The Hope in Social Apps Amidst Global Challenges

Right now, some people would say the world we live in is a dark, dark place. There is, of course, some truth to that. All around us, there are stories of conflict, of suffering, of endless global crises. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. There might be problems we cannot ever address because they need entire organizations and nations to solve, but even as ordinary humans we can do our fair share of alleviating the hardships of others.

One thing that has consistently helped us is the advent of technology. Again, some would say that our constant drive for innovations and scientific advancements are actually urging us to veer away from our humanity and from each other, but certain developments prove otherwise. Some argue that technology can even make us more human. And I agree, especially when it comes to social apps and how they have facilitated empathy between people. Despite the many problems that people around the world are facing, some glimmer of hope arises in social apps and how they bring people closer to each other and thus closer to solving their crises. Here are some ways that social apps nurture hope:

1. Speaking out and raising awareness

More and more, social apps are being used to promote awareness and share vital information. Some people are simply not as exposed to important issues, and they truly benefit from others who speak out in order to help them understand. For instance, a mother posted some facts plus her own take on depression on Facebook, an inspiring post that has gone viral and helped break stigmatizing opinions on the matter. Mental health is a serious problem because it is not yet as accepted by many people despite the scientific data, so it always helps to bring stuff like it to the limelight and get the conversation going. It is always so tear-jerking when you hear (or read?) someone speak so passionately about something so significant.

Since it spans networks and networks of people, social media could definitely be a good avenue to raise awareness. Ordinary individuals can participate in the global discussion, even if it means starting to inform and converse with the people who are closer to them.

2. Crowdfunding

One of my favorite online trends ever is GoFundMe. It helped a deaf boy provide hearing aids to fellow deaf children. It helped cops replace the stolen college tuition money of a deserving student. It helped students fund the surgery of their teacher’s wife.

Fundraising initiatives have probably been going around since time immemorial, but technology has certainly taken it to a whole new level. Crowdfunding is an interesting online trend because you are not only appealing to people you know inside your own community, you are inviting people from everywhere to share your cause. In doing so, you get to witness empathy on a global scale. It proves that we don’t have to be so similar, we can speak different languages and live in different countries, and still have the heart to help each other.

3. Doing little acts of kindness

Lastly, just because we can raise awareness virtually or donate money online, doesn’t mean help is limited nowadays to digital forms. Tweets, Facebook posts, and even blogs that talk about important issues are definitely a good way to participate in changing the world. Crowdsourcing is another surefire way to help people out and make an impact in their lives, even if they are far away. But again, help that comes from progressive technology doesn’t necessarily have to remain online or virtual.

The BeepBeep Nation app has a proposal to digitally facilitate connections but encourage face-to-face interactions between people who are willing to help each other out. By linking people who need help and people who can provide it, regardless of how seemingly simple and small the favor is, BeepBeep Nation inspires us to take a step forward and initiate a culture of helping amongst ourselves. It is also a true community app, as it seeks to build networks of peers among people who willingly share their kindness with one another.

It may not seem like a lot to give someone a ride home or a place to stay, or even offer your own recommendation to promote your favorite restaurant in the vicinity, but it’s a start. The world could be a dark place, but there are an infinite number of ways to share the light, if only little by little.

If you think there’s hope in social apps like I do, and want to share your own little spark, be sure to check out the BeepBeep Nation app. Soon to launch worldwide in selected cities, it is fuelled by the EMINENT (EMN) token, now available for sale. Get started now and participate in a world of technological progress, hope and kindness.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Teen Raises Money For Cancer With Coffee Sleeves

It seems our future world leaders are getting younger by the year. If our children are capable of sacrificing their greatest possessions to donate to a cause, we need not underestimate them. An Ohio teen is proving a little goes a long way by sewing coffee cozys to raise funds for breast cancer patients.

“I don’t like to sit on the sidelines and watch something happen — I want to be in there, in the action, helping to fight,” says [13-year-old] Jordan [Phillips].

Phillips initially launched “Cozys for the Cure” intending to help shoulder her mother’s surgery bills. Now, more than 200,000 of the coffee sleeves are being sold at more than a thousand Walmarts across the US. Part of the sales will go towards financing free mammograms. And so far, the fundraising initiative has raised $18,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“She would do the math, it was roughly $100 to pay for one mammogram. If one in eight women are diagnosed and I paid $800 for eight mammograms, that’s one in eight. I saved one woman’s life… she’d say, ‘Mom, I saved 11 women’s lives!’ And that was very real to her,” says Nicole [Phillips].

Now available at Walmart, the cozys are evidence that making a difference is literally at the tips of our fingers. If an eighth-grader can promise change, so can we.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Free Ice Cream to Help Save Honey Bees

Bee populations are known to be on a steep decline. And it’s worrisome because the many benefits given to us by the cutesy bugs (please click at your own risk, lest you faint of cuteness) are no secret to our generation, to environmental activists and non-activists alike. Some people already act of their own volition, like communities turning empty lots into bee homes and repairing beekeeping equipment. The UK has even banned pesticides that are harmful to bees.

Another stint in the bee-saving movement comes from ice cream company Häagen-Dazs, as they give away free ice cream cones to promote the advocacy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees campaign . . . Since starting 10 years ago, Häagen-Dazs has donated over $1 million to bee research and planted over 11,000 plants. If you want to help the bees too, the ice cream company asks that you donate to the Xerces Society—they have a goal of planting 1 million acres of habitat for bees.

A third of Häagen-Dazs products apparently depend on the honey bees, and so does a third of our entire food intake, which makes their decreasing population truly alarming.

The annual Free Cone Day serves as a recognition of whom Adam Hanson, President and General Manager of the food company, calls “pollinators that make our ice cream possible.” Of course, the event doesn’t stop at recognition of the hard-working bees. It is, more than anything, a call for help.

“With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the brand’s honey bee support, we wanted to build on that information and encourage everyone to band together for this important cause.”

Many people want to save the honey bees, not just for their general cuteness, but for their steadfast role in our food supply. And come on, let’s just be honest here. Who wouldn’t want to help in the name of free ice cream?

 

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Let Swedish Concept “Lagom” Bring Balance to Your Life

Mindfulness is a pretty trendy lifestyle choice that truly appears to be effective, though of course different people have different takes on it. Some professionals say that living in a fast-paced world where everything is instant exhausts us, and therefore we must sometimes slow things down a bit. For a person with a mental health condition, acceptance and awareness are necessary tools in order to find ways to live with it—though again, what worked for me might not necessarily be as successful for someone else.

There are many opinions on how to find a healthy and functional lifestyle that is most suited to one’s well-being. But if there’s another word to describe this world other than “fast-paced,” I think it would be “excessive.” We work so hard to buy so much stuff, eat so much food to do so many things, take in so much information in order to survive and then so much media to keep ourselves entertained. We need so much and want so much. This is why I find myself rather invested in the balance of one’s life as described by the Swedish concept of “lagom”.

“Lagom” [celebrates] the idea of “just enough.” It’s the space between minimalism and living in excess . . . With lagom, less is more, and instead of buying things we do not need, it is about finding pleasure and fulfillment in moderation. It is the belief that extremes on the spectrum are bad. For instance, exercise is good, but none at all is just as detrimental as too much.

The idea seems exciting, though a bit lofty. So the question now would be: how does one embrace “lagom”? Well, to answer this, you would constantly have to ask another question: is this good enough? Because good enough is the way to go for “lagom”. When it comes to housekeeping, one should learn to keep what’s valuable — don’t hoard every single souvenir, but don’t toss everything out so quickly either.

[B]efore adding anything else to your space, ask yourself if things are good enough already. The point is to find a simpler life that still has room for the things that make you happy.

As for work, you have to know your limits. Decide when enough is enough. Don’t demand too much, but don’t let your employer demand too much from you either.

Accept that work is an important part of life, but find the balance between letting it be the main focus of your life and an unpleasant task you charge through as quickly as possible.

Another compartment of life that “lagom” works wonders with is your diet. This is because the idea of balance and moderation is best when it comes to nutrition.

[T]here is a time for indulging in all the delicious goodies that make a celebration great, but there is also a time to moderate. The first step to eating lagom-style is to eliminate waste.

Not every good meal has to be indulgent and expensive. Buy local. Grow your own produce. As long as it doesn’t take too big a space in your schedule, make time for things that will balance your life.

Like I said, you may read a lot of opinions about the real way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. You may hear from your momma or Aunt Carol about their own take. Then again, every person’s life is so specific, and what you end up doing with mindfulness, slowness, or even “lagom” depends entirely on how you want to live yours. “Lagom’s” only reminder is as simple as this: simple is best.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Design Is Not Just Pretty — It’s Saving The Planet

Design: its goal may be aesthetics, but it goes way beyond just looks. It’s works like vegetable leather and zero-emissions air conditioning that make design more meaningful than it appears. Some parts of the world may look pristine, but without the sustainability to back it, they end up being wasteful. Here are reasons design is the key to saving the planet.

It’s raising awareness. As you probably learned in middle school, awareness is the best place to start when it comes to change. Things such as infographics or interactive billboards have been altering our perspectives on major issues for decades. What design does that lectures don’t always do is shake up our realities. Whether we like it or not, celebrities endorsing a cause on a poster are often more effective than anything else. But if it’s helping to improve the planet, I’m not mad at it.

If you’ve ever worn eco-fibers, you’ll know design promotes sustainability. Famous retail brands such as Nike and Merrell have started incorporating eco-friendly materials into their shoes and clothing. Much like cosmetics brand Lush, other big names have also transitioned into using minimal to no packaging. Again, if the big guns are going green, everyone else is likely to follow — which means plus points for designers.

If you hadn’t noticed, “trashion” is a big thing in the vogue world. But beyond the clothing industry, using recyclables is also popular in the realm of food. Many startups are turning waste into shopping bags or containers that can be reused to kingdom come. Some groups are even manufacturing edible packaging, which is a little weird — but a big thumbs up anyway. Recycling may not come with a posh label, but it brings an earthy and rustic charm to table.

Just like the iPhone, many others are coming out with products that can do a million things all at once. Designers are not only giving consumers what they want, they’re handing everything over in a compact fashion. Future creators are considering multifunctional commodities. Doing more with less doesn’t apply to just makeup anymore. It covers everything from home appliances to portable gadgets. After all, if you can watch TV, order a pizza, and get your laundry done with the click of a button, why not?

Beyond function and materials, design is also bringing people together. Sharing ideas is what everyone is about these days, and design is its catalyst. In a way, this also guarantees that certain goods don’t go to waste. It is now easier than ever to trade items when they are no longer wanted. Better off in someone else’s hands than in the trash. There are an endless number of websites that help users course donations to various charities. There are even services that help re-construct items that seem a little out of date.

We can no longer deny that the potential of design is exploding. I don’t just mean this in a trendy sense, but that we ought to give people in graphics, interiors, and the industrial world more credit. Anyway, without them, there would be no innovation.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

How To Embrace Your Mental Illness

More often than not, I trust no one. It’s been this way for years. At fifteen years old I was diagnosed with Paranoid Personality Disorder. Though I’ve seen much improvement, I have yet to come to terms with the fact that this is something I will always battle. It’s often difficult to be accepting knowing I am the only one in my family who suffers from mental illness. So how have I come to embrace it?

Mental disorders affect one in four people, not all of whom will have access to therapy services. This is why healing has to start with the self. The first step towards any type of recovery is acceptance. Acknowledge that you are suffering from a very legitimate illness. Denial only slows down the process.

Be in the know. Educate yourself and others. Know your habits and how to approach them. Understanding your triggers will help you to manage them better. However, know that mental illness follows no rules, and while it may be easier to follow patterns, things remain unexpected. It will take time but you will learn how to better handle your outbursts. Let your loved ones know how they can approach you.

Come up with a self-care regimen. Figure out what makes you feel in control. Despite my lack of confidence in strangers, I am entirely comfortable with my closest friends. I choose to be surrounded by them. I am constantly overcoming my struggle to let loose. Set goals for yourself and, if it helps, write them down. Put a schedule together. Consider the small victories like getting out of bed when you felt like you couldn’t. When I tick off a box on my to-do list, I always feel it’s a cause for celebration.

Engage in a hobby. I am not vocal but I am expressive, so I write. Create balance between doing something you are familiar with and doing something new. Expanding your horizons will make you feel empowered. Do something physical, even if you are a couch potato. If sports are not your thing (as they aren’t mine), jog or work out. Exercise can only bring about good energy.

Meditate. Learn how to zone out every once in a while and focus only on yourself. This is the one time you can think about where and who you want to be, fully, with no distractions. Yoga isn’t always accessible, but YouTube tutorials will do.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. And I don’t just mean a doctor. Confide in your family as they are most available to you. Admitting that your abilities may be limited is not a sign of weakness. Health trumps pride, and initiative is key to recognizing that you are not alone. While shame is an ordinary feeling for people who are new to therapy, knowing that you are getting better is overpowering.

Last of all, be patient. Healing never happens overnight. Progress always demands time. Be there for yourself and allow others to be there for you.

Mental illness stays with you. So instead of trying to outsmart it, embrace it.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Free The Tatas For A Cause

If you have been taking in your daily dose of tabloid drama, you’d know that braless celebrities are often a major point of conversation. Whether it’s Kendall Jenner or Britney Spears, the same sentiment remains–cover it up! While I don’t necessarily prefer to bare it all in public, I don’t always find myself scrambling back up to my apartment when I forget I’m not wearing a bra on the way to run a quick errand. Robyn and Michelle Lyle, masterminds behind the TaTa Top, don’t seem to think bras are necessary either.

The bikini top… made it look like the wearer was walking around topless, even though they weren’t.

“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to use a sense of humor to shed light on some serious issues while simultaneously raising funds and awareness for two areas we are extremely passionate about: breast cancer awareness and women’s rights.”

TaTa Tops doesn’t only speak boldly, it forwards a sum of $5 on a rotating basis to a variety of groups that focus on research and breast education.

Robyn and Michelle wanted to do something that challenged the status quo and would draw attention to the sexism women face in America.

Will you bare it all for boobies?

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: