Whenever natural disasters happen on the scale of this week’s massive earthquake in Nepal, I suspect that I’m not alone in struggling to fully comprehend the enormity.
The numbers alone, thus far, are staggering:
- 5,000 – confirmed dead
- 10,000 – possible final death toll
- 500,000 – displaced
- 1.4million – in need of food
- 8million – total affected
- $10billion – estimated cost to rebuild, exceeding Nepal’s entire GDP
The photos are hard to look at, the news stories difficult to read, and yet the choice to look away is just not acceptable, especially if you can afford to even help out a little bit.
I was heartened, when I checked Facebook this morning and found a button at the top of my news feed providing me with the opportunity to donate to the Nepal relief effort. When you consider that Facebook has over a BILLION registered users, their gesture could have a big impact.
And then, this morning, I received an email from the president of the university where I work, providing a link to where employees can either donate by credit card or by a deduction from our paychecks.
Finally, Twitter is awash in tweets of prayer and pleas for donations.
Please consider chipping in whatever you can.
Back in August 2011, I posted the first photo you see here, after having discovered this Eco-Flushing For Dummies toilet on the campus where I work.
The placard above the toilet explains:
- the green flush handle should be pulled up for liquid waste;
- it should be pressed down for solid waste;
- it is coated to protect against germs; and
- “For the system to work, we need your help. Please take a look at the diagram…and push the handle in the direction which best suits your needs. With your assistance, we can do our part to conserve this precious resource.”
At the time, I applauded the toilet and declared it superior to another prominent dual-flush design that, I felt, fails to make it clear what the two buttons are for:
I stand by my assertion that the two-button design is less than informative, but I do have to admit that the Eco-Flushing For Dummies toilet, while ok in a public bathroom setting, perhaps particularly appropriate on a high school or college campus where, you know, education is a thing, it may not be the best, most aesthetically-appealing choice for the home or, let’s say, an elegant restaurant.
Enter John Liow’s Half:
“Half” is an observation of how suggestive design can more intentionally encourage the use of the water-saving “half flush” function on a dual-flush toilet. The white half is designed to be smooth and inviting while the black half is sharp and offensive, encouraging conscious water usage.
Read more about industrial designer John Liow’s Half and “suggestive design” at Index: Design to Improve Life.