Message in a Bottle

Posted on September 26, 2015 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber
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It’s time we took a hard look at bottles. What can they be used for? How can they change the way we look at the world? What can we do with what we have around us?

A Little Musical Wonder: Bottle Boys

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Today’s EWC article reminds us that there is never enough fun in the world. We need “thought leaders” with a sense of humor too! Many of the best have an uncanny ability to point out that childhood wonder just never seems to fade?

Image: Bottle boysIt seems we may never lose our urge to chase lightning bugs, look at frogs, mess around on a guitar, or a make random things out of a pile of sand.

How about the creepiness of the sound of an owl at night, or the smell of hot dogs on the grill, or fresh cut grass early in the summer? They all can bring back a childish wonder that goes very deep.

And what about the way we can blow into a bottle and create a musical note? It’s a simple wonder.

Today, we take that childhood fascination over the top with a group who has taken the concept to another level. Take a look at this…

Just fun today on EWC.

Today, kids are being asked to grow up a little too fast, and we’ll simply have some fun here. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

Stay open, stay curious, and stay hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda


Head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!

Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles like this one!

Stay open, curious and hopeful enough to appreciate change!

~ Dr. Lynda

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.


And just in case you suspect their medium might be fairly limited, take a look at this one…

Via:Bottle Boys 2Bottle Boys. “Coldplay on Beer Bottles – Viva La Vida.” YouTube. Bottle Boys, 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 16 June 2015. <>.



Brilliant: Plastic Bottle Schools!

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Want to sling mud, collect smiles, change lives and redefine your dreams? You might want to know more about “Plastic Bottle Schools.” From what I can tell, it’s a project almost anyone can connect to.


Need another example of what’s good in the world? I can see this concept standing beside our other 660+ EWC articles that will remind you

I can see this concept standing beside our other 660+ EWC articles that will remind you it is still an amazing world. (our motto)

Today on we bring you an article by a frequent link contributor and new guest writer for EWC, Neal Smith. (You too can write for us!) Neal’s been a teacher and mentor for countless youths for 25 years and has quite a knack for seeing the best in our world and others. Here’s Neal’s piece for EWC:

While listening to a radio program today, I was impressed by a segment that interviewed and then presented an eTown “eChievement Award” to Zach Balle, who started Hug It Forward.

Image: Kids standing with plastic bottles

The whole idea sounds like the result of a mid-life crisis, except it began to form when Zach was 24, observing that his new-found wealth and resultant lifestyle made him feel “I wasn’t living in a way that really felt right: creating. I had a strong feeling of disappointment in myself.”

Zach’s quest for meaning eventually led him to co-found Hug It Forward, which supports local Guatemalans by helping them build school, using local materials INCLUDING recycled, trash-stuffed plastic bottles! Now, this is creative genius at it’s finest: take something you have in excess (willing hands and garbage), and turn it into something you don’t have enough of: schools.

The 40th school building is just now being finished–all since 2009. Hug It Forward works with local Guatemalans–adults and children–as they learn building skills, clean up their environment, and promote the education of the children.  Take a look at a few more amazing videos we found that will inspire!

Fabulous innovation in “giving and volunteering” here! People are proud to be the creators of their own way forward. The days of randomly solving problems for others, without their immediate input and ownership are fading. And choosing the right places to first incubate new concepts like this, before springing them up everywhere, is key.
So why Guatemala? According to the World Bank:
Poverty in Guatemala is both widespread and severe. Approximately 75 percent of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, which is defined as an income that is insufficient to purchase a basic basket of goods and services. Almost 58 percent of the population have incomes below the extreme poverty line, which is defined as the amount needed to purchase a basic basket of food. 2
Image: Hands making a heart
Image Source:

And there are the pluses too! According to Golden Gate BPO Solutions, Guatemala has:

  • Ranked 100 out of 183 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2010; and 91 out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index
  • Largest population in Central American Region (over 13.5 million)
  • Workforce of 4.1 million, with 70% of the population below the age of 30.
  • Due to human resource availability, operations can scale significantly.
  • Largest student numbers in Central America with 170,000 students enrolled in ten universities 3

Sounds like the ideal place to refine the Hug It Forward model and vision.

Here’s the sound cloud eTown award clip that started me on this happy path of discovery:  Click here to Listen. And the Hug It Forward website is:

I hope to share something with EWC again soon, and also a plug for eTown–great show, great people!
~ Neal Smith

Thanks so much to EWC guest writer Neal Smith. Do you know of a great concept that would inspire and enlighten the world? You can write for us too. Contact us!

Are you new to If so, welcome! We are a global community from 190 countries and we are beginning to change the dialogue about our world. Despite what the 24-hour news cycle tells us, this is still an amazing place. If you are interested in that world, check us out here from time to time! We publish one smart, hopeful article every day.

Images: A collage of EWC article pictures

For now, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda


Scroll down to see six more articles proving “it’s still an amazing world,” or head to our homepage to check out the our latest articles, circles and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!



What to Do with All This Plastic!?

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

We hear a lot about carbon footprints these days and most of that dialogue swirls around various huge, complex human endeavors like large scale agriculture, air travel, transportation of good, or manufacturing.

But I’m starting to sense some momentum in the movement for us all to consider our own individual roles.

Image: Dr. Chuck with armloads of "stuff" and a plastic basketball hoop on his head like a hat

Here’s an example: for me, shopping is slowly getting a little more painful, because now I’m considering the packaging problem. I’m asking myself if every bag, box and wrapper is recyclable?

My recycle center won’t take #3, #6, or #7’s. Then I stop to consider if I really need that item, and if I do, then I usually refuse the plastic bag. I’m not a “green movement” nut. I’m just saying the thoughts are crossing my mind more and more often. I ask myself, “Am I really that thirsty? Do I need that bottle of water enough to add it to the billions of pounds of single use plastic containers added to the waste stream every day?”

And don’t even get me started on the problem of Styrofoam packing popcorn! Maybe if ordinary people like me are thinking this way, we are reaching a “tipping point”.

Image: Swirling Cloud

I know I’m glancing at the number inside the recycling symbols on containers much more often, but what exactly do they mean? Take a look at this nice written piece an EWC user sent us as a link to. It answers many of the questions I’ve had about this numbering system for recyclable plastics.


The Recycling Symbols

Plastic #1 – PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

  • Picked up by most curbside recycling programs, plastic #1 is usually clear and used to make soda and water bottles. Some consider it safe, but this plastic is known to allow bacteria and flavor to accumulate.
  • It’s found mostly in soda bottles, water bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers, mouthwash bottles, and peanut butter containers.
  • Plastic #1 is recycled into tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, fiber, and polar fleece.

Plastic #2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)

  • Plastic #2 is typically opaque and picked up by most curbside recycling programs. This plastic is one of the 3 plastics considered to be safe, and has a lower risk of leaching.
  • It’s found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles, yogurt tubs, and butter tubs.ilk jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, butter tubs, and toiletries bottles are made of this.  It is usually opaque. This plastic is considered safe and has low risk of leaching.
  • Plastic #2 is recycled into pens, recycling containers, picnic tables, lumber, benches, fencing, and detergent bottles, to name a few.

Plastic #3 – V or PVC (Vinyl)

  • .Plastic #3 is used to make food wrap, plumbing pipes, and detergent bottles, and is seldom accepted by curbside recycling programs. These plastics used to, and still may, contain phthalates, which are linked to numerous health issues ranging from developmental problems to miscarriages. They also contain DEHA, which can be carcinogenic with long-term exposure. DEHA has also been linked to loss of bone mass and liver problems. Don’t cook with or burn this plastic.
  • It’s found in shampoo bottles, clear food packaging, cooking oil bottles, medical equipment, piping, and windows.
  • This plastic is recycled into paneling, flooring, speed bumps, decks, and roadway gutters.

Plastic #4 – LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

  • Low density polyethylene is most found in squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags, and some food wraps. Curbside recycling programs haven’t been known to pick up this plastic, but more are starting to accept it. Plastic #4 rests among the recycling symbols considered to be safe.
  • This plastic is recycled into compost bins, paneling, trash can liners and cans, floor tiles, and shipping envelopes.

Plastic #5 – PP (Polypropylene)

  • Increasingly becoming accepted by curbside recycle programs, plastic #5 is also one of the safer plastics to look for.
  • It is typically found in yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles.
  • Polypropylene is recycled into brooms, auto battery cases, bins, pallets, signal lights, ice scrapers, and bicycle racks.

Plastic #6 – PS (Polystyrene)

  • Polystyrene is Styrofoam, which is notorious for being difficult to recycle, and thus, bad for the environment. This kind of plastic also poses a health risk, leaching potentially toxic chemicals, especially when heated. Most recycling programs won’t accept it.
  • Plastic #6 is found in compact disc cases, egg cartons, meat trays, and disposable plates and cups.
  • It is recycled into egg cartons, vents, foam packing, and insulation.

Plastic #7 – Other, Miscellaneous

  • All of the plastic resins that don’t fit into the other categories are placed in the number 7 category. It’s a mix bag of plastics that includes poly-carbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). These plastics should be avoided due to possibly containing hormone disruptors like BPA, which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity, reproductive problems, and other health issues.
  • Plastic #7 is found in sunglasses, iPod cases, computer cases, nylon, 3- and 5-gallon water bottles, and bullet-proof materials.
  • It is recycled into plastic lumber and other custom-made products.

The Bottom Line: Which Recycling Numbers to Avoid, Which are ‘Safest’

In the end, it’s really best to avoid using all plastics if you’re able. But at the very least:

  • Avoid recycling symbols 3, 6, and 7. While Number 1 is considered safe, it is also best to avoid this plastic.
  • Look for symbols 2, 4, and 5, as these plastics are considered to be safest. These are the plastics to look for in terms of human and animal consumption. 1

Fabulous information. I had no idea. We have to thank Nation of Change for this bit of enlightenment. You can check out their website (with so much more) by clicking here.I’ll mention that Nation of Change is a 501(c)3 nonprofit funded directly by their readers. You can find some serious insights there related to parts of our world that need attention.

Image: A mountain of Plastic single-use bottles

Lastly, I’m not shaming any of us for our habits, just looking at myself here today and wondering if anyone else has started to look twice before buying. I suspect in many places where humans congregate, an insensitivity to garbage is starting to wain and there seems to be light at the end of this wasteful tunnel.

That’s it for today! Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda


Head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox! Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles like this one!




Bill Gates Drinks Sewage: Introducing the Omni Processor

Posted on January 26, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

On January 22, 2015, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, came on the set of The Tonight Show with all-around funnyman Jimmy Fallon, with a simple proposition for Fallon: let’s each drink a glass of water.

Simple right?

Oh… here’s the catch: one of the glasses contained bottled water, while the other was very recently fresh sewage, filtered using Gates’ latest philanthropic effort, the Omni Processor.

Let’s watch the fun results:

Omni Processor Water Purifier

In retrospect, it seems incredibly obvious that the solution to the question “how do we get potable water to all of Africa?” ended up being this process which involves high school level chemistry. On some level it’s very simple, hearkening back to basic principles that have been understood for centuries.

How much of a solution are we talking about? Well according to the Omni Processor’s website this machine can process a moving van’s worth of sewage each day and turn it into 10,800 liters of water a day. If you use the calculations from the Institute of Medicine, that’s enough drinking water to keep 3700 people healthy, per day!

Human beings need about 2.6 liters (11 cups) of water per day to stay healthy.

The energy from the generators seems to be a bonus! (I could produce enough energy for 50 small households per year.)

Let’s learn a bit more about the science behind the Omni Processor

The long and short of water purification 

  1. When you heat something up to dry it, pure water is separated in the form of steam and can be used to drive a generator creating electricity. Remember the invention of the steam engine in the 1800s!
  2. To get the heat to dry the feces, they are burning that same dry waste as fuel. This is actually nothing new either; poop burns, and burns well, and for thousands of years in arid regions of the planet where there are no trees for firewood, people have been collecting, drying and burning animal dung to cook their food.
  3. When the steam circulates through the generators, you can capture it and turn it back into liquid water. No pathogens can survive the temperatures that the steam goes through so the water comes out perfectly safe to drink!

Other than the initial energy needed to dry that very first batch, it’s a completely closed loop! (This is something we will be hearing more and more about as we try to re-vamp how resources are used on our planet.)

Image: Bill Gates Drinks Sewage Treated with the Omni Processor

If you’d like to learn more about that exciting horizon, we have two fabulous articles that demonstrate the best of the Closed Loop possibilities. Check out our article called Cow Power, and then we will share with you this absolutely amazing new movement to end our Throw-away mentality in the most extraordinary way. That article is called How Far is Away?.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a few more articles that will surprise and delight you.

The world really is going to be OK. Here at, we’ve written 750+ articles like this one to prove this is still an amazing world, despite what the negative news cycle tells us.

Join us daily for a bit of hope, fun, insight and innovation!

~ Dr. Lynda



Liesl Ulrich-Verderber is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV