Good Idea!

Two dozen offbeat ideas to fix the world - and spark your own creativity


| March/April 2002


Become a Corporate Jester
In 1995, British Airways appointed Paul Birch the company’s official "corporate jester." Birch approached his position, which he held for 18 months, with the view that the modern board of directors is a bit like a medieval court, where no one questions the king or senior courtiers, because "they have become far too important for anybody to challenge. . . they can continue doing the wrong things all the time and never know it."The theory behind corporate jesters is that they can question management without fear of repercussions, serving as the mouthpiece for unorthodox criticism, couched as harmless jest.
Posted on the Global Ideas Bank www.globalideasbank.org/diyfut/DIY-51.HTM

Retire for a Few Years in the Middle of Your Career
People should have the chance for a midlife sabbatical somewhere between the ages of, say, 30 and 40. This would have the following benefits: It may coincide with the raising of young children. Imagine the broader social benefits if a mom and dad could both devote most of their day to the kids during the children’s most formative years.o It offers everyone the chance to become more well-rounded, to pursue artistic ambitions or civic projects or other activities beyond the scope of our jobs.o It offers a prime opportunity for midlife career switches, since people would have the space to think about what they really want to do in their work and the time to learn new skills or to get new qualifications. People would return to their jobs, or start new ones, with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.The government would need to help fund these retirement breaks, although this could be helped in part by the ex-tension of the standard retirement age.Submitted by Dave Morgan to the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/inspir/INS-51.HTML

Bring Peacemakers into Courtrooms
The Navajo Nation has begun an experiment in which peacemakers take the place of judges, prosecutors, and prisons. In January 2000, the Navajo National Council changed its criminal code to eliminate jail time and fines for 79 offenses and at the same time incorporated the traditional Navajo concept of nal-yeeh, which refers to the process of confronting those who have hurt others with a demand that they talk things out.All criminal cases now include a traditional peacemaking session, in which the person accused of an offense and the person who suffered from it meet, along with members of their families. A community leader (or peacemaker) moderates the session, and the people talk about what happened. Navajos believe that a harmful act "gets in the way of living your life," and their method of peacemaking involves creating a plan to deal with the consequences. For example, the relatives of the accused might be asked to watch over their relative to be sure he does not offend again, or the accused might be asked to give a symbolic object, such as a horse, as part of the restitution process.By returning to a traditional method of justice that concentrates on the effects of a crime rather than how to punish its perpetrator, the Navajos might offer a lesson to the rest of America and the Western world. It is simply not viable to keep locking up an increasingly large portion of the population. Peacemaking could be a way of reducing the prison population while letting the offenders see the effects of their crimes. Most importantly, it puts those harmed at the center of the justice process.Summarized from an article by Robert Yazzie in YES! A Journal of Positive Futures (Fall 2000 ). Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/showidea.php?idea=2655

Lend $80,000 to Every Citizen at Age 21
The government should give every citizen a loan of $80,000 when he or she reaches age 21 (or 18, for those enroll-ing in college) to invest in a college education, a house, or starting a business. The up-front cost of these investments would be covered by a 2 percent "wealth tax," 90 percent of which would be paid by the richest 20 percent of the population. The loan would be paid back, with interest, at the citizen’s death, making the plan self-sustaining. This plan would have its greatest impact on the lives of poorer citizens, who would be able to plan their lives with more freedom, becoming genuine stakeholders in the wider society. Based on a section of The Stakeholder Society, by Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott (Yale University Press, 1999). Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/SD/SD-39.HTML

Create a Label for Food from Animals That Have Been Treated Well
As with organic foods, standards for animal welfare would be set by an independent committee. Grocery shoppers could know that their food does not come from cruel, unhealthy, and polluting factory farms.Submitted by Guido Bierbooms to the Global Ideas Bank. www.globalideasbank.org/showidea.php?idea=2617

Launch a Moviehouse Salon
I propose that theaters initiate a period at the end of a film or play when people can stay in their seats to talk about what they have just seen, perhaps in a discussion moderated by someone on the theater’s staff. A stimulating discussion could be had while the story was still fresh in the mind, and new friendships might be formed and continued afterwards in a nearby café or bar. At the very least, the theater could make an announcement that those who wished to talk over the film or play afterwards can go to such-and-such place nearby and make themselves known to the staff, who will seat would-be debaters together.Suggested by Nicholas Albery. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BI/BI-231.HTML

Mobilize the "Third Side"to Prevent Terrorism
If terrorism is like a virus that preys on societies when their immunities are weak, what could keep this disease in check? I don’t know the answer but I do have a hunch, based on my experiences working as a third party on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Chechnya, and between the Israelis and Palestinians. Such conflicts are usually portrayed as two-sided: Catholics vs. Protestants, Arabs vs. Israelis. But there is always a third side: the communities within which the conflicts take place. In the widest sense, the third side consists of anyone, inside or outside the immediate conflict, who can help to contain violence and prevent future conflict by addressing its root causes. If we had had a healthy global immune system prior to September 11, various individuals, organizations, national governments, and the United Nations would all have been playing preventive "thirdsider" roles. Witnesses might have informed us of the terrorists’ plans. Security forces acting as peacekeepers would have arrested the terrorists before they acted. Mediators would have been working to resolve underlying conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Equalizers would have been building democracy in places where it is badly needed. Bridge builders would have been building bridges between the Islamic and Western worlds. Teachers would have been busy teaching about the tragic futility of violence and about peaceful ways of dealing with differences. Providers would have been addressing the insecurity, deprivation, shame, and repression that can breed terrorism.Together, these roles constitute a series of protective safety nets. If one doesn’t prevent the conflict from escalating, another will. In every instance, efforts must be made to resolve the inequities and tensions from which the disease of violence springs. Prevention is the key word. The third side—the community—works to catch dangerous conflicts early before they get too hot.Excerpted from an article by William Ury, author of the best-seller Getting to Yes (Pen-guin, 1983) and The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Penguin, 2000).

Ask These Questions of Any Guru
There have been so many scandals surrounding religious sects that the Institute for Social Inventions has compiled a list of questions that would-be disciples might ask before joining up with a guru or a new cult. The total number of yes answers provides a rough score—the higher the better—to rate the integrity of a guru or spiritual order.
1. Does the guru offer wisdom for free?
2. Is the guru relatively poor, or does he or she control more wealth than needed to live in normal comfort and dignity?
3. Can you gain access to the guru’s teachings without having to join the organization?
4. Is it easy to part ways with the guru? Are ex-disciples and "opponents" of the guru treated fairly?
5. Does the guru refrain from sexual involvement with the disciples?
6. Are followers allowed free contact with their family and friends?
7. Is there a high level of quality in the work of the guru’s organization (no ugly architecture or poorly written or poorly translated texts, for instance)?
8. Are the guru’s words in harmony with past spiritual insights? (A good source of comparison is Aldous Huxley’s anthology The Perennial Philosophy.)
9. Is the organization nonauthoritarian? For instance, are questions and thinking for oneself welcome?
10. Is the guru’s legitimacy anchored in a tradition that points back to previous gurus (as opposed to insisting he or she is the sole arbiter of spiritual truth).
11. Does the guru avoid claiming to be a perfect master, offering the only route to enlightenment?
12. Does the guru recognize that his or her authority applies only long enough to bring you up to his or her level of understanding?
13. Does the guru’s organization, in all aspects of its daily regime, avoid psychologically coercive practices?
14. Does the guru have fewer than 1,000 signed-up disciples? (Gurus with a large following seem to succumb more easily to the temptations of power.)
15. Do the guru’s or the organization’s responses to these questions agree with evidence from other sources? For instance, ask the Cult Information Service for its perspective (Box 867, Teaneck, NJ 07666; 201/833-1212; www.cultinformationservice.org).
Suggested by the Institute for Social Inventions. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-557.HTML

Award Ex-Cons Back Payif They Stay Out of Jail
Inmates should be paid for the work they do in prison, with some of the money kept by the government and paid out over several years on condition that the former convict not commit any further crimes. The longer people have been inmates, the more money they will have accumulated and the stronger their desire will be not to fall back into crime.Submitted to the Global Ideas Bank, by Hans-Peter Voss, a physicist at the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Never Get Married UntilYou’ve Camped Together
We should establish a few social customs to reduce the number of unhappy marriages: Never walk down the aisle until you have taken an eight-hour train ride together, experienced his/her mood in the morning, and gone camping together for a week. Camping, especially, will uncover most potential matrimonial problems, including covert alcoholism, deviationist toothpaste-squeezing, and mismatched politics.Summarized from an article by Betsy Wade in The New York Times. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BI/BI-27.HTML

Furnish Job References from
Fellow Employees
Bullies and bad managers abound in workplaces because no one knew about their negative temperaments when they were hired. Many a boss will give bad eggs good references just to get rid of them. A very different picture would emerge if it were standard practice for job seekers to be asked to supply names of people who had worked with them at their last job. Prospective employers would randomly contact (in absolute confidence) fellow employees to satisfy themselves that the smooth talker at the job interview was actually the team leader she held herself out to be. How differently your boss would treat you if his career prospects hinged on your opinion.Submitted to Global Ideas Bank by Philip Mcleish. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/showidea.php?idea=3427.

Design Your Own Ten Commandments
Why not design your own religious or spiritual guidelines and encourage your friends and family, including children, to do the same? Here, to get you thinking, are my 10—for now:
1. Show reverence toward creation in all its manifestations.
2. Maintain and care for your network of family, friends, and neighbors.
3. Preserve your health for old age.
4. Procreate only with respect for population limits.
5. Choose work that is life-enhancing.
6. Resolve disputes without resorting to unnecessary violence.
7. Resist enslavement to television, computers, and similar virtual realities.
8. Refrain from acts that seriously affect the well-being of others.
9. Help create a society based upon human-scaled institutions: neighborhoods, small businesses, small organizations, and small nations.
10. Preserve the beauty and diversity of the planet for future generations.
Suggested by Nicholas Albery.Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/crespec/CS-173.HTML

Use Theatre to Help
Kids Settle Fights
Michael Soth, an elementary school teacher in Oxford, England, was sick and tired of seeing his pupils get in fights. Trying a little socially inventive ingenuity, he drew on the writings of the Brazilian theatrical director Augusto Boal, whose work explores the boundaries between theater and social activism. Soth applied Boal’s conflict-resolution tool called Forum Theater in his classroom. When students fought, Soth assembled the entire class and had them reconstruct the fight stage by stage. When everyone agreed on what had happened, the kids involved re-enacted the fight from start to finish. Then they "performed" it again—but this time any student could yell "Stop!" at any point in the re-enactment and take the stage to show alternative responses and solutions. If the second re-enactment didn’t lead to a peaceful conclusion, the fight was run again and again under the same rules, until a satisfactory solution emerged. Soth discovered that the initial reconstruction of the fight was all-important—every student involved needed to be heard fully and fairly. But once the kids were sure that Forum Theater was a genuine forum for their fears, sense of justice, and creativity, they couldn’t get enough of it. "My main work was to hold them back from all shouting ‘Stop!’ and wanting to suggest alternatives at once," said Soth. Submitted by Michael Soth. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-33.HTML


Empower African Women with
a State-Sponsored Dowry
Africa’s soaring birthrates put immense strain on fragile social and economic support systems. In many places, the problem is rooted in tradition: A family with a marriageable son pays a steep dowry, or "bride price," to the family of his intended bride. This payment, often sorely needed by the bride’s family, also puts enormous pressure on her to "pay back" her in-laws by producing offspring who will eventually contribute to the prosperity of her husband’s family.
A solution to this problem, proposed in Kenya, would be establishing a state dowry program, which would grant dowries to young women of marriageable age. Every girl, upon reaching, say, 16 without a pregnancy, would be granted a regular cash allowance that stops when she becomes pregnant. (Payments would resume again after an extended period of nonpregnancy.) This money would strengthen her bargaining position as the families haggle over the bride price, and even allow her to postpone marriage if she so desires. Besides helping African women take control of their lives, the dowry would put money in the pockets of people who need it, helping village and neighborhood economies, which in Africa are often female-dominated. The funds might simply be rechanneled foreign aid or charitable dollars, which today flow through often-corrupt government ministries. The system would naturally help African feminist organizations grow and help women establish rights over their wealth and their bodies.Submitted by the late Guy Yeoman, a veterinary surgeon and explorer. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-513.HTML


Teach Sign Language to Babies
Babies have control over their hands long before they develop the skills required for speech. Parents and caregivers who recognize the benefits of this early communication are teaching their infants to sign, starting the process as early as 7 months. Parents start slowly by teaching their babies some easy American Sign Language signs that represent simple ideas babies can understand, like "more," "eat," and "milk." When babies are able to replace some screaming, whining, and crying with a few simple hand gestures, it can dramatically improve their relationships with caregivers. Parents report reduced frustration for them and the baby, a stronger parent-child bond, and in many cases accelerated development of verbal language skills. Parents who are communicating with their babies may be less likely to neglect or abuse them. Parents who get into the habit of communicating with their babies through signs may listen more closely to their speaking children and adolescents. In recent studies funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn wrote that signing children outperformed nonsigning children in comparison after comparison, including language development and IQ. Summarized from the Sign with Your Baby Web site www.sign2me.com. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/inspir/INS-21.HTML


Establish Social Emergency Wards
When you’re suddenly taken ill, there’s the medical emergency room. But where can you go when you find yourself suddenly lonely or fearful and in need of human support? In Aalborg, Denmark, you can drop in to the Social Emergency Ward for some friendly first aid. There’s fresh coffee, cake, and candlelight in the homey converted warehouse. A full-time staff of four and a large roster of volunteers simply listen and talk. The Social Emergency Ward, supported by city, county, and Danish government funds, is open every day from 7 in the evening to 9 in the morning.
From the Idebanken (Idea Bank), Norway www.idebanken.no/english/frame.htm


Make Bonds Across Borders
Biker clubs are known for macho male bonding. But one Dutch club of Harley riders bonds all the way across the ocean, with brother bikers in the Maluku region of Indonesia. The Saturdarah Motorcycle Club (the name means "one blood" in Malukan), made up of Dutchmen and Malukan immigrants in the Netherlands, maintains close ties with a club of the same name in Maluku. The Dutch Saturdarah members work through church agencies to help less fortunate Malukans, and the Dutch bikers are educating themselves on all things Malukan, including the region’s decades-long independence struggle with Jakarta.
From the Idebanken (Idea Bank), Norway. www.idebanken.no/english/frame.htm



Use Theatre to HelpKids Settle Fights
Michael Soth, an elementary school teacher in Oxford, England, was sick and tired of seeing his pupils get in fights. Trying a little socially inventive ingenuity, he drew on the writings of the Brazilian theatrical director Augusto Boal, whose work explores the boundaries between theater and social activism. Soth applied Boal’s conflict-resolution tool called Forum Theater in his classroom.When students fought, Soth assembled the entire class and had them reconstruct the fight stage by stage. When everyone agreed on what had happened, the kids involved re-enacted the fight from start to finish. Then they "performed" it again—but this time any student could yell "Stop!" at any point in the re-enactment and take the stage to show alternative responses and solutions. If the second re-enactment didn’t lead to a peaceful conclusion, the fight was run again and again under the same rules, until a satisfactory solution emerged.Soth discovered that the initial reconstruction of the fight was all-important—every student involved needed to be heard fully and fairly. But once the kids were sure that Forum Theater was a genuine forum for their fears, sense of justice, and creativity, they couldn’t get enough of it. "My main work was to hold them back from all shouting ‘Stop!’ and wanting to suggest alternatives at once," said Soth.Submitted by Michael Soth. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-33.HTML

Empower African Women witha State-Sponsored Dowry
Africa’s soaring birthrates put immense strain on fragile social and economic support systems. In many places, the problem is rooted in tradition: A family with a marriageable son pays a steep dowry, or "bride price," to the family of his intended bride. This payment, often sorely needed by the bride’s family, also puts enormous pressure on her to "pay back" her in-laws by producing offspring who will eventually contribute to the prosperity of her husband’s family.
A solution to this problem, proposed in Kenya, would be establishing a state dowry program, which would grant dowries to young women of marriageable age. Every girl, upon reaching, say, 16 without a pregnancy, would be granted a regular cash allowance that stops when she becomes pregnant. (Payments would resume again after an extended period of nonpregnancy.) This money would strengthen her bargaining position as the families haggle over the bride price, and even allow her to postpone marriage if she so desires. Besides helping African women take control of their lives, the dowry would put money in the pockets of people who need it, helping village and neighborhood economies, which in Africa are often female-dominated. The funds might simply be rechanneled foreign aid or charitable dollars, which today flow through often-corrupt government ministries. The system would naturally help African feminist organizations grow and help women establish rights over their wealth and their bodies.Submitted by the late Guy Yeoman, a veterinary surgeon and explorer. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-513.HTML

Teach Sign Language to Babies
Babies have control over their hands long before they develop the skills required for speech. Parents and caregivers who recognize the benefits of this early communication are teaching their infants to sign, starting the process as early as 7 months. Parents start slowly by teaching their babies some easy American Sign Language signs that represent simple ideas babies can understand, like "more," "eat," and "milk." When babies are able to replace some screaming, whining, and crying with a few simple hand gestures, it can dramatically improve their relationships with caregivers. Parents report reduced frustration for them and the baby, a stronger parent-child bond, and in many cases accelerated development of verbal language skills. Parents who are communicating with their babies may be less likely to neglect or abuse them. Parents who get into the habit of communicating with their babies through signs may listen more closely to their speaking children and adolescents.In recent studies funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn wrote that signing children outperformed nonsigning children in comparison after comparison, including language development and IQ.Summarized from the Sign with Your Baby Web site www.sign2me.com. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/inspir/INS-21.HTML

Establish Social Emergency Wards
When you’re suddenly taken ill, there’s the medical emergency room. But where can you go when you find yourself suddenly lonely or fearful and in need of human support? In Aalborg, Denmark, you can drop in to the Social Emergency Ward for some friendly first aid. There’s fresh coffee, cake, and candlelight in the homey converted warehouse. A full-time staff of four and a large roster of volunteers simply listen and talk. The Social Emergency Ward, supported by city, county, and Danish government funds, is open every day from 7 in the evening to 9 in the morning.From the Idebanken (Idea Bank), Norway www.idebanken.no/english/frame.htm

Make Bonds Across Borders
Biker clubs are known for macho male bonding. But one Dutch club of Harley riders bonds all the way across the ocean, with brother bikers in the Maluku region of Indonesia. The Saturdarah Motorcycle Club (the name means "one blood" in Malukan), made up of Dutchmen and Malukan immigrants in the Netherlands, maintains close ties with a club of the same name in Maluku. The Dutch Saturdarah members work through church agencies to help less fortunate Malukans, and the Dutch bikers are educating themselves on all things Malukan, including the region’s decades-long independence struggle with Jakarta.From the Idebanken (Idea Bank), Norway. www.idebanken.no/english/frame.htm

Let Kids Fund Other Kids’Community Projects
The UK group Changemakers is part of a growing movement that invites young people to become involved in social issues by developing their own ideas for solving community problems. What young people do is up to them and can range from the conventional (visiting the elderly, helping out at a local child care center) to the highly imaginative (a five-minute play on land mines that a group of 13-year-old boys presents at schools).
After initiating such projects for more than 80 school and youth organizations across Britain, Changemakers teamed up with three foundations to create a fund where young people can go to apply for funding for their projects.
Suggested by Michael Norton, executive chair, Changemakers.(E-mail: norton@civa.prestel.co.uk).Posted at Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/wbi/WBI –17.html

Learn the Five R’s
When Julia Butterfly Hill climbed Luna, a 1,000-year-old redwood, to prevent loggers from cutting it down, she was moved to action in part because of a recurring idea: "My inactions are a part of the injustice in the world, just as surely as the actions and inactions of others." She anticipated being up in Luna for three or four weeks; instead, she didn’t set foot back on the ground for 738 days. Julia Butterfly emerged from her time with Luna as an impassioned and articulate spokeswoman for the beauty and interconnectedness of all life. She felt a new mission to ignite the power and responsibility within each of us to embody love in our actions moment to moment. But where can we begin the journey toward living harmoniously on what she reminds us is "a precious planet"?Hill offers a guide in her new book, One Makes the Difference (Harper San Francisco). Her "5-R" mantra is respect, rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle. "Begin by respecting that all of life thrives or dies by our choices. When we truly respect life, rethinking our choices becomes automatic. We discover that we don’t need to fill the void with stuff because the greatest things in life aren’t things at all and so reducing consumption is easy. Then you look at what you already have and find ways to give objects a life that continues. The very last thing to do is to recycle."
For more information on the Five R’s visit www.circleoflifefoundation.org

Keep in Mind the Secretof Happy Relationships
What makes the difference in the durability of a relationship is the proportion of praise to blame, according to Professor John Gottman of the University of Washington in Seattle. Having recorded numerous couples arguing in his laboratory, Gottman reckons he can predict with 90 percent accuracy which of them will still be together in five years. According to his findings, what counts is not how much in love they say they are, or the number of fights they have, but the balance of positive to negative exchanges. "Couples who say five positive things to each other for every negative one should be OK. If the ratio drops to one in two, they’re in trouble."Summarized from a story by Jerome Burne in the London Guardian. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/crespec/CS-30.HTML

Adopt a Small Patch of Planet Earth
The UK’s Adopt-a-Planet Project encourages school classes to take care of particular places in their community. Prizes, funded by a charitable foundation, are awarded to the most successful projects.Past winners include a school in Lincolnshire, where the students adopted a pond that had become a dumping ground. They got a local contractor to excavate the pond and planted the area with shrubs, trees, and wildflower seeds, and convinced police and local farmers to keep watch over the area to prevent future dumping. If kids can accomplish all that, there’s no reason why adults too can’t take responsibility for a small place on Earth—a park, stream, woods, or neighborhood park.Posted on the Global Ideas Bank www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-55.HTML

Sit on the Floor—or Ground—for Health and Humility
A Western world increasingly plagued with bad backs, poor posture, and elitism could benefit by this simple idea from the East: Take to the floor. Sitting on the ground or the floor promotes not only better posture, but also feelings of humility; it is difficult to look down on people if you are literally looking up to them. In Japan, cheaper restaurants furnish chairs, while the more exclusive noodle houses offer seating on the floor.Humans lived without chairs, sofas, or beds off the ground for eons, and thus had to stretch the muscles in their bodies hundreds of times a day. Nowadays, since we no longer get up and down from the floor, some of these muscles grow stiff and atrophy. It is also noticeable that when people are all sitting on the floor, the conversation is more warm and intimate than when they are all positioned in separate chairs. As people come down to earth, their attitude does the same.
Summarized from an article in New Age Journal (Jan./Feb. 2001) by Brad Lemley. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/showidea.php?idea=2938

Flash Cards to Defuse Arguments
Watching a couple devote yet another session to hurling verbal javelins at each other, psychotherapist Nancy Dreyfus tried a new technique on sheer impulse. Grabbing paper and pen, she scribbled a message for the husband to hold: "Talk to me like I’m someone you love." The meltdown was dramatically swift, the behavioral shift surprisingly durable. Other possible messages: "This is really difficult for me." "I’m feeling very confused." "Right now I don’t need a lecture, I need your love."Summarized from an article by Meredith Gould Ruch in New Age Journal (July 1993). Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/diyfut/DIY-34.HTML

Plant a Tree to Markthe Birth of a Child
Parents could be required to plantat least one tree in order to obtaina birth certificate for their child. Marriage certificates might also require the planting of a tree.Summarized from an article in the Seattle Times. Posted on the Global Ideas Bank, www.globalideasbank.org/crespec/CS-36.HTML

24 brainstorms to brighten your world

THE AGE OF INGENUITY

| by Jon Spayde
Since 9/11, we've awakened to new realities-including an awareness that healing the world happens a little bit at a time.
  • A BRIEF HISTORY OF THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX | by Joe Hart
    From Mesopotamia to Fort Lauderdale, social inventions that changed the world.
  • GOOD IDEA! Twenty-four ingenious solutions to problems large and small.
  • DEAN OF SOCIAL INVENTORS | by John Papworth, Fourth World Review
    Nicholas Albery searched the world for wonderful ideas.
  • BE THE EINSTEIN OF SOCIAL IDEAS | by Jon Spayde
    Eight steps to reinventing our future
Features
SEVEN (MORE) URBAN WONDERS
From Ghana to Canada, readers rave about their favorite cities.

THE BETRAYAL OF BASRA | by Chuck Sudetic, Mother Jones
After September 11, many Americans wondered, "Why do they hate us?" One reporter traveled to Iraq to find out.

FRUITS WE'LL NEVER TASTE | by Beth Ann Fennelly, Michigan Quarterly Review
Preserving both natural and cultural diversity lets us delight in an abundant world.

OYTSRES GOR A SAKH | by Ellen Cassedy, Bridges
Learning Yiddish brought a family together with its rich past.

FAT NATION | by Andy Steiner
No matter how you slice it, Americans are getting fatter. Many are calling it an "epidemic." While others contend the real issue is fit, not fat.
  • DIET FOR A SMALL PLEASURE | by Philip E. Lefebvre, Clamor
    Why counting calories is unhealthy. The high-joy diet.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES | by Greg Bottoms, Creative Nonfiction
How a quiet janitor heard the voice of God and created one of the great monuments of outsider art.
New Planet
GUERRILLA GARDENING by Carly Stasko, This Magazine

MULTICULTURAL MINSTREL by Keith Goetzman

PROFILES IN PEACE AND JUSTICE by Craig Cox

EAT IT RAW by Karen Olson

ANISHINAABE U by Andy Steiner

SENSES IN THE CITY by Jay Walljasper

SOAPBOX: THE MYSTERY OF MISOGYNY by Barbara Ehrenreich, The Progressive
Liberal commentators do a good job explaining why fundamentalists hate America, but no one addresses why they hate women.
Gleanings
NEWS FLASH! by Norman Solomon, Fair.org

PASSION, FIRE, HOPE 101 by Derrick Jensen

WEDDING BELLS by Jarret Keene, Chattahoochee Review

THE BEST SEX EVER (PRINT ONLY) 
Culture Mix
ON THE FRONTLINES WITH AMY GOODMAN by Karen Olson
A FAN'S NOTES: KATHLEEN HANNA by Andy Steiner
PLAYLIST
THE UTNE WEEDER

STREET LIBRARIAN
by Chris Dodge
CARPE DIEM by Jay Walljasper


VIEW FROM LORING PARK: A Rainy Night in London by Jay Walljasper
LETTER FROM THE HEARTLAND: You Are the One by Nina Utne
LETTERS: Tales of Tough Doves
LAST CALL: Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca West












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