A game based on the story Half the Sky puts players into a perspective usually different than their own: a young girl in the developing world. It teaches young gamers in the developed world empathy and what it’s like to be a young girl trying to make a living in the majority world. It’s always nice to see games being used to make the world a little better.
If you succeed at certain tasks, the game triggers donations through partner charities. For example, the game has donated a quarter-million books. Players can also use real money to purchase virtual items (Read more…)
Comedy troupe Uncle Mom want you to cut the plastic that holds six packs. There are many reasons why it’s important to cut six pack rings, but for the real reason watch the video.
Thanks to Evan!
I’m in Austin right now attending (and presenting) at the Captivate Conference and this city has come to impress me. While I’m at that conference about digital design there is another conference happening in Austin that readers of this site may enjoy: SXSW Eco. It’s an event focused on making the world a better place!
SXSW Eco is a conference about solutions – solutions that bring new thinking to today’s challenges and inspire meaningful progress towards a sustainable and prosperous future. This year over 250 speakers will participate in more than 100 sessions that encourage cross-sector collaboration between professionals from (Read more…)
Previously on Things Are Good we’ve seen Canadians concerned about democracy mobilize to ensure that our political leaders make informed decisions. After a streak of attacks on knowledge, scientists and non-scientists alike are rallying in cities throughout Canada this coming Monday. If you’re in Canada you should join the rallies organized by Evidence for Democracy.
Here’s all the relevant information:
A year after gathering on Parliament Hill to mourn the ‘Death of Evidence’, scientists and their supporters are back. On September 16th, they will rally in Toronto and across the country to highlight the critical need to maintain evidence-based decision-making (Read more…)
The band YACHT has gone back to the glory days of Dylan and the like by writing a protest song. The song is about the NSA illegal spying the USA, which should bother pretty much anyone who cares about privacy. Until now, there was no good news to mention about the questionable actions revealed by Edward Snowden so hat tip to YACHT for singing what we all think.
“We claim full citizenship in the nation of Internet,” Evans told me over email, by way of explanation. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for the existence of (Read more…)
There are so many small things we can do throughout our day that can make the world a better place. Sometimes it may seem like there are so many we can’t focus on which activity to accomplish. Luck for us there is a website that lists 50 small ways to make a large impact – just choose one and go for it!
Some of the suggestions are common sense, so it should be easy to incorporate into your everyday, just look at #25:
25. BATCH ERRANDS Feel like you spend your whole week trying to catch up with the errands? (Read more…)
Colorado has a new permaculture and open sourced initiative taking shape and it look promising. The team is adding open source technology from hardware and software to a sustainable agriculture setup. On top of all of that they are also developing an open source business model!
This is an exciting project with the ultimate goal of having their setup to be replicated locally elsewhere.
“Open Tech Forever (OTF) is dedicated to developing new and improved, open source versions of modern and cutting-edge technologies. In the open source spirit, we create free, online, high quality educational resources demonstrating how to understand, (Read more…)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder that impacts a person’s motor skills and often PD can impact mental functions. PD is in no way a good thing and that’s why I’m one of many people who are fundraising for research. The Michael J. Fox Foundation funds research into PD for ways to find a cure and help those who are living with it. They have already helped to fund over 60 clinical trails.
To help fundraise for this research I’m running in the Toronto Waterfront race and hoping that readers of good news can help make more good news (Read more…)
GiveDirectly is a charity that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. There isn’t anything complicated about the idea: it’s just straight up handing out cash with no deliverables. The NPR recently investigated the operation.
Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein went to Kenya to see the work of a charity called GiveDirectly in action. Instead of funding schools or wells or livestock, GiveDirectly has decided to just give money directly to the poor people who need it, and let them decide how to spend it. David and Jacob explain whether this method of charity works, and (Read more…)
Australian research has led to the conclusion that bicycle commuters are great for the economy! Every time a commuter chooses to ride a bicycle instead of a car or public transportation the economy benefits.
With the obviousness of health benefits from riding a bicycle and the ever-increasing amount of economic research that supports bicycle infrastructure the future of smart transit planning is just around the corner.
The economy benefits by more than $21 every time a person cycles 20 minutes to work and back and $8.50 each time a person walks 20 minutes to and from work, according to (Read more…)
The economic stupidity of a few years back is still causing problems and the fact that the wrongdoers got bailouts for their transgressions hasn’t helped. Even years later economies haven’t recovered and the class divisions within multiple societies have widened. It’s time for an alternative to this current form of (rather bizarre) “hyper capitalism”.
This is where The B Team is looking to make a difference. It’s a new organization focused on researching and promoting a new form of economic thinking that doesn’t ignore the environment and people. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise and The B Team seems to (Read more…)
Evidence for Democracy is a new organization in Canada that wants government policy to based on reality. The federal Canadian Conservative government (which openly hates the environment) continually cuts finding to scientific research that can lead to a better understanding of the world around us. The constant cutbacks and denials of actual science pushed some scientists too far: now they are calling for the government to openly cite scientific research to back up their policy.
“I watched as the professors realized that they are the ones that have to stand up for science,” Dr. Gibbs said, “that they can’t expect (Read more…)
Animal cruelty sadly still exists and we can all make a difference in the suffering of domesticated animals by changing our shopping habits. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has launched an education campaign to get people aware of the dangers of factory-farming hens while celebrating the benefits of letting the animals roam free.
Cage-free is healthier for the chickens:
There is overwhelming scientific evidence to demonstrate that caged hens have a greater chance of being infected by Salmonella; which is among the most common causes of food-related hospitalization and deaths in the US and Canada. (Read more…)
Alex Laskey wants to lower people’s energy consumption by using tricks and practices from the world of behavioural science. It sounds great and would be great to see implemented, check out his TED talk for more:
I’m one of those people that can’t handle unrelenting heat and so I’m always looking for ways to stay cool. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like air conditioning (for reasons beyond the obvious power consumption), as a result I love tips on how to make your home cooler in easy ways.
At Treehugger they have a list of 10 ways to alleviate the need for AC. Some require a few years to take effect (like growing a shade tree) while others can happen right away like opening the windows.
The windows on your home are no just (Read more…)
It’s well known that meat production has a large carbon footprint. A diet that includes meat requires more land than a plant based diet so even decreasing the amount of meat one eats can be a good thing. Some fans of vegetarian diets have created the Vegetarian Calculator that lets people know how good their diet is.
Use this form to calculate the impact you have made by being a vegetarian. Vegetarians use less resources like water, food, oil, contribute less CO2 to the atmosphere, and animals are not killed for their consumption.
Raising livestock contribute more to global warming (Read more…)
Thanks to the brave efforts from Edward Snowden we are now aware of something long suspected: that the USA (and many other nations including Canada) are reading our communications. The program is called PRISM and it monitors your communication. Basically, if you connect to the internet or use a mobile phone you can, and may already, be tracked by various entities.
This shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. With the pervasiveness of the internet it may seem like an overwhelming task to not be monitored. PRISM Break is a guide to open source and secure technology that you can easily implement (Read more…)
By now most people have heard what a carbon footprint is, but have you heard about your gloabl ‘handprint‘? The notion is that it’s the opposite of a negative counter of your impacts on the planet. Handprints are recorded online or on your phone as you make little (or big) improvements to the world around you.
You can create a handprint in three ways. First, you simply cut your footprint: say, by cycling to work, rather than driving. Second, you can champion an action suggested on the platform (carpooling, say). Or, third, you can come up with a (Read more…)
Ever wanted to have really fresh air in your place? This TED Talk by Kamal Meattle provides some insight into which plants you should have in your home and what element the clean in the air.
I’m going to try this out in my home.
80,000 Hours is a student run organization at Oxford University that helps people find a job or career in something that makes the world better. This is great for so many obvious reasons – but the one I love the most is that it shows how philosophy can be applied in your life everyday.
Do you want to spend 8 (or more) hours a day just earning a couple dollars when you can get paid to make the planet, people, and the world better?
According to the organization’s view of ethics-as-impact, a do-gooder job only “does good” insofar as you (Read more…)
This week’s FFP is a new one-hour documentary by Garrett Graham (in collaboration with the Tar Sands Blockade) about the direct action efforts of activists in Texas, who try to stop construction of the planned Alberta tar sands pipeline. There is some seriously heavy-handed narration at the beginning, but if you can get through that, the film eases into more observational and testimonial style of filmmaking that is solid. BLOCKADIA is a film about an important fight against the disgusting oil and gas industry and the Canadian and American politicians who have no regard for the environment. It’s also (Read more…)
Most people are familiar with the concept of a boycott to punish companies who do negative things by not buying their goods or services. The opposite of that is a new app called Buycott which helps you buy from companies who you ideologically support.
I’ve been using the app for a couple days now and it’s rather interesting to see what some companies support. I’m already adjusting my purchases to stop buying from companies that do harm and instead start buying from companies that support positive things.
At the Buycott site they have this example usage of the mobile app:
3D printing got a lot of attention recently because an American organization found a way to print a handgun. A direct reaction to that has been to launch a contest to promote the true potential of 3D printing by having a contest which encourages people to create designs that better the world.
It’s obvious that 3D printing isn’t inherently evil and that it can really shake up a lot of existing industries. Just think about printing your own replace parts for objects in your home or even printing food. Last year I put up a short primer on 3D printing (Read more…)
Wikileaks has been a great source of information that governments and corporations wanted to deny or keep secret. Now Greenpeace has modelled a site, Arctic Truth, for whistleblowers who work in the world of arctic drilling for oil. As climate change turns the frozen north into accessible waters oil companies want to move in and further the reach of their harmful industry. Even people in the industry are realizing how dangerous it is to drill closer to the north pole than ever before and have started to speak up.
The website is intended to shield the identities of whistleblowers (Read more…)
The overwhelming majority of personal cars use planet-killing, people-damaging, production-intesnive engines that consume a product that literally kills us. Most everyone understands this at some level, but it seems they don’t connect their fuel consumption with world hunger, polar bears dying, or even smog. A new organization in Toronto wants to change that.
Our Horizon wants to label gas nozzles at gas stations the same way that cigarette packages are labelled to warn users of potential harm.
“Imagine if we see these labels every time, how long will it be before we demand more from government institutions,” said Shirkey. Canada
. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: A Proposal to Label Gas Nozzles