Life is beautiful. The other night I went to “The Funky Seomra“, a wonderful alcohol-free dance evening, where lots of my friends and I danced for hours in the huge room above Cultivate, the sustainable development centre in Temple Bar, Dublin. We drank herbal teas, home-made chai and bicycle-made smoothies, ate all sorts of cakes and heart-shaped cookies and rested on big comfy Buddha Bags and meditation cushions. It was the perfect environment to ask my girlfriend Eveanne to marry me, so I presented the sapphire and white-gold engagement ring and she said “Yes”. The fantastic organiser and DJ, David Mooney, made an announcement and played our song “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. We danced in the middle of everyone who gathered around and moved in to give us one big group-hug. Now that’s positively newsworthy.
by Patrick Bridgeman
Here are some other great stories from around the world…
Alexandra’s Lemonade Stand – Continuing to Make a Difference
It started 8 years ago. 4 year old Alexandra Scott pursued a “career” as the owner of a lemonade stand. But the stakes were a little higher for her. She was trying to raise money to help her doctors find a cure for kids with cancer because she herself was stricken with it. Her brother Patrick joined in and for the next 4 years, regardless of Alex’s health, the team would hold an annual lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research.
As the story of their lemonade stand grew, so did business. Inspired by their example, thousands of lemonade stands sprung up across the nation, creating a formidable fund raising team.
On August 1st, 2004, Alex Scott died peacefully at the age of only 8 years old. She had raised over $1 million for childhood cancer research in her short lifetime.
But her spirit lives on…and so does her lemonade stand. As of July 2008, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $20 million for childhood cancer research. That’s some positive news for children with cancer…and positive news for lemonade stands everywhere.
On the Trail of the Urban Scout
Peter Bauer started reading books on the structure, history and future of humankind. From there, he began a life-long journey to rewild – a process of ‘dismantling’ that he believes is vital for the continued development of ‘us’. “I decided to walk away from this culture and learn to hunt, gather and garden for all of my necessities,” he says, referring to his previous city-slicker lifestyle. “I have a duty to mythologize the process I’m going through and inspire others to join the rewilding renaissance,” Urban Scout explains. “So I write stuff, make videos, take pictures, design things, teach classes and maintain a blog that’s a public exhibition space.”
Now 25, Scout has pioneered an internet community for fellow rewilders or for those who want to learn more worthy ‘living’ skills – an online field-guide, gathering and providing valuable information on primitive or sustainable practices. “Our elders have long since disappeared,” he explains, “and the information they held and the skills they used, only exist now in pockets – a few books, a few schools and practiced by only a few… We need something else to stand in for our elders… This website attempts to do just that.”
Visitors to the forum can learn, for example, how to organise their own rewilding camp, how to seek out water and test for heavy metals before consuming it or find out which native plants are edible and, more importantly, which are not. They can search for courses on subjects such as foraging for wild fruits, nuts and vegetables or how to extract oil from plants.
“Civilisation has been a process of making people perceive the world as dead,” Scout informed Marjorie Skinner for the Portland Mercury. “It’s time we create stories that will inspire new cultures and bring the world back to life.”
Art E Amor
Arte E Amor, which translates as Art and Love, has found a second life for old or discarded glass products by turning them into beautiful, marketable jewellery.
Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 20 year old Leandro and Jucimeire, aged 23, wanted to improve the quality of life for young women considered impoverished and at risk. The aim was to generate an income, while at the same time recycle, educate and help to clean-up the community.
Now Leandro and Jucimeire employ dozens of young workers, who melt down hundreds of pounds of unwanted glass and turn it into fashionable necklaces, earrings, belts and rings. They sell the jewellery at local markets, using a share of the profits to fund the upkeep of other invaluable community projects.
In two years, they have sold thousands of items and created successful income-generating jobs for many young women in their neighbourhood.
For more positive news stories, log onto www.positivenews.org.uk