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As Chief Imagination Officer of Creative Sage™, I live a passionate personal mission to cause the spontaneous combustion of creativity, innovation, and compassionate intelligence everywhere!

At Creative Sage™, we help corporations, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, project teams, entrepreneurs, consultants, authors, artists, performers and others to create outstanding marketing strategies, communications, solutions, services and products. We design dynamic, cutting-edge innovation programs that are tailored to our clients' individual needs for maximum return on investment in innovation management.

We coach and mentor executives, and we also coach accomplished, creative professionals and their organizations to revolutionize the concept of "retirement" and create powerful new lives, projects and initiatives, including Social Entrepreneur projects and partnerships between corporations, nonprofits and philanthropists. We use highly creative and effective methods to help people in mid-life or at any age to navigate transitions in business or in life. We'll coach your inner innovator out of hiding...we help you innovate to be great!


Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates was our original company name, where we've focused on marketing communications, public relations, fundraising, performing arts presentation, and management consulting in the entertainment industry and nonprofit arts. Known for our innovative approaches and story angles, and our strategic capabilities, we have also served a variety of business and technology clients, including working in various capacities on multimedia and marketing projects for Fortune 500s, major universities, healthcare companies, environmental/sustainability, and trade associations. We've also added social media and Internet marketing and PR to our mix of services. We bring your message to the world, and the world to you. Let's start a conversation!

~Cathryn Hrudicka, Chief Imagination Officer, Creative Sage™/ Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates


Contact Me to set up a phone or Skype appointment, or for more information. I look forward to discussing how we can help you or work with you to achieve extraordinary results.

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I'm honored to be a contributing author to the 2011 best-selling business book, A Guide to Open Innovation & Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts, along with some of my innovation colleagues from #Innochat (Twitter Innovation chat and web site), and Innovation Excellence; the book was edited by Paul Sloane, with a foreword by Henry Chesbrough. You can order it here: http://amzn.to/OI_CS

I co-wrote the chapter, "Building the Culture for Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing," with Gwen Ishmael and Boris Pluskowski — more information about all of the co-authors and the contents of this book at: http://bit.ly/OI_CS_Google

Jul 24
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When you face major problems or new projects within your business, there are a number of options from which you can choose once you have committed to taking action toward resolution.

As a leader, you strive to lead teams that are self-sufficient, and your first instinct may be to resolve the problems on your own. But there is only so much time in the day, and even if the problem is within your realm of expertise, there comes a point where you will need some additional help.

A common response then may be to try and grow expertise to tackle the project among in-house resources. If that isn’t an immediate option, you might look to hire a full-time resource or contractor with a specific skill set to try and fill the void.

These avenues can be expensive and time-consuming options, leaving you to continue to suffer with the problem or issue while also expending resources to hire, onboard, and train that resource.

If your organization has a problem too large and complex to solve on your own, or if the problem requires a specialty skill that you don’t immediately possess within your organization, a consultant may be your most efficient and cost-effective option.

Here are a few reasons why…

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Fast Company — Get What You Pay For: 5 Reasons To Hire An Expensive Consultant

When facing problems that need immediate resolution, hiring a consultant might be your most cost-effective option.

By Justin Webb

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At Creative Sage™, we love to work with clients on social innovation, educational innovation, healthcare innovation, and government innovation projects, as well as corporate innovation projects. Our core capabilities include creativity training and coaching, and the design and facilitation of innovation programs, including in the areas of design thinking, arts-based processes, applications of science and neuroscience tools when appropriate, and business model innovation. We have been very effective in helping organizational leaders and employees move through transitions and cultural changes.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss your situation and how we can help your organization move forward to a more innovative and profitable future. You can also call us at 1-510-845-5510 in San Francisco / Silicon Valley. We look forward to helping you find the path to luminous creativity and continuous innovation!

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Most rooms we enter have four sides; they provide the structure to build upon. Presently in many of our economies, particularly in the West, we are struggling to find real growth; we are limited on our wealth-creating possibilities. Why is that? Our structures seem to be weak not strong.

We are certainly relying far too much on ‘selected’ pockets of economic activity to keep us going. Technology is clearly one of these. Yet our longer term forces for sustaining growth remain ‘fragile’, our structures remain wickedly ‘out of kilter’ and we need to find stronger connecting frameworks that reinforce each other, so we can build further upon these to manage our business activities in new ways.

In most of our economic activities technology is playing a significant part in altering our habits, routines and thinking but it alone, is not enough. For technology to really give benefit it needs to be driven by our ability to generate wealth creating activity and that comes from integrating knowledge, gaining experience and being able to articulate this in better ways.

To achieve this, our business structures that we have in the past relied upon are in need of changing. They need different pillars to build upon.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Paul4innovating’s Blog — Building Upon Four Key Wealth Creating Pillars

By Paul Hobcraft

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Paul Hobcraft is a contributor to the Amazon best-selling business book, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts, edited by Paul Sloane, with a foreword by Henry Chesbrough (Kogan Page, 2011). Cathryn Hrudicka, Founder, CEO and Chief Imagination Officer of Creative Sage™, is one of the contributing authors. You can order it here: http://amzn.to/OI_CS

Cathryn Hrudicka co-wrote the chapter, “Building the Culture for Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing,” with Gwen Ishmael and Boris Pluskowski — more information about all of the co-authors and the contents of this book is available at: http://bit.ly/OI_CS_Google

At Creative Sage™, we can help you maximize the value of your open innovation and/or crowdsourcing projects and gain the insights you need to move forward most effectively. To discuss your organization’s situation, please feel free to give us a call, at 1-510-845-5510 (Pacific time, in the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley). You can also contact us by email and visit our web site for more information. We look forward to working with you and helping you get real results.

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Jul 23
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The business world is changing fast, and companies need guidance to help them thrive. “Managers are looking more widely for bright ideas – anything that will give them a competitive advantage,” says Stuart Crainer, co-founder (along with Des Dearlove), of Thinkers50, a biennial ranking of the world’s top business thinkers. In the past year, the two have released a series of six Thinkers50 books highlighting the best new ideas in strategy, innovation, leadership, management, as well as volumes on Indian thought leaders and future business thinkers.

The task of identifying the top thinkers has gotten harder over the years, Crainer says, as channels have proliferated. “We look at blogs, we [find] people on Twitter TWTR +2.7% who have interesting ideas,” he says. “There are lots of alternative routes, whereas previously there were set routes – teaching at a business school, or writing a book. But now it’s a much more open marketplace.”

What makes for a top business thought leader? “The starting point has got to be the ability to communicate,” says Crainer. “The other elements are curiosity, diversity of thinking, and a willingness to embrace ideas no matter where they are.” If you aspire to have your ideas heard, here are three qualities the best business thinkers share, according to Crainer.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Forbes — How To Become A Top Business Thinker

By Dorie Clark

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Everyone thought she was crazy.

Aihui Ong was a successful financial software engineer consulting for companies like Accenture and taking home a handsome six-figure salary. But Ong wasn’t happy with just a hefty paycheck. The work, she says, “was really dry. I got burnt out. I lost my love for technology.” At the same time, she and her spouse decided to part ways. Says Ong: “I decided to take a year off and backpack.”

Friends reproached Ong, telling her all the “shoulds” she could be accomplishing. “You’re in your early thirties, they told me. You should be having a kid or being VP of a company, not staying in dirty motels.”

Ong laughs at the memory of herself turning a deaf ear. “I was lucky I was able to save and finally do what I wanted. I couldn’t afford to travel the world after college.” Backpacking through a self-proclaimed mid-life crisis paved the way for a totally new business idea: Love With Food. An online subscription box company that offers organic or all-natural snacks for $10 or $19.95 a month, Love With Food launched as a solo venture in 2011. The next year Ong’s startup raked in $250,000 in revenue. Love With Food is now up to $2 million, has 15 employees, and growing fast.

For this Ong credits traipsing through 20 countries including Egypt, Turkey, China, and Malaysia, as well as many in Eastern and Western Europe. A born foodie, Ong says her odyssey only strengthened that love as she explored so many different cuisines. But between the bites and sights, Ong was still soul-searching, wondering where she would take the next step in her career. “I could work in any country,” says the Singapore native, “And I debated coming back to the U.S.”

Ultimately, Ong says she really missed America and decided to give her adopted country another go. “I didn’t want to be an engineer again,” she confesses, laughing, “It was really boring.” Instead she decided to help a friend who sold her wares at a local farmers market. That’s when Ong got her first taste of the grocery business. Though in her opinion, the friend’s product was good, it wasn’t available in stores. Between brokers, distributors, and store buyers who saved space for national brands, Ong says “the whole system is inefficient. It got me angry that a lot of great products never make it.”

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Fast Company — How To Turn A Mid-Life Crisis Into A Million-Dollar Business

Aihui Ong left her cushy job as a software engineer to backpack around the world. Good move.

By Lydia Dishman

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At Creative Sage™, we often coach and mentor individual clients, as well as work teams, in the areas of change management, making personal, career or organizational transitions, and facilitating creativity and collaboration capabilities. We guide and mentor executives, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and creative professionals of all generations, to help them more effectively implement transition processes, and to become more resilient in adjusting to rapid changes in the workplace — including learning effective coping techniques for handling failure, as well as success. We work with on-site and virtual teams.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. You can also call us at 1-510-845-5510 in San Francisco / the Silicon Valley. Let’s talk! An initial exploratory phone conversation is free. When you talk with me, I promise that I’ll always LISTEN to you with open ears, mind and heart, to help you clarify your own unique path to a higher vista of success.

  ~Cathryn Hrudicka, Founder, CEO and Chief Imagination Officer of Creative Sage™, Executive Coach and Mentor.

***

Jul 22
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Via artmastered:

Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2014, oil on canvas, [no dimensions], currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Here we have the winning portrait from this year’s BP Portrait Awards. Ganter’s piece is a depiction of a homeless man from Frankfurt named Karel. The sitter’s pose and surroundings — namely the gold background and coffee-cup rose — are crucial to the portrait’s overall effect. Ganter has said of the work: ‘By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative, or dependent on socioeconomic status.’ [Source]. I adore this concept, but I do think that Karel’s facial expression is really what makes this piece as compelling as it is.

Via artmastered:

Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2014, oil on canvas, [no dimensions], currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Here we have the winning portrait from this year’s BP Portrait Awards. Ganter’s piece is a depiction of a homeless man from Frankfurt named Karel. The sitter’s pose and surroundings — namely the gold background and coffee-cup rose — are crucial to the portrait’s overall effect. Ganter has said of the work: ‘By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative, or dependent on socioeconomic status.’ [Source]. I adore this concept, but I do think that Karel’s facial expression is really what makes this piece as compelling as it is.

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New research shows one big reason to be nice to others.

Almost everyone wants to be happy, but surprisingly few people know exactly how to make themselves so.

A growing body of research has identified one reliable path to greater personal happiness: engaging in a rewarding activity — particularly one that involves doing something nice for someone else. Acts of kindness not only benefit the recipient but also “create a pleasurable ‘helper’s high’ that benefits the giver,” says Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jennifer Aaker, who has studied the phenomenon with University of Houston’s Melanie Rudd and Michael I. Norton of the Harvard Business School.

Indeed, studies show that people who regularly do volunteer work report greater happiness and less depression than those who don’t; performing five random acts of kindness a day for six weeks has been shown to boost happiness, as has spending money on others rather than on oneself. “Telling people to do good things for others appears to be a good strategy for personal happiness,” says Aaker. “But what is less clear is the best way to create that ‘helper’s high.’”

To pinpoint what kinds of generous acts produce the biggest spike in happiness, Aaker and her coauthors looked at the types of feelings generated by various good deeds. Their new research shows that the way people approach performing acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on the happiness they experience. In a nutshell: It’s much better to frame philanthropic goals in concrete terms than in abstract ones.

The authors demonstrate that givers with a specific, concrete agenda — trying to make someone smile, for instance — experience greater happiness than those pursuing a more abstract goal, like trying to make someone “happy.”

“This insight is important because nearly all of us are trying to make other people in our lives happy. Parents often say they just want their kids to be happy. Equally common is a desire to make our partners, family members, and friends happy,” says Aaker. “But few of us know exactly how to bring happiness to the people in our lives. Our new research sheds light on what we can do.”

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Stanford Graduate School of Business / News — Jennifer Aaker: How to Make Yourself Happy

By Susan H. Greenberg

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WHERE does creativity come from? For centuries, we’ve had a clear answer: the lone genius. The idea of the solitary creator is such a common feature of our cultural landscape (as with Newton and the falling apple) that we easily forget it’s an idea in the first place.

But the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at “The Daily Show” or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney and myriad other examples with which we’ve yet to fully reckon.

Historically speaking, locating genius within individuals is a recent enterprise. Before the 16th century, one did not speak of people being geniuses but having geniuses. “Genius,” explains the Harvard scholar Marjorie Garber, meant “a tutelary god or spirit given to every person at birth.” Any value that emerged from within a person depended on a potent, unseen force coming from beyond that person.

As late as the Renaissance, people we’d now consider quasi-divine creators were more likely to be seen as deft imitators, making compelling work from familiar materials. Shakespeare, for example, did not typically dream up new ideas for plays but rewrote, adapted and borrowed from the plots, characters and language of previous works. “Romeo and Juliet,” as Mark Rose, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, notes, is an episode-by-episode dramatization of a poem by Arthur Brooke.

Of course, theater is inherently collaborative. But the Elizabethan stage was more like the modern film industry, where the writer is generally less an auteur than a piece of a machine. Surviving records show three or four or even five playwrights receiving pay for a single production, according to the Columbia professor James Shapiro. The irony is that Shakespeare, whose world serves so well to illustrate a collaborative (or networked) idea about how good work is made, would become the icon of the solo creator.

The big change began with Enlightenment thinkers, who sought to give man a dignified, central place in the world. They made man’s thinking the center of their universe and created a profoundly asocial self.

Meanwhile, as the feudal and agrarian gave way to the capitalist and industrial, artists needed to be more than entertaining; they needed to be original, to profit from the sale of their work. In 1710, Britain enacted its first copyright law, establishing authors as the legal owners of their work and giving new cultural currency to the idea of authors as originators.

This is when we start to see the modern use of “genius.” In an essay published in 1711, Joseph Addison cited Shakespeare as a “remarkable instance” of “these great natural geniuses” — those lit up by an inner light and freed from dependence on previous models.

But it was during the Romantic era that “the true cult of the natural genius emerged,” Ms. Garber writes — with Shakespeare as its signal example. He was a convenient case; so little biographical material existed that his story could be made up.
Continue reading the main story

Paradoxically, the most potent illustration of Shakespeare-as-genius manifested itself as an apparent challenge to it. How could the son of a glover with a provincial education have written so knowingly of kings and queens and faraway lands? It must have been another, dissenters said, with the Earl of Oxford emerging as a favorite candidate. What’s remarkable here is the underlying assumption that Shakespeare’s plays emerged entirely outside the give-and-take of the theater. Shakespeare doubters, the Cleveland State University scholar James Marino says, “are taking the lone genius idea and doubling down.”

Today, the Romantic genius can be seen everywhere. Consider some typical dorm room posters — Freud with his cigar, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the pulpit, Picasso looking wide-eyed at the camera, Einstein sticking out his tongue. These posters often carry a poignant epigraph — “Imagination is more important than knowledge” — but the real message lies in the solitary pose.

In fact, none of these men were alone in the garrets of their minds. Freud developed psychoanalysis in a heated exchange with the physician Wilhelm Fliess, whom Freud called the “godfather” of “The Interpretation of Dreams”; King co-led the civil rights movement with Ralph Abernathy (“My dearest friend and cellmate,” King said). Picasso had an overt collaboration with Georges Braque — they made Cubism together — and a rivalry with Henri Matisse so influential that we can fairly call it an adversarial collaboration. Even Einstein, for all his solitude, worked out the theory of relativity in conversation with the engineer Michele Besso, whom he praised as “the best sounding board in Europe.”

Now, from disparate directions, a new view of the self has been gathering steam that allows us to begin seeing these old stories as though for the first time. Many factors are at play, not least the rise of the Internet, both for its actual mechanisms that bring people together and for its potency as a metaphor. And the social science of relationships is flourishing, starting with the relational foundations of human development.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: NYTimes.com / Sunday Review / Opinion — The End of ‘Genius’

By Joshua Wolf Shenk

Jul 21
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Via plusarchitekt:

Elevated Thinking: The High Line in New York City

Even though it might as well have been taken straight out of the Gospel According to Bloomberg, this short documentary brought to you by the good people at Great Museums is actually phenomenal. Featuring interviews with the never-not-smiling former director of the NYC Department of City Planning Amanda Burden and soul patch wielding architect-extraordinaire Ricardo Scofidio, the film is fantastic way to spend fifty-six minutes and forty-nine seconds for anyone even remotely interested in one of the most important public works projects of the twenty-first century.

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It’s nearly impossible to escape a meeting or conference call without someone touting the virtues of collaboration. After all, researchers have linked collaboration to increased innovation, and many have compellingly argued for collaboration’s role in better leadership performance. Collaboration just feels right — like a big hug or a warm puppy.

But collaboration also has an overlooked dark side.

Picture this: A complex issue is identified. A diverse, cross-functional team is assembled to solve it. Key stakeholders are gathered. Information is collected. Options are debated. Approval is sought. And then… nothing happens. So more information is gathered. More stakeholders are invited. More conference calls are logged. More debate ensues. More approval is sought. Round and round the project goes — when, where, and how somebody will decide, nobody knows.

This is a recipe for collaboration fatigue, and if consumed in large doses for prolonged periods, this potent blend of abdication, confusion, and indecision will poison your team. So the question is: How can you leverage the advantages of collaboration while limiting your exposure to the morale-sucking effects of collaboration fatigue?

You can start by answering the two questions below. If you have clear answers to these questions, there’s a good chance that a lot of your collaborative woes will subside.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Harvard Business Review — How to Avoid Collaboration Fatigue

By Nick Tasler

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At Creative Sage™, we love to connect corporate leaders and entrepreneurs with good causes, and help companies start Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, or philanthropy programs that are a win-win for all partners.

Please do not hesitate to email us if you would like to discuss your situation and find out more about how we can help your organization move forward to a more innovative and profitable future, strengthening your branding and resonance with customers while helping to do good in the world through appropriate CSR partnerships with nonprofits, philanthropists, educational institutions and programs, or government agencies and community organizations. We can also help you connect with celebrities and other notable people who can help amplify your message of social good, or headline entertainment events and concerts for good causes.

You can also call us at 1-510-845-5510 in San Francisco / Silicon Valley. We look forward to talking with you!

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Water problems affect billions of people around the world. Every day in India, millions of people turn on their taps, only to find they too often run dry, and are forced to wait hours until piped water arrives.

But not for much longer, if Anu Sridharan, the 20-something founder of NextDrop, has anything to say about it. NextDrop works with engineers in Bangalore to improve water utility services and is already providing more than 75,000 people in nearby twin-cities Hubli-Dharwad with timely and reliable information about their water supply.

NextDrop’s real-time data and messaging system uses SMS to inform subscribers about when they’re receiving water, when there’s a delay, when pipe damage is likely to affect them, and when someone in the community has water updates to share.

In this Q&A, Sridharan shares updates since we last caught up with her at Buckingham Palace as one of seven finalists in last year’s Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards and offers a couple tips for young entrepreneurs.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: Forbes / Ashoka — Q&A With NextDrop Founder Anu Sridharan

By John Converse Townsend, Contributor

Jul 18
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Via teded:

A Guide to the Energy of the Earth

Energy moves in and out of Earth’s physical systems, and during any energy transfer between them, some energy is lost to the surroundings as heat, light, sound, vibration, or movement.

Our planet’s energy comes from internal and external sources. Geothermal energy from radioactive isotopes and rotational energy from the spinning of the Earth are internal sources of energy, while the Sun is the major external source, driving certain systems, like our weather and our climate.

Sunlight warms the surface and atmosphere in varying amounts, and this causes convection, producing winds and influencing ocean currents. Infrared radiation, radiating out from the warmed surface of the Earth, gets trapped by greenhouse gases and further affects the energy flow.

From the TED-Ed Lesson A guide to the energy of the Earth — Joshua M. Sneideman

Animation by Marc Christoforidis

(via discoverynews)

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“Inheritance” is a word often used when it comes to our responsibility to take care of the planet, but I don’t think it’s the right one. After all, when you inherit something, it’s yours to do as you like with. I prefer to say that we are “borrowing” the earth, from future generations; when you borrow something, you have to hand it back in good condition.

After all, it is today’s young generations who will pay the price if we neglect our duty to minimize the effects of climate change – and we will not go far in fulfilling that responsibility unless we engage young people in a meaningful way. Fortunately there is evidence that, around the world, young people are taking the lead.

Take the Bahamas, for example. After hurricanes devastated the sand dunes in 2005, students at Hope Town Primary School mobilized the community to plant sea oats, a kind of dune grass. When the next extreme hurricanes hit, in 2011, the roots held the dunes in place. The students were part of the Sandwatch programme, which helps schoolchildren in more than 50 countries monitor the state of their local beaches.

Such efforts to adapt to extreme weather events will become increasingly important in the near future as the effects of already-released greenhouse gases play out. However, just as important is finding innovative ways to mitigate further emissions. In Barbados, for example, students at Lester Vaughan Secondary School have made more than 3,000 litres of biodiesel by collecting used vegetable oil from around their communities. This greener approach to powering vehicles has the added advantage of preventing oil waste from damaging the environment.

The creativity of young people is invaluable in the search for innovative solutions to climate change. In Ghana, an award-winning project to make bicycle frames from bamboo instead of steel is reducing CO2 emissions and restoring local forests. These and many other encouraging examples are featured in a report by the United Nations, Youth in action on climate change: inspirations from around the world.

[Excerpt, click on the link to read the rest of this post.]

From: The World Economic Forum / Forum: Blog — Why young people are key to tackling climate change

By Ahmad Alhendawi

Jul 17
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(Source: airows, via secretrepublic)