We’ve written before about the sustainability genius of libraries (public libraries are one of Sightline’s Seven Wonders of Sustainability). And beyond books, there’s a growing trend toward community tool libraries (also brilliant). There’s no reason even a fraction of households in a city should invest in a tool they’ll use once or twice, a tile cutter, say, or even necessarily a lawn mower! And toy libraries make total sense, too. The Sacramento Public Library is experimenting with a “library of things”—where you can borrow all kinds of things, like sewing machines, musical instruments, games, electronics, and 3-D printers! You place a hold, wait for your turn, check it out, try it out, and return it—just like a book.
In case anybody needed more evidence that we’ve designed the economy to serve a few at the top and… that’s about it, I give you this recent survey finding: 56 percent of Americans say they have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined—that is, if they have the luxury of a bank account at all.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been mourning David Bowie all week, including a couple YouTube crying jags. In all the flurry, this Columbia Journalism Review critique of high-profile tributes caught my eye. It may be no shocker to say it: David Bowie was gay. But glossing over, omitting, or otherwise ignoring such a key aspect of this culture-bending, path-blazing icon’s life and impact is a massive media fail.
#OscarsSoWhite—again. For the second year in a row, exactly zero performers of color were nominated for the Oscars’ acting categories. Says director Spike Lee on the phenomenon, “When I go to [film studio] offices, I see no black folks except for… the security guard.”
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They have disrupted the US power grid 623 times since 1987; they’re hard to track and even harder to eliminate; and they have a Twitter account. They’re… squirrels.
Food waste is a humongous problem, and even worse when that food is just a little uglier than the next fruit or vegetable, even if it’s no less nutritious. Meanwhile, food insecurity is an equally huge problem, with over 45 million Americans (almost one in six of us) struggling to get enough healthy food on a regular basis. But new “farm-to-food-bank” programs are looking to change that, linking farmers with surplus produce they can’t afford not to sell with food banks eager to offer their clients fresh, delicious produce. Twenty programs across the country have grown up to divert 300 million pounds of produce per year—a big start to a great idea.
This article says “Democrats should double down on women’s issues,” but it really kind of means middle-class economic issues: affordable child care, sick leave, parental leave, access to education, and flexible work places. Yes, those policies help women. But they are also necessary for a thriving middle class, which the US could use right about now.
Because it’s a day of the week that ends with “y,” Seattle’s giant highway tunneling project has hit yet another snag. After a mysterious sinkhole opened near the construction site, Governor Inslee is suspending drilling operations. I shouldn’t point fingers though because, in all fairness, no one could have predicted that the project would become an engineering and financial disaster.
(Yes, that was sarcasm.)