Rounding Out 2015 with My Top 10 Blog Posts

This year has been an awesome year for my blog! I started off 2015 with the goal of attracting 12,000 viewers and with the year coming to a close, I’ve already met that target. That’s 8,930 more viewers than 2014!

I wanted to deliver more original content to my blog followers and I was happy to report that by using Q & A format, I was able to do that. My series “How You Living?” featuring friends of mine living in cities abroad was a tremendous success.

Additionally, interviewing entrepreneurs in the tech, film, and fashion industries  was also a hit and those interviews have led me to other interesting personalities (entrepreneurs) and businesses. Thank you to everyone who participated in each Q & A interview. I’ll be doing a lot more in 2016, so look out for those.

So in closing off this epic year of 2015, I’ll be revealing my “Top 10” (technically 11) most viewed blog posts!

No. 10: Introducing One of My Favourite Filmmakers Casey Neistat – A talented filmmaker, entrepreneur and YouTube vlogger working out of NYC.

No. 9: Joeysalads’ Child Abduction ‘Prank’ Will Remind Parents to Warn Their Kids About Strangers – A YouTube prankster who addresses a serious topic in this feature that went viral.

No. 8: Meet SiteManager, the New Web Design Platform That Promises To Make Building Professional Websites Painless – An interview with a Belgian CEO and founder of a web design startup.

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The SiteManager team | Source: SiteManager

No. 7: Germany’s ‘EO Smart Connecting Car 2’ is the Future of Urban Driving – A close look at one of the smartest micro-smart cars to come out of Germany.

No. 6: 10 Questions with Fashion Designer Lubica Slovak – A quick Q &A with an incredibly talented Slovakian-Jamaican fashion designer.

Phresh Interviews Jamaica’s Film Commissioner Carole Beckford – Get an inside look into Jamaica’s film industry and hear about its first-ever film festival.

Carole and actors
Actor Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter (left), Film Commissioner Carole Beckford (center), and Film Director Robert Townsend (right) at Los Angeles launch for the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival in March 2015

No. 5: Fighting Poaching With Offbeat Solutions from Silicon Valley Startup Pembient – CEO and founder of a biotech startup talks about “fake” rhino horns and attempting to topple the black market.

No. 4: Here’s A Quick Way to Name a Graphic Design Business or Any Other – A walk-through on coming up with the perfect business name using several phresh tips.

No. 3: 3 Tips to Improve Your Performance as a Freelance Graphic Designer – Written especially for freelance graphic designers, learn from my experiences on becoming better at what you do.

graphic designer 03
There’s no one template design for a time log, just create one that works for you

No. 2: Chinese Animated Short Hilariously Shows How Addicted We’ve Become to Our Smartphones – An accurate and funny depiction of our obsession with mobile devices created by animation student.

No. 1: Quiksilver Japan Designs a ‘True Wetsuit’ For Those Who Work Hard and Surf Harder – One of the biggest brands in surfwear creates an advert cleverly capturing the functionality of its latest wet-suit design coming out of Japan.

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Designers spent two months developing fabric samples

Thanks so much for following along each and every story I wrote about this year. I appreciated each and every share via social media. Have a Merry Christmas when it gets here. I’ll see you in the New Year!

Give Respect to All Beings: The Death of Cecil the Lion

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Some of us would rather dedicate our lives to being the voice of the voiceless; in this case a lion. I spend some of my days signing petitions, donating to organisations like The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Air Shepherd who are undertaking actions in geographical areas where I may never travel to.

I also spend time writing blogs, creating posters, and posting stories focused on animal rights issues to help raise awareness across social media. I’m sure my friends get tired of my posts some days. However, I find that it’s also important to use your “soapbox” wisely and spend less time criticising others for the attention they give to something they deem important to them. It take all kinds of people to make the world a better place.

Cecil and one of his lionesses
Cecil and one of his lionesses

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the selfish and senseless killing of Zimbabwe’s (if not the world’s) most popular lion, Cecil at the hands of a dentist from Minnesota, U.S. of A. A dentist!! A man of science. An “educated” man. He paid the “grand” sum of $50,000 to kill an innocent animal who was one of the biggest attractions in wildlife reserves and worth millions to the local tourism industry. Ahh yes! A wildlife reserve was where Cecil and his pride spent their days hunting, raising their cubs, and fending off the challenge of other male lions who crossed his territory for a total of 13 years.

On July 1st, Cecil was slaughtered after being baited by Dentist Walter J. Palmer who claimed he had no idea the lion was collared and protected under law. A spotlight was turned on him and then Palmer fired a bow and arrow that initially injured the lion. After tracking Cecil for a total of 40 hours (almost two freakin’ days!), he was found and finally shot and killed with a rifle. Man is not and has never been “superior” to other animals, as that superiority is quickly diminished if we were weaponless and face-to-face with a lion. We were meant to be stewards of this planet.

Walter J Palmer is notorious for killing large and endangered animals and has been fined for poaching in the past
Walter J Palmer is notorious for killing large and endangered animals and has been fined for poaching in the past

Primatologist and quite possibly the world’s most famous Conservationist, Jane Goodall released a statement today on Cecil’s murder that read, “I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s much loved lion. Not only is it incomprehensible to me that anyone would want to kill an endangered animal (fewer than 20,000 wild lions in Africa today)…”. The entire world has come out in full support of Cecil and some, like Talk Show Host Jimmy Kimmel put into words what so many of us have been thinking. You can watch that video below.

“We were meant to be stewards of this planet.”

Cecil was being studied by the Oxford University who monitored his movements and activities with a GPS collar. Had he not been wearing that collar, no one would’ve found out who took his life and all in the name of what trophy hunters like to tag as “sport”. I watch sports all the time on TV, it never ends in a beheading and anyone getting skinned. To date, the authorities in Zimbabwe have only brought charges to two men involved in this incident, the safari operator and a local farmer. With the release of an arrow with the intent to kill, we were all denied the opportunity of being able to see this magnificent big cat in all his glory.

Cecil the lion in happier days
Cecil the lion in happier days

What some people fail to recognise is the grim reality that face endangered lions in Africa when it comes down to being driven to extinction be trophy and canned hunts, poaching, habitat fragmentation, and conflict with locals over livestock. As the estimates stand, there are 20,000 to 32,000 lions left throughout the continent. Cecil’s story will end with his cubs being killed or driven from the pride by the lion next in the hierarchy, Jericho. It’s the circle of life in the wild as Jericho will try to have the lionesses carry on his own bloodline. On the flip-side, with Cecil’s death and Jericho as the lone adult male lion in the pride, he could also be killed by another group of adult male lions who sense weakness. In that instance, both Cecil’s and Jericho’s cubs could be killed, further exacerbating the decline of these majestic big cats.

“Killing one dominant male lion is the equivalent of killing generations’ worth of lions. All three men deserve to go to prison for a very long time.”

To bring about real change in stopping trophy hunting will involve changing in laws, enforcement, mindsets, cultures and traditions, and creating real employment opportunities for poor families like those throughout African countries like Zimbabwe. Only when people have financial independence will they shift their thinking from surviving for the day to embracing long-term practices that promote sustainability. Governments will need to promote responsible tourism and prosecute those who continue to break their laws. It’s not too late to do all we can across social media and in our daily lives to help be leaders and revolutionaries. Every great movement started with ONE person who gave respect to ALL beings.

A New Group of Satellites Could Bring Internet to Billions in the Future

Virgin Founder Richard Branson announced an ambitious project to create the world’s largest ever satellite network that will make high speed internet and telephony accessible to the billions of people. OneWeb Ltd will implement and operate. The Virgin Group and Qualcomm Incorporated are the principle investors. The project could transform lives and fast-track the creation of business opportunities.

Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne programme will help with frequent satellite launches
Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne programme will help with frequent satellite launches

Make Renewable Energy While the Sun Shines!

Solar pane atop bus stop in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Solar panel atop bus stop in Bridgetown, Barbados.

At my core, I’m an urban planner through and through and when I saw this bus stop whilst walking through the streets of Christ Church, Barbados, I was extremely and pleasantly surprised all at once.

A solar panel atop a bus stop!! How cool is that?! I couldn’t resist or wait to take a snapshot of this model. I thought at first, “maybe its a pilot project”, but to my relief, I looked around and noticed there was a panel on every bus stop along the street. Amazing!

To my friends in North America and Europe and maybe some parts of Asian this might not be such a big deal, but in the Caribbean seeing renewable energy being harvested in this manor is refreshing.

There are some days when I wonder why I ever became an urban planner, but unexpected encounters like these remind me that maybe it was fate. There’s absolutely no reason why one structure should not be used for dual or multi-roles or purposes.

A bus stop is designed to offer shelter to pedestrians, but it spends 365 days sitting still in the sunlight, it makes sense to harvest solar power. The future looks a little “brighter”, but I just wish Jamaica would catch up.

More and more I’m convinced that if you want to have a true world perspective then you must travel the world. The more I’m fortunate to do so, is the more I’m “enlightened” (last word play).

Capture the moments that give you hope and learn from them. Everything in life is not always a chance encounter, but destiny.

Fun fact: There’s a contest to name this bus stop now on. If that doesn’t promote interactivity, I don’t know what else will! Love urban design.

The True “Weight” of a Simple Piece of Paper.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid!” is an approach I firmly believe in especially as a graphic designer. Simplicity always seem to trump complexity when it relates to impact. For this reason I felt it was important for me to share this story and this amazing product that is impacting and changing our world for the better.

This inventor has stumbled on an idea that in retrospect appears so simple, it seems as though anyone could have created it. However, I would not agree with that assumption since she’s the only one who has ever conceptualised, patent and developed it into an actual product.

Kavita-Shukla

Meet Kavita M. Shukla, the Inventor and Founder/CEO of Fenugreen. She’s described as “a pioneer in the movement towards sustainable, active, natural food packaging”. I think she definitely deserves to be called a “pioneer” solidified by her mission of “Fresh for ALLand business model that promotes ‘corporate social responsibility (CSR)’ through its “Buy a pack, give a pack” campaign. After you watch this TEDxTalks video via YouTube, you too will that this young inventor is truly a pioneer.

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