Good News: Team Balance’s Way Of Brightening Up Your Day
Most of us think we ‘do our bit’ for the environment, but one waste-free guru is calling on the public to do more. Bea Johnson has launched a global movement based on her waste-free lifestyle, chalking up 100,000 Facebook followers and 70,000 on Instagram. Johnson can get her family’s entire annual waste in a single glass jar. No biggie, say we at Balance Towers. We can do the same, as long as that glass jar is the size of Botswana. Johnson – dubbed the Priestess of Waste-Free Living by the New York Times – says of the waste-free movement: “It’s improved our lives so much that we could not go back to the way we used to live. In showing that it can be stylish, as well as saving time and money (40% on our overall budget), we changed people’s misconceptions. And our lifestyle turned into a movement.” If you want to find out more, Johnson is hosting a talk on Sunday 12 March from 5pm; Bea has been invited to the UK by Unpackaged who opened the first modern Zero Waste shop in London in 2006. Visit Zero Waste Home to find out more.
COMPASSION COACHING FOR COPS
Following the outrage over police brutality in the 1991 Rodney King case among too many others, 1,200 officers in Kentucky are taking part in a pilot scheme to learn to be more compassionate. The programme aims for a shift away from ‘a warrior mentality’ because ‘a compassionate police culture results in decreased stress levels and fewer incidents of aggression and death’. Sounds good, right? And it seems police forces here in the UK may soon be benefiting from this conscious and humane training.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Imagine owning a bottle that miraculously fills with drinking water… This could actually be a reality thanks to Kristof Retezar, an Austrian inventor. It works by extracting humidity from the air that condenses into droplets with the use of a solar-powered device. It’s then funnelled into the empty ottle… and within an hour, you have a pint of water. Brilliant! Sports enthusiasts are obviously excited – but just think about the wonderful prospect for the world’s billion people living in water-scarce areas.
THE NATURE OF THINGS
Plastics are the bane of the modern world because they don’t decompose and instead clog up landfills and the sea. Biochemists are desperately working on solutions – but Nature already has one.
Japanese researchers have discovered a bacterium that ‘eats’ the wretched stuff. The trouble is that it takes six weeks at a hot 30°C to break down a piece the size of a thumbnail, and there are 50 million tonnes a year to get through! But if the relevant enzymes can be speeded up…
SPLITTING THE CELL
From a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem comes a discovery that may change lives: a stem cell with just one genome. Normally human cells contain 46 chromosomes: 23 from the father and 23 from the mother, but these cells have only a single set of 23. This could be the key for treating conditions from blindness to heart disease… and particularly infertility.
One expert has even said that improved IVF might determine a better method of reproduction than sex… And that’s not Good News!
WELCOME TO WONKY TOWN
Where once British supermarket customers demanded fruit and veg in conforming shapes and smart packaging, they’re now battling to grab the most wonky ones.
Curly courgettes, bent bananas, uneven onions and misshapen mangoes: are all now desirable because they’re being sold for as little as a third of the price of their regular-shaped comrades.
Perhaps more importantly, they’re no longer being dumped and wasted. We say, if it’s imperfect, it’s probably natural!
A DIFFERENT DEMENTIA
Is it possible to care for dementia patients not in a home, but in their own village with shops, restaurants, cinema and local walks – and the freedom to enjoy them? Companies in both the Netherlands and Italy think it is. Their community residents are cared for by highly trained staff who live among them.
Understandably, it costs big time and the villagers may not remember one another from day to day – but what a joyous way to live out one’s last years.
Give something back
Can you spare a few hours to volunteer? Not only will you meet new people, but helping others will make you happy
- SALVATION ARMYAssistance at their soup kitchens and lunch clubs is always gratefully received. But did you know the Sally Army also runs community classes and activities aimed at supporting those who have lost their way, to find their life’s path again? These include the homeless, those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and older people.(salvationarmy.org.uk/volunteer-for-us)
- LONDON WILDLIFE TRUSTIf you’re outdoorsy, you might like to help protect nature and preserve the capital’s wild spaces? You could do anything from clearing footpaths and mowing grassland to repairing gates or organising a bat walk. (www.wildlondon.org.uk)
- BRITISH HEART FOUNDATIONDo you fancy being a temporary delivery driver? Londoners are needed to pick up donated books and furniture. And St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham (stchristophers.org. uk) needs owners of vehicles large enough to take a wheelchair to drive patients to and from appointments. (bhf.org.uk)