José Vaca is a California-based entrepreneur, artist, designer, dancer, photographer, and visionary—a full-stack creative, as he describes it himself, who thrives outside the boxes and refuses to be limited by titles and degrees. We were introduced to him by a NY friend, Will Nguyen Cao, a while back.
He is one of those people that continues to surprise us in the good way. An optimist who firmly believes creativity has the power to change the world, with a passion for social activism, storytelling, art, adventure, and making the impossible possible. Oh, and he absolutely loves blueberries.
José grew up in Salinas with Mexican parents. Immigrants who worked extremely hard to provide for him and his sister—and give them the opportunities they didn't have themselves—for which he'll be forever grateful. He studied architecture because saying thank you didn't seem like quite enough. He wanted to build his parents a house, and still want to. However, as time passed, he realized that the only way he can ever start to repay them for his upbringing and the sacrifices they made would be by following his passion, continuously do good, and create opportunities for others.
José's roots and heritage is a vital part of who he is. His family comes from Michoacán in Mexico, and his indigenous roots are P'urhépecha. "Juchari Uinapekua" is a saying on the P'urhépechan flag, meaning "Our Strength," which is a great example of how the culture is ingrained in his mindset. He firmly believes in the strength of collectivity—the power of people and communities.
José is currently pursuing a wild dream that has yet to give him a single dollar—a project called bēkn.
bēkn is a startup with a social consciousness that provides tools for people to easily discover, connect and engage with their local communities, resources, causes, and each other—a space for people to organize, where all voices are heard and where everyone has a seat at the table.
When José isn't working hard to reach his dreams, you'll likely find him breakdancing and becoming one with the music. He's officially been a Soulshifter since 2015. The Circle of Fire x Soulshifters Crew is his extended family. He explains that Soulshifters is more than just a dance crew. It's a collective, a family of artists around the world.
This playlist took us by surprise. It wasn't what we imagined or expected a playlist by José would be like, but we love it. A mix of electronic, ambient, neo-classical, house, hip-hop, and classic rock. Enjoy!
The ClimateClock is an open-source project assembled by a team of artists, makers, scientists, and activists based in New York.
The project has recently gotten a lot of attention as the group has reprogrammed the Metronome in Union Square to adopt a new environmental mission.
Now, instead of measuring the usual 24-hour cycles, it's measuring what two artists, Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, present as the critical window for action to prevent the effects of global warming from becoming irreversible.
On Saturday at 3:20 p.m., messages including "The Earth has a deadline" appeared on the display. Then the numbers — 7:103:15:40:07 — showed up, representing the years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds until that deadline.
The idea is to publicly illustrate the urgency of combating climate change and encourage Governments worldwide to take a stand and act against global warming, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and human-caused global heating.
At the launch Boyd said:
"The clock is telling us we must reduce our emissions as much as we can as fast as we can. The technology is there. We can do this—and in the process, create a healthier, more just world for all of us. Our planet has a deadline. But we can turn it into a lifeline."
The clock indicates that we only have limited time to undertake bold transformation of our energy system and economy in hopes of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5°C.
Right before the countdown began, Golan made the following statement:
"This is our way to shout that number from the rooftops!"
"Metronome" is a large public art installation by Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones, covering a 10-story-residential high rise located along the south end of Union Square in New York City. The work also includes concentric circles rendered in gold-flecked brick that ripple outward from a round opening. When it was unveiled in 1999, clouds of steam and musical tones were issued from the facade. Over the years, the sound and steam have ceased. However, the numbers kept moving.
Allegedly, the original artists had already been thinking about reimagining the work to address the deepening climate crisis when they got a letter from the Boyd & Golan in February. Call it magic or beautiful synchronicity.
When asked about why they put the number on public display, Boyd has said:
"This is arguably the most important number in the world ... A monument is often how society shows what's important, what it elevates, what is at center stage ... We hope this initiative will encourage everybody to join us in fighting for the future of our planet."
On climateclock.world it's stated that the clock is meant to draw the world’s attention to the urgency for action—if we are to survive, we need a constant, public reminder of our deadline—everywhere! The team encourage everyone to join the movement and help them put a ClimateClock in every major city in the world.
BUT WHY IS IT VITAL TO MAINTAIN THE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE INCREASE BELOW 1.5°C?
This is the only way to ensure our world will suffer less negative impacts on the intensity and frequency of extreme events, resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, cities, tourism, carbon removal, and global economy. IPCC Special Report on Global Warming clearly states that adaptation to change will be less difficult.
Future climate-related risks will be reduced by the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation and by both incremental and transformational adaptation.
To put it simply, maintaining the global temperature increase below 1.5°C is in all our interest as it increases our chances of survival on this beautiful planet of ours—everything we do matters!
This project has inspired me personally, and I want to support the message. Therefore, going forward, you'll be able to see a ClimateClock whenever you enter LULU—LAND to continuously remind all of us to do better. Even the tiniest steps and small changes in our everyday lives count when it comes to creating a better future for everyone. Let's all take part in reaching this goal!
The ClimateClock shows two numbers. The first, in red, is a timer, counting down how long it will take, at current rates of emissions, to burn through our “carbon budget” — the amount of CO2 that can still be released into the atmosphere while limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This is our deadline, the time we have left to take decisive action to keep warming under the 1.5°C threshold. The second number, in green, is tracking the growing % of the world’s energy currently supplied from renewable sources. This is our lifeline. Simply put, we need to get our lifeline to 100% before our deadline reaches 0.
“The concept of the carbon budget is based on a nearly linear relationship between the cumulative emissions and the temperature rise. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the earth would necessarily be 1.5°C warmer at the very point in time when the remaining carbon budget for staying below the 1.5°C threshold was used up. This is due to, among others, the fact that there is a time lag between the concentration of emissions in the atmosphere and the impact thereof on the temperature”.¹
MCC also notes that their calculations assume “that the annual emissions of years to come will be close to those of the year 2017, while latest numbers show that emissions are still on the rise.” If this trend continues, the time we have to act will be reduced. Furthermore, it is unlikely that earth’s climate warms at a linear rate. For example, potential climatic tipping points have been identified in Earth’s physical climate system that would cause large and possibly irreversible transitions in the state of the climate.² These uncertainties are why the IPCC report states there is a 67% chance that the carbon budget will limit warming to 1.5°C.
The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming is largely based on a research paper called “Global Carbon Budget 2018” published in 2018 by Corinne Le Quéré et al.³ This paper estimates the carbon budget in the units of GtC.⁴
1. Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change. “That’s How Fast the Carbon Clock Is Ticking.” MCC Carbon Clock. https://www.mcc-berlin.net/en/research/co2-budget.html (accessed September 22, 2019).
2. Lenton, Timothy M., Hermann Held, Elmar Kriegler, Jim W. Hall, Wolfgang Lucht, Stefan Rahmstorf, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. "Tipping elements in the Earth's climate system." Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences 105, no. 6 (2008): 1786-1793.
3. Le Quéré, Corinne, Robbie M. Andrew, Pierre Friedlingstein, Stephen Sitch, Judith Hauck, Julia Pongratz, Penelope A. Pickers et al. "Global carbon budget 2018." Earth System Science Data (Online) 10, no. 4 (2018).
4. IPCC, 2018: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press.
You know when you see someone on stage, and you just know they were born to perform? Chance Croall is a force of nature like that – a solo rapper, musician, and drawing artist, based in tiny Lund, Sweden.
Music has always been his thing. Two years ago, his brother and two of his friends asked him over to a jam session. It's enough to see them live once to understand why they went from jamming to form the rap group, Mundane Experience.
Their raw talent, endless drive, and ability to stay focused on collaborating, developing, and creating, even in the toughest times, is something I believe we all can learn from.
The first time I got theMundane Experience was when they performed in a country house barn, somewhere wild and free in the very flat, but also very pretty Southern Sweden. You know that vibe when you've had all the food you could eat at the party, and it's hard to move? Everyone lazy-lounging with the countryside skyline all around, drinking drinks and talking talks. Everything changed when they started playing. The party resembled a "before and after" makeover experience. They give new energy—wavy jazzy hip-hop goodness.
Chance curated a badass playlist for us, and we're so thankful — a playlist for uncertain times. We hope it can bring out your inner strength, but also let you embrace things exactly as they are happening. Enjoy!
Oh, and by the way this year Chance also released his solo EP, Split Mind.
Will Nguyen Cao is a New York-based Vietnamese/American fashion designer focused on sustainable development within the fashion industry. He is from the Bay area and studied fashion design in Los Angeles at Otis College of Art & Design.
With ACRMNY, his personal brand, he doesn’t just want to promote sustainability as a culture, but he lives and breathes it. His supply chain is 100 % traceable, and he is relentlessly working on ways to lower the impact of the production. The identity of the brand is driven through dialogue and narrative - check it out here @acrmny. The first drop of jackets & hoodies will be launched online A/W 2020!
We've met Will online though our community and immediately seemed to connect - we are inspired by his masculine, raw and functionalist aesthetics as well as his courage to follow his own path and pursue his dreams whatever it takes.
Will’s parents are refugees from the Vietnam War and inspire him every day as they have taught him to be resilient and never give up.
We recognize a lot of ourselves in Will. He is a stubborn fighter, and juggle many projects at the same time. His creativity never seems to run out. We share an inexplicable love for New York City; the pace, the diversity, and the endless possibilities in the city that never seems to sleep.
We feel very fortunate that Will agreed to curate this playlist and hope that we will have the chance to meet up with him next time we are in New York. A mix of explicit Rap, Hip Hop & Soul – Enjoy!
Tyler is a dear friend of ours and an incredibly talented American copywriter. For the past couple of years, he's been traveling the world while doing what he loves - writing!
Our paths crossed at Dojo in Canggu, Bali, last Summer. Tyler was curious about "Popcorn Brain" as he had been introduced to the concept by a mutual friend. Somehow, we immediately connected and have kept contact since then. We were supposed to meet up again in Barcelona before the world went crazy, and most nomads were forced back to their respective home countries. For the time being, he is located in L.A., California, U.S., and like the rest of us, try to make the most out of being back home with family and old friends.
Tyler helped us immensely when it came to defining and describing what LULU—LAND is. He is a genius at giving critique and putting creative ideas, thoughts, and concepts into words that actually make sense and persuade people to continue reading. Without much explanation, he understood exactly what kind of platform and community we wanted to create.
While you are at it, don't forget to sign up for his daily newsletter. It's good. Like really good – intelligent, entertaining, inspiring, unpretentious, and funny.
This playlist very much reflects his creative, calm, and thoughtful nature. Enjoy!
Alana is a Brooklyn-based marketing professional and badass DJ known as LALA. We were lucky to get introduced to her by a dear friend, Carl Carrell, who describes her as a NY homie. We reached out to her, as we would love to promote more awesome and talented females!
Fortunately, she loved the idea of curating a LULU—LAND playlist for you guys on our Spotify. A mix of hip hop, soul, and R&B – feel-good music during and uncertain time. We absolutely love it and hope you'll enjoy it too! We'll definitely go see Alana do her thin' when we are allowed back in NY.
Robin is another great friend of ours. He's an adventurer, a professional wakeboarder, an entrepreneur, and a genius at creating a chilled atmosphere and making people feel comfortable around him.
During summertime, you'll most likely find him in Copenhagen Cable Park (CCP), somewhere in the city on a skateboard, or welcoming guests in the evenings at the entrance of Gorilla or Pluto – some of the most prominent restaurants and late-night hang out spots in Copenhagen.
When the wake season ends, and the water in Denmark gets exceptionally cold, he usually travels far south to continue doing what he loves.
We know very few people with Robin's level of energy – but we absolutely love it! We admire his way of always being 100% true to himself, his courage to follow his own path, and do what makes him happy.
We feel very fortunate that Robin agreed to curate this week's LULU—LAND playlist on Spotify – a mix of chilled beach vibes combined with a bit of jungle fever. Enjoy
Jamil is a Danish American soccer player, and a very dear friend of ours, who had a somewhat challenged and interesting path to where he is today.
He is born with music in his blood as his dad is the renowned Copenhagen based-American drummer Norman Fearrington, who played with, among others, Tina Turner, Santana, Billy Paul, David Bowie, and Ray Charles.
Growing up, it quickly became apparent that he hadn't just inherited his dad's knack for rhythm and music. He was also a talented athlete and a promising soccer player. Cutting a long story short, Jamil's soccer career became somewhat turbulent with its highs and lows. However, he refuses to let other people's preconceived attitudes keep him from living his dreams.
When we met Jamil almost 10 years ago, he was rootless, stumbling to find a foothold, and trying to figure his next move.
Today, he is still playing soccer and is educated as a professional coach. He produces music as a hobby and uses his experience and the lessons he learned, as a young adult, to teach challenged kids with difficult backgrounds in Copenhagen.
He has become a recognized voice in the Danish soccer world, not afraid to speak up when something isn't as it should be. For the past 3 years, he has put on his rainbow-colored captain band every time he has stepped into the soccer field to set focus on homophobia and discrimination.
Somehow, Jamil always seems to show up on our path exactly when he is meant to. He is one of the most supporting, loving, and considerate men we know. He didn't hesitate for a second to say yes when we asked him if he would curate a Spotify playlist for LULU—LAND – a mix of rap, soul, and R&B. Enjoy!
Carl Carrell, also known as CRL CRRLL, is a Denver-based DJ, producer and content creator. He works with everything that moves him and has an open mind and open heart towards creative projects of all kinds.
We meet Carl in a somewhat questionable hostel lobby in Bowery, Manhattan, NY, less than a year ago. He was in the city preparing for a couple of gigs, and we just arrived, jet-lagged out of this world from a 30 some hour flight from South East Asia. Both of us were only there for the night. Luckily, we connected before he went out in the night, and we fell asleep.
We feel very fortunate that Carl agreed to curate our very first LULU—LAND playlist on Spotify – a mix of funk, soul and disco, with a modern twist. Enjoy!