Friday, April 30, 2010

Creative Community Workshop - Connecticut - May 17

[April 2010 - The Last Green Valley] Please join us in welcoming Randall Arendt to The Last Green Valley. Mr. Arendt is a nationally recognized expert in creative community design, planning and conservation. His latest efforts focus on helping communities redevelop commercial strips and create new mixed use centers. This workshop will be held in Chaplin, Connecticut, on May 17 at 6:00 p.m. A light dinner will be provided. Space is limited. Mr. Arendt will have advice for small and large communities. His slides show includes examples from many types of communities addressing a large array of issues from aesthetic to transportation to storm water and more. Come learn what your community can do to improve its commercial or mixed use center. For more info and to register, contact Susan Westa, Co-Director, Green Valley Institute, 860.774.9600, ext. 24 or About The Last Green Valley.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Commentary: On Creativity and Food; and Movement and Play

By Suhely Sanchez
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
Food Fight
Stefan Nadelman, based in Portland, has made this beautiful classic: Food Fight is an abridged history of American-centric war, from World War II to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict. Watch as traditional comestibles slug it out for world domination in this chronologically re-enacted smorgasbord of aggression.

Sia: Clap Your Hands
Kris Moyes and Sia reunite to try out a touch of puppetry in this promo for Clap Your Hands.

I focus here on a couple of the subjects that we have spoken about throughout this semester: food and creativity, and the topic of movement and play. Throughout this course, we have gotten the chance to learn more about food than just its nutritional value. We have considered its value and its creativity, along with its link to issues within the U.S. such as obesity (fast food vs. health food, or mass production vs. independent farmers, etc). I found two extraordinary videos that each individually address each subject in ways that are beyond any norms.

The first video, “Food Fight,” created by independent film director Stefan Nadelman, is beyond the word creative. The film is based in Portland and the director used food to act out a shortened version of the history of American war, from World War II until the present day. The story is told through the foods of the countries in conflict. The ironically gruesome battles are displayed between countries through “Food Fight” as they all strike each other for world domination.

I found the director's creativity and visual effects of this film to be beyond fascinating. Not only did the video use food to represent each nation, but it also told a story of history in not only odd, but also imaginative, ways. I find it paradoxical that in many ways we all like to think that food brings nations together, but in this film it clearly segregated every nation through its representation. I choose this film due to it’s out of the box methods of expressing a long life of war between different nations. This film took the topic of food to an entirely different level, while giving an entirely new meaning to the statement, “Food Fight.”

During this semester, we have learned that movement and play within children can help their development, all the way through adulthood. The second video I choose is a music video directed by Kris Moyes for the Australian soulful, jazz-styled pop singer and songwriter Sia. I decided to use this video to display the importance of imagination and creativity even throughout adulthood. The use of puppets and faces mended together with bright colors and music definitely took the music video scene to an entire different level. Kris’ endless amount of out of the box ideas makes his style instantly recognizable -- there are the intensely colorful animations, while a preoccupation with geometry.

Throughout this course I have learned that creativity may seem random, and completely awkward, but overall creativity is what sets us all apart from ordinary. As the famous Marilyn Monroe once said: "Imperfection is beauty, Madness is Genius, and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous, than absolutely boring." Creativity helps us express ourselves, find solutions, and open gateways for new ideas, while pushing through the walls of boundaries and barriers that at times hold us back from being able to prosper, or to even find the simplest and most obvious forms of solutions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Commentary: On Making Every Day Earth Day

By Elizabeth Roberts
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
NASA Climate Report on Global Warming, including interview with Professor Gerald Dickens (associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Rice University, USA) on carbon dioxide being released from oceans. Highlights the latest findings that the Arctic ice could almost be all melted by 2012. Includes teleconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Excerpt from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s lecture "Save the Planet at All Cost International Gathering August 8, 2009

Let’s make EARTH DAY ... every day!

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day was this past Tuesday, April 22, 2010! By now, it’s no secret that we should all take action to help our planet. It is often overwhelming to think about how we can change our lifestyles to better our environment. However, we can all take steps (even small ones) to participate toward making every day Earth day.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the following are the top environmental issues to be concerned with:

  • Water
  • Air
  • Climate
  • Wastes and Pollution
  • Green Living
  • Human Health

Polluted water can harm our ability to use water in our homes, for recreation, and in business/trade. It also harms other kinds of life. We need to work to protect water in all its forms: on the ground, underground, and coming out of the tap.

Polluted air comes from a variety of places and has many disastrous effects. It hurts the earth and other living things. We need to improve the air to breathe!

Our Earth's climate has changed many times during the planet's history according to the EPA. From ice ages to lengthy periods of warmth. Volcanic eruptions, the Earth's orbit, and energy from the Sun have all impacted our planet’s climate. However, the Industrial Revolution has extrememly changed the atmosphere!

Waste needs to be reduced. Waste destroys our water, air and land! We spend tons of money trying to clean up pollution. Let’s work harder to prevent too much waste! Preventing pollution is better. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Green living is the way to start loving our selves and our planet!

Human health is a product of “going green.”

Visiting Web sites like the EPA’s can often contribute to overwhelming feelings. There is so much that needs to be done and so quickly. Although it’s extremely important to continue to recycle, it is just a start. Not only do Earthlings need to worry about waste materials such as plastics, we also need to take a closer look at other types of waste and what we are producing. Other important areas to investigate are chemicals and our daily diet. If we can narrow in on what personal actions can make the biggest impact, we can achieve greater success!

By “going green” we can become aware of the harmful, processed food we often digest. We can take the extra step to shop for healthy produce and utilize farmers markets. Most importantly, Americans need to reduce the amount of meat we eat on a weekly basis.

Scientists have determined that eating less meat may help save our planet and our health! Not only does consuming less meat reduce the chance of a heart attack, but if we can reduce the amount of meat we eat by 30% the industry could “slash its emissions!”

Happy Earth Day!

Plastic in the Pacific

[10 April 2010 - KQED QUEST] Imagine every person on earth had 100 pounds of plastic. That's how much new plastic will be manufactured in 2010. Sadly, much of that will end up in the ocean within a massive area dubbed the Pacific Garbage Patch. Can anything be done to clean it up?

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Commentary: On Creativity in the Workplace from 'Just Shoot Me'

By Lissette Rios
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:

Just Shoot Me: Blush Gets Some Therapy

Communication is extremely important in our life. We need to have excellent communication skills at work, school, church, home, etc., in order to succeed. There are many people who know how to communicate well; others have bad or poor communication skills, while still others have no communication skills at all.

The video clip that I chose is from the sitcom, “JUST SHOOT ME.” This show is about a fashion magazine so you know that the screen writers always need to be creative when writing the episodes. In the video clip, we see that the employees are having a group dynamics session with a therapist. There was miscommunication within the staff so the owner of the Blush magazine decided to address the issue with the help of a therapist.

My opinion about this clip is that the originality was excellent. I love the therapist’s group dynamic and how he addressed the bad communication within the group. He said, “Today we are a car” and asked each one of the members to make a noise that resembles a car. The team started to make the noise, which sounded terrible. Then, he said, “That’s how it is when we communicate badly.” The exercise made the point across the team. I believe that this type of creative activity helps people to recognize their issues without pointing fingers. Once again, creativity is important in our life.

Creativity helps us to address a negative quality of someone without making the person feel bad or uncomfortable. Like the video clip showed (and we learned in class), these types of creative activities do not depend on age, length of employment, type of work, level of education, etc. In the process of any particular activity, we could learn to be non-judgmental. That did not happen on that episode, but hey, each character in “JUST SHOOT ME” has his or her personality, and sarcasm sometimes makes us laugh. It’s a great show, if you want to have a good laugh you ought to watch the reruns.

We should have creative exercises like this one in the workplace; especially for this particular issue, COMMUNICATION. I did a research on creative activities for the workplace and communication and came to the conclusion that they can be used as icebreakers or warm ups before a meeting. They aer simple, inexpensive and most of all, FUN. I will be doing one at work and I’ll ask everyone to provide their honest feedback because in our last pulse survey, communication was one of our weaknesses. The activity that I am planning on doing (see below) will cover the other side of communication which is, “good listening.”

Paper-Tearing Exercise
Time Allocation: 5 minutes
Materials: Blank 8 ½-by-11-inch sheets of paper for each participant

  1. Tell the participants the following: “We are going to play a game that will show us some important things about communication. Pick up your sheet of paper and hold it in front of you. Now, close your eyes and follow the directions I will give you—and no peeking!" Participants cannot ask questions.
  2. Give the following directions, carrying them out yourself with your own sheet of paper and pausing after each instruction to give the group time to comply:
    “The first thing I want you to do is to fold your sheet of paper in half. Now tear off the upper right-hand corner. Fold it in half again and tear off the upper left hand corner of the sheet. Fold it in half again. Now tear off the lower right-hand corner of the sheet.”
  3. After the tearing is complete, say something like, “Now open your eyes, and let’s see what you have. If I did a good job of communicating and you did a good job of listening, all of our sheets should look the same!” Hold your sheet up for them to see. It is highly unlikely any sheet will match yours exactly.
  4. Observe the differences. There will probably be much laughter.
  5. Ask the group why no one’s paper matched yours. (You will probably get responses like “You didn’t let us ask questions!” or “Your directions could be interpreted in different ways.”) Then, lead into a presentation on the need for two-way communication in the workplace.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Connecticut Imagination Conversation - Tonight in Hartford

Join us tonight for the Connecticut Imagination Conversation at 6 p.m.
in Hartford! More information and RSVP:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Imagination Conversation Set for Connecticut, April 19 in Hartford

CONNECTICUT TO EXPLORE CRITICAL ROLE OF IMAGINATION AS KEY TO FLOURISHING SOCIETY ... Connecticut Imagination Conversation is Part of 50-State Effort to Raise Awareness of Imagination: Why It Matters and How to Develop It in Our Lives and in Our Communities.

On April 19, 2010, the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination and the University of Connecticut, in affiliation with Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCI), will hold an Imagination Conversation at 7:00 p.m. at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus.

The Conversation will bring together leaders from an array of fields -- government, business, science, education, and the arts -- to explore the ways they experience and promote imagination in their work and communities. The goal of the Conversation is to present imagination as a key cognitive capacity, one that leads to creativity and innovation; and to help build awareness of imagination as a key skill in work and in life.

It is LCI's contention, as well as that of numerous scientists, government leaders, and educators, that imagination must be taught to children in our schools and nurtured in our communities. Applying imagination is crucial if Americans are to not only compete in the 21st-century marketplace, but create positive, flourishing communities that continually engage every citizen's creativity, imagination and ideas.

The Imagination Conversation will be in the auditorium of the Library Building at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus, 1800 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, Conn., 06117. The event begins with networking at 6 p.m. and the Imagination Conversation at 7 p.m. More details, along with parking and registration information, are available at:

The Imagination Conversation is open to the public and will be recorded for broadcast on WNPR's Where We Live on Friday, April 23, at 9 a.m. WNPR's John Dankosky will moderate the Conversation with guests Steven Dahlberg and Scott Noppe-Brandon. Dahlberg is head of the New Milford, Conn.-based International Centre for Creativity and Imagination (ICCI) and teaches "Creativity + Social Change" at the University of Connecticut. Noppe-Brandon is executive director of Lincoln Center Institute and author of "Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility." Artists John O'Donnell and Ted Efremoff will visually map and document the Conversation while it happens. Students from the "Creativity + Social Change" class, invited participants from diverse sectors across the state, and the general public will also be involved in the Conversation.

This Conversation will focus on the role of imagination in education, creative community and economic development, and creative leadership in organizations. It seeks to build a relevant imagination-fueled agenda for the state to pursue. ICCI will coordinate follow-up action that emerges from this conversation, as well as additional future conversations.

“Creativity and imagination matter in every aspect of society,” says Dahlberg. “Imagination matters for engaging students and teachers in meaningful education. It matters for bringing new ideas into reality to improve the economy. And it matters for helping people express their creative capacities in their work and their communities. We hope to help connect people who want to tap into more of their imagination and apply it for creating positive change across this state.”

Imagination Conversations are expected to take place during the next two years in each of the 50 states. All of the Conversations will be documented and final proposals for nationwide educational reform will be made at a national Imagination Summit in New York in the summer or fall of 2011. At the Summit, Imagination Conversation findings and an action agenda will be presented to public policy makers, educators, legislators and the media in an effort to make cultivation of imagination a key element in our schools.

"Imagination can be described as having the ability to visualize new possibilities and the ability to ask, 'what if ...?'" says Noppe-Brandon. "Developing students' imaginations and teaching them to proceed from imaginative thinking to creative action is vital if they are to meet the challenges of today's world. If the United States is to maintain its position at the vanguard of innovation, it needs a workforce capable of finding fresh solutions to challenges and inventing groundbreaking products and services. LCI understands that imaginative learning in schools will produce such a population."

ICCI is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. It promotes imagination and creativity through public events such as the monthly Creativity Networking series; professional development training for educators and business people; advocacy for creativity topics in local, national and international conferences; dissemination of creativity ideas through writing and commentary in various media; and teaching and guest lecturing at various universities.

The University of Connecticut's Bachelor of General Studies Program encourages imagination, collaboration and democratic participation through its Public and Community Engagement-themed courses in Storrs and Hartford and online.

Having recognized the global importance of imagination early on, LCI has established itself as a leader in the implementation of a method by which imagination is introduced into classrooms and used across the curriculum. Through the hands-on study of works of art, students develop their capacities to think imaginatively and critically, which serve them in all subject areas. With its programs reaching an estimated 390,000 students per year through its partnerships with schools across the U.S. and abroad, LCI is making an impact on the direction of education not just in New York but all over the world.

About Steven Dahlberg and the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination:
Steven Dahlberg is director of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, which is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. He teaches "Creativity + Social Change" in the Public and Community Engagement theme at the University of Connecticut. He has nearly 20 years of experience in this field, and has worked with Yale University, Guggenheim Museum, Yahoo!, Americans for the Arts, Danbury Public Schools, UNESCO, Louisiana's Office of the Lt. Governor, New Economics Foundation, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, World Knowledge Forum, City of Providence, 3M, Aldrich Museum, State of Connecticut, and Rhode Island College, among other organizations. He has helped toy inventors launch a creativity consulting business, directed an international creativity conference, and taught an undergraduate creativity course for incarcerated men. Dahlberg edits the Applied Imagination blog, authored the foreword to the book, Education is Everybody's Business. He is particularly interested in creative community building, creative education, local food and sustainable agriculture, and creative aging.

About Lincoln Center Institute (LCI):
LCI is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., and is the model for arts education programs across the U.S. and abroad. Founded in 1975, the Institute is known for its inventive repertory, and brings music, dance, theater, visual arts, and architecture into classrooms in the New York City area, across the nation, and around the world. In more than three decades of outreach, LCI's approach has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members and professors of education worldwide. The number is projected to increase in the next few years, thanks to LCI's highly successful professional development programs and Internet presence.

Friday, April 9, 2010

In What Ways Might Imagination Improve Society?


What's YOUR idea for how imagination might improve society? Add your ideas in the comments section below. And plan now to participate in the Connecticut Imagination Conversation on Monday, April 19, in Hartford, Connecticut ... or host your own Imagination Conversation in your community.

Wordle: In What Ways Might Imagination Improve Society?
  1. Communicating
  2. Open communication between groups
  3. Stop cancer
  4. Stop juvenile diabetes
  5. Stop crimes within the same community
  6. Feed the world
  7. Improve living conditions
  8. Respect people's sexuality
  9. Discover or create new ways to safely and effectively mass produce food and other products
  10. Lead to more openness, diversity, tolerance and integration of differences
  11. Encourage creative conversations
  12. Invest in creative education
  13. End child abuse
  14. Education will become an adventure that children will crave - no more dropping out
  15. Tell them that you are happy with imagination, then they will join you
  16. Teach the youth manners and morals so that they can grow
  17. Create tolerance
  18. Stop hunger
  19. Celebrate diversity
  20. Neighbors of the community care for each other more
  21. Stop poverty
  22. Be positive
  23. Stop hate
  24. Appreciate or accept people stepping out of the norm
  25. I can use my imagination to encourage prisoners
  26. Think before you act
  27. Treat one the way you want to be treated
  28. Providing ideas with individuals in society to solve problems
  29. Teamwork or brainstorming in a group
  30. Clarity of mind and soul
  31. Respect life as a whole
  32. Read other people's minds
  33. Work with other people's strengths
  34. Help those who need us the most
  35. Fight racism -> open mindedness
  36. Peace with others
  37. Improve self-esteem
  38. Encourage more active, positive citizen engagement
  39. Encourage others to join organization
  40. End homelessness
  41. Creative ways to be healthy, maintain health, regain health, defeat disease
  42. Show the society how important they are, then they will accept it
  43. Through education
  44. Team work
  45. Talking things out
  46. Appreciation of different types of beauty
  47. Fly to new, livable planets
  48. By laughing
  49. Build a healthier place for my kids and other kids
  50. Open-mindedness
  51. Make a commitment
  52. Love the curvalicious
  53. Travel to new dimensions
  54. Travel through time and space
  55. I can use my imagination to help my own community
  56. End frivolous spending in government
  57. To infinity and beyond - explore the universe within and without
  58. By coming up with different solutions for different issues
  59. Helping neighbors, taking care of each other's children, watching out for one another
  60. Allowing expression through art, music, theater and dance
  61. Reading books
  62. Give importance to all animals
  63. Have a moment of silent (regrouping)
  64. Live life ... one life, one blood, one love
  65. Make batteries that never have to recharge for my cell phone and laptop
  66. Make batteries that are environmentally friendly when disposed or recycled
  67. Eliminate existing regulations against farmers in Connecticut
  68. Open new doors
  69. Greater-good technology
  70. Warm, nurturing environment to support the development of great ideas
  71. Through education, broadcasting
  72. Through billboards
  73. Playing a game on team building
  74. Promote trust among individuals
  75. "The world can live as one"
  76. Live forever - never die
  77. Don't be afraid of death
  78. Stop discrimination among us
  79. Say no to Botox
  80. Play
  81. Get kids to be more physically active and healthy
  82. Move
  83. I can use my imagination to improve the unemployment rate
  84. Creative community building - creating jobs
  85. Build magnificent cities - buildings, gathering places, parks, museums, schools, etc.
  86. Make sufficient information available to the community
  87. Visiting the sick
  88. Helping those in need (homeless)
  89. Believing in yourself
  90. Make veggies taste better
  91. Build places that encourage creativity, instead of limiting it (i.e., Billings Forge and the G. Fox Building, respectively)
  92. Encourage kids to continue with school and get educated
  93. "Imagine there's no hunger, I wonder if we can"
  94. Plant a tree
  95. By communication
  96. Travel to the past
  97. Help third world countries
  98. Bring out technologies that do not already exist. Similar to how real technologies can follow the imaginative, fiction-based technologies proposed in science fiction. How culture and arts can "invent" technology.
  99. I can help the youth thing critically and explore their creativity
  100. Creating meaningful jobs, reducing unemployment
  101. Create/implement ways to care for and preserve the earth for generations to come
  102. Make creativity a learning tool for society
  103. Live Love Laugh
  104. Have a social gathering
  105. Love your neighbors
  106. Less serious
  107. Downloadable intelligence and knowledge (like in the Matrix)
  108. It could give us new games to play
  109. Share more with people in the community
  110. Living for today
  111. Spread the word by gathering with others or making a Web site for a fundraiser.
  112. Interact with others more
  113. Imagination can improve society through additional ideas being deposited into the "idea bank" and when there are more options, it can lead to more solutions to problems
  114. Decrease the crimes among teenagers
  115. Increase ideas among everyone (not just children)
  116. Educate children to be creative
  117. Spread the love
  118. Encourage uniqueness
  119. Marketplace of ideas
  120. I can bring peace to the world
  121. End drug abuse
  122. Life will be interesting, stimulating, purposeful and a delight
  123. Involve some stipends; it will bring people's interest
  124. Ignite idea that would improve the community
  125. Having dinner together - everyone likes to eat
  126. Love like you haven't been hurt before
  127. Humor - entertainment
  128. Comedians will have better jokes and can make us laugh in different ways
  129. Help people in the community to be more humble and to care for others
  130. Open communication
  131. Get some fresh air and fresh ideas
  132. Live Love Laugh for a better me
  133. Improve self-esteem and community confidence
  134. I can use my imagination to create a farm
  135. Improve or encourage people to eat healthier since one of my imaginings is about promoting organic food
  136. Stop judgment
  137. Improve the environment
  138. Improve economy
  139. Lead to healthier school lunches
  140. Lead to healthier planet and humans
  141. I can spread love throughout the world
  142. Proper treatment of animals
  143. Crime will decrease as there is openness, acceptance, a place for all
  144. It will create jobs; many will participate
  145. Share ideas
  146. Hand shaking and hugging each other
  147. Peace and love for every creature in the world
  148. Stop greed and pointless want in society
  149. Lead to society being more collaborative as opposed to individualistic -> solve problems together
  150. Increase mental capacity about a problem
  151. I can join different organizations within the community and help them resolve issues
  152. Decrease unemployment
  153. Accept each other
  154. More advertisements/commercials
  155. Through prayers
  156. Listen to others
  157. Less technology and more free play (outside)
  158. "Imagine all the people, living life in peace"
  159. Birth control that is 100% effective
  160. Guns that are truly idiot-proof
  161. Decrease healthy activities in kids in our community
  162. Go shopping
  163. By maximizing its potential
  164. Establish better problem solving skills to introduce to children in school
  165. By fostering problem solving potential in students and society's youth
  166. My imagination can help encourage others
  167. I can bring a sense of joy to others
  168. Reduce teen drug abuse
  169. Harmony and connectedness and unity among all cultures
  170. Do it in many different ways, even in different languages, others will enjoy
  171. Create something to challenge the community
  172. Don't be judgmental
  173. Challenge everyone to be the person they were meant to be; no judgment if that person turns out to be different than you expected
  174. Open minded
  175. Growth
  176. Defer judgment
  177. Improve existing ideas
  178. Keeping a smile on people's faces
  179. Decrease homelessness
  180. Develop spirituality
  181. Make known to the society why it is important
  182. Be creative in arts and music
  183. Develop strategies as a team or group
  184. Dance
  185. "No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man"
  186. Never have traffic jams on the highway
  187. Exploring new areas and investing tourist dollars in them
  188. Focus on those young kids forgotten by parents and provide them with the love their parents don't give them
  189. Free spirit
  190. New ideas
  191. Globalization
  192. Defer judgment
  193. Engage students more in their learning experience
  194. Defer judgment
  195. I can create a community organization to improve the community
  196. Creative after-school programs
  197. Being there for each other in neighborhoods
  198. Keep kids out of trouble
  199. Purpose and work for all
  200. Do it with others, you will succeed
  201. Go hiking with kids
  202. Bring more family togetherness
  203. The world is your family, embrace your diversity
  204. Stop hate and war
  205. Help globalize an economy while preventing the fall of local business
  206. Care more for our elderly
# # #


What's YOUR idea for how imagination might improve society? Add your ideas in the comments section below. And plan now to participate in the Connecticut Imagination Conversation on Monday, April 19, in Hartford, Connecticut ... or host your own Imagination Conversation in your community.

Wordle: In What Ways Might Imagination Improve Society?
  1. By creating a bike trail that goes through the whole town
  2. Clean-up crews for the community
  3. Neighborhood closeness to reduce crime/increase community
  4. Help community to produce better housing for diverse people
  5. Imagination could show people parts of the place they live like they've never seen them before
  6. Dig a deep, underground housing complex
  7. Build better buildings
  8. Make environment of community
  9. More conducive to green technology - less polluted
  10. Could add beauty to community art projects, music, opportunities to participate
  11. Imagine ways to be more energy efficient
  12. Have a community-wide BBQ
  13. Creativity in finding solutions to health problems
  14. Create dams and levies
  15. Think out of day-to-day procedures -> fill someone else's shoes for a day (i.e., public/union workers and laymen)
  16. Space travel
  17. Off to civilization (arts, theater, etc)
  18. Better public welfare systems
  19. Improve different fuel sources
  20. Renewable energy
  21. New ways of communication
  22. Improve transportation
  23. Make community more fun to live in
  24. Create another system in some part of space (zoning)
  25. Better government system
  26. Better transportation system
  27. Better schools
  28. Better cars
  29. More ways to share resources
  30. Increase social interaction
  31. Thinking outside the box for creative solutions to common problems
  32. Better land use
  33. Imagining a better community - like better schools - imagine what we wanted schools to be filled with when we were kids - putting it into action
  34. Children govern the adults as they have better grip on imagination
  35. Offer community-wide movie showings
  36. Improve arts
  37. Find different resources - imagine possible venues
  38. Better ways to share resources
  39. More accessible buildings with less technology handprint
  40. Provide creative ways for people to make social connections - community projects
  41. Find new uses for the resources/food sources near you
  42. Have a community garden to grow food
  43. Improve environment
  44. Create a center for the arts
  45. Community cooking classes - take garden product and put in school lunches
  46. To expand people's minds to new things
  47. To expand the local business base of the community
  48. Provide opportunities for people to be things they've imagined - musicians, painter, teacher ...
  49. Have a town-wide pajama day
  50. Improve opportunities for high school graduates
  51. Healthier consumer products/food
  52. "Own" a block for clean up and community pride
  53. Time travel
  54. Imagination can give a community a different perception of old things
  55. Recycle old things into props; or add areas in parks with toy boxes or props
  56. Have playgrounds on every block
  57. Better ways toward health care
  58. Create climate of creativity to problem solve as community
  59. Get out of our houses and interact with people
  60. Better transportation for people with mobility problems
  61. New social interactions that are authentic, unplugged and involve storytelling
  62. Have a community clean-up day
  63. Creative activities in classrooms
  64. Create a community center
  65. Recycle end products to use waste in different ways
  66. Just go clean up a neighborhood without asking for anything
  67. Involve more people in volunteer projects for community

Monday, April 5, 2010

Commentary: On FRESH the Movie

By Tiffany Friedlander
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
FRESH the Movie
FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

I chose to write about this movie because it really struck me how the general public doesn’t know exactly what they are eating. Most of our fruits and vegetables are covered with chemicals and animals are being given so many antibiotics that they don’t need, it’s like we are poisoning ourselves. This movie shows us alternatives we can take to eat healthier and we can do this in our backyards. Also, it was a creative idea to share this movie with others and when I saw this, I saw it with my classmates and other people in the community. The point of this movie was to help people to think creatively to shift their lifestyles and to eat healthier.

I recall that in the movie someone said that there are people who want to eat healthy but there isn’t a place nearby where they can get fruits and vegetables. Will Allen, who used to be a professional basketball player, has his own farm and has many people come to visit to learn more about growing crops. He is involved in a program called Growing Power which brings the community together. This way he can show people how to grow crops in their own backyards, even in urban areas like where Will lives. I like the idea of how he uses waste as compost. The worms that are mixed in it turn it into compost. The point of this is to make sure people have access to fresh, healthy food. I also believe that it’s important for people to be able to obtain healthy food. We need to eat healthier and prevent obesity. It doesn’t appear that Will Allen uses pesticides on his crops. We don’t need that on the crops; if anything it is more harmful to us the more we ingest it.

Who ever thought how much antibiotics animals are given. I think it’s unbelievable how much they are given. This movie presents a long list of antibiotics that animals are injected with, which supposedly makes them grow faster and wards off low-grade infections. So, if we are eating meat with all these antibiotics in it and if we could get really sick, even if we try to take whatever medications to fight off the sickness it may not do anything because of how much antibiotics were given to the animals. This can cause some microorganisms that cause illnesses in humans to become immune to certain antibiotics. Overall, it’s dangerous for us to be eating many of the meats we buy in the grocery stores because of what the animals are given.

Watching this movie really made me think so much about what is in our food and what we are really eating. What can we do about this? I don’t think pesticides and other chemicals are needed in the things we grow. The animals we would be eating don’t need antibiotics at all. I found this movie to be inspiring. I want to learn more about where I can get food that won’t put my health in danger. This is a movie that I recommend to everyone to watch. I think this will put a shock to their system once they find out the truth behind food we buy. This is a movie that helps spread the word to others.