Our most popular profiles of projects focused on improving the world, from climate to plastic waste to homelessness to housing.
The world could seem like a hard and hopeless place on many, if not most, days in 2019. In spite of that feeling, there are people who are devoting their time to trying to do good work, and we try to bring you those stories when we can.
Of the thousands of people and projects we profiled this year in Fast Company‘s Impact section, a few stories really struck a chord with readers, and so we’re collecting them here for you. Perhaps they’ll make you feel compelled to do something similar yourself. Perhaps they’ll just make you a little more hopeful about the future.
They range from a village of 3D-printed houses to a young man reaching the next step in his years-long quest to clean up the ocean and from cities finding ways to end homelessness to cities finding ways to end driving. See what inspires you.
As the world’s attention turned to single-use plastic this year, many companies began offering plans to cut back on their waste streams. But one of the boldest plans involved many companies—including giants like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble—joining forces to both eliminate packaging and change how we shop. The new project, called Loop, was organized by recycling company TerraCycle. Each item available for delivery on Loop comes in a reusable package, like ice cream in a stainless steel pint container. When you’re done, you return it to Loop to be cleaned, refilled, and sent back to another customer. Read more.
A program called Built for Zero uses a combination of intense data and cross-department meetings to track homelessness. “By ending homelessness, we mean getting to a place where it’s rare, brief, and it gets solved correctly and quickly when it does happen,” Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions, the nonprofit that leads the Built for Zero program, told us. “That’s a completely achievable end state, we now see.” The nonprofit calls this goal “functional zero,” and it’s already proved effective in places like Bergen County, New Jersey, and Abilene, Texas. So far, nine communities have reached the goal of “functional zero” for veteran homelessness, and three communities have reached the goal for chronic homelessness. Read more.