Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RelayRides: Your Neighborhood “Hertz”

Is your thumb getting tired as you wave it around on the side of the highway? Sick of not having your own wheels? Do you just so happen to live in San Francisco? Well, if you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, have we got the program for you!

RelayRides is the California-based (figures) car-sharing program that unites vehicle owners with eager people who want to drive their cars! In other words, instead of paying for an over-priced cab ride or deal with the hassle of catching a city bus, a person is able to borrow a car from someone in their community for only $6 an hour.

Sounds too good to be true? We thought so too! But, Shelby Clark, a Harvard Business School graduate, management consultant, former executive and founding CEO of RelayRides can reassure people that the program makes perfect sense!

Gas and a $1 million insurance policy covering theft and accidents is provided for drivers and the owner’s of the vehicles in the program. Also, online registration initiates driving record approval of applicants. After signing up, approved applicants will receive membership information and access to reserve a nearby car for a few hours or even days.

What’s even cooler is that awkward car key swaps between strangers are now obsolete. When the member arrives to the location of their “rented” car, he or she simply waves a card to the sensor on the driver’s side of the windshield and the door automatically is unlocked paving the way to most coveted item of all: the car keys.

The members aren't the only one reeling in the benefits of RelayRides. The owners of the rented cars have the potential to earn up to $8,000 annually! Plus, if the model works, fewer cars will be on the road which translates to less traffic and cleaner air. You see? We all win!

Since RelayRides is still in its pilot stages, we cannot be sure whether it will take off or stall out. Regardless of its destiny, the inspiration behind the idea is sure to accelerate us to a greener, more sustainable future! Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A “Snapshot” of Insurance Discount Heaven

Everyone is trying to save a buck these days...and understandably so. That’s why Progressive Insurance has developed a new, innovative way to give their customers discounts known as the “Snapshot” program.

The self-described program entails a Progressive customer plugging a device into his or her car which then will display over time whether he or she is a responsible driver. If the device is in favor of the user’s motor skills, then he or she could receive up to 30% off insurance rates!

The main underlying purpose of the “Snapshot” program is to allow Progressive to collet and compile data on its customers' driving habits over a span of thirty days. The devices themselves, which literally are the size of the palm on your hand, plug into the car’s on-board diagnostic port and track a specific user’s behavior such as, when the user is driving, how often the user drives, and tracks how frequent a user makes sudden stops.

However, there’s one small catch. The drivers who receive the largest discounts are the ones who travel during times when accidents are less likely and who spend less time behind the wheel overall. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Since when has an insurance company actually wanted to take on extra risks? After all, isn’t that the point of the “Snapshot?”

Regardless of the reasoning behind the honest device, if it promotes responsibility on both sides of the equation then perhaps it’s a step in the right direction. And isn’t that what “progression” is all about? Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mission Impossible 4: Starring Mother Nature!

Mother Nature is a stoic entity. Even in the most barren of places where life simply cannot thrive, over time she manages to trump even the most saavy of scientists.

One amazing example of Mother Nature’s fortitude began in 2005 when scientists from the Technical University of Munich began to analyze a rarity in today’s progressive world: a natural, blank canvas.

The test began with a coal mine that became inactive. The scientists then covered the cratered coal pit with with a clay layer which in turn, formed a water basin. Their plan involved a whole lot of nothing. No fertilizer would be used, no seeds were planted, and no organism was artificially cultivated. The scientists’ plan was to simply, sit back and wait.

Soon enough, scientists began witnessing something they had not anticipated they would see for over twenty years: life!

After only five years trees and flowers have encompassed the once barren region. In fact, the scientists have hypothesized that this sudden greenery should result in a forrest during the next twelve years (which is how long the study is scheduled to run).

Nevertheless, the simple question of how this transformation could happen so fast is being argued with no definitive cause being pinpointed. One thing is for sure, Mother Nature is as certain as she is adaptable with the ability to flourish within the impossible. Now that’s a heck of an inspiration for all to live by. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Make Music, Not War

In a city paralyzed by a civil war between drug cartels, Cuidad Juarez is desperately searching for a hero. A dozen people per day are fatally injured in a body count that has reached over 7,200 since late 2008. Something’s got to give...

Funny enough, Cuidad Juarez has found a hero in a former heroine addict. Alma Rosa Gonzalez, a native of the troubled city, has started a youth orchestra in hopes that it will keep the children from falling victim to (or joining) the perilous gang life.

The kids in Gonzalez’ orchestra aren’t strangers to poverty and struggle. They rehearse in a school built on a garbage dump. Recently, two of the school’s classrooms collapsed, and eight people were murdered at a neighboring rehabilitation center by the Mexican Blood gang.

However, parents are continuing to send their kids despite the threats as they view the orchestra as an opportunity for their children to strive and improve. In a city of 1.5 million, making a big change comes from the small, minuscule ones. In fact, Gonzalez has already begun her march to victory. On December 19, seventy of her students will come together to hold a Christmas concert with music by Bach and Handel. Come one, come all...tis‘ the season to turn your life around. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Out With the New, In With the Old!

The world’s favorite coffee cup just got greener! Starbuck’s has recently unveiled its plan to turn it’s old, previously used coffee cups into new ones.

In fact, Starbucks is so confident in its green thinking that it plans to provide only recyclable or reusable cups by 2015 and has run various recycling projects concerning the “reusability” of its old unwanted cups.

The recent six-week project involved about 8,000 pounds of cups collected in Ontario (where the coffee mogul has already begun it’s improved greener plan) that were then sent to Mississippi River Pulp, the company that provides the post-consumer content that’s been in Starbucks’ cups since 2006. Today, all of Starbucks’ cups have just ten percent of recyclable content. Tomorrow, Starbucks plans to go all the way!

Why the push for reusable coffee cups? Simple, Starbucks wants to cut down on waste. Only a small fraction of the four billion cups that the company produces annually end up somewhere OTHER than a landfill. What’s even more disappointing is that only cities like Toronto, Seattle, and San Francisco offer recycling or composting. Everywhere else, the cups go directly to the trash can.

Finding more recyclers to take coated cups would not only translate into an innovative solution for Starbucks, but for the fifty-eight billion other paper cups used every year throughout the US. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Care-Wear: How Innovation Gives Us That “Warm and Fuzzy” Feeling

While most college students are out partying and hoping they’ll be awake in time for the next day’s afternoon lecture, Veronika Scott is quite the exception!

A junior at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Scott is fabricating a garment with the city’s 18,000 plus homeless people in mind.

The Element S(urvival) Coat is a self-heated and waterproof jacket that also has the capacity of transforming into a sleeping bag. Anticipating the cold harsh Michigan weather that loom ahead, the ESC couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the needy this holiday season!

So how exactly does this wonder coat heat itself? It’s quite simple really! The jacket is made from the same stuff that keeps your house warm this winter: insulation. The outside of the garment is lined using Tyvek home insulation while the inside contains a winter-season favorite, polar fleece.

Carhartt, a Dearborn based work clothing company was so impressed with the design that they kindly donated an industrial sewing machine, 300 yards of lining, thread, cutters and pattern material. This donation should cover the first twenty five coats which Scott will eagerly hand out upon their creation.

Scott has deemed her project, The Empowerment Plan,”where she will put the homeless to work in making the coats with the sole benefit of being able to keep them when they’re finished. Both parties win, and no one goes cold...Have YOU helped save the world today?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Trading Silence for Money: The Upcoming Death of Your Twitter Feed

Kim Kardashian will die on the first of next month! Yes, you read correct. The breathtaking beauty who stops hearts with her astounding looks and infectious reality show will soon cease to exist; that is, unless she can raise enough money and awareness in the name of HIV/AIDS.

And by “die” we don’t mean literally (duh!), but in a more virtual sense. On December 1, 2010 celebs from all over the social media map will go silent on their feeds to mark AIDS day, and will remain so until the public raises $1 million for the charity Keep a Child Alive. In laymen’s terms, “the rich and famous want you to ‘buy’ their lives back.” Well, what’s new?

Aside from Kim, what other celebrities are on the virtual “hit list?” Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Usher, Willow and Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, Katie Holmes, and Elijah Wood will all soon meet their virtual maker, so to speak.

Alicia Keys is the mastermind for such a worldly cause. An avid supporter of the Keep a Child Alive charity, Keys hopes to raise funds for medication and patient care services to children and families in Africa and India who are directly affected by HIV/AIDS.

So folks, on Wednesday grab your smartphones and donate $10 by texting BUYLIFE to 90999. Your donation will not only help mend the future for a child and his or her family, it will bring normalcy back to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Have YOU helped save the world today?

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