Improve Your Self-Esteem and Save the Planet

Consumption in itself is bad for the planet, no matter how you cut it. Material things are generally made from finite resources (like how oil is made into plastic); so the less we buy the better we treat the planet.

This isn’t hard to do. In fact, it’s easier for people who have high self-esteem. Apprently, some new reseach is out that argues that the more confidence an individual has the less likely it is that they will buy material objects for comfort.

“By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth,” they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The paradox that findings such as these bring up, is that consumerism is good for the economy but bad for the individual. In the short run, it’s good for the economy when young people believe they need to buy an entirely new wardrobe every year, for example. But the hidden cost is much higher than the dollar amount. There are costs in happiness when people believe that their value is extrinsic. There are also environmental costs associated with widespread materialism.

I guess this can be further backed up by examples that billionaires don’t like spending their money.

Spiral Island: Built on Empty Bottles

Spiral Island may just be the island of the future and not only because it has its own website. Richie Sowa has taken thousands of empty bottles (think water bottles, milk jugs) and put them into big nets, then attached the nets to a platform, then to other platforms. All these platforms are covered in soil and plants, thus making the coolest island ever.

An environmentalist to the core, Sowa is also an artist and a musician. More than just the universal dream of an island retreat, Spiral Island is also his vision for low-impact sustainable living. The next version of the island will be built to withstand more treacherous weather than the first and will also be located in a more sheltered part of Mexico’s waters.

What’s The Point?

The Point is an online community that is geared to changing the world when they reach “the tipping point,” that is to say when a movement has enough people embracing its ideas then it’s time to act. The thing with this point is that participants decided when that tipping point is and act only once that point is reached.

The Point is a groundbreaking way to use the Internet that helps groups of like-minded people get things done. How? No one is obligated to do anything unless a campaign reaches its “tipping point.” At the tipping point, everyone springs into action, knowing they have the numbers to make a difference.

Think of how often you confront this problem – you want to know what everyone else is doing before you decide what you are going to do. Voting, complaining to your phone company, contributing to a group purchase or charity, standing up to your boss, boycotting a company, planning a party – the list is endless. On The Point, all action is contingent on its effectiveness.

Via TechCrunch

OLPC For You and Me

olpcThe One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project aims to bridge the digital divide by providing relatively inexpensive computers to kids in the developing world. The cost of the machine has unfortunately increased from their proposed $100 USD to almost double that, in oprder to ensure that they can still get these laptops out to the kids they are selling them as pairs.

You buy an OLPC laptop for yourself, but in doing so you also buy one to be donated to a child somewhere in the majority world.

The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

Previously on Things Are Good: Cheap Laptop

McDemos – For Easy Protesting

protest!Ever wanted to tell people what you think but can’t find the time to fit into your busy schedule? I know I have! Well, we’re in luck because a group of artists have created quick and painless demos in the heart of the Old Empire (you know, the one that the sun never sets in). Introducing McDemos:

Ever wanted to bring capitalism crashing down but can’t get time off work to do it?

Wanna force liberal parliamentary democracy to bow it’s corpulent head in shame but have to take the car into the garage AND do the shopping?

Do you get the urge to jab John Prescott with a stick till he cries like a fat girl but can’t find a stick?

Then McDemo’s is for you, we’ll find the stick and do the jabbing! Let us demonstrate for you!

In this busy 24/7 world you often don’t get the time to make your voice heard, so isn’t it about time you contracted your protesting needs out?

We’ll ruin multinationals while you relax with a cocktail by the pool. We’ll force MPs from office while you catch up with Desperate Housewives on E4. Let us demonstrate for you!

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