Will Teenagers Save the World?

Science in Action Winner for 2013: Elif Bilgin

While sitting in the dentist’s office yesterday I read this wonderful article about a young teen in Istanbul who has developed plastic from banana peels. As a result she won the Scientific American 2013 Science in Action Award

Bilgin spent two years developing a robust bioplastic from discarded banana peels, enduring 10 failed trials along the way. As she noted in her project description: “Even Thomas Edison said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’” Bilgin hopes that her material will someday supplant some petroleum-based plastics. Read the entire article.

The winning project in 2012 was the Unique Simplified Hydroponic Method, developed by 14-year-old Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Malalela of Swaziland.

For more inspiration, check out last year’s amazing 13 finalists for the Science in Action award and this year’s fifteen finalists. I particularly loved:

Simultaneous Biopesticide Wastewater Treatment and Bioelectricity Generation in Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) – by a 13 year old in India and  Electricity From Traffic by a 16 year old also in India. These ideas really could save the world.

The amazing creativity and out of the box thinking that has gone into these inventions really impressed me. While so much of the world is saying “We can’t live without petroleum products” or “we can’t feed the world without GMO crops” young people are going ahead and inventing new options. Maybe its because they expect to live in a petroleum free world, maybe it is because they are encouraged to be creative, maybe it is just God stirring new possibilities in minds that are open to change. I don’t know but I do praise God for it.

I would love to hear from others who have seen creative and inventive

Scratch Liturgy

Creativity here we come

No this is not about getting rid of liturgy – this a very creative idea from my friends Chrissie and Gerard Kelly at Bless in France is about a collaborative effort in creating liturgy

scratch a collaborative liturgy with your friends or small group…

1. Write a communal refrain to speak out together. For example,

‘this is our story. this is our song. praising our Saviour. all the day long’

2. Come up with a one-line framework for people to ‘scratch’ around. For example,

‘Because He is (something), I am (something)’

3. On a flip chart or live projection write out numbers 1 to 5 followed by the communal refrain. Followed by numbers 6 to 10 and the refrain again and so on.

4. Invite participants to take it in turn ‘scratching’ a one-line prayer using your framework

5. Read the scratch liturgy aloud together

Example scratch liturgies can be found here and here.

Imaginative Learning or Contemplative Action.

imagination first

Tom and I have just returned from vacation, and as per usual, I took a stack of books with me, some of which I will share with you over the next few days. One is Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility by Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon. I was particularly struck by Capacities for Imaginative Learning they share. Originally designed for arts and education, the authors feel however that they are guides for life.

It is an inspirational and thought provoking book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to increase their creativity.

What struck me is how closely these “capacities for learning” parallel contemplative practices and the spiritual discernment process we have used for many years in MSA. They open our eyes and ears to new ways of interacting with the world. They help us become creative, imaginative, able to solve problems in out of the box ways. From a faith perspective they open us up to the presence of God in all things and increase our awareness of God’s involvement in all the creative processes we engage in to shape our work and daily life.  I thought you would find them interesting:

Noticing deeply: identifying and articulating layers of detail through continuous interaction with an object of study

Embodying: experiencing a work through your senses and emotions, and physically representing that experience.

Questioning: asking “Why” and “What if” throughout your explorations

Identifying patterns:  finding relationships among the details you notice, and grouping them into patterns

Making connections: linking patterns you notice to prior knowledge and experience (both your own and others)

Exhibiting empathy: understanding and respecting the experience of others

Creating meaning: creating interpretations of what you encounter, and synthesizing them with the perspectives of others.

Taking action:  acting on the synthesis through a project or an action that expresses your learning

Reflecting and assessing: looking back on your learning to identify what challenges remain and to begin learning anew.

MacGyver Magic by Cindy Todd

Today’s post in the series Return to Our Senses in Lent is written by Cindy Todd social entrepreneur, Mustard Seed Village co-ordinator and facilitator for our upcoming workshop Igniting the Divine Spark

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MacGyver Paperclip

MacGyver…now there was a creative guy! Not sure how many of you recall the show, way back in the late 80’s early 90’s.

MacGyver was some kind of secret government agent guy who was incredibly creative at problem solving.

He could make a sound barrier to ward off the bad guys and in the video I’m including today, stops a bomb in the nick of time with a paper clip.

 

The phrase “doing a MacGyver” has become synonymous with innovative problem solving.

I hate to brag, but I did my own MacGyver thing a few years ago. Back in the day, I drove a big tall conversion van. I was at Miami airport with the Operation Mary team getting ready to head to Ukraine. Unfortunately, I took the wrong parking garage entrance and while I was okay height wise to get in, I wasn’t okay to navigate through. Almost, but not quite.

You know the horseshoes and hand grenades story, close wasn’t going to cut it. Departure time was coming close, there was a line of cars behind me…honking, tapping, being generally impatient and so, I put my best MacGyver thinking cap on and figured out a solution…I hopped out of the van and let about 25% of the air out of each tire. It worked! Wasn’t I proud…

And while I’ve never gotten into that type of situation precisely before, when I found myself unemployed and my family sinking financially a few years ago, I had to get creative again. First for us, and now for other struggling families. As Snohomish Soap Company grows, we can work and partner with a whole lot more women. Now I’m working on scaling…developing the model…and stepping out and making it happen.

This type of model, this idea of doing well by doing good isn’t new, although its definitely emerging as a respected, powerful business philosophy.

Creativity is at the heart of it and a much more cohesive business/life/community model is the result.

For the first time, our friends over at the Inhabit Conference will be hosting the Inhabit Enterprise Challenge, a forum and competition for a few of these new types of businesses to present to the attendees.

Get inspired! Get Creative! Get connected to other Parish changemakers in your community…

A good place to get those creative thoughts bubbling might be at our “Igniting the Divine Spark” workshop.


Igniting the Divine Spark

Igniting the Divine Spark

VR.spark.glowMarch 16th in Seattle

Igniting the Divine Spark

Cindy Todd at Fledge welcome

Cindy Todd at Fledge welcome

Last night Tom and I attended the welcome for the new cohort of Fledge: A conscious company incubator. Up there on the stage was MSA’s own Cindy Todd.  We are so proud of Cindy and all she is doing.

“You are my hero” Tom told Cindy at our last MSA team training day. The launch of the Snohomish Soap Company, inspires us with a unique business model that is exciting the attention of many who like us think Cindy’s entrepreneurial approach is brilliant.  She has been featured in TED talks(fast forward to 1hour-4min. for Cindy’s part) and PCC’s promotional flyerand now the Fledge conscious company incubator. Her dedication to helping those at the margins by empowering them to develop small businesses, incentivizes all of us to apply our God given creativity to new entrepreneurial models that will sustain us in our volatile world.

The next event on the MSA calendar is Cindy Todd’s workshop, Igniting the Divine Spark. We are all looking forward to hearing more about what has ignited her divine spark and inspired the creativity that lay dormant for many years of her life.

The Creative World Festival Was Great Fun

Aaron Strumpel on the mainstage

Aaron Strumpel on the mainstage

Tom and I and our MSA intern Chris Holcomb have just returned from the Creative World Festival in Mission British Columbia. It was a great opportunity to renew friendships with some of our Canadian friends and collaborators and to begin some new friendships as well.

I love getting together with friends

I love getting together with friends

Such a great group of people – grassroots advocates for God’s concerns for justice and reconciliation. Great music by Aaron Strumpel, great poetry by Joel  McKerrow and lots to think about from Pete Rollins and all the speakers.

Aaron Strumpel and Joel McKerrow at Creative World Festival

Aaron Strumpel and Joel McKerrow at Creative World Festival

There was a particular focus on concerns for aboriginal people in Canada. My heart ached to hear about the thousands of missing and/or murdered women who have disappeared with little or no public outcry. And I wept to hear stories of the atrocities that have been carried out against aboriginal children in many countries who were stolen from their families and moved into residential schools. Many of them never saw their families again.

Praying for the missing, murdered and stolen ones

Praying for the missing, murdered and stolen ones

In justice comes in so many forms and I so appreciate those who keep us aware of these important issues and challenge us to respond.

What Does a Person Need?

MSA intern Chris Holcomb

MSA intern Chris Holcomb

MSA intern Chris Holcomb is starting a series of posts at the MSA blog on experiments in simplicity.

One of the questions that I’ve been grappling with over the last several years is this: what do people need? No, I’m not trying to think of a product to sell, or an innovation to change the world; I’m thinking in much more basic terms than those. What does a person need to survive, and what do they need to live a happy, fulfilling life?

Check out the first post here