Commuters in Moscow are being offered free tickets for the subway in exchange for 30 ‘Olympic-standard’ squats. The scheme is aiming to ‘bring sport to the people’ with the up and coming winter Olympics in February 2014.
Squats when done properly will build core strength, burn calories and work the entire body. As a fundamental exercise for all, Metro users are being encouraged to use special squat sensors in the Vystavochaya station which will issue a free ticket if the commuter is able to complete 30 squats in 2 minutes. The squat to ride machine will be operating until December 3rd 2013 providing an excellent way to get a little exercise into your day.
Gin and tonic. Batman and Robin. Bert and Ernie. Central to the success and popularity of these duos is the fact that they work as a team. What would one be without the other?
The value of partnership and collaboration is something we think about a lot here at Forum for the Future, and we apply this approach to much of our work, through techniques such as collaborative futures and problem-solving coalitions.
I really look forward to reading George Monbiot’s articles in The Guardian on Tuesdays. I know of nobody who ‘nails it’ more often than George - just check out the most recent article on his website www.monbiot.com about the “global bullshit industry” that is marketing today.
So, it really pains me that the nuclear industry is able to summon up his pro-nuclear advocacy as one of the strongest shots in their rapidly emptying locker. And even though he is still out there as the man who ‘fell in love’ with nuclear power at the time of the Fukushima disaster, I can’t help but notice that he may be having second thoughts.
The headline for his Guardian article on October 22 was a simple one: “The Farce of Hinkley C will Haunt Britain for Decades”.
It turns out that even George Monbiot is opposed to the Government’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. That won’t exactly have EDF quaking in their lead-lined boots, but it must piss them off just a little.
Something quite extraordinary started in Mumbai in 2008. Two thousand families took part in a trial to see what happened when people washed their hands at key times, such as before mealtimes. The results were compelling: diarrhoea among children dropped by 25%; acute respiratory infections fell by 19%; eye infections were down by 46% - and 40% more children attended school every day.
More than two million kids a year die from diarrhoeal diseases worldwide, so this trial has the potential to impact a major cause of child mortality.
Lifebuoy, the soap brand behind the trial, then started to develop a hand-washing behaviour change campaign across India, called Help a Child Reach 5. The campaign worked with celebrities like Kajol, a popular film star and mother, and also teamed up with Population Services International, a leading health organization for implementing hand-washing programmes to target rural villages.
Composting is a good way to make use of organic material that otherwise might end up in landfill and there are plenty of opportunities for consumers to benefit from collecting their food waste, such as New York City’s Hello Compost scheme, which provides fresh food to low income families in return for their compostable goods. Operating on a similar basis, the temporary BIOMAT restaurant in Austria has enabled diners to exchange their biodegradable waste for a meal.
(This article first appeared as a guest blog by Sally Uren in the Huffington Post on 3 December, 2013)
The idea of sustainability has been around for a while and whilst many businesses are starting to realise the economic, social and environmental benefits of operating much more sustainably, we now need to go beyond incremental change. Only by influencing the nature of the systems in which they operate can businesses create a context in which they can innovate for long-term success.
The Mexican senate has just approved an 8% tax on fatty foods and sugary drinks. The tax was approved 72-2 in the senate after being proposed by new president Enrique Peña Nieto. At 32.8% Mexico has the highest obesity levels in North America or Europe, causing more deaths than homicide and drug violence.
In 2011 Denmark imposed a similar tax, only to abolish it a year later. The Danish tax ministry explains the reasons for abolishing: “[The tax] has been criticized for increasing prices for consumers, increasing companies' administrative costs and putting Danish jobs at risk.” It was also suggested that Danes were traveling to neighbouring countries, such as Germany, to make their purchases.
Sarah Ellis, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Society at Sainsbury’s, shares some reflections on the supermarket’s journey towards its 2020 sustainability targets.
When we publically laid out our sustainability strategy two years ago in the form of 20 stretching targets for 2020, we were venturing into the unknown in many ways. After taking to the stage last week to share our progress with a range of stakeholders two years into our 20x20 Sustainability Plan, it seems, however, that we have strong support that the targets are indeed the right things to be working on, and the results have been significant so far. We were keen for discussion to be the most important part of the morning, rather than a one-sided conversation about our achievements, and I’m pleased to say we got great feedback, ideas and challenges from our audience.
What people want was the nub of the most exciting conversations at the recent Sustainable Brands London.
Let’s re-imagine our lives to the extent that what we want and how brands meet these needs are radically different — was the message of a short film on the future of the family by Dragon Rouge. It raised some hackles, and was bound to: Anything that questions fundamental assumptions about how society works — to the extent that McDonald’s (the epitome of multinational monotony) buys fresh produce grown by communities and transports them to local businesses to sell — will prompt scepticism. That’s the point: If you re-imagine the world, meanings shift.
“Is there a future where ‘branding’ is less prominent?” tweeted innovation expert Hugh Knowles of Forum for the Future during the event last week. I replied that a brand is a semiotic tool — a common reference point, a carrier of meaning; why not harness it?
Just back from another long trip promoting the book – and a few other things besides, including attendance at a rather wonderful symposium hosted by the Slow Life Foundation at the Soneva Kiri resort on Koh Kood island in Thailand. (Declaration of interest: I was one of those who had a hand in planning the symposium, but that wasn’t what made it wonderful!)
I took away six things from the Slow Life Symposium:
1. SHOES OFF
For some reason, doing serious brain work about the natural world seems to work a lot better if people go barefoot!
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