One of the most exciting parts of an event is the anticipation that builds whilst getting ready, especially when the occasion is a ball that requires you to wear your finest threads. The ACT for Kids charity is celebrating its 25th anniversary by hosting its Silver Gala Ball at City Hall on May 11 – the first event to be held in the newly opened building. The ball and ongoing initiatives of ACT for Kids are supported by Mercedes-Benz Brisbane, which provides the charity with cars as prizes for raffles, and also hosts other fundraising events at its Fortitude Valley dealership.
Using music as a powerful medium to convey his telling messages, Aria Award-winning musician Archie Roach is one of Australia’s most recognisable indigenous musicians. After capturing hearts across Australia with his debut single ‘Took the Children Away’ in 1990 – a song that was based on Archie’s experience as a child of the Stolen Generation – Archie has created a significant back catalogue of songs laden with soul. Returning to Brisbane to perform as part of Brisbane Festival from September 9–10, Archie will share his life tales through song at The Spiegeltent. Audiences can also expect to hear a selection of new up-tempo songs from Archie’s forthcoming album. To book tickets, visit the Brisbane Festival website.
Whitepod hotel in the Swiss Alps is an innovative eco-hotel that provides the feeling of getting back in touch with nature, but with enough creature comforts for an enjoyable holiday. Its provision of low-impact accommodation not only helps to emphasise the surrounding natural beauty of the region, but preserve it for future generations.
The unique ski resort is comprised of 15 large environmentally friendly pod huts. Each pod is a tent-like structure anchored on a wooden platform with its own insulation in the form of a wood-burning fireplace. To make your stay even more pleasurable, the pod provides full bathroom amenities and organic luxury bedding. In retaining an environmentally aware attitude, the huts are limited in their access to electricity and cooking inside them is banned. The resort maintains its environmental obligations by also minimising daily water and electricity consumption, reducing waste production and incorporating renewable sources into the hotel’s maintenance. Adjoining the eco-friendly pod section of the resort is a traditional wooden chalet , which holds the reception and the restaurant. Located in the village of Les Cerniers, Whitepod resort is a 45-minute drive from Montreux and is situated amongst more than 7 km of private ski slopes that are sure to entice alpine skiers.
For those who don’t possess a natural knack for science and maths, the fact that invisible atoms of hydrogen and oxygen can collide to make droplets of water is utterly magical. Even more amazing is that once a droplet of water has been created, it continues to exist in the universe in everything from the clouds, to a crisp leaf of lettuce and flowing waterways. While it can often be easy to take water for granted, many people living in developing countries only have access to sources of water that can cause more harm than good – a truth that was the catalyst for the creation of the Faucet Face initiative. When a glass water bottle is purchased for the purpose of being refilled with deliciously clean tap water, enough funds are generated to provide an impoverished family with 100 litres of clean drinking water. The proceeds from the water bottles are used to build and distribute water filters to Indian families living in areas without a clean source of drinking water.
When a moment of utter boredom strikes, it can of great comfort to know that people across the globe have collectively spend millions of hours compiling the vast collection of videos floating around on YouTube. A slightly different take on getting Rick Rolled, Forever Wild decided to start its own underground YouTube Interventions campaign to draw attention to the plight of the dwindling Rhinoceros population. With the goal to simultaneously draw more attention to its cause and increase signatures on its petition for the US Congress, the not-for-profit initiative turned to one of pop culture’s most popular mediums. By taking viral videos and remixing them with facts and images of rhinoceros poaching, the organistion increased the number of signatures on its petition by 400% without spending a single cent.
Pamela Crane is just like any other tech-savvy academic, except that she has a dream – one of hope, health and healing for the people of Africa. There are millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa suffering from HIV/AIDS and struggling to find clean water for their families and their communities. But Pam and the passionate, thoughtful people behind Blood:Water Mission have made it their mission to paint a brighter picture for these communities. They’re committed to empowering local communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa by raising funds for the provision of clean blood and clean water. In the space of six years they’ve successfully provided water and healthcare to more than 600,000 people across 13 countries. But there are still millions of people in need of aid, so Blood:Water Mission has now expanded its promise to helping communities develop health clinics and sustainable water solutions as well as funding health workers and support groups.
Amina Abaza was lucky – she was taught to greatly respect all living things. At eight years old, each morning she would greet a stray dog at her school bus stop and bring him treats. But one day her four-legged friend wasn’t waiting – she had been shot by the police. This stark memory and Amina’s love for animals was the inspiration behind S.P.A.R.E., Egypt’s first registered charity for the protection of all animals. Today S.P.A.R.E. houses hundreds of stray dogs, cats and donkeys and provides a free veterinary service. Among advocating better conditions for strays and zoo-kept animals, S.P.A.R.E. aims to educate society to be compassionate towards animals. Inspired by the quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” famously said by Gandhi, S.P.A.R.E. has succeeded in making the lives of Egyptian animals just that little bit better.
At the same time each year, many are faced with the daunting task of buying for the friend who has everything. The answer is simple: give them a goat. The hoofed beast is a quirky present for someone special and an amazing gift to a family in poverty. Goats, with their magnificent eating abilities, can provide nutritious milk, clean up scraps or be bartered for pay for a child’s education. A goat not really ‘your thing’? How about guitar lessons for children in Vanuatu, a well in Sri Lanka or toys for orphans in Africa? Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are. So this year when you are making your list and checking it twice, give the gift that gives a little something more.
Too easily can our existence become mundane and painstakingly routine – the daily grind of waking up and beginning the journey to work is perhaps the most ideal example of this. The users of the Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, however have been the recipients of a slight shake-up and life-intervention of sorts, acting as human guinea pigs in regard to “The Fun Theory”. The Swedish Piano Stairs, which were implemented to encourage people to use the stairs, rather than the escalator, fulfills the notion that the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better is by making the process fun. Once installed, the initiative of uber-contemporary German car brand Volkswagen saw 68% more people than usual channeling their inner Beethoven and choosing to take the stairs over the escalator.
For some, a beloved pet can be a lifesaver – the perfect listener, always ready for a cuddle, and willing to forgive almost anything. But despite their unconditional love, sometimes these furry friends aren’t treated as well as they should be and are cast out on the street or, worse, treated inhumanely. Every year thousands of animals turn to the RSPCA for help and hundreds still remain in desperate need of financial support so they can find new homes. Christmas is a particular time of need for the RSPCA, when pets are given as gifts but sometimes become unwanted or mistreated. The RSPCA has launched its Guardian Angels appeal, allowing people to become a Guardian Angel to an animal in need this Christmas. The campaign’s ‘angel ambassadors’ are some of the survivors who have benefitted from the RSPCA’s foster program – you can read their stories and become a Guardian Angel here.
While it is generally a time of joy and celebration, Christmas can also be somewhat confounding when you are faced with the task of finding gifts for loved ones. It can be tempting to resort to the old ‘socks and jocks’ solution, but a more creative touch will always be appreciated. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has created an alternative for gift-giving that also highlights the under-exposed issue of animal cruelty and welfare. Via the society’s website, visitors are able to choose an animal they would like to benefit (ranging from bears and pigs, to dogs and elephants), buy a gift that benefits that animal (from bedding and food, to providing proper training to farmers) and finally, create and send a card that gives the gift in the name of a friend or loved one.
This new campaign from United Colors of Benetton, entitled UNHATE, cleverly places world leaders with opposed ideologies in amorous liplock. The cheeky campaign is intended to illustrate the fact that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think.
The mercury is rising, the days are longer, the Christmas bells are ringing- it’s that time of the year again! Many of us look forward to the Christmas holidays as it represents spending time with family, friends, an abundance of fresh prawns, a large smoked ham and stockings over flowing with gifts. But this time of the year is often a difficult one for some. There are many who are often too sick to enjoy this holiday period that is supposed to bring peace, happiness and joy. And each year, there always seems to be a shortage of blood donations during the holidays. Designer Kiseung Lee has created a holiday blood pack putting the most valuable gift of blood into a special pack that will bring some joy to those who need it most. These little packages are sure to bring much needed smiles, welfare and love, potentially gifting someone with a new life- heart warming.
Escapism, the mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, is best served through literature. Books give us the opportunity to escape from the banal aspects of our lives, forget our worries and exercise our minds – even if it is a chapter at a time. Better World Books, an online bookstore with a mission to promote literacy all over the world, understands that not everyone has access to this basic human right and it hopes to change that. Through its extensive collection (more than 8 million new and used books) of books sold online, the profits fund literacy initiatives all over the world. The organisation’s motto ‘creating a better world, one book at a time’ is a tribute to its efforts to assist in social, economic and environmental development worldwide.
You’ve probably seen them around the major cities. They’ve caught your attention with a friendly smile, a jingle or the flash of a colourful cover. But do you know what The Big Issue is? The Big Issue is an international organisation offering a creative approach to aid people in need including the homeless, disabled and long-term unemployed. They publish a fortnightly magazine filled with witty current affairs insights, in-depth interviews and inspiring personal stories. The vendors who sell the magazines come from all walks of life but the one thing they have in common is they are down on their luck and looking to improve things. If you are the organised sort getting a jump on the Christmas shopping, consider a subscription to this alternative media for the friend who has everything. It could go a long way to helping someone who has nothing.
Penguins are pretty stylish creatures, always looking dapper in the tuxedos that nature gave them. But sometimes we all feel a little under the weather and opt for more casual attire. The penguins of Tauranga, New Zealand, aren’t feeling their best at the moment as an oil spill off the coast continues to wreak havoc on their natural environment. All knitters are encouraged to lend a stitch or two for penguin relief by crafting small sweaters to protect the birds and stop them ingesting toxic oil when they preen their feathers. Skeinz, the natural yarn store, has supplied a penguin pyjama pattern on their website if you are wondering what measurements a penguin takes.
Indonesia’s national motto ‘Unity in Diversity’ does not simply relate to the cultural variety and geographical complexities of the nation, but also to the people who inhabit and work towards bettering it. Film director Cathy Henkel hopes to inform, educate and ultimately unite audiences within her environmental documentary Project Borneo: 100 days in the Jungle. The highly emotive and sensitive issue of the destruction of Borneo’s rainforests, and the subsequent effect it has on wildlife within the area, is at the forefront of this film, which follows the journey of 12 young eco-warriors (led by biologist Willie Smits), fighting to replant an entire eco-system and rescue and care for the endangered orangutan species. Cathy recently presented her inspiring idea at the TEDx Brisbane conference, enrapturing the audience with her passion and enthusiasm.
A few months ago, inspired by the work of Jeff Waldman, map magazine sponsored a swing in South America in the hope that it would help spread simple joy to all those who came in contact with it. Today we received word from Jeff (who will also be one of the many exciting speakers at the upcoming TEDx Brisbane) as to the exact location of our swing: “Here’s your swing! We hung it in a Chilean silver mine railroad boneyard. The trains are from the 18th and 19th centuries, and would transport silver from the mines in Potosí to the ocean. The trip through the salt flats would get the best of them, and they’d eventually rust away and become abandoned. The yard sits just on the outskirts of Uyuni, and sees frequent visitors because it’s so unique.” Thanks guys! We’re so proud to be a part of your amazing project.
How often is creativity and innovation given the chance to blossom without interruption? Harnessing the power of conversation and community, the Creative3 initiative (hosted by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia) brings together some of world’s best creative minds, entrepreneurs and business leaders in a unique forum from October 26–28 in Brisbane. Visit the Creative3 website to enter your creative idea to pitch for a special $125, 000 creative business prize. Entries close this Monday, October 10 at 5:00 pm. Showcasing an amalgamation of design, screen, music, fashion, games and interactive media thinkers and doers, the conference will provide an exciting and rare opportunity for the Brisbane community to explore what inspires creativity and innovative around the world. A totally revolutionary conference model, the speakers (including special guest Stefan Sagmeister) will converse directly with participants, sharing their stories about translating creativity into real profit.
Image courtesy of John Madere.
Catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee provides an opportunity for discussion, venting, brainstorming, sharing dreams, and the simple satisfaction of connecting with another human being. Brisbane-based charity organisation Group 61 links volunteers with mentally ill members of the community who are in dire need of social interaction, friendship and support, by organising coffee catch ups and social meetings. By linking up volunteers with those in need, the initiative tackles mental illness with sensitivity and a hands-on approach. The Coffee Break Project encourages the community to give up coffee during the month of October to raise funds for mentally ill members of the community, by raising money for Group 61. Bid your daily flat white or espresso goodbye for a month, and register for The Coffee Break Project online and create your own personal fundraising page here.