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Shoe Made From Recycled Ocean Trash Pops Up in Time for Summer

Adidas teams up with Parley for the Oceans to create a new line made from colorful sea garbage.

As a rule I’m skeptical of big brands “going green,” but it seems adidas might just be on to something. Recently the sporty retail giant teamed up with Parley for the Oceans—an idealistic group of “creators, thinkers and leaders” attempting to re-purpose the ocean’s overwhelming amount of trash into reusable material—for a mystery project. Monday at the United Nations the brand unveiled their collaboration: the world's first ever shoe upper made solely from harvested ocean plastic and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The nets were retrieved after a 110-day expedition by Parley partner organization Sea Shepherd, where they tracked an illegal poaching vessel off the coast of West Africa.

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Do you know what changes our behavior? Our friends. Our neighbors. Our communities. Do you know what makes us happy? Our friends. Our neighbors. Our communities. Social psychology research tells us that social support and social norms can help lead to long-term behavior change, and that the more you engage in your community, build social ties, and find purpose in life, the happier you’ll be.

Apparently, most of us really care about what everyone else is doing—so much so that we’re more likely to reuse our towels at a hotel if we learn that the majority of other guests are doing the same thing. This message is much more effective than, say, statistics-heavy cards telling us about the environmental or financial savings of towel reuse. We are social animals: we want to connect with others, and the social norms of our culture and communities influence what we consider to be normal. In addition, the more we create social connectedness in our lives and spend even small amounts of time volunteering, the better we feel about ourselves and our lives.

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How Madison Wisconsin Incentivizes Energy Efficiency in Student Housing

Creating a market of sustainable housing options for students living off-campus at University of Wisconsin-Madison.


At Focus-UW we are working on persuading off-campus rental property owners to make their housing more energy efficient to create a market of sustainable housing options for students living at University of Wisconsin-Madison. A roadblock our campus currently faces is the fact that students in Madison generally live in off-campus housing or apartments for only one or two years. Therefore, rental property owners do not see how engaging in environmentally sustainable practices or making their properties more energy efficient will be of any benefit to them. At the same time, for the students who desire to live in more environmentally friendly housing, there is no easily accessible database that exists for them to find information about the energy efficiency or sustainability of properties off campus.

Our goal for the next few months is to create incentives which attract property owners and students to environmentally-friendly housing. We are researching the most effective and credible way to rate off-campus housing on energy efficiency. The most recent stakeholder we met with was the Director of Community and Residential Properties at Madison Gas and Electric where we discussed the resources available to property owners who agree to retrofit their properties. We also discussed how we can educate students on how to conserve energy at home. Once Focus-UW finds an effective means of rating off-campus housing for energy efficiency, we need a way to present this information to students. We plan on developing a user-friendly program to connect landlords with energy efficient properties to students looking for sustainable housing.

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Four Lessons Teachers Can Learn from Jay-Z

Most teachers dismiss Jay-Z because of his hustler past, but there's plenty to learn from his massive success.


Jay-Z may have inspired a generation of rappers and entrepreneurs, but for most teachers, his hustler past and materialistic lyrics hardly make him a role model. But in a recent piece for Teacher magazine, New York City educator José Vilson writes that when it comes to engaging young minds, working toward a goal, collaborating, and expanding areas of expertise, teachers can learn from Jay-Z's massive success.

Vilson, a math teacher, coach, data analyst, and member of the Teacher Leaders Network, writes that when Jay-Z began to reach a broader audience, critics accused him of selling out. Similarly, teachers don’t want to ditch their high academic expectations just to engage all students. Just as Jay-Z figured out how to reach the masses while staying true to his roots, it’s possible, Vilson says, to communicate with students in a relatable way "without sacrificing the meaning, context, and depth of what we teach."

Jay-Z's music is critically acclaimed and his albums always go platinum, but he's had his share of career missteps. Teachers also make mistakes, Vilson writes, when they don't "listen to a student when we should have," or "could have better planned a lesson." So teachers, particularly new ones, have to learn the same lesson Jay did: Those mistakes won't "break" you "unless we fail to learn from them and they become patterns in our careers."

When it comes to collaboration, Vilson notes that while Jay-Z's worked with fellow rappers like Kanye West, he's also expanded far beyond the hip-hop sphere, teaming up with everyone from Linkin Park to Gwyneth Paltrow. In order to "improve students' experiences," teachers need to do the same by reaching beyond their grade level or department. For example, "science and language arts teachers can co-create lessons that help students identify and use literary techniques as they read and respond to science texts," he argues.

And, just as Jay-Z is no longer "just a rapper"—he worked on President Obama's 2008 campaign, and has supported United Nations' efforts in Africa—teachers should not see themselves solely as instructors, Vilson writes. Over the next 20 years, he says, educators should become "teacherpreneurs"—spending part of their time teaching students and part of it "solving our schools' most pressing problems."

Vilson's thoughtful analysis is certainly a departure from the dismissive way so many educators treat Jay-Z and other pop culture idols. If teachers can learn these lessons—whether from Jay-Z or someone else—they will, Vilson writes be able to "make a greater impact on our world."

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