The Street Store: Hang Up and Help Out

The Street Store: Hang Up and Help Out

The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free “POP-UP clothing store” for the poor, found entirely on the street and curated by you. The Street Store is a unique concept which allows people from all over Cape Town to drop off clothes and shoes that they no longer need. Then, set up in an innovative ‘on-the-street-shop’, these clothes will then be available for the homeless and disadvantaged. A store made just out of posters. It’s where you “hang up” donated clothes and drop shoes into “boxes”, and then the homeless help themselves.

To get involved and implement The Street Store in your own community, find out more at http://www.thestreetstore.org

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Cultural Conditioning and the Importance of Critical Thinking

Cultural Conditioning and the Importance of Critical Thinking

A person’s culture is a collective of beliefs, methods, way of life, and social perspective which a person acquires in their mind. We’ve been conditioned since the day we were born by religion, educational systems, government, corporate advertising and media in an attempt of socialization. We make moral judgments all the time and these are largely influenced by cultural conditioning. Hasty moral judgments are deeply ingrained blocks to thinking critically, for the values upon which they are based typically are imparted very early in our lives, well before we can seriously examine them and the belief systems they spawn. Thus, before we’re mature enough to think intelligently about subjects of religion, race, sex, and politics. As a result we tend to acknowledge what supports our acquired moral value systems and to ignore or dismiss what does not. We wall ourselves off from disclosure contrary to our preconceptions, thereby purchasing security at the price of insight and understanding.

The exposure of conditioning and cultural programming in which an individual receives to form their perception then creates the parameters of their thoughts, motivations, and ultimately their behavior; essentially limiting the practice of true free will. A mind that is largely free of cultural conditioning is one which uses methods of analysis, evaluation, validation, and integration on all information being presented. This type of mind does not typically respond to events or information based solely on cultural programs, but yet seeks verification, establishment of context and evaluation of underlying influences. A free mind challenges reason, often in opposition of information at face value.

Cultural conditioning will always be apart of the foundation of an individual’s social architecture. It’s important as a community to begin to promote and instill in our future generations the values of self awareness and critical thinking in attempt to breed optimal leaders to excel and supersede the unimaginable barriers of current society. Encouraging true self assessment into the natural process of thinking is a critical component in development of one’s self. Being capable of relying less on the experts outside our ourselves, and more on the greatness within to promote the establishment of genuine independent thought and self-empowerment.

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Models of Sustainability: Sweden’s Waste-To-Energy Program

Models of Sustainability: Sweden's Waste-To-Energy Program

Due to Sweden’s innovative waste-to-energy program and highly efficient recycling habits, the Scandinavian nation faces an interesting dilemma. They have run out of trash. Sweden’s waste management and recycling programs are second to none as only four percent of the nation’s waste ends up in landfills. By contrast, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over half of the waste produced by U.S. households ends up in landfills. Because the Swedish manage waste so effectively and then use what remains to partly power their country, they are now living an environmentalist’s dream; a shortage of garbage.

In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide electricity to a quarter of a million homes and 20 percent of the entire country’s district heating, Sweden is now importing trash from the landfills of other European countries. In fact, those countries are paying Sweden to do so. Countries are paying to get rid of a source of fuel they themselves produced so that Sweden can continue to have the energy output they need. Aside from the economic benefit, Sweden’s system of sustainability clearly has vast environmental benefits. Their waste-to-energy system ensures minimal environmental impact from the country’s waste. Sweden’s extremely efficient circle of consumption, waste management, and energy output provides the current global population and coming generations inspiration and guidance towards a more sustainable future. They represent one ally of many who understand the need to live sustain-ably and who fully commit to doing so.

Learning to Unlearn: The Journey Inward

Learning to Unlearn: The Journey Inward

“The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.” – Dag Hammarskjold

We spend our lives gathering knowledge, integrating facts, figures and techniques into our view of the world. By the time we reach our mid-twenties we’ve accumulated a significant body of knowledge that we can use to solve a wide range of problems. We’ve also accumulated our own predilections and prejudices, based on our genetic heritage: deep seated knowledge that is virtually impossible to shift. Some are based on the cultural traditions from the environment which we were raised, others on our personal history.

Anytime we’re attempting to learn something new, this new thing is measured against what we already know. If we put more weight on what we already know, on tradition and our inherited past, then it will be harder to learn the new. The standard which new learning is measured against will be tougher, and we’ll be less willing to set aside our existing assumptions and accept new knowledge if it contradicts what we already know. If we put more weight on what we’re seeing today – on new data – then learning something that conflicts with our assumptions will be comparatively easier, as we will place more weight on what we see than what we remember and we’ll be more willing to change our assumptions.

Our nature – our bias towards an inward focus based on tradition and the past, or an external focus on what we’re seeing around us – cuts across age. Those of us who are willing to question our assumptions will find that we can unlearn (and relearn) at any age. Those who put more weight on what they already know will struggle to change at any age. Today’s digital native will be tomorrow’s digital dinosaur if they are unable to unlearn.

Taking in information on all levels, mind, body and spirit. Not resisting, not expecting, not judging, but allowing; removing previous ideas about who you are. One will come to realize that true learning is unlearning.

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Vibrational Attitude

Vibrational Attitude

“A belief is only a thought you continue to think; and when your beliefs match your desires, then your desires must become your reality. You have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually… your life experience.

Take 15 minutes daily, thinking of pleasant scenarios regarding your body, with the sole intent of enjoying your body and appreciating its strength and stamina and flexibility and beauty. When you visualize for the joy of visualizing rather than with the intention of correcting some deficiency, your thoughts are more pure and, therefore, more powerful. When you visualize to overcome something that is wrong, your thoughts are diluted with the “lackful” side of the equation. In time, your physical condition will acquiesce to your dominant thoughts.

It is natural that by knowing what you do not want, you are able to clarify what you do want; and there is nothing wrong with identifying a problem before beginning to look for a solution. But many people, over time, become problem oriented rather than solution oriented, and in their examination and explanation of the problem, they continue the perpetuation of the problem. That which is like unto itself, is drawn—so tell the story you want to live and you will eventually live it.” Abraham Hicks, Law of Attraction

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Half the Sky: The Movement

Half the Sky Movement

The central moral challenge of our time is reaching a tipping point. Just as slavery was the defining struggle of the 19th century and totalitarianism of the 20th, the fight to end the oppression of women and girls worldwide defines our current century.

Hidden in the overlapping problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and women are seizing it. From Somaliland to Cambodia to Afghanistan, women’s oppression is being confronted head on and real, meaningful solutions are being fashioned. Change is happening, and it’s happening now.

Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn took on this urgent moral challenge in 2009 with their acclaimed best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (already in its 25th printing in hardback). They encouraged readers all over the world to do the same.

Now, a landmark movement — inspired by Kristof and WuDunn’s work and also entitled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide — is working to amplify the book’s impact. Ignited by a high-profile national television event and fueled by innovative multi-platform initiatives, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is galvanizing even more people to join the burgeoning movement for change.

Find out more at http://www.halftheskymovement.org

Be More Having Less: Live Simple

Be More Having Less: Live Simple

We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction and incoherence. We’re always doing something (especially NYer’s), and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm. When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. In this world of “dramatic distraction” and information overload it is too easy to become overwhelmed, lose focus and be swept away from the things that matter most.

Here are 7 suggestions on simplifying your daily routine in order to gain the most out of life:

1. Live With Purpose – Map out an overall game plan each week, create simple daily task and effectively execute. Be proactive in your thoughts & begin each morning with productive intent conducive to fulfilling your personal task.

2. Keep Focus – Throughout the completion of a task, the average person is distracted every 11 minutes. Distractions are detrimental to productivity. Manage your time wisely & stay on course!

3. De-clutter Your Space – When you start to care about your home, it’s a sign you’re starting to care about yourself; the health of one begets the health of the other. Donate or sell the belongings you no longer use. Organize your closets, underneath your bed, your work space, your drawers. When you clear out the clutter, you then evoke space for newness in your life.

4. Get Off The Grid – Turn off the TV, put away the cell phone, forget your emails and just BE!! Meditate, read, sing, dance, sew or have a discussion. Technology dependency tends to push us into isolation. Sit with your thoughts and enjoy the “real world”, you may like it 🙂

5. Moderation Management – Exist within reasonable limits, not in excess or extremes. Enjoy the better things in life in moderation. Be frugal, make smarter decisions on purchases. Create a healthy balance between the things you want and the things you absolutely need.

6. Respect Your Body – Eat foods that are whole and nutritious. Get the proper amount of rest. Select sexual partners wisely. Remain active and listen, your body has the capacity to heal itself, stay in-tune with it’s rhythms.

7. Learn To Say No! – The difficulty that we often experience in saying No!, in being true to what we really want, can be a significant cause of stress. Whenever we are not true to ourselves, we create disharmony that is painful or that gradually festers and saps our life of joy. No one else knows our thoughts and feelings with certainty, so it is up to us to set our own boundaries, being firm about what we can or cannot do. It is so easy in this world to take on too many commitments. We often feel obligated to people and projects, overextending ourselves & spending time that in all actuality we really don’t have. You need to be able to say No! and do what’s right for yourself in order to preserve the person you are.

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Phyto Kinetic: Urban Jungle Garden-Roofed Buses

Phyto Kinetic: Urbam Jungle Green-Roofed Buses

How would you like to be transported to work in a moving garden? If Marc Granen has anything to do with it, you may be able to. The landscape artist, who is based in Bescano, Spain has developed a green roof for buses called Phyto Kinetic. Since green spaces are so valuable for human environments, and since cities just don’t have a lot of open space, Granen came up with the idea of using areas that already exist to create that green space, even if they are on four wheels. In a city like New York that has thousands of buses, adding the Phyto Kinetic system to each one would create over a 100,000 square meters of air-purifying green space in the city. www.marcgranen.com

WATER: Know Your Source!

WATER: Know Your Source!

Our tap water system, I am sure was intended to be a good thing (convenience), but unfortunately it’s not the best in drinking for optimal health. Why?

1. Fluoride
Our water is highly fluoridated. There’s the argument that fluoride is needed for “healthy teeth”, this is untrue. In communities where fluoridation has been discontinued, dental decay has not increased, rather decreased.

2. Prescription Drugs
An Associated Press investigation showed that a vast array of pharmaceuticals – including antibiotics, mood stabilizers and sex hormones – have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. Treatment facilities are not required to test for drugs or filter them out.

3. Dead water
In it’s natural form, water structures itself and holds information. Tap water has been recycled (via machinery), and is filled with chemicals to “purify” it from the waste (feces and urine), toilet paper, tampons and what ever else people flush down the toilet and sinks.

4. Chemical Pollution (Chlorine)
Many public water supplies add chlorine for purification, which can make some chemicals or drugs more toxic. You may think that the government, EPA, and other agencies are looking out for this danger, but the fact is- the Safety Water Act, designed for the public’s safety, only tests for nitroglycerin and that is because it can be made into explosives. They do not test for any other drugs in tap water. Chlorine is a respiratory irritant, in it’s gas form irritates mucus membranes and in liquid form burns the skin.

Spring Water:
Naturally, water comes from a spring which is any pure occurrence where water flows onto the surface of the earth from below the surface, and is thus where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface. Well water and spring water are similar in the sense that they are both produced from natural aquifers located around rock beds and soil. The difference is that spring water continues naturally to the surface and well water has not gone through the full life cycle.

Benefits:
Spring water lacks chemicals, waste, has never touched plastic (which further leach chemicals), and is far more beneficial to the environment. Pure and simple – higher health accompanied by a higher state of consciousness to be gained. Our bodies consist 80% water, built starting from the cellular level optimized with highly structured, super clean, and freshly harvested spring water.

Check out http://www.mountainvalleyspring.com to locate your local glass bottle spring water supplier.

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NYC Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

NYC Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

New York City Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced this week that New York will launch a new chapter of the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx, a program that allows doctors to “prescribe” fruits and vegetables to families at risk for obesity and diet-related illness. Patients can receive a dollar per day for each member of their family—a family of four could receive $28 per week—to redeem at New York City farmer’s markets. Each month, patients meet with their doctors for prescription renewal and to have their weight and BMI measured. Hospitals will try to retain participants for at least 4 months.

FVRx is a program run by Wholesome Wave, a Bridgeport-based organization working on hunger and food issues across the northeast. Wholesome Wave launched their pilot FVRx programs in 2011 in Massachusetts, Maine, California and Rhode Island. The program was then expanded to Connecticut, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington, D.C. in 2012.

Lincoln Medical Center and Harlem Hospital Center are the first two medical centers to launch the program; each aims to enroll up to 70 patients in the FVRx program. FVRx is a next step in ongoing efforts by GrowNYC, the NYC Department of Health, and the mayor’s office to increase access to local and healthy food to New York’s low income residents.