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If the bleak, desolate gloom of the recession has brought anything to the table, it’s that it has inevitably brought people closer to one another. Whether it’s lending that helping hand or working closely to accomplish a linked cause, people have without a doubt been more ardent in contributing to communities.
Community Crowdsourcing DIY Sustainability 

How to Build a Small Village

GVCS_40machines

It’s like a Lego set except it’s life sized and extremely useful towards building a ‘small civilization with modern day comforts.’ Open Source Ecology is a movement driven by the efforts of farmers, engineers and supporters focused on developing tools for replicable, open source, modern off grid “resilient communities.” They firmly believe that “everyone in the world should have access to the technologies they need to escape poverty.” Using their open source industrial machines as a guide, one needs only to secure the scrap metal necessary and put in the labor in order to create fully functional farming and industrial equipment. From tractor pulls and bulldozers to hay balers and saw mills, this collection named the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) includes all the necessities to create a small village.

Community 

Night for Rights – A jhr Event

Night for Rights Photos 1

What if we lived in a country where violence against women was perceived to be normal? Where spousal abuse, rape and other sexual violence is described to be the worst on the entire planet?

We would be living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Back to Basics Community The Great Outdoors 

Visionary: Natalia Kantor, Roads Less Traveled

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“Imagine The Alternative” suggests the tagline for upcoming TV and online documentary series Roads Less Traveled. Launching on March 24th at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, the multi-part series is set to give viewers a glimpse into the other ways that people live.

When I first met Natalia Kantor, producer and director behind “Roads Less Traveled”, in a café in Toronto in the summer of 2010, we clicked immediately. What she was referring to – the existence of sub or counter-cultures and communities that offered alternatives to the conventional life – was something that I had already been exploring.

For some time I had felt that the familiar, conventional lifestyle that involved getting a degree, and then a salaried job, and then married with children, just did not work for many people. I’d seen evidence of this in my own life – with friends, work colleagues and family. As you may have also experienced “the formula”, does not guarantee happiness.

Community Synergy 

Volkswagens Fun Theory Campaign

TheFunTheory-lottery_sign

Bob’s alarm goes off at 8 in the morning. He washes up, gets dressed for work and like a typical workday morning, he does not have enough time for breakfast. He takes the car to work and gets caught up in the always reliable early morning rush hour. Bob arrives at work and begins the 9-5 workday. The end of the workday doesn’t come soon enough and he’s back in his car stuck in the late afternoon rush hour on the way back home. After a less than appetizing dinner, a few sitcom reruns, Bob heads to bed ready to start the next day. Rinse and repeat.

While this may not be an accurate representation of your own life, we can all agree Bob could use a little more ‘fun’ in his life. In fact, I’m sure we all could use a little more fun in our lives. Volkswagen agrees. They have been sponsoring entrepreneurs to develop ideas on their Fun Theory: that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

Back to Basics Community On the Go 

Christmas Wishlist 2010 ($30 or more)

glasbergen_christmasImage from Randy Glasbergen.

As the countdown to Christmas nears, we continue with our wishlist of goodies. So for those of you who still have some last minute shopping to do, or need some ideas as to what to ask for this Christmas, enjoy this list.

Community DIY Synergy 

Paintlounge: Everyone is an Artist

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Vidafine was recently invited to the launch party for Paintlounge, a new tea shop that offers canvas painting as entertainment to its patrons. The concept is relatively simple, you purchase a modestly priced empty canvas, use the provided tools and paints and start creating your art masterpiece. Take all the time you need to paint your canvas and when you’re finished, you get to take it home with you and brighten up that plain white wall.

Community On the Go 

A Community Pick Me Up

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With the end of 2010 fast approaching, students scrambling to study for exams while others rushing to meet deadlines, who doesn’t need a little break amidst all the stress? Perhaps a pillow fight to release some of that stress will entertain you. How about LED light-saber battles with hundreds of new friends? Maybe, during these cold winter months, curtain forts or a warm smooch will do the trick. Newmindspace organizes such events that bring people together in Toronto and New York in hope to create a public interactive art movement using the city as their urban playground. What will they do next?!

Community Crowdsourcing 

Smories

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When you were a child, did you enjoy being read to? Smories is a website filled with a library of original children stories, read by kids. This website was the outcome of Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar’s insight on children’s interest in reading to one another. What I like about Smories is that it is fully aware of childrens’ increasing obsession with the internet. Children could easily be browsing content that is not suitable for them. Smories acts as a safe alternative and a healthy environment for children to be on the internet.