Denim Made from Recycled Ocean Plastic, by Pharrell Williams

Fashion designer, singer, and Grammy-winning artist Pharrell Williams debuted his latest project, “RAW for the Oceans,” during a high-profile event last weekend in the midst of New York City’s Fashion Week. The 40-year-old, who serves as the creative director of Bionic Yarn, will collaborate with denim brand G-Star Raw on the new collection, which incorporates the recycled-plastic-turned-eco-friendly-fabric.

“Working with G-Star was an obvious choice,” Williams said in a statement. “They have a legacy of pushing the boundaries of fashion and denim forward. Bionic Yarn is a company built around performance, and denim is the perfect category to show the world what our product can do. Everyone has jeans in their closet.”

With growing concern over ever-growing garbage patches of floating plastic in the world’s oceans, any product that can take advantage of such waste is helpful. “We all should [have a higher consciousness],” Pharrell told the Wall Street Journal. “Look, I’m not a huge activist or anything. I’m just playing my little part because each drop counts. I’m happy to be a participant.” Pharrell intends his Raw for the Oceans collection to be available by Aug. 15. Check out a promo animation for the new line.

Article by Michael d’Estries

 

(Source: Care2.com Article

1% Jokes and Plutocrats In Drag

The colorful narrative of journalist Kevin Roose, as he crashes a Wall Street Secret Society Black-Tie Event:

“Getting in was shockingly easy — a brisk walk past the sign-in desk, and I was inside cocktail hour. Immediately, I saw faces I recognized from the papers. I picked up an event program and saw that there were other boldface names on the Kappa Beta Phi membership roll — among them, then-Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Home Depot billionaire Ken Langone, Morgan Stanley bigwig Greg Fleming, and JPMorgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee. Any way you count, this was one of the most powerful groups of business executives in the world. (Since I was a good 20 years younger than any other attendee, I suspect that anyone taking note of my presence assumed I was a waiter.)

I hadn’t counted on getting in to the Kappa Beta Phi dinner, and now that I had gotten past security, I wasn’t sure quite what to do. I wanted to avoid rousing suspicion, and I knew that talking to people would get me outed in short order. So I did the next best thing — slouched against a far wall of the room, and pretended to tap out emails on my phone.

After cocktail hour, the new inductees – all of whom were required to dress in leotards and gold-sequined skirts, with costume wigs – began their variety-show acts.

[…]

 

*Kevin’s true identity is found*

I wasn’t going to be bribed off my story, but I understood their panic.  Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark. (Or worse, sing about it — one of the last skits of the night was a self-congratulatory parody of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” called “Bailout King.”) These were activities that amounted to a gigantic middle finger to Main Street and that, if made public, could end careers and damage very public reputations.

[…]

 

*Kevin’s Final Conclusions*

The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

 

(Read the full article at NYMag.com here)

The Real Cost of Toxins

In environmental health circles, 2014 is being heralded as the year America’s 40-year-old chemical regulations will at long last be reformed. One typical complaint heard in the struggle to pass the Chemical Safety Improvement Act is that new regulations will cost companies too much money and the country too many lost jobs. This familiar tune ignores the other side of the economic coin. As in: What are the costs of doing nothing?

According to new study on BPA (Bisphenol A) exposures in the U.S., they’re quite high. The study, authored by Healthy Child Healthy World board member Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and health policy at the New York University School of Medicine, finds that the social costs of BPA-related obesity and heart disease were nearly $3 billion in 2008. It contends that removing the chemical from the linings of food and beverage cans would yield $1.74 billion in annual economic benefits. The study’s calculations were conservative and didn’t account for the many other health issues to which BPA is suspected of contributing, like cancer, reproductive damage, and behavioral disorders, which means these figures could be many billions of dollars higher in reality.

Compare that price tag to the extra 2.2 cents per can it would cost to use a safer BPA-free substitute. This estimated $2.2 billion yearly cost is a lot less. These new BPA numbers mirror other research that calculates the significant burden of the chemical status quo in recent years. A 2011 study, for example, found that the cost of environmentally-triggered childhood disease in the U.S. was $76.6 billion in 2008. Other research has estimated North America’s annual bill for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, neurodevelopmental problems, and lower IQ, just four conditions linked to environmental toxins, are as high as $793 billion.

By the same token, the removal of lead from gasoline in 1976, a change that was vigorously fought by the energy industry, has yielded $3 trillion in economic benefits since 1980.

The moral of the story is pretty clear: Good, strong toxics regulations work. They keep people healthier and they save more money than they cost. If you haven’t yet asked your elected officials for stronger chemical legislation in 2014, we urge you to today!
(Source: Care2.com article here)

Study Reveals Generosity is Infectious.

A recent study by Berkeley University reveals that much like the social dissemination of Hate, the other side of the coin, the sharing of Love, follows an exponential growth when applied in society. Although one single study cannot support the complexity of a whole global social system, it becomes pretty clear that the potential for collaboration in order to achieve the best quality of life possible for every single human, is there, if we are just brave enough to let go of our fears, as a race, and unconditionally and trustingly embrace Love.

In a world still teeming with intolerance, this is clearly easier said than done.

This study also lays one more brick on the ever-progressing wall of the scientific progress of the well-known study “Game Theory” by John Nash (although Nash defended that a “player” would always choose the hypothesis that would minimize damage and not the one that would better benefit all the “players”, which would logically be the best choice) on the sense that by trusting one another the opportunities for progress and mutual benefit are ever-increasing.

 

Follows the original article:

Generosity and goodwill really are infectious, a University of California study has found.

A study conducted by UC Berkeley and UC San Diego researchers found that when consumers were told a previous customer had already paid for their purchase and were then offered the opportunity to do the same for someone else, the consumers spent more money than those given the option to pay whatever price they wanted for their own purchase.

Coined “Pay It Forward” and “Pay What You Want,” the two pricing schemes were put to test in eight experiments. A total of 2,400 individuals at locations including Oakland’s Jack London Square farmer’s market, San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum and labs at UC Berkeley participated unknowingly, and, in every setting, a consistent chain of goodwill and higher spending was set off when consumers paid it forward.

“It’s assumed that consumers are selfish and always looking for the best deal,” lead study author Minah Jung said. “But when we gave people the option to pay for someone else, they always paid more than what they paid for themselves.”

While becoming acquainted with the person who paid for them made no difference in how much consumers spent, the researchers did find that they paid more when they could send a note with the amount they paid or a personal message to the person they were covering.

“People don’t want to look cheap,” Jung said. “They want to be fair, but they also want to fit in with the social norms.”

The findings suggest consumers’ senses of fairness and reciprocity may be just as strong or stronger of a driving force in purchasing decisions than the desire to score the best deal.

“The results suggest that businesses that rely entirely on consumers’ social preferences can survive and even thrive,” Jung said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

(Source: The Huffington Post)

Fracking Politicians!

Politicians (n.) – The last line of defense from Corporations against the people. Someone who is unaware of what fiduciary duty means. A person who practices politics. “Politics” is derived from the words “poly” meaning “many”, and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking parasites.”

Fracking industry contributions to congressional campaigns spiked 231 percent between 2004 and 2012 in districts and states with fracking activity, according to a report released Wednesday. “Like many industries under increasing scrutiny, the fracking industry has responded by ratcheting up campaign donations to help make new friends in Congress,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. The fracking industry’s level of contributions increased steadily from $4.3 million to just under $12 million between 2004 and 2012, according to the report, just as fracking’s importance to the U.S. energy industry grew.

Source: Huffington Post

As you read this, the Obama Administration is poised to let fracking run roughshod over our natural heritage — inside national forests, next to national parks and across millions more acres of our treasured public lands. Here are just a few of the special places at stake: Virginia’s George Washington National Forest … Ohio’s Wayne National Forest … Colorado’s White River National Forest … California’s Los Padres National Forest … even lands outside Montana’s Glacier National Park and Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Make no mistake: this is not just a full-frontal attack on our natural heritage, which would be frightening enough. It is also a direct threat to millions of American families who get their drinking water from pristine water supplies that originate in national forests and other public lands.

Source: NRDC Online

There are really a lot of reasons why money should get out of politics, the best, I guess, would be straightforward honesty when making decisions that affect the lives of millions that have no voice other than the people they elect to represent them.