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IDEAS For Us Build Sustainable Solutions Platform

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Ideas for Us Website

A non-profit, United Nations accredited charity organisation, IDEAS For Us, organised a three-day ‘hackathon’, with Orlando-based digital creative agency – Purple, Rock, Scissors (PRPL) – to form their new web solutions platform, www.ideasforus.org.

The platform was presented was presented to Pope Francis at the Vatican on October 31 as part of a two-day summit held by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

The web platform at www.ideasforus.org , which garnered a Solution Award from the Vatican itself, showcases environmental problem-solving programs happening both locally and internationally for citizens to join in, and gives everyone the chance to support action-based solutions being brought to life. “There is a great moral obligation that we have to take action in achieving the most ambitious goals ever set forth by humanity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” IDEAS Executive Director Clayton Louis Ferrara states. “What is at stake, halting climate change, the eradication of poverty, slavery, and mass extinction, has been a dream until now. We, as Millennials, hold the fate of the world in our hands. We need global solutions generated through local action and we need it now. The Solutions Platform and IDEAS For Us, with PRPL’s expertise, is poised to lead the way for the many millions that need to follow.” Besides conveying info about the organisation itself, the website presents a list of sustainable goals, a rundown of its various sustainability programs showing scalability and impact, methods to donate, as well as a sampling of nearly 90 actionable solutions (and counting) for a variety of vital ecological factors including water, food, waste and energy.

For the hackathon, Ferrara and IDEAS’ Website Director/Engineer Ryan Harrigan collaborated with eight PRPL staffers over the course of three days. The goal was to create a launch-pad to incubate more successful sustainability projects like IDEAS’ Fleet Farming, which helps Orlando citizens, among other things, maintain better eating habits and utilize lawn spaces more effectively in their urban environment. “One of the largest benefits of this hackathon was having leaders of IDEAS for Us with us at all times to inform and ideate with us, then make an executive decision on the spot so we could move forward,” says PRPL Digital Strategist Tommy Hung. “They had a wealth of information and experience with challenges in their space that we could pull from, and they were passionate about making something that would help their audience.”

Collaborating with the IDEAS team helped PRPL clearly define the organisation’s goals and formulate strategy while informing design decisions for the web platform. Hung notes that the quick turnaround demanded an almost equally fast-paced development process for the site itself. “We had very little time to take something very complex—trying to save the world—and turn it into a working online model,” he says. “Workshopping with IDEAS for Us lead to the strategy needed to create a simple, concise and functional site. But the time it takes to design and develop beautiful visuals and animations is normally longer than a weekend, and we had to distill a very broad scope of work and messaging spanning IDEAS’ network of over 20 countries around the world into a communicable site. That said, we’re very proud of what we were able accomplish.”

The platform is part of an effort to present sustainability solutions to Pope Francis at an SDSN summit, which IDEAS attended thanks to a heartfelt essay penned by Ferrara himself. The project mirrors the sentiments of the Pope himself, who the Vatican says is very concerned with the issue and is the first-ever pontiff to acknowledge climate change and demand action. It’s a worthy cause that PRPL is also passionate about. “PRPL wants to help equip IDEAS with a more informative and inspiring hub for their digital presence that would enable anyone interested to become a member, donate, or contribute an idea,” Hung explains. “We hope that through the new solutions platform, they can achieve their membership and funding goals to fuel their growth and action around the world.”

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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