About Katherine Hui
Katherine Hui is currently the Social site editor at Green Thing, a web-based public service in London that inspires people to lead greener lives through creative content.
Before this, she worked as the Development Manager at Social Innovation Camp, an organization that encourages people to use web and mobile-based technology to mobilise social change. She oversaw 300 ideas submission and helped build 20 prototypes – five of which have gone on to get further funding or investment.
Katherine’s came over to the UK form Canada in 2007 for an MSc program at the London School of Economics. Before arriving in London, she managed a small environmental start-up in Vancouver called the Canadian Climate Change Alliance.
Katherine is football mad. She is a loyal supporter of Arsenal FC, plays for Islington Borough Ladies FC and coaches for Gunners in Islington in her spare time. Her second favourite hobby is kite surfing and she can sometimes be found chasing the wind.
Latest Posts by Katherine Hui
Ever thrown something out because it needed fixing but you couldn’t find the part? Or perhaps you got rid of something that was no longer of use to you, but perfectly usable? A new service has just launched hoping to help people fix things more, and reduce waste in the process.
Lonely Parts is a charming new website that matches useable objects with recipients in need of repair. People can list their ‘parts’ – described as “a piece or segment of something such as an object, which combined with other pieces makes up the whole”. People are also able to view ‘impaired’ objects, which are listed as “being less than perfect or whole condition”. For example, this garden chair is in search of a cushion companion:
And this computer arm chair is after a good home:
Lonely parts is a simple, clever service that will hopefully help people be more resourceful and find joy in fixing things. Check out their site and offer a part to share or an item to repair.
Walking the walk just got easier with Moves app, a free iPhone app that logs your movements. It’s like a diary of your day, automatically tracking activity and recognising movement such as walking, cycling, running and transportation. You can see where you’ve been and how much you’ve moved in a day through the app’s state-of-the-art activity- and place-recognition algorithms. Moves can show you where you’ve been, so you can see that at 10am every day you grab a coffee or at 3pm you tuck out to the shop to grab some sweets.
Moves isn’t only about seeing how much one has travelled or where they’ve been. It’s also about wellbeing. Moves aims to get people walking more, aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Co-founder Aleksi Aaltonen says, “the idea is to allow you to understand your everyday habits and take small steps toward more healthy lifestyle.”
Moves app is a brilliant tool. It makes people aware of their movements (or lack there of) and encourage more people out walking.
When the weather is cold, rainy and generally dreary, it can be hard to crawl out of bed let alone hop on to the saddle. It’s only natural to wish that teleportation was an option as a method of transport. Until it is one, here are 7 things to keep you motivated and keep your head up and legs pedaling this winter:
1. Doesn’t matter what time of year it it, your body will thank you for the exercise and the endorphins.
2. It takes approximately 2 minutes and 17 seconds to get warm once you’ve started pedaling. That’s nearly no time at all to be warm and toasty and enjoying your cycle.
3. Fresh air in your lungs will lessen your chances of getting ill.
4. In foul weather, cars tend to get stuck in traffic. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your wheels to whizz through those vehicles moving slowly or stuck at a stand still. Remember 2 wheels = instant freedom.
5. We’ve got the perfect thing to keep your fingers warm.: Glove Love. Perfect for your commute.
6. Take advantage of the winter weather to pimp out your bike and make it delightful for both you and your fellow two-wheeled commuters. We particularly like this homemade unicorn bike mod and this snowflake spoke setup.
7. To quote the London Bike Kitchen, “Winter Riding is Badass.” We agree.
So if you’re game, hop on your wheels and share your top tips to stay motivated with us.
We are big fans of Makedo (quite possibly the greatest making kit there is) so we thought we’d share the love this holiday season and give some away to you our loyal green things. Think of this as pain-free Christmas shopping, win your presents instead of buy them.
Makedo is a set a connectors for making stuff from things around you. It’s reusable and connects all kinds of materials. Best of all, it knows no age. Anyone can make things with it from children (3+ years) to those who prefer to nap without their teeth in.
It’s perfect for turning bits of waste and scrap materials into useful and unique objects.
Here are some brilliant creations from Makedo:
To enter all you have to do is visit our Facebook page and tell us what you’d make (or someone you’d like to give it to would make) with a kit. Be creative. Think wrapping paper. Think empty boxes and packaging.
Tell us on our Facebook wall and hopefully we’ll help you check someone off your list.
Remember Climate Kid?
Born from our partnership with UNICEF UK in March, Climate Kid tells the story of an ordinary boy developing extraordinary body parts to cope with his changing environment. Climate Kid was part of a wider campaign about illustrating what Climate Adaptation is and how people around the world will need to cope.
We are delighted to share that we won Bronze at the International Green Awards 2011 for Climate Kid in the Best Green Audio-Visual Award category. Well done team!
(This article was written for Book Magazine, a lovely online publication for students. Thanks Dominic Wells for getting us involved!)
Why should we be encouraged to buy, buy, buy on the grounds that the festive season is all about giving? Giving is an important part of the Christmas tradition – just think of the Three Wise Men – but that doesn’t have to mean celebrating the newest, coolest, shiniest, top of the line gizmo. We forget about last year’s third generation iPhone because we simply must have This Year’s Model.
Socially we all play our parts in a giant consumer nativity play, and as we’ve wised up to this, so the big corporations have become stealthier about it. Take the new John Lewis Christmas advert: a small boy impatiently waits for the 25th of December to arrive, only to ignore his own presents and dig out a gift for his mum and dad. Awww, because Christmas is about giving, right? But what seems on the surface a sentimental, anti-commercial message still has a hard-sell at heart: ‘People who care buy their presents at John Lewis. And we make it so easy, a ten-year-old child could do it.’
Brands playing a leading role in Christmas over-consumption is hardly a new thing. There is of course the urban legend – or in brand terms, ‘Coke-lore’ – that Coca-Cola invented Santa Claus, with his red and white suit and jolly round face. There is in fact some truth to this. In the 1920s Coke wanted to remind people that you could drink their beverages all year round. So they enlisted Santa Claus as depicted by a cartoonist, to help convey the message that ‘thirst knows no seasons’. And the modern day identity of a florid, flaming red Father C. bellowing ‘ho, ho, ho’ was born.
So, is it possible to be dreaming of a green Christmas unlike the ones we used to know? A Christmas where presents aren’t resource-intensive and wasteful (one in ten toys are broken by New Year’s Eve, and 46 million get thrown away), one that places value on the thought and meaning behind a gift rather than its price tag? One that isn’t so defined by brands and our desire to consume them?
In fact, some of the nicest and most original things to give at this time of year can’t be bought but are made or created by the giver. Ingenuity and creativity go a very long way when it comes to gift gifting.
Beginning with the wrapping of gifts, there are so many better and cheaper alternatives. It’s an age-old tradition: some say it originated in China centuries ago, others say Rome, where gifts would be wrapped and sealed with wax and string. Concealing the contents of a package to heighten surprise is not a new thing at all; it’s just become a tradition that generates colossal waste – 32.5 sq miles of wrapping paper ends up in our bins each year.
So take a cue from other cultures. In Japan they “Furoshiki” their presents. Furoshiki is a reusable cloth that can be tied in a variety of ways to make every gift look unique. The best part, aside from the material being reusable, is that it’s highly functional. With clever little folds and ties, you’re able to create packages that have handles and straps that make them easy to transport.
How about the most common Christmas conundrum: how can I spend less money?
You can give a service or an experience. And that doesn’t necessarily mean blowing £100 on a Virgin hot-air balloon flight. Why not offer up your own skills as a gift? You could teach your parents or grandparents how to blog, tweet or Skype; offer to bake, or babysit, or make a meal for friends.
Better yet, you could give something that in itself symbolises a deeper sense of giving: plant a cherry tree in someone’s name in Japan to help reconstruct the environment damaged by the earthquake; or go to Goodgifts.org who have gifts like hospital kits and seed packets for communities in rural Kenya.
Why not invent your own holiday tradition? It’s a great way to curb consumption and be kinder to the planet. I’ve always loved Secret Santa. It’s always been a Hui family tradition, but with a green-friendly twist: the gift must be homemade. In the past I’ve done mix CD’s, made bowls out of old records and hand-sewed a duvet cover.
It’s easy, pain-free and downright rewarding to start making the green Christmas dream a reality, and the only thing you’ll have to sacrifice is the urge to spank your wallet and wear out some shoe leather on the high street.
This festive season the Crafternon Tea Club, a collective of artists and designers who believe that sustainability = creativity, have upped their game. In partnership with Etsy they’re throwing a Christmash gift-swapping, re-gifting special this Thursday 8th December at the Trampery, 13-19 Bevenden Street, London, N1 6AA (2 mins Old St tube).
Entry is free, there will be plenty of drink good music and people who will be loving the pre-loved.
We’ll see you there!
This is just wonderful. The folks at Holstee have decided to take a stand against Black Friday by making sure no transactions go through their site. They’ve pulled a black curtain across their website with a lovely message to about their hiatus. Hats off to Holstee!