Mixing sustainability, education and most importantly play
Todays author is Louisa Harris – she provides some inspiration ahead of the weekend – and reminds us of the power of play
I fell in love with the book Flying Lessons by Shim Smilansky last summer. It is a colouring book designed to teach children (or in my case adults) about growing their own vegetables. On each page of the book a different line drawing of a vegetable can be coloured in. After you’ve coloured in your design, rip the page out and turn it over for instructions on how to make a paper aeroplane. The best part is that in the nose of every plane are four seeds for the vegetable which has been coloured in to create the plane – all you need to do is throw your planes into your garden and wait for the rain to dissolve the paper and for the seeds to be fertilised.
This book is beautifully thought out incorporating sustainability into all aspects of its design – the paper is made from vegetables, illustrations are done with squid ink and the manufacturing process is electricity free.
Smilansky says “My aim was to start with vegetables and end up with more vegetables without any waste or other materials used in between.”
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At a workshop a few years ago we were looking for transport solutions that would lower carbon usage. Daniel Kirk, super-smart innovation consultant, provided us all with a “duh” moment when he suggested “best way to do that is…to uh… not go anywhere”.
NearDesk provides that solution. it provides professional office space to individuals and employees at convenient locations. For employees this often means removing a long commute and being able to work closer to home, or having a ‘stop-over’ place between meetings. It works on a simple on-line booking system and with an ‘Oyster Card’.
And why we think its an ingenious sustainability solution:
• Reduce carbon: O2 report a saving of 50% on carbon emissions by adopting mobile working practices
• Reduce congestion: fewer hours lost by those who have to commute and safer roads
• Increase alternative modes of transport: working nearer home increases the opportunity to cycle, run or walk to work
• Reduce demands on public transport: impact of flexible working during the London Olympics 2012 saw a reduction of 5% in demand
• Increase footfall: working near home means people will buy locally
• Improve communities: opportunities to get to know people who live near you not just people you work with
• Repurpose empty shops: changes in shopping habits suggest that many of the 100m sq ft of empty shops will need to be used differently
• Make work viable for more people: commuting is a serious cost of people who are wanting to return to work; having to spend a long time travelling means more money has to be spent on childcare
• Work/life balance: fewer hours spent commuting means more time for family and leisure
• Family Friendly: easier to respond to family emergencies eg children’s welfare – fewer unscheduled absences – workplace absence cost the UK economy £14bn in 2012
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