Editor's Note: Joyce Maynard is the author of best selling novels "Labor Day" and "To Die For," as well as the explosive 1998 memoir "At Home in the World." She maintains a home in San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala.
Susana Heisse is an environmental activist who uses the “eco-brick” to promote recycling and proper nutrition in Guatemalan schools. She will be profiled on CNN's The Next List Sunday, September 30th, at 2 p.m. ET.
By Joyce Maynard, Special to CNN
I first met Susanne Heisse in the fall of 2001, when I traveled to Guatemala with the plan of spending a few months in the astonishingly beautiful little Mayan village of San Marcos la Laguna, on the shores of the clear blue waters of Lake Atitlan.
It would have been hard to miss Susanne: at six feet tall, she towered over every indigenous person in the village, and most of the gringos, striding down the narrow stone paths of the village in her flowing skirts, with her flowing hair, and her big, commanding voice. She'd talk — in somewhat unconventional English, or her native German, or Spanish — about a subject few of the rest of us (at our yoga classes, and drumming circles, or taking our daily swims) chose to think about: The unromantic topic of trash. FULL POST
By The Next List staff, CNN
(CNN) - In 1974, 23-year-old Juan Sostheim was tapped as director of Burger King in Europe. He opened the company’s first franchises on the continent and introduce millions to a phenomenon known as the “Whopper.”
Today, the former fast food king has traded in his crown for a new title: owner of Costa Rica’s first carbon-negative company, a sustainable farm and eco-resort known as Rancho Margot.
“What I’m doing today is basically the sum of my experiences,” say Sostheim. “I understand it’s a little bit crazy, but I think it should give people some hope that we all can change.” FULL POST
By The Next List staff, CNN
(CNN) - Juan Sostheim is a pioneer in scalable, sustainable living. As founder of Rancho Margot, a luxury eco-tourist resort, educational facility and organic farm in Costa Rica, he’s demonstrating that “living off the grid” is not only possible but practical for large-scale communities.
Working with a staff of about 45 people and some 10 to 15 rotating volunteers, Sostheim produces all the food for the resort on the premises. He heats the water - including that for the massive hot tub with swim up tiki bar - by composting; he fuels their kitchen with methane gas from cows and pigs; he generates his own electricity; and he creates bio-fuels.
Rancho Margot began nine years ago when Sostheim, a former Burger King executive turned industrial chemical magnate, bought a cow pasture in what once was a Costa Rican rain forest. Concerned about environmental issues and food security in developing nations, his goal was to create a profitable resort dedicated to sustainability. Now he hopes to see Rancho Margot transition into a thriving, teaching community - one that still caters to tourists, but does not depend on them in full. To this end, he is planning a residential community where about 100 families can live and work on the ranch. By collaborating with the local population, Sostheim hopes to create a prosperous and fully integrated community able to sustain itself for generations.
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - This week's over-the-top marketing campaign is a YouTube video from Mentos that hopes to convince Singaporeans to get busy. Like literally. It asks them to "make a little human that looks like you and me" and "make Singapore's birthrate spike" on National Day, a Singaporean holiday, which will be celebrated on Thursday.
"This August the 9th, it's time to do our civic duty," a deep-voiced man says in the video, produced by an ad agency on behalf of Mentos mints. "And I'm not talking about speeches, fireworks or parades." (Woman in the background: "But I like that stuff.") "I'm talking about the stuff after that stuff. I'm talking about making a baby, baby. You ready?"
Just watch the thing: FULL POST
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - Can communication tools stop a war?
That's basically the idea one CNN commenter put forward on Monday. Responding to a story about citizen journalists in Syria, who risk their lives to upload videos and photos of gruesome massacres by the government, a commenter called goingmeta had this to say:
Rather than bombing by air or invading by land or even sending in international observers, we should airdrop about 20 million video cell phones. If there are excesses and abuses, nothing would turn the tide so quickly as giving each man, woman, and child in Syria the opportunity to record them and hold the authorities accountable for their actions. FULL POST
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - Think video games are evil? Spend some time with Jane McGonigal.
McGonigal - a designer who's queen of a genre called "Alternate Reality Games," or ARGs - believes games make us better people. They can be used to combat climate change, reduce poverty and, as she knows personally, help victims of conditions like depression, head injuries and cancer recover more quickly.
"Games are an extraordinary way to tap into the best version of yourself, the most determined, the most creative, the most resilient in the face of failure, the most likely to collaborate with other people - sort of heroic qualities," she said in a recent interview with CNN's "The Next List," which will feature McGonigal on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. "And it seems that if we play more games - games that we love - these qualities can actually spill over into our real lives." FULL POST
Editor's Note: Jose Gomez-Marquez is the Program Director for Innovations in International Health at MIT and heads up the Little Devices group, where he uses toy parts to create inexpensive medical devices for developing countries. Watch The Next List’s full profile on Jose Gomez-Marquez, Sunday July 15th at 2 p.m. ET on CNN.
By Jose Gomez-Marquez, Special to CNN
Have you gotten caught up in the endless healthcare debate that can lead to comparing our healthcare system with France, the UK, or even Cuba? Our work in medical device research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has pointed to healthcare lessons in unexpected places: Nicaragua, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and even suburban hacker spaces in America. What they have in common is their development of do-it-yourself (DIY) medical technology.
We are and have always been a nation of makers. Along the way, someone told us that healthcare technology was off the table. But we have the technology, the hardware, and the prototyping resources to change that and bring down healthcare costs. Now, we have to recruit everyday inventors that are not part of the conventional “medical industrial complex” - the types of inventors we find all over the developing world, saving lives every day. FULL POST
Every Sunday at 2 p.m. ET the CNN show 'The Next List' profiles a person with a new idea that could change the world. Here's a list of all of the innovators the show has featured since it started in November 2011. Check back for updates.
Hugh Herr, prosthetics developer and bionic manFULL POST
Hugh Herr, who is the director of the Biomechatronics group at MIT’s Media Lab and the founder of iWalk. He invents bionic limbs that move like flesh and bone. Herr lost both of his limbs in a tragic mountain climbing accident. Watch Hugh Herr’s entire story on Sunday March 25 at 2 pm E.T. on CNN.
Hugh Herr believes there's no such thing as disability - only bad technology.
The double-amputee says the bionic limbs he’s inventing will transform the way amputees experience their lives, will revolutionize sports and predicts the advancement of limb technology will change the psychology of disability.
He uses words like “sexy”, “cool” and “powerful” to describe his disability.
“I’m often asked if I was granted a wish from a magic fairy, would I wish my biological legs back? And I always say absolutely not,” says Herr. “My bionic limbs are part of my creation. They’re - they’ve become part of my identity.” FULL POST
Welcome to “What’s Next” -- CNN’s hub for stories about innovation. This blog features forward-looking thinkers in the fields of tech, science and social change. It also highlights the big ideas and events that will help shape our collective future.
Each week, CNN's "The Next List" profiles innovators, visionaries and agents of change. They’re not household names just yet, but they’re movers and shakers in their own worlds. We’re introducing them to you because these individuals are steadily mapping the course to the future with their new ideas.
WHO: Host Dr. Sanjay Gupta
WHEN: Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. ET - All new time!
WHERE: Only on CNN