By Patrick Bridgeman
Life just keeps getting better and better, and even though the challenges in some areas of my life seem to be getting tougher, the good times far outweigh the bad, and the clouds always have a silver-lining with a lesson to learn and grow from.
It’s becoming easier to find positive news stories from home and abroad and, as always, it’s an absolute joy to share them with you, dear reader. So, without further ado, here are some of our favourites.
THE FESTIVAL OF LIFE
The Festival of Life is a one-day indoor festival, taking place at Conway Hall in Central London on Sat Sep 26th. Now in its 6th year, it is also Europe’s largest living food and sustainable lifestyles festival. Last year, it attracted 1,200 visitors – including some from the USA, across Europe, and all over the UK – with a range of activities from music to meditation; feasting to fasting; dancing to chanting; children’s edutainment to natural parenting; plus many methods to rejuvenate from the effects of 21st century living. The festival welcomes people who are new to living foods and environmentally friendly ways of living, as well as those who are already knowledgeable. It is family-friendly, with facilities and activities being planned for children. For more info, visit www.festivaloflife.net
HOMES FOR GOOD
At the centre of the Homes for Good exhibition, held at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter, was a simple but stunning display of native plants and trees, which caught the attention of the crowds. They were planted in peat-free compost, in big ‘dumper bags’, and it was revealed that all the foliage on display had a use, from food to medicine.
Urquhart & Hunt and Dana Assinder are two garden design practices. They collaborated at the exhibition to create an edible forest garden, in line with sustainability and biodiversity principles. The brief was to create a productive, permanent garden applying the concept of how plants grow out in the wild. The garden mimics a natural woodland by incorporating layers of productivity: a canopy layer, a layer of small trees, a shrub layer, climbers, ground cover and a woodland edge.
For more info, visit www.ecostrust.org.uk/h4g and www.urquhartandhunt.com and www.dkagardendesign.co.uk
The government of Belo Horizonte in southeast Brazil took the necessary steps back in 1993, to improve nutrition and food security for all of its three million citizens. Determined to lift its population out of poverty, the region declared that food was to become a right for all.
Working with the local farmers has enabled this project to be successful. The city’s government buys as much produce as possible from local, small and family owned farms. By purchasing directly and avoiding third party intermediaries, the city pays a lower price, while the farmers earn a higher income. For more info, visit www.positivenews.org.uk
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Annette Morris Keane from The Ripple Effect sent me this story her Gran told her that made her day. “Granny’s friend’s son – a tradesman, did some work for a man he knew could not afford to pay him, so rather than just cut his cost, he did the job for nothing and refused to take any payment from the man who had employed his service. The man in question was so grateful, he bought the tradesman some lottery tickets to the value of €100. Well, that’s not technically true – because they were actually worth €10,000 in winnings!” For more from Annette’s good news group, visit http://ripple-vibrations.blogspot.com
Looking into how we can better organise our waste management, I can across an Irish machine called The Reuser. It’s a reverse vending machine (RVM), which is an automated recycling system that compacts, crushes and/or shreds used beverage containers, reducing volume by a ratio of 30:1. Based on either a barcode or material recognition, it is capable of storing cans and bottles separately. One unit can hold up to 3,800 cans and 1,800 plastic bottles and/or 400 glass bottles. This reduces the need for transportation and storage of these materials, thus cutting down on related CO2 emissions.
When I got in contact with Dean Keating of Reuse Reward Limited, he told me, “The project has been a great success to date. We would have recycled in excess of 1.5m containers in the Dublin area in 2008, 2m in all of Ireland. The cans are recycled into cans for reuse. The PET bottles can be recycled into numerous items ranging from clothing to kids toys. We have worked very well with schools at both primary and secondary level. All of the schools who have used the Reuse machine and applied for a green flag have been successful. We also have incentive schemes which allow participants to claim rewards based on the amount of recycling they do.
At present, our sites with public access are: National College of Ireland; Finglas Leisure Centre; Ballymun Leisure Centre; and Killinarden Community Centre. We are working closely with the councils in implementing this new scheme.” For a full list of the rewards available, as well as more info regarding The Reuser, visit www.reuse.ie
If you know of some positive news or have an inspiring true story, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org as we’d love to read and share it. Thanks.