Small things make for a long term

A couple of months ago, I posted about the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF), an animal charity based in Leatherhead, UK, who at the time were closing in on a fundraising target to help build a new housing unit for the care of wild animals in the UK. Since then, I’ve been following WAF and starting this year, they have launched an awesome initiative that has resonated with FutureSphere – it’s called iDot.

What is iDot?

It stands for I Do One Thing. The concept is simple: find out about the nature around you, then do one small action, each day, to benefit the natural world. If enough individuals do their one thing, the combination of your actions will add up to something very powerful.

Wildlife Aid Foundation

Just as described, how very simple this concept is. In truth, this ideology already exists in the minds of many people today – the idea that if we all made little changes in all of our lives, collectively, we could make a big difference, mo matter what subject field.

WAF have been caring for British wildlife for decades now and have established themselves as pioneers in driving sustainable development in the UK, specifically SDG 15 Life on Land. The relatibility to the wider public is what makes this initiative so effective There isn’t a specific thing that they are asking people to do. Rather, they are giving the public an opportunity to reflect on their own lives and identify the ways in which they can individuallymake an impact.

Going beyond the typical “please donate £X” campaign, WAF have innovatively inspired a community through the actions of its individuals. The result? A community that is growing and refining its focus to create a bigger positive impact on the planet. This principle, of sharing positive impact with effect of generating more positive impact in return, is one that FutureSphere can really get behind and support fully through our own, similar principles.

Some simple iDots suggested on WAF’s website:

  • Say no to plastic straws
  • Pick up litter
  • Tell your friends about iDot

What’s great is that WAF have also launched this campaign with an added focus of inspiring school children with iDot initiative material that are tailored for schools.

Addressing the sustainability crisis with a simple yet powerful initiative, WAF are driving this through the right channels, like schools, where the collective small actions can visibly add up to tangible positive impact for the surrounding environment. In so doing, they have once again proven why they should continue to be recognised for their efforts in progressing sustainable development, in particular SDG 15 Life on Land. A huge thank you to WAF for their continued efforts in creating a more sustainable FutureSphere for us and for those yet to come. Excited to see more and more iDots becoming posted on their site and seeing the impact this has!

Please check out the iDot initiative, share it with those that you know and get involved to make even the smallest difference! My iDot is to pick up litter in my local park but also to share the iDot initiative with as many people as possible! You may be inspired by other people’s iDots on the WAF website too – take a look!

Latest iDots from the WAF Website

Links:

WAF iDot Webpage

Are you feeling hangry?

Who actually gets to be hangry? Being hangry is a fairly new phrase and quite aptly describes the feeling you get when you are both hungry and angry – hangry. If you do find yourself feeling hangry, you would typically tuck into a juicy burger, a spicy pizza or whatever tickles your fancy. This phrase, though, is usually said by those who have access to such relief of this anger instilling hunger. Those who don’t have access to hanger relief so readily, which is over 21% in the UK (yep, that’s right – 14.3 million of 66.4 million people), often endure feelings far worse than anger as their hunger develops.

Source: The Daily Beast

The UK is considered a first world country but when over one 5th of your population is in poverty, it is difficult to think of it as such. It does, however, reflect a daunting image of the global hunger crisis and the unprecedented scale of poverty on our planet today.

Primary reasons for referral to food banks in the Trussell Trust network in April to September 2019.
Source: The Trusselll Trust

Finding ways to tackle hunger are riddled with economic risks. “How can I afford to feed the poor when I can’t even afford a car?” Ah, what privilege does to our perspective! Those who tackle hunger independent of the apparent economic risks, certainly in the opinion of future generations, are heroes.

Source: Facebook

One such class of hero is The Trussell Trust. The British Christian charity has set up a network of foodbanks around the country and they continue to provide emergency food and support for those who need it most, campaigning to ultimately end the need for foodbanks in the UK. This campaign to end the need for foodbanks stems from the 5 week wait time for universal credit in the UK, which means there’s a 5 week period during which a person may not be able to provide for themselves – 5 weeks!

Our vision:
To end hunger and poverty in the UK.

Our mission:
Bringing communities together to end hunger and poverty in the UK by providing compassionate, practical help with dignity whilst challenging injustice.

The Trussell Trust
Source: The Trussell Trust

Tying in directly with SDG 2 Zero Hunger, The Trussell Trust epitomises the large scale action needed to tangibly help drive the hunger crisis. A huge thank you to The Trussell Trust for all the lives that they impact with their work. It’s easy to forget the support that exists for those who are not as lucky as most – here’s to calling them out!

Links:

The Trussell Trust

I want change. Show me how.

It is often the case we do not get what we feel we deserve or that there is more that can be done. During these times, it is incredibly difficult to stop yourself falling into a spiral of demotivation and a feeling of despair. Not-for-profit social enterprise, MySociety, gives the UK’s public access to online tools so that real change is no longer a fantasy.

We believe
… that strong democratic accountability and a thriving civil society are vital to our common welfare, and that these only survive when people engage with government and communities.

We work with online technologies
… because the internet can lower the barriers to taking the first civic or democratic steps in a citizen’s life, and it can do so at scale.

In three connected areas of civic life
– Our Transparency services make it easy for citizens to surface information
– Our Democracy tools help people hold their parliaments to account
– Our Community technologies empower local authorities and residents to make improvements in their own neighbourhoods.

MySociety, mysociety.org

You hardly hear about a practical means of impacting decisions which seem to be determined by an elite group of people sitting in an ivory tower. MySociety is groundbreaking in this respect. Chief Executive, Mark Cridge, is driving away the stigma that as members of the public, we are just bystanders to what our government decides to do or not do. They believe we are active citizens who deserve the right to make a difference and not just mark X on the piece of paper going into the ballot box.

Online technologies are endless. Some are futile, some fun, but some, like the tools MySociety has built, are powerful. Powerful enough to create real change for civilian life through research, partnerships, local goverment support, international collaboration and a passion to increase the impact any one citizen can have.

SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions is one of the harder goals to achieve because of the number of dependencies its progress relies on. Dependencies on government, on large corporations, on smaller businesses, on legal and justice systems and most importantly, the dependency on us. Though, not us as bystanders, but as civilians who strive for better. Thanks to MySociety, we now have tools to help us achieve this.

Specifically within SDG 16, they progress target 16.6, to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions, target 16.7, to ensure responsive, inclusive and representative decision-making and 16.10, to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms.

Let’s hope MySociety continue to grow the reach of their impact and the development of their civic technologies, so that the feeling of despair when decisions do not go your way can be acted on and not left to manifest itself into something far worse! Learn more about this awesome enterprise on their website linked below.

Links:

MySociety Website
mysociety.org

Are we sending untapped power to the dumpyard?

If you had to take a guess, how many lithium-ion batteries do you think you have used in your life? “That’s a tough one; too many.” Okay, of all those batteries you’ve used, how many of those were completely depleted when you threw them away? “Obviously all of them! Why would I throw away batteries which still have power in them?!” Fair response. Let’s have a look at why such an obvious response, maybe isn’t so obvious and why there’s more to be addressed on this issue to make for a better tomorrow.

Co-founders Amrit Chandan and Carlton Cummins, have created Aceleron, a clean technology company based in the UK. The start-up came to life after their realisation that lithium-ion batteries are not typically designed to be completely depleted when they stop powering your appliances, due to unsafe leakages as a result of their (poor) design and nor are they designed to be maintained. Their use today and in the future must, therefore, be coupled with a means of tackling both the untapped power and its respective waste. Keeping sustainability in the forefront of their strategic thinking, they have come up with a range of battery pack products and services that have stirred up the energy market.

Their technology is built upon the idea that lithium-ion batteries sent to waste are not entirely depleted and better use of the technology can allow for up to 40% longer use than traditional lithium-ion batteries and importantly, allow for reusability. Using modular technology and innovative battery formations inside a battery pack, they have pioneered products which have multiple applications, all whilst remaining within the realms of sustainable development with their circular economy approach i.e. not for single use and then to the bin, like most batteries. Applications such as home energy storage, back up power for buildings and telecommunications are just a few examples of their far-reaching impact.

By coupling technology innovation and a sustainable mindset, Aceleron has created an alternative to the damaging impacts of single use batteries on our planet and so prove their progress towards SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, in particular the target to increase the proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology. Respect and gratitude to all the team at Aceleron for paving the way for a cleaner future! Check out Aceleron’s website to learn more and about why they’ve been shortlisted in the Top 10 for 2019 Telegraph Tech 4 Good Pioneers!

Links:

Aceleron Website
aceleronenergy.com

Growing Health.

Sustain, an alliance for better food and farming, representing around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local levels, has partnered with Garden Organic, a charity that has built an increasingly massive community who believe that organic growing is a key driver for a healthy and sustainable world.

The output of their partnership is Growing Health, a UK national project promoting health and well-being by working with the UK’s health and social care services to use organic food regularly grown by communities across the country. Here’s a video from their site about one such project in Brighton.

youtube.com

By giving the opportunity to grow their own food to different groups of people, such as those with mental health problems, physical impairments, long term conditions, learning difficulties and in recovery and rehabilitation, the project provides a means to exercise, addresses physical and mental health issues, encourages social interaction and skill development and provides access to fresh, locally produced fruit and vegetables. The inspiring yet effective nature of this project continues to attract more health and socal care providers to get involved and through its positive impact on these groups of people and on the health and social care providers, it embodies SDG 3, Good Health and Well-being.

The fruit and vegetables produced through the projects are then used by health and social care providers and the concept of sustainable produce, being grown by those who benefit most from the related activities, to then be used by health and social care providers, is one that is also in line with SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Growing Health is accessible to anyone in the UK and if you are interested in getting involved in this sustainably proactive project, check out their website. You can get involved either through taking part in the food growing and similar well-being activities or if you are aware of an audience that would benefit from such activities, you can present your proposal to the project team and if successful, they will support you with their wide ranging network to set up and deliver the impactful benefits to those who need it most.

So much admiration and respect for this project as it involves groups of people who don’t often get the privileges most take for granted, as well as doing this through developing a sustainable network of organic food growers and health and social care providers.

Links:

Growing Health Web Page
Sustainweb.org/growinghealth

Sustain Website
Sustainweb.org

Garden Organic Website
Gardenorganic.co.uk

MarinaTex.

youtube.com

Lucy Hughes, a University of Sussex student, has created nothing short of disruption for the plastics industry. If it’s not already evident from the video, she has created a practical solution to one of the biggest sustainability challenges – plastic waste. Not only that, but through the use of the discarded fish skin and scales as a key ingredient for the bio-plastic, named MarinaTex she has addressed another massive problem; 50 million tonnes of waste produced globally by the fishing industry every year.

Protein Yield Infographic, JamesDysonAward.org

Plastic waste, and waste in general, is an inconceivably big problem. We are privy to the amount of waste we produce as individuals and maybe in the places where we work and maybe the cities we live in but in reality, nobody sees the entirety of waste that is produced globally. Even if you tried, you’d probably fail because there’s more waste in the place you checked 5 minutes ago. Net net – we need alternatives. Alternatives that are biodegradable and not degrading our environment. The plastics used to create the most environmentally damaging items like fishing gear, plastic bags, utensils, balloons, cigarette butts and bottle caps, are replaceable. Some are easier to replace than others and Lucy Hughes has given us one such alternative to single use plastic films and it is impressive, to say the very least.

Tying directly in with SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 14 Life Below Water, the young Briton has produced a piece of work that experts in the field are equally inspired by. No wonder she has won the James Dyson International Award, as well as being recognised by the World Economic Forum, BBC, Reuters and more!

MarinaTex epitomises the type of innovation we need in order to achieve a sustainable future and so a huge thank you to Lucy for her innovative and inspiring work. The next steps for MarinaTex involve further research and development, with an aim to be in production by 2021 and what an exciting journey this will be. So many potential applications for bioplastics and so much potential for positive environmental impact as a result. Check out the website to learn more about why MarinaTex, and the young innovator behind it, is going to become the next big player in the fast-changing plastics industry.

Links:

MarinaTex.co.uk

The Creative Society.

Founded by Martin Bright, The Creative Society is an employment charity that works endlessly to drive their mission to aid the UK’s youth to develop and succeed in the creative and cultural sector. They adopt a particular focus to help young people who come from low socio-economic backgrounds and empowering them to achieve their full potential.

Since their launch in 2009, using their Creative Job Studio, a dedicated space for youngsters to network and meet potential employers, the charity has organised numerous local, regional and even national programmes to connect young people with the creative paths they desire.

One of the most impactful methods they employ to achieve their mission is the one-to-one mentorship they provide to aspiring youngsters over a 6 month period, calling upon industry experts and the bespoke coaching they need, in order to, not just get their creative juices flowing, but to turn this creative juice into a tangible skillset they can use to sustainably provide for themselves.

thecreativesociety.co.uk/Blogs/creative-society-lates

Other forms of the support provided include training, networking opportunities and their most recent launch, the Creative Society Lates, showcasing the society’s talent. “From film screenings, live music, to play readings and live art, the Lates are a chance for young people to try out new ideas to a live audience or to experiment with tried and tested work.” (thecreativesociety.co.uk)

The creative business network Martin and his team have built over the past decade has empowered countless of our youth to find their feet and go on to do great things. They host a number of events throughout the year, with their latest one, in October just gone, giving a special opportunity for youngsters to meet with artists from multiple disciplines face to face.

The Creative Society is a registered charity that has grown continuously as a result of its clear and actionable purpose, which embodies SDG 8 Decent Work and Growth. With their added focus on youth from low socio-economic backgrounds, and the progress that they have made in providing the right opportunities for the right people, they have taken praiseworthy strides to help alleviate youth unemployment in the creative sector and this is nothing short of inspiring – you can learn more about the details of their impact on their website.

If you like the sound of what you are reading and want to get involved, learn more about the support and opportunities available at the The Creative Society website, linked below – be sure to check it out!

Links:

The Creative Society Website
thecreativesociety.co.uk