Good News: Week 2

In this second week of 2011, we learned a new expression — sustainism, got motivated to stop consuming canned goods, found out how much food you can get for a dollar and how to compost without stink, and that working with our hands is like a workout for the brain. We are also wondering if maybe there is something to the idea of giving up shampoo and soap.

DESIGN: Sustainism is the new Modernism
Here’s the skinny. Modernism is dead, and design needs a new “ism” to define it. Whatever that “ism” turns out to be, it needs to be all of the following: ethically and environmentally responsible; socially and geographically inclusive; collaborative; networked; sensitive to nature; and savvy enough to make the most of: a) leaps in technology, and b) both globalism and localism. Sounds sensible? Sure, if rather familiar. There have already been several attempts to categorize this new approach to design as “the new design,” “sustainable design” and part of the cultural movements of “polymodernism,” “supermodernism,” “super-hybridity” and so on. A book to be published next month is proposing another new “ism” — “Sustainism.”

Sustainism: It’s Got a Name, Now Do It, by Alice Rawsthorn, The New York Times

FOOD & WELLNESS: Let’s lay off the cans, once and for all
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re most likely aware by now that an endocrine disrupting chemical known as Bisphenol-A (BPA for short) has been popping up in all manner of consumer goods, from ground beef, to baby bottles, to plastic food storage containers. Now, a new report called “No Silver Lining,” from The National Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups, confirms earlier findings of BPA in our canned goods — and at higher levels than previously detected.
92 Percent of Canned Goods Contain Bisphenol-A, by Virginia Sole-Smith, Planet Green

FOOD & ECONOMY: How much do you get for a dollar?
Wonder how much you could eat with just a dollar these days? Jonathan Blaustein uses this concept and explores how far the value of a dollar goes in the state of New Mexico. His project “The Value of a Dollar,” takes a close look at the reality of the food market without the food stylist’s touch.From fast food to organically grown foods, “The Value of a Dollar” strips away mass media’s illusion of food and presents an interesting view on health, the economy, the environment and globalization.
The Value of a Dollar, by ChanMi Park, Planet Green

SUSTAINABILITY: Stink-free home composting!
Fruit flies, rotting leftovers and the long trek to a community garden with a plastic bag leaking garbage juice can deter even the most green-hearted from composting. Now, a new business is coming to the rescue of the slightly lazy and the mildly squeamish who have always wanted to compost, but have never quite gotten the hang of it–or been willing to install in worm bin in their kitchen.
Composting, Minus the Yuck Factor, by Celia Gorman, Brooklyn Based

CRAFTS & HEALTH: Working with your hands works wonders for your brain
Women have innately basked their brains in feel good juices since time immemorial to get through tight economic and emotional times. Though dovetailed as woman’s work and not really discussed, for centuries women have enjoyed the calming properties of knitting, sewing, embroidering or even just rhythmically folding or ironing clothes.
Using Your Hands to Soothe the Brain
, by Amy DuFault, Ecosalon

HEALTH: Giving up soap and shampoo for a month — for good?
Spurred on by an article he read in late 2009, the writer Sean Bonner says he’s gone one whole year without using soap—save for washing his hands—or shampoo, believing that the human body “is designed to regulate itself.” Though it might sound gross to some, Bonner says his skin and hair have never felt or looked healthier. He also asserts that he has yet to come across a person complaining that he stinks.
The GOOD Challenge: Give Up Soap and Shampoo for a Month, by Cord Jefferson, GOOD

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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What constitutes the good life? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of time and something we all strive for. To us, the good life is not a destination but a journey. We want to see more positivity in the world. Thinking happy thoughts makes for happy people, and happy people are more productive, innovative and at peace with the world. We believe in the transformative power of good news.

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