming 10/20/09

Loved Tai's jewelry idea. I think that the pieces are well thought out and that its a unique approach to a common object. I would like to see prototypes of different materials if he doesn't plan to just do cardboard. I think he has a good grasp on sustainability and function.

Bridget's leaf idea seemed to be taking off in a good direction after brainstorming. I like how she was inspired by her readings from Cradle to Cradle. I think that is what this class is all about, learning from what exists and what needs to exist in order to be more sustainable. I hope that she takes the project in a direction that deals with being sustainable. I get the whole philosophical view on taking nature for granted but I'm not totally sure that will be reflected in the product if the materials involved aren't environmentally friendly. Great idea to work with and I hope to see how the execution turns out tomorrow/today in class with prototypes or sketches.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NYT 10/19/09 From Foreclosure to the Car to a Shelter Bed

Growing numbers of Americans are losing houses to foreclosure and are ending up homeless having to sleep in cars, shelters and outside. The rise in homelessness is a reflection of the soring rates of unemployment. States are even designating areas for car camping due to the rise in homelessness. People may attempt to stay with family and friends on their extra beds or couches but hospitality rarely lasts long. Companies that offer to negotiate for lower payments from the lender are often pricey and without a job, bills add up fast. Homeless shelters have a 90-day limit. So in tough times there isn't always an easy solution. It's sad that there are so few programs that help people in tough financial situations and that there aren't enough jobs for hardworking people that need them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NYT 10/15/09 In Nuclear Cleanups, Not Even Rabbit Droppings Can Be Ignored

At the Hanford nuclear reservation, even rabbit droppings can trigger Geiger counters. Radioactive rabbit feces are found with detectors mounted on a helicopter and are tracked with GPS to be picked up for disposal as low level radioactive waste. The Hanford site produced 2/3s of the plutonium used in the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal from WW II until the 1980s. Rabbits were attracted to contaminants because they were in the form of salts. Rabbits aren't the only animals affected, mice, badgers and turtles also became carriers of radioactive particles. Technicians monitor rodents and waterfowl for radiation. Even tumbleweeds can absorb radioactive material because of long roots. It just shows how much of an impact nuclear weapons have on the environment and on wildlife in surrounding areas.

NYT 10/13/09 Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways

Coal-fired power plants release lots of toxins into the air if they aren't regulated and they are thought to cause respiratory diseases and acide rain. One of the solutions implimented at Allegheny Energy is the installation of scrubbers which clean the air emissions. This process sprays water and chemicals through the plant's chimneys which traps more than 150,000 tons of pollutants each year. However, the wastewater is dumped into the Monongahela River which people drink from. From one powerplant the wastewater doesn't affect the drinking water but if the number of scrubbers used around the nation increases it could pose more of a problem. There are currently no federal regulations dealing with the disposal of power plant discharges and laws such as the Clean Water Act don't mandate limits on the most dangerous chemicals. The goal is for power plants to actually clean up pollution not just moving it around. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to revise standards for water discharges from coal-fired plants. There are a lot of processes to go through in order to get new laws and there is the disagreements of safety of the people living around the area vs. cost of the power plants. Toxins from these plants seem to be extremely hazardous and so it seems like the cheapest tolerable solution shouldn't be the best answer.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NYT 10/12/09 It's a Fork, It's a Spoon, It's a...Weapon? School Suspends Boy, 6

In Newark, Del. a 6 year old boy was suspended for bringing a cub scout utensil to school that is a fork, knife and spoon. He was just excited about joining the cub scouts and wanted to use it at lunch. However, the zero tolerance policy that schools have adopted doesn't allow for discretion because it has the potential for bias so his punishment is 45 days at the districts reform school. The law only mentioned expulsion so a new law is being drafted to include suspension. What has our society come to? I mean seriously there has to been some room for judgement in these matters. Yeah it is sometimes difficult to discern the motive of the student but good kids that make slightly bad judgement calls shouldn't have the same punishment as a student with the intent to harm. I realize it is difficult to determine how to handle these situations but it is just sad that this is what has become of our society and our school systems.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creative Caffine/Brainstorming...any suggestions?

For my creative caffine I went to stores to see what Green products were available to the public and I found recycled paper paper towels, napkins, printer paper, toliet paper, recycled plastics pencils and pens, wooden pencils made from renewable wood resources, environmentally friendly glue, recycled paper sketch books, bamboo tools, soy wax candles with recycled paper labels, reusable water bottles, environmentally friendly cleaning products, solar lights, energy saving light bulbs, natural soaps, bamboo and organic cotton sheets, heating blankets that claim to save energy, LED lights that claim to save 88% energy, organic make up and eco make up tools.

I wanted to impliment one of the ideas from my creative alternative sticker to do my part in being green so I decided to make seed paper from my recycled paper. This fulfills both recycling and organic because I'm using oregano and chives seeds as well as flower seeds that people could use to start an organic herb garden. I looked at this website http://www.pioneerthinking.com/makingpaper.html to figure out how to make paper. Then I decided to see what products are made out of seed paper. http://www.botanicalpaperworks.com/ has pretty much every kind of paper product. http://flowerseedpaper.com/seeds/favors/flower_seed_boxes.html makes seed boxes as well as paper.

So I'm in the process of thinking about what to do with my seed paper that still deals with the issue of awareness. So far the only ideas I've come up with are to
1.make a journal that has a green idea or solution on each page or design the front cover with them.
2.I also considered making a things to do list and the first line would be a way to be green and the last line could be about considering alternatives.
3.I could cut leaf shapes out of the paper and hang them on a tree and have a sign asking people to write what they plan to do to contribute to the green movement then ask them to plant the paper and let their ideas grow with their flower or herb.
4.I could make the paper into folders.
5.I could make flyers about green alternatives with information about planting the paper.
6.I could make flyers advertising our event at the end of the year.
7.I could make coasters.
8.I could make bookmarks.
9.I could make a tree out of cardboard and seed paper with a message about how paper comes from trees and stats about trees and paper
10. I could make a basket out of paper
11.I could make a hot plate/coaster out of used/broken pens, pencils and yarn
12.still thinking....ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS???
This website sells vegetable ink which is more eco friendly than soy ink.
I'm debating whether I want to print on my paper so I'm researching where to buy ink if I do.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

MIO- I Love Design by Jaime Salm

MIO is the company created by Jaime Salm and his brother Isaac. The motto of their company is “beautiful, affordable, sustainable”. MIO was founded on the premise of creating environmentally friendly products as well as implementing socially progressive ideas.
The inspiration for MIO came from a college project that Jaime worked on. Jaime’s group decided to design bowls and chairs out of recycled paper. The idea for the project wasn’t just off the top of their heads. They did research on their intended audience and answered the questions of who they were marketing to, what kind of materials were they going to use and how were they going to produce the product. They looked up information on existing products like egg cartons that use a similar process. They also launched their product by having college students test it and selling it in a boutique to observe reactions. This was the point from which Jaime went from being a student to a consultant to an entrepreneur.
Jaime’s college project was the first stage from which he got an offer to design signs using the same process for Anthropology. The money Jaime earned from Anthropology helped him start his business. Jaime had never run a business before so the beginning of MIO was a learning experience for him. He had to design the identity of MIO by determining what the company was all about and he had to design products that fit within that identity. Jaime was initially unable to define what the products he was creating had in common. What he eventually determined was that they were all renewable, biodegradable and recyclable.
Jaime has drive, determination, imagination, and a good work ethic. For every product he creates he brainstorms ideas, he researches, he sketches, he makes numerous maquettes, and he keeps the goals of his company in mind. Every product he has every made has not been successful but every product he makes follows his company motto of beautiful, affordable and sustainable. He learns from flaws in his products, he listens to constructive criticism and he is always thinking ahead about what he would like to see changed in the world. Jaime has an innovative ability to access current situations and to design products that he hopes will help to change people’s way of thinking in order to impact the world in an environmentally friendly way.
The great thing about the products Jaime designs for MIO is that they keep consumers involved and thinking. Not only are the consumers buying sustainable items but they interact with it and they are confronted with how MIO products ask the consumers to send the products back to be recycled when they are ready to get rid of them. MIO products such as the Bendant lamp are shaped by the customer so the customer has interaction with it. Customers become informed about the lifecycle of products through information about the materials and how the product can be recycled. One of the goals for MIO’s products is to have active sustainable products that transform daily activities into acts of environmental conservations. There is a product, consumer, environment relationship. Jaime examines relationships between materials and the environment and the relationships between consumers and the products they want or need. It is through these processes that MIO has become a successful and environmentally responsible company.

NYT 10/8/09 The Art of the Repair

There is a group of artists working at te Proteus Gowanus gallery in Brooklyn on an art project called the Fixers Collective. David Mahfouda is the leader of this project that turned into a community group. It started as a year long exhibition called, "Mend" with the idea that people bring broken objects to be fixed or to help fix broken objects. Some of the broken items include clocks and umbrellas. The umbrellas are either fixed or the fabric gets turned into tote bags. Many people in the community have come together and continue to work on this project on thursday nights. They are working because they imagine that things can be different. I think this is an awesome idea and it is part of the whole reuse and recycle idea. Most people would throw broken objects like umbrellas away without ever considering the materials that could be salvaged. It is a new way of thinking. Thinking about the lifespan of objects. Thinking about how broken things aren't necessarily trash. Thinking about the possibilities and values of objects. One step closer to eliminating the out of sight out of mind mentality.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NYT 10/7/09 Parental Guidance on Web Video for Children

This article discusses the positive and negative effects of easily accessible video information on the internet that children can access. It provides learning tools but it also can expose children to things that aren't age appropriate. However, cautious parents can take advantage of YouTube filters and preference options. This helps users control what they can see in their searches and on the pages. The internet is still new and it takes time for people to adjust to the wealth of good and bad things available at a click of a button. It will take a while to discover what kids should and shouldn't search for but there are precautions that parents can take in order to prevent unwanted searches to appear when their children are surfing the web. At times in our society technology is ahead of social rules but in this case the issue of making videos on the web safe for children is already being addressed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

NYT 10/1/09 E.P.A. Proposes New Regulations on Plant Gases

The Obama administration is taking steps to make rules that will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and industrial facilities. Mr. Obama would like to see a comprehensive approach to regulating emissions and his goal is to pass a climate bill this year. The plan is focusing on only the biggest emitters from stationary sources. This is a vital step in slowing global warming and it really is a shame that it takes so long to get these laws into effect since it would be beneficial to have them implimented sooner. However, any improvement and move towards preserving the planet is better than none.

NYT 9/28/09 Dialing for Answers Where Web Can't Reach

This company, Question Box, helps developing countries like India and Uganda get their questions answered. The purpose of this operator based system is to make information more accessible in the hopes of helping the progression of developing countries. It works by calling the hot line from either a phone or a call box provided by the company in places where internet is accessible and then an operator searches the answer for the question on the internet at that moment or with the promise to call back within a few minutes. This is a great idea because a good portion of the areas using this service are in such report locations that they most likely will remain undeveloped and without internet for another decade. Knowledge should be available to everyone and it is awesome that this company is making it possible.