Seven Oft-Overlooked Queer Activists
Pride season, as Them says, oftentimes doubles as queer history month. While many people are aware of significant names like Harvey Milk, Martha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, there are countless lesser-known individuals who played (and continue to play) vital roles in fighting for rights, representation and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs to Harry Hay and Victoria Cruz, Them has created a list of seven activists you should know. Learn more there.
Norwegian Island Wishes to Eradicate Time
On the island of Sommaroey, which doesn’t see a sunset for 69 straight days each year, residents are lobbying for a “time-free” period in which no one abides by the ticking of the clock. Traditional business hours would be pushed aside and bedtimes would occur naturally in an effort to allow citizens to enjoy the sunny months—as their situation is inverted from November to January each year when it’s completely dark. Read more about the 350-person island’s efforts to break free from time at Time.
Arctic Saver Tower Concept Seeks to Slow Ice Melting
The futuristic Arctic Saver Tower—designed by Yiyang Xu and Jingyi Ye of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology—aims to keep glaciers frozen and prolong winter in the region, thus extending the migration periods for many different animals there. The creation would function both above and below sea level. One unit underneath stores seawater, while two units above “are exposed to cold air during rotation”—a process that would actually take several months. Then a sprinkler on the outer frame sprays this water onto melting glaciers, thickening the ice—ultimately extending the melting time, and giving animals (specifically polar bears) more of a chance. Read more at designboom.
The Trevor Project’s Largest National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health
This month, LGBTQ+ suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization The Trevor Project released their annual survey results incorporating data from 34,808 respondents aged 13 to 24 years old—their largest number to date. The statistics behind these human lives are startling: LGBTQ+ youth who experienced discrimination were twice as likely to attempt suicide, for example. The study—and their annual Live event, where we were the guest of their hotel partner, Kimpton—offers a call to action, with a specific mission to end conversion therapy (42% of LGBTQ+ youth who attend attempt suicide, according to the data). Read more startling results from this landmark study at The Trevor Project.
3D Light Projecting the Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan
A UNESCO World Heritage Site in danger, the Buddha complex and surrounding cliffs and valleys in Bamiyan, Afghanistan survived 1,500 years before the Taliban blasted away the two giant statues in 2001. Today, many archaeologists oppose restoration for fear of future Taliban action and concerns that the damage is already far too great. While the focus turns to conservation and stabilization, Chinese family Janson Hu and Liyan Yu financed the creation of a projector that could fill the space where Solsol (the larger Buddha) once stood. They began to project in 2015 before donating the 3D-image projector to the city. Too costly to run with frequency, it still provides hope among the fragments. Read more at the New York Times.
Snøhetta’s New “Peace Bench” at the United Nations
Officially named The Best Weapon, a “peace bench” installation designed by Snøhetta will take up a temporary position outside the UN Headquarters in NYC starting this Nelson Mandela Day (18 July). Fabricated with the assistance of Hydro and Vestre, the six-and-a-half meter-long arc (or smile) is composed of anodized aluminum. After NYC, the bench will move to its permanent location in Oslo—closer to its commissioning body, the Nobel Peace Center. Its inscription, the Mandela quote, “The best weapon is to sit down and talk,” heightens the work’s symbolic expression of diplomacy. Read more at designboom.