A new type of green house that uses cardboard and sea water, grows healthy food in the desert…and it’s affordable.
A new type of green house that uses cardboard and sea water, grows healthy food in the desert…and it’s affordable.
Reading Bill Nye’s book Everything All At Once, I’m inspired to share three of my ideas that would immediately change the world for the better using simple, doable processes that would solve multiple problems simultaneously. These three ideas would partner business, government, nonprofits, and community members to work together for good:
1. A job matching game focused on employee passions and transferable skills that matches the best employee to your business with the least amount of work and the most mutual satisfaction. Businesses that offer living wages, benefits, and respect their employees will be included…and job seekers of all abilities, education, and background can play.
2. A resources matching game that helps solve the multiple challenges of homelessness, poverty, addiction, and personal hopelessness. This game would be open for ALL to play so that there is no stigma.
3. A free sharing model that has worked for 12+ years that combines bringing new customers into businesses, community building, keeping items out of landfills, and free fun for all players.
I want access to partner with those who have the connections and resources to bring these ideas into reality (actually the third idea I’ve already created into reality at https://swappositive.wordpress.com/about , but need a bigger team to expand it).
These three ideas are practical and doable. I want to join a successful team to help create and implement these ideas in the spirit of the Bill Nye lifestyle philosophy. Please contact me at email@example.com.
A bank has found a unique way to help their customers create more wealth financially and socially, thus creating more money for customers to invest in houses, finance new business, and more. An ingenious ‘love story’ idea mix where both business and customer are enriched.
“I’ve been playing with my Jobs Dating App idea. Here’s a conversation I had a few days ago on facebook when a friend mentioned they are begrudgingly looking for a new job. I changed the names (other than my own) to protect privacy, and did light editing for clarification :
Carl: Updating my resume. Plz kill me.
Lynn: I did update mine recently and it suuuuuucked
Carl: Few things make me feel like more of a loser / impostor / slacker / etc.
Jeanie: I feel your pain. Doing that myself. Oh, and the job search itself. If I get so bored just reading a job description, how can I possibly imagine actually working there! Egads.
Carl: Right? Or finding the perfect job that you know you’ll love but realizing you’re not qualified.
Jeanie: Right? Because somehow when it’s time to hire, all of a sudden HR and hiring managers seems to think that if you haven’t done that exact thing already, you can’t possibly be acceptable. You know, because once we start looking for a job, it’s impossible for us to ever learn a new thing ever again.
Jeanie: I once got a rejection letter to my resume submission that actually said, “…you’re not a perfect fit.” Perfect. Who the hell would ever be a PERFECT fit? Except for the person who previously had the job but even that person would not be PERFECT because if they were, they’d still be in the job. Ugh.
Carl: No such thing as perfect. Sorry you’re job hunting, too.
Barb Hughes: I want to be on a team to design a job dating app. Where you fill out all the things you think are FUN, and then the algorithms find jobs that have similar things to what you like. It would make job-hunting entertaining, and bring up all kinds of new jobs that we’d never have thought to apply for. It would also be a great game for grade school, middle, and high school kids to get an idea of what current jobs out there they would actually be compatible for, so they can take classes that feed that interest…I mean they’ve already listed things they like to do (or want to try doing) so what better way to choose a career path?
Jeanie: Great idea! Except that I don’t think there’s a big market for someone who excels at reading books, binge watching Madame Secretary, snorkeling and frosting cupcakes. 😉
Barb Hughes: Jeanie HA! That would be where the questions would be broken down and crafted in such a way that they would apply to job interests. For example, binge watching could be a transferable skill of “able to sit for long periods of time staring at a screen totally focused on watching something I find interesting.” Other questions would ferret out what those interests are.
Carl: ^^^Going through surveillance footage like those poor guys on legal dramas. 🙂
Barb Hughes: Frosting Cupcakes might be listed under several categories (depending on which actually brings you joy) such as ‘creating masterpieces with food, clay, or art’ or ‘repetitive hand motions that create a product such as knitting, frosting cupcakes, or painting’.
Barb Hughes: And then if a business has similar activities, such as assembling widgets, bread making, painting clay figurines, etc. you might be paired up with possible jobs in anything from manufacturing to pharmacy work to watch repair. See how much fun this would be? Jobs you never would have thought of would be offered as possibilities of transferable skills to the things you ACTUALLY enjoy doing.
Barb Hughes: Carl, concerning surveillance footage – my daughter has a friend who would get in trouble as a kid for sneaking around listening in on people…and now he works as head security at a department store and gets to watch people on security cameras and then confront them. He loves his job.
Carl: I’ve made peace with the reality that not all jobs must be work one loves. That whole “do what you love and the money will follow” is nonsense. Someone has to do unpleasant jobs and that’s okay.
Jeanie: Carl I actually agree. I’m totally fine working at a job I’m not “passionate” about, as long as it’s fairly decent and the pay is sufficient. There was this great article I came across a few years ago about how the idea of “following your passion” is overrated. I’ll see if I can find it–you may like it.
Jeanie: I think that whole passion following thing has created a lot of disappointed young people. But maybe Barb can crack the code…
Barb Hughes: I would also like to add in – for the business offering the job – for them to fill out what benefits they offer. Free clothes (radio stations have lots of promotional t-shirts and stuff that they give to staff -radio outfitted me for awhile there; and I’ve heard people at Nordstrom et all have nice employee discounts on clothes). Free Food (when I worked at a restaurant you could have one free meal each shift you worked; at New Seasons Market they offer employees 20% off everything in the store AND they give you free food through the blue slip program). Businesses would also fill out what kinds of health care they offered, if they give out free bus passes/pay for a car or your gas money etc. So not only would the prospective employee fill out the game to match, but the employer would fill out what that actual job does and what perks the company offers, so you get a *real* match. I’d also like google maps included in the game so you can see which jobs are closest to you via walk/bike/public transportation/driving/work from home so you can choose a short commute if you want (saving the city in gridlock and pollution). I’ve been working on gamified questions, but of course this would take a lot more input and research as well (which I enjoy doing).
Jeanie: Barb these are all great ideas! Maybe you should develop the app!
Barb Hughes: Jeanie I’m looking into how to do that!
Barb Hughes: I think gamifying it in a way that hasn’t been done before would at least give options we don’t currently have. I mean, it seems like all jobs ask for is what degree/how much college you have, and if you’ve done *that* particular job before. And how many jobs are not even around anymore (book binder? radio disc jockey? all the things people over 40 went to college for?) It really doesn’t make sense to NOT have companies look for transferable skills, and what actions/opportunities brings an employee individual joy…and then for those same companies to offer to pay for any upgraded training an employee might need. Not only are there community colleges and tech/trade schools available for company paid training, there are also tons of free online classes, as well as free classes through public libraries, so an employer may not even have to PAY to train the employee…just give them a website and paid time to learn. And since the employee has already listed their interests, they will be thrilled that you are investing in them so they can invest in the company.
I’m interested in being on a team to develop this web app. Please contact me at urbanfarmer pdx1 (at) yahoo . com and include what organization, skill, or financial backing you would contribute to make this job dating web app a reality.
By Barb Hughes
People are scared because the future is unknown and moving so quickly. They feel economically left behind. We could start to turn this paradigm on it’s head and take out the fear, take out the us/them thinking, by applying the following ideas and principles.
Let’s replace fear with practical fun and hard work. I’d like to be on a working team to bring America together using simple, practical solutions to equip all Americans – city/country, colored/white, male/female, ruling class/working class, etc. – with successful tools/skills. I have some templates to help get this started. Contact me if interested.
Barb Hughes, Better Ideas Now blog founder
Tesla is coming out with a solar roof that is compatible with their updated battery that can then charge their car. The cost of the roof is supposedly comparable to the cost of a roof plus your current electricity bill. Telsa has recently purchased Solar City as it’s distribution channel. I look forward to see how this technology unfolds.
With the job market changing people aren’t sure what jobs are even available now, what skills are needed, or where to look for living wage work. Students, laid off workers, management, and people starting or re-entering the job force are frustrated, confused, and feel beaten down.
Companies/employers seek quality, diverse, happy employees with a variety of skill sets. They want to get the right employee fit the first time, saving time, energy, and money.
I recently put some thought into workable and doable solutions for homelessness. Now here’s my ideas to better address matching people and jobs/careers:
The YouTube Job Series/Channel would feature new and established jobs that are available right now. Each job/segment would highlight job responsibilities, company benefits, what the company/job is looking for socially/motivationally in an employee, short interviews of people who LIKE their job saying why they like it, what training is provided, the future the company offers to employees, and how/where to apply for the job. This series could be used not only by individuals doing job searches at home, but also by human resource departments, public relations teams, schools, re-training centers, prisons, and more. Being that it is public and on YouTube it can be accessed by those searching at home, in libraries, and can be shared on social networks. Workers could better self-select jobs they will personally enjoy, and feel confident applying for jobs and industries they – after watching the video(s) – now better understand. Employers who create videos of each type of job can easily share job openings, giving an easy and shareable way to attract the right person for their job. In one step the un/under-employed job seekers’ stress level is eased…and employers have better access to a quality job force of interested and qualified people. I would love to help craft the over-all template/questions/content that can be replicated by organizations big and small (possibly using iphones and desktop publishing to make it cost effective). Completed videos and job opening information could be emailed to the channel for upload and inclusion to their jobs database/website.
The Online Job Matching Game could be similar to current facebook games (i.e. the Disney Princess match ups), but instead of only focusing on job history and education, the jobs game could also have questions that help focus your social/psychographic interests. Let’s say you are an extrovert – you may thrive as a cashier or in direct sales because you get to talk to different people all day long. If you are an introvert you might thrive stocking shelves or working in close-knit small teams. The game could help suggest options where you would socially and emotionally thrive, and then match you with videos that show what a person does on the job(s) suggested, the personality traits that work well with this job, the benefits and training offered, etc. So the online jobs game would help you see how your current and past skills could cross over into other/new jobs. If you had the option to save each search, then try again and add new skills to this same online game, you could re-play it and get more options for jobs in the future…plus it would sure be nice to only have ONE resume/portfolio/game to fill out, and let the algorithms figure out what information is needed to apply to each job.
By Barb Hughes
I’ve never been homeless. I think it would be important to ask homeless people what THEY want before we start building things or spending more money, or sending them off to prison somewhere.
The reason I say that, is I know one woman – who HAS a job and a cat – who was priced out of her apartment and she was living in a tent in a friends’ backyard over the winter. What she needed was an apartment in Portland that didn’t raise the rent above the salary she could afford and that allowed pets. So the person I knew who was homeless didn’t need a lot of fussing…she just needed a wage and housing that matched…which had matched no problem until the landlords decided to up their pricing to compete with the fancy new buildings being built.
Currently she’s living in an art studio downtown. I wonder with all the air bnb people, if there could be a similar website that could match up compatible people to rent rooms in homes? Again, the homeless person I know is a normal person, with a job, a pet, who actively volunteers her time in the community, etc. who could be your neighbor. How many homeless are like this? Why don’t we find out by asking them, and letting them help create a solution for them that matches, say, elderly homeowners with cats and a boarder with cats, where the boarder not only pays rent, but can help around the house? Building community, instead of creating an ‘us/them’ paradigm of ‘look at those homeless people – can’t we just sweep them, blow them up, or cart them off so we don’t have to look at them?’
Yes, some people might need more helps than others, but at least one leg of the situation is individuals and families that have jobs, have a community around them, but for whatever reason (raised housing costs without a raise from their employer? Unexpected medical bills? A new baby? A death of the main breadwinner? Investments disappearing that they were living off of? Job loss? Parents getting new jobs across the country but the high school teen wanting to finish out his/her senior year etc.) the money they have doesn’t match the housing they are in. Sometimes this is only temporary. To keep a person/family in their familiar neighborhood while they get the money matched up to their living situation seems like it would be easier to get a footing back up with minimum displacement. And how can we make this a mutual helping, instead of shaming? How can it be cost effective, where the person looking for a home, and the person who has space, can mutually help each other?
Another affordable housing idea that might work as a collaboration between businesses, government, and renters, is to work out a collaboration where the working tenant pays no more than 25% of their gross monthly salary towards their rent, with the stipulation that they also contribute a talent or skill that benefits the other renters. Examples could include an accountant could lead a monthly money management seminar to interested tenants (and guests?), a grocery worker could bring leftover packaged or nearly expired food to share with tenants, a young mother could hold a monthly clothing and toy exchange amongst tenants. This gifting of abundance from tenants would create added community benefit, helping to mutually uplift all tenants not only financially but emotionally, and helping to lessen dependence on overworked government social services. As tenants get pay raises or move to higher wage jobs, their percentage paid towards rent would raise as well. As tenants make new like-minded friends and as their pay raises, they may decide to move out of this housing and into other non-subsidized housing, thus freeing up the space for new tenants. This would help retain quality employees for low-wage area businesses, and the businesses could write off the percentage of rent not covered by their employee paycheck as a tax write-off/employee benefit. The city could contribute by allowing already built apartment complexes in various neighborhoods close to the businesses to be utilized for this venture. This way no new buildings need to be planned and built, saving time and money.
One of the things my friend told me was she was thinking of fixing up a truck and living out of that, so at least she’d have a safe mobile place for her cat and herself, where all her stuff was safe and she could lock it etc. The living small movement is afoot, partly because some people are tired of owning too much stuff, but partly because people can’t afford to store stuff/move stuff and because housing prices are so high. So maybe another option would be affordable trailer parks where people can live within their means, leave when they want to and take all their stuff with them if they get a new job or new opportunity? Just trying to brainstorm options where people feel they have a bit more control then being forced/herded like cattle by people/government officials who haven’t even talked to them.
People support that which they help to create. People who for -whatever reasons- can’t currently afford housing should be part of the leadership team in planning local homeless housing options, job training options, new innovations etc. I would think that if I were homeless, I’d have to know /learn all kinds of survival hacks (necessity is the mother of invention). We should be utilizing the brainpower of those who know what it’s like to be homeless, in helping to create the most cost effective, mutually helpful for society, community building affordable living situations. And who knows? The businesses who partner with experienced homeless people might create a whole new world of marketable invention$.
By Barb Hughes
Great camping idea: pop-up tents that are easy to use, lightweight, have solar panels to charge phones and provide LED lighting at night.
I just discovered this safety jewelry that sets off a loud alarm, texts friends/family/contacts of your location, and dials 911 all at the touch of a button. It’s called Roar Jewelry. Part of the purchase price goes to educating children in empathy, so that the rape and violence culture cycle ends.
Upon thinking about the Brock Turner case and how to deal with the underlying rape culture, I’ve come up with some practical solutions.
1. A rape kit needs to be a part of everybody’s first aid kit, right alongside bandaids and aspirin *. Since 1 in 5 women experience rape (I’m not sure what the numbers are for men), this is such a common occurance we all need to be prepared because it will inevitably happen to us or someone we know as things currently stand.
2. All children need to be educated about consent, starting from an early age. (No, you can’t play with Trisha’s doll unless Trisha says you can. No you can’t touch Ben’s private parts – those don’t belong to you, etc.)
3. All teenagers through adults need to be clearly taught what consent and respect for others means, and the legal consequences of not respecting others boundaries. (I think overall social and kindness practices used to be taught in class as ‘citizenship’ or ‘social studies’ or something like that? But this would add the meaning of consent to the mix as well.)
4. All teenagers and adults need to be taught that assault is assault, and consent is consent – that a person (in this case, the rapist) doesn’t get to decide that someone else ‘wanted’ it. He can only say that HE ‘wanted it’. And if the other person was asleep, or drunk, or said no, or was unable to respond, or was vulnerable (a child, special needs, an employee afraid of losing their job, physically ill, mentally ill, etc.) then they CAN’T legally give consent. Meaning, even if *you* were ‘just getting 20 minutes of action’ using the vagina etc. of another person, if that other person didn’t want your ‘action’, that is called rape and you will be prosecuted.
5. The legal system will clearly define the above (i.e. consent, assault, personal responsibility, personal autonomy) so that there is no doubt as to the meaning of consent, assault, and that personhood rights belong to each individual concerning his or her OWN body.
By Barb Hughes
PS. This discussion is personal for me as my daughter was raped and went through much the same things Brock Turner put his victim through – and many of you/your friends/family have experienced the same thing. Honest education, legal protections, and creative and proactive medicine can help.
*I just discovered this jewelry that is proactive to set off a loud alarm, text friends/family/contacts of your location, and dial 911 all at the touch of a button. It’s called Roar Jewelry. Part of the purchase price also goes to educating children in empathy, so that the rape culture cycle ends.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that ‘winner takes all’ and ‘if I have money/fame, THEN I’ll be secure, I’ll have friends/be popular, have meaning and feel accomplishment in my life’.
This video leaves with a question at the end. I would add an additional question:
What do I have in abundance?
Often we don’t see our own abilities as worthwhile/abundant because they’re not reflected back as valued in society. As we wrestle with personal values and the simple things that sustain us – quietly sharing the things we DO have in abundance – the result is joy. Appreciating what we have begins by not judging ourselves that we aren’t rich/famous/thin/successful enough. At first our personal abundance may look silly or useless, but sit with the tiny simplicity of it, and it may take on a life of its own, crafting a way to bring joy not just to us but to others.
Here’s an example of a simple abundance from my own life.
Our house breeds clothes. When the kids were small I set up a clothes and stuff swap for entertainment in our home. We moved what we wanted to other rooms, and set up marked areas with signage so guests would know where to place their unwanted things for swapping.
It was hoot! Fun was had by all as friends and family brought over things they didn’t need and we socialized and swapped. The kids pretty much stayed in the toy room and found new toys to take home, the parents socialized and found things we needed, I was able to clear out clutter we didn’t need anymore and found things we could use. I found a creative and socially fun use for my abundance. It brought me joy.
My abundance (clothes and stuff that seems to breed in the attic) wasn’t money, or fame, or power. It was ‘just’ clothes and stuff. It was something simple. I started looking for ways to be creative with what I saw as my abundance.
To make a long story short, after years of experimenting I created Swap Positive– started with the simple abundance of extra clothes.
Sharing abundance gives joy.
What do you have extra in your life? What do you have a lot of? What is your abundance? Are you someone who can’t wipe the smile off your face? Do you have way too many empty toilet paper tubes? Do you get a thrill from constantly holding babies? If you give away your extra, what kind of joy will you bring to yourself and to others? If you smile at people it could make a positive difference in their day. Maybe a local preschool would love those toilet paper tubes for the ongoing projects they have, and appreciate your steady supply? A hospital might need someone to hold premie newborns, or a church/school/clinic nursery might appreciate your skills so young mothers can get a short refreshing breather. What you see as ‘not really anything’, or maybe even feel guilty about, might be what you have in abundance. Realizing and using your abundance creatively could make all the difference in how you see yourself and your place in this world. Being rich, famous, and powerful doesn’t bring joy, but maybe having too many toilet paper tubes or egg cartons might be the beginning of a new chapter of joy and giving in your life?
Don’t throw away your disposable silverware – eat it! This innovative ‘silverware’ is a food item that is baked, and comes in various flavors to go with whatever you are eating – sweet, savory, etc. Disposable environmentally destructive plastic was ‘innovative’ in it’s day, but we’ve learned now that it’s harmful to the planet and to our health. With todays technology and understanding we can do better! (Plus the edible cutlery is nutritious and delicious according to those who’ve tried it.) What a great new business model.
The above story is from The Better India a news source featuring innovation for positive and practical change. I’ve just discovered it and bookmarked it. Good stuff!
Finland leads the way with another innovative idea: seniors and young adults enjoy affordable housing – and an enriching community experience.
With Easter and stories of new life and resurrection on our minds, I wanted to explore a side of Easter that I’ve never heard discussed before.
I saw a comment on facebook from a friend of mine that said:
“Sick. Depressed. More than I can handle”.
Without having context to that comment, it got me to thinking. How many of us have felt that way at one time or another? It sucks. Sometimes life gets sucked out and so it just sucks. Lack of health sucks. Trying to keep a smile on sucks. Having a person/pet you love die sucks. Getting out of bed sucks. Watching people just not ‘get it’ sucks. Not being able to do anything about it sucks. Not having energy sucks. About the only things that don’t suck at times might include:
1. the love and kindness of a spouse who cares/close family who will listen and not judge
2. soft organic flannel sheets
3. Hyberbole and a half dark humor
I wonder if sometimes ‘hitting bottom’ might possibly be compared to a place like Christ in the tomb: cold, dark, quiet, a suspended life. And that’s OK. It’s OK to be buried for awhile. In fact, maybe that’s part of the Easter Story? Maybe instead of rushing to the resurrection, maybe it’s OK to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s not a ‘fault’ to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s just part of a – can I say it – healthy life to be in the tomb? Even if we don’t know how long it will last? Especially if we don’t know how long it will last?
Yes, resurrection does come, and we celebrate that, but maybe there is also a place to respect the times in our lives that represent tombs? Why do we fear the cold, dark, quiet, suspended times? Is it because in American culture those are seen as ‘weak’, or ‘useless’, or ‘bad’, or ‘unproductive’…and we feel shamed for them? What would happen if those times of depression/grief, or “tomb-time”, had a different, purposeful meaning in our culture? Do other cultures have a place of respect for those times in a person’s life?
How can we incorporate a safe, honorable, and healthy place for those -including ourselves – who are experiencing tomb-time? If we had a different perspective, maybe we wouldn’t feel the cultural need to deny, try to cheer-lead it away, or shame it? Maybe tomb-time is an important part of a healthy life?
The news is full of articles trying to figure out a way to save America: how to bring back the middle class, create jobs, help stop the disparity between the few rich at the top and the majority falling (or fearful of falling) toward poverty, and what to do about increasing homelessness and food insecurity. American society seems gripped in fear, as many young people wrestle with college debt and little or no living wage work prospects. Middle managers in their 40’s/50’s/60’s have been downsized/laid off, and haunt monthly job fairs featuring door-t0-door commission sales work (to try to reach those who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and/or don’t have money/need to purchase their products anyway). An undergirding of fear is sweeping our nation just under the surface for those of wealth (and those hanging on by their fingernails to their wealth), a daily reality for many more.
The conversation is here. People are awake and aware that this growing soup of problems are encroaching on us as a society, not just ‘the fringe others’. This involves all of us. Some of us who have not yet lost our job/home/health respond with self-protective denial. Some of us in frustration and fear blame the ‘other’. Some of us become clinically depressed and use pain medication/drink/drugs to hide.
I believe there is a practical way to turn this poverty of economy and spirit around. Here’s my idea outline for a Four Step Plan To Economic Recovery:
These four steps would in practical ways help turn the economy around with innovative business and industry leading the way by creating living wage jobs and incorporating training and benefits back into the business model. Add to that affordable housing, fanning innovation, creating community building opportunities, rebuilding a middle class and giving tangible tools to bring disenfranchised into the middle class, and the result would be uplifting all of American society for a better future.
This light source powered by gravity produces clean, free energy for lighting. No sun or batteries needed. No breathing kerosene fumes, no danger of damage by fires, only safe, clean, off-grid energy.
Utah is tackling the homeless problem. Their plan is already saving taxpayer money AND is improving the economy, plus they are on track to eliminate homelessness by 2015.
The Netherlands has a unique eldercare community built specifically for dementia patients, called Dementia Village. Dementia Village is a safe 4 acre indoor/outdoor community where residents can enjoy the seasons, visit a restaurant, drink a cup of tea, get their hair done, go shopping, and are free to go wherever they want (within the save indoor/outdoor village with a ratio of 2 staff per resident).
This 4 acre complex is home to 23 housing units with 7 different ‘lifestyle themes’, the goal being to create a space where each resident can enjoy life and feel welcome. On a physical level people here require fewer medications, eat better, live longer. On a mental level they also seem to experience more joy.
Thanks to CNN’s World’s Untold Stories for this video.
Origami algorithms are being used to create medical implants and space telescopes. I wonder if origami algorithms might be used to create the build-a-building, using plastic, wood, and mesh sheets that can be folded differently to create different shaped useful small buildings? Learn more about this amazing new technology that combines art, science, and history in this Ted Talk.