Barebones makes the tents of the future, and they're giving them to people in need.

When Robert Workman had the chance to sell his family business for a substantial profit 10 years ago, he decided to use the proceeds for good.

It was an exciting and humbling moment, filled with possibility. He'd become interested in sustainability and philanthropy and knew that he wanted to start giving back. The only questions that remained were how and where. So he hit the road looking for inspiration.

Traveling to the Congo was an eye-opening moment for Robert. Speaking to aid agencies working on the ground and communicating with the people whose lives they were trying to help, he identified an important need that wasn't being met: portable, sustainable, affordable energy generation. Robert convened a team of engineers and got to work. Goal Zero was the result.


Goal Zero offers everything from solar panels (pictured here) to power storage packs. Image via Hadhuey/Wikimedia Commons.

Goal Zero offers an easy-to-use, plug-and-play generator powered by solar panels. Its Yeti power packs are small but mighty, with three sizes able to power anything from phone chargers to refrigerators. The generators were instantly embraced by aid agencies and outdoor adventurers alike.

As far as companies go, Goal Zero is the de facto older brother of Barebones Living. Robert sold Goal Zero in 2014 and created Barebones Living.

Where Goal Zero offers a sustainable and renewable way of generating power, Barebones Living offers sustainable shelters, cooking implements, gardening tools, and lanterns.

A Barebones Living tent. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

The tents themselves — dubbed the Outfitter and the Lodge — are high-quality and built to last. They come equipped with fully waterproof floors, six-foot-tall walls, cookstove vents in the roof, and exteriors that will last five years even with daily use. But while these tents wouldn't be out of place at a high-end retreat or the fancy camping area of Coachella, it's in the developing world or during disaster relief where they really go to work.

"Our business has been created by our humanitarian work," said Erik Workman, Barebones Living director of sales and outdoor adventure. "All of our businesses were causes that needed these services."

When a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, it left cities and villages in ruins and entire families on the streets.

One of Barebones Living's tents being used as a field hospital in Kathmandu.

While UN humanitarian aid can provide tarps for shelters, they're only a temporary solution. "People can’t thrive under tarps," Erik said. "They need a good, clean place where they know they'll be safe. Once you have that, you can start thinking about other things."

Within a week of the earthquake, Barebones Living shipped 25 of its tents to Kathmandu to be used as birthing centers. A few months later, they shipped 75 more. Since then, more than 1500 healthy babies have been born to healthy moms in these mobile birthing shelters. Even after the local hospital is rebuilt and reopened, these tents will still be useful — forming the frames for homes for displaced families.

More recently, the Barebones team has been on the ground in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, and Fiji, helping with recovery efforts after devastating hurricanes.

Once shelter is taken care of, a community can rebuild. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

They also donated tents to the protestors at Standing Rock in North Dakota and are working with an agency to supply tents and equipment to a growing Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

"We're working to set up a mobile medical clinic that we can basically palletize and put on a plane," Erik said. "It has the shelter, cots, coolers, lanterns — everything they'd need to get a clinic up and running in a remote area."

As Barebones continues to grow its business, it plans to give back even more.

Barebones Living tents are strong enough to be used as permanent homes in all kinds of weather for up to five years. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

"Right now we have a matching grant fund to support humanitarian agencies that want to purchase shelters," Erik said. "Every year for the next five years, we're matching grants up to $500,000, and we hope to expand that program as much as we can in the future."

Giving back has been baked in to the mandate of Barebones Living from the beginning. For the people who benefit from their generosity, the effect can be life-changing. Here's to more companies following their lead!

More
True
Barebones Living
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family