Meet Mossy is part of the Campaign “Christmas and Conservation”, that began in Merida State, Venezuela, in 2003, as part of the efforts made by Dr. Yelitza León and BA María Silvina Ussher in the Botanical Garden Center of Los Andes University for the conservation of the moss in the Cloud Forrest of Sierra Nevada of Merida. This iniciative spread over Merida State, until in 2004 spread to other states with the collaboration of different organizations. The campaign is also reference to organizations all over Latinamerica, that have asked information about the campaign to the creators.
The campaign “Christmas and Conservation” seeks to raise awareness on people about the environmental impact of the extraction of moss from the forest and the moors, specially on Christmas time when it's used for the decoration of the manger. This situation is seen in different countries of South and Center America, like Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. In the particular case of Venezuela, the extraction of moss from the forests and moors is punishable by law, however, people keep buying it because they ignore this and the environmental impact.
Organizing a Skillshare is fun and easy, since everyone really has something to teach, and something to learn.
Brooklyn Skillshare participants learn how to cast jewelry using beans to produce an organic and unexpected shape. Credit: Meg Wachter
The seeds for the Brooklyn Skillshare began in the Spring of 2009 when I attended a similar event in Boston, and was inspired by the weekend-long workshops offered on a regular basis, free of charge. I had assumed that these types of events existed in every major city, and so I was shocked to discover that there were none in greater New York City area.
To me, the need for a skillshare seemed obvious:
We're in the middle of a recession.
Education is expensive.
Information should be free.
Communities can share: the definition of a "community" is the people of a collective area that share social values and responsibilities--and we often forget to turn to our neighbors.
With the internet full of 'how-to's' a lot of information IS free, but reading a website is not as enriching of a learning experience as a hands on event where you can meet friends.
I decided to take action and start one myself. Mind you, I have had no previous experience in event planning--I'm a photographer by trade--which means anyone can do this!
The First Annual Brooklyn Skillshare was held on Saturday, October 10th, 2009 at Gowanus Studio Space. The day consisted of five blocks of 90-minute classes, with three classes taking place per block. Over 400 people participated. They could take as many or as few classes as they liked, but all were encouraged to make a day of learning.
We did it in four simple steps:
Step One: Find a venue to host your Skillshare. My suggestions are schools, artists studios, YMCAs, gyms, church basements, anywhere that will be large enough (also keep in mind that having separate rooms is really essential to having more than one class occurring at the same time) and hopefully will lend you the space for free.
Step Two: Develop class ideas and teacher suggestions. Here's a sampling from the first Brooklyn Skillshare: "Creating sustainable alternatives to plastic bags using re-purposed materials"; "Bicycle Mechanics 101"; "How to brew kombucha"; "Screenprinting basics & DIY techniques"; "Taking care of yourself with massage basics"; and "Make Your Own Butter and Ricotta!"
Step Three:Raise money. Fundraisers are essential in order to generate buzz about your event AND raise money to cover costs of overhead, food, and supplies. Set up a benefit concerts with local musicians, get local businesses and friends to donate food--we had a bake sale at our benefit show in August (where we raised almost $1,000), utilize kickstarter.com (a new website that helps fund new ideas and endeavors who we are currently using to raise additional funding), apply for grants, check out local organizations like FEAST(Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) which host recurring public dinners designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging art makers.
Step Four: Start a website and make a cool movie so that people can find out about you and participate!
We know that Brooklyn is in endless supply of artistry and talent, and since we all have something to teach and to learn from each other. We believe that education is a right, not a commodity – and hope this project will grown and foster a reciprocal community in Brooklyn, as we hope to continue holding Skillshares throughout the year, funding permitting.
It is well known that the things you learn as a kid, at home or in school, will pretty much stick with you until you are a grown up, so in the world we live, where all our activities have a great impact in the environment, is important to teach the little ones to take care of our planet. This may not be easy so we have to make this learning process fun among everything else. In the next weeks we’ll be bringing you a few videos and tips to help you with this task, the topic of this week is recycling.
First of all we should tell kids why we need to recycle. Is important that they know the garbage just doesn’t magically disappear after disposal and the amount of garbage they produce, so the next animated video will help us send that message (Please click on the image bellow to watch the video).
But, how do we make kids actually want to recycle? Here are a few tips:
1. Organize an arts and crafts day: With activities like this you will not only teach kids how to recycle in a fun way but also stimulate the creativity. They can collect by themselves the items they will use for the crafts, like cardboard boxes, old magazines, bottles caps, among others. On-line you can find a lot of crafts easy and fun to do.
2. The recycling bin: You’ll need different bins or a compartmentalized one to recycle properly different kinds of materials, but this is not all, you’ll have to place the bins in a strategic place, let’s say, the paper bin where the kids and adults produce this kind of waste the most, so you can have a main recycling point and little bins around the house, that you can customize making them colorful and more attractive for the kids.
3. Take them to the recycling center: You can organize a guided visit to the center so they’ll know the whole recycling process, if this is not possible show them where it is and what happens there. Some recycling centers give you money in exchange of some materials, like cans and plastic, you can give them this money like a motivator or buy something they want with it.
Maybe the best tip is to be an example for the kids, they often imitate our habits and manners, so if they see us recycling and participating with them in the activities they’ll get the idea that recycling is the right thing to do and hopefully keep doing it and telling their friends about it.
Paulina Tervo's 'Thorns and Silk' short documentary tells the story of four Palestinian women who defy gender roles by taking on male jobs. The film provides a new, unusual peek into women's every day lives in a conflict country.
I remember the time when my eyes opened. When I couldn't move another finger without there being a good reason for it. A good reason being one that teaches me something, teaches somebody else something or makes something better for somebody. I had gotten inspired by professionals, people with talent and people with dreams in their pure hearts. I wanted to be one of them. I kept close to them; at the office, at conferences, while travelling and in everyday life. Each inspired me, taught me a lesson and contributed to changing my world.
Changing the world.
Everybody wants to be the best in this modern world - the best salesman, the best designer, the best producer, the best bank executive... While the best nature activists save an animal, the best butchers kill animals, the best producer makes a lot of stuff and the best soldiers destroy. These are some examples of The System. In the old times most people lived very small lives. They did their small things without seeing much furter from that. They didn't contribute to making the world a better place nor a worse one. There was balance.
The balance is long gone now. Only the blind and the ignorant don't see it. There is not much that can be done with the ignorant, but there are many more blind than there are ignorant. The blind are the people like myself a couple of years ago, before I got inspired and before I realized that I am too lazy or my values have changed too much to move another finger without becoming better, helping somebody become better or making something better. The side effect to that is that you learn to refuse to follow the ignorant. I believe the balance can be restored, if more blind people opened their eyes. Then the ignorant people would have less power to damage.
The key is who the blind people interact with. The people I accidentally came across with are hidden. But they should be the Britney Spearses in the news and the Aston Kutchers on Facebook. Ok, that is a huge dream.
So here is a slower plan - they should be the teachers at schools.