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Human Effort Your Home

219: Cell-grown meat

Problem:

Apart from the destruction of forests to make prairies for livestock, the latter’s methane emissions contributing to GHGs, their intake of antibiotics and their traumatic electrocuted death prior to preparation as edible meat have seen an exponential rise in the number of vegetarians and vegans worldwide.

Vegetarianism categories were estimated in 2018 to be about 11% of the world population.

Solution:

Slaughter-free meat involves taking a sample of animal stem cells from a real cow, the building blocks of muscle and other organs and replicating them outside of the animal.


The cells are placed in petri dishes with amino acids and carbohydrates to help the muscle cells multiply and grow. The concept of cultured meat was popularized by Jason Matheny in the early 2000s after co-authoring a seminal paper on cultured meat production and creating New Harvest, the world’s first non-profit organization dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research.

In August 2013, Mark Post, a Dutch pharmacologist and Professor of Vascular Physiology at the Netherlands’ Maastricht University, was the first to showcase a proof-of-concept for cultured meat by creating the first burger patty grown directly from cells.

The burger was cooked by Chef Richard McGeown of Couch’s Great House Restaurant, Polperro, Cornwall, and tasted by critics Hanni Rützler, a food researcher from the Future Food Studio and Josh Schonwald. To commercialize the product, Mark Post co-founded Mosa Meat, indicating that they planned to bring cultured meat to the market by 2021.

In 2015, Maastricht University hosted the first International Conference on Cultured Meat. As the field has grown, non-profit organizations such as New Harvest and The Good Food Institute have begun hosting annual conferences to convene industry leaders, scientists, investors, and potential collaborators from parallel industries.

In 2018, a Dutch startup Meatable, consisting of Krijn de Nood, Daan Luining, Ruud Out, Roger Pederson, Mark Kotter and Gordana Apic among others, reported that it had succeeded in growing meat using pluripotent stem cells from animals’ umbilical cords.

Although such cells are reportedly difficult to work with, Meatable claimed to be able to direct them to behave using their proprietary technique in order to become muscle cells or fat cells as needed. The major advantage is that this technique bypasses fetal bovine serum, meaning that no animal has to be killed in order to produce meat.

It is estimated there were about 30 cultured meat startups across the world. A Dutch House of Representatives Commission meeting discussed the importance and necessity of governmental support for researching, developing and introducing cultured meat in society, speaking to representatives of three universities, three startups and four civil interest groups on September 26, 2018. (meatable.com)

In California, Just is developing lab-grown chicken nuggets, while Finless Food has developed a lab-grown tuna and Memphis Meats, is working on another cell-based product.

In Israel, in 2017 Professor Shulamit Levenberg from Technion University founded Aleph Farms in Rehovet, to commercialise the technique of growing bovine cells on a scaffold similar to growing human tissue implants.

A study by researchers at Oxford and the University of Amsterdam found that cultured meat was “potentially … much more efficient and environmentally-friendly”, generating only 4% GHG emissions, reducing the energy needs of meat generation by up to 45%, and requiring only 2% of the land that the global meat/livestock industry does.

In March 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed on a framework to regulate laboratory grown meat. This deal takes lab meat one step closer to being approved for commercial sale in the United States. Some lab meat producers expect this approval within the year, but some experts warn this process might take years.

During 2019, the nascent, laboratory-grown meat industry experienced fast development thanks to millions of dollars in capital investment. Estimates suggest these meats could reach a mass market by 2025,

The multi-billion dollar traditional meat-producing industry does not approve, warning that the energy and fossil fuel requirements of large-scale cultured meat production may be more environmentally destructive than producing food off the land.

In May 2019, the Alabama Senate passed a bill to ensure that laboratory-grown meat substitutes are not sold to Alabama consumers labeled as “meat.” There are over 20,000 cattle farms in the state of Alabama. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers across the world, with exports of American beef representing an US$8 billion industry alone.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 220: sub-atomic springs that break down plastic

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Planet Care Your Home

216: Less thirsty rice

Problem:

Traditional rice farming is heavily reliant on ready supplies of water and labour. Climate change and urbanisation, however, threaten traditional paddy cultivation.

Solution:

A team led by plant development biologist Dr Smita Kurup at the Rothamstead Research in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines, and Punjab Agricultural University, India, are using use cutting edge plant breeding technologies, field trials and an image based system for measuring traits to accelerate the development of new direct seeded rice (DSR) adapted rice varieties that can be grown with less water than conventional puddled transplanted rice.


In many parts of Asia farmers are switching to direct seeded rice DSR as a more sustainable alternative. This is grown in dry fields, so uses less water and requires less work. It also cuts out the greenhouse gases that bacteria in paddy fields produce.

Kurup has already identified in the lab hitherto ‘unknown’ varieties more suitable to DSR in terms of their seedling traits by screening several hundred varieties from the International Rice Genebank at IRRI.

As a next step, the plan is to use these lines to combine with current good yielding and disease resistant rice cultivars to generate new high-yielding “DSR adapted” rice varieties.
Once developed, their field performance will be evaluated at multiple locations. Finally, the most promising breeding lines will be nominated for trails in Asia before releasing to farmers.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 217: Indoor vertical farms

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Your Home Planet Care

211: Xeriscaping your lawn

Problem:

Every year across the USA, manicured grass lawns covering up to 50 million acres of land, consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of gas (for all that motor mowing), and 70 million pounds of pesticides. … In fact, these lawns can do substantial harm to the environment and to both vertebrates and insects.

Solution:

Xeriscaping: lawns that are less thirsty.


The concept combining “landscape” with the Greek prefix xero-, from ξηρός (xēros), meaning dry, was coined and trademarked by Denver Water, the Colorado city of Denver’s water department, during a difficult drought period in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Lawns were a European invention, England to be precise, and they were the undertaking of the fabulously wealthy, seeking to bring the glade closer to home.

Originally, they were cultivated with more useful (though not necessarily used) plants like chamomile or thyme. However, the trend moved towards closely cropped grasses, first maintained by grazing sheep then by men with scythes and finally, eventually, moving along (in fast forward) to the suburban land owner with his fossil fuel lawnmower, trimmers, and multitude of weapons against nature.

A growing number of homeowners are converting part or all of their lawns to a less thirsty form of landscape. These no-mow yards fall into four categories: 1) naturalized or unmowed turf grass that is left to grow wild; 2) low-growing turf grasses that require little grooming (most are a blend of fescues); 3) native or naturalized landscapes where turf is replaced with native plants as well as noninvasive, climate-friendly ones that can thrive in local conditions; and 4) yards where edible plants—vegetables and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs—replace a portion of turf.

In Montreal, Canada, landscape gardeners Philippe Asselin, Emile Forest and Jonathan Lapalme have created an ngo “Les Nouveaux Voisins” (= the new neighbours) to replace lawns with gardens favorable to biodiversity.

They encourage individuals to change cultures to accommodate more plants, birds, insects, and other non-human neighbours. This in turn will reduce heat islands, increase carbon sequestration in soils as well as increased community resilience.

Organizations like the Surfriders Foundation, a national environmental group made up of surfing aficionados, have helped transform turf lawns in Southern California parks and homes into ocean-friendly gardens, using succulents and other indigenous plants along with hardscape materials like rocks and gravel that increase filtration, conserve water, and reduce runoff.

Xeriscaping goes one step further by replacing grassy lawns with soil, rocks, mulch, and drought-tolerant native plant species. Trees such as myrtles and flowers such as daffodils are drought-tolerant plants.

Native grasses (warm-season) that have been cultivated for turf lawns, such as buffalo grass and blue grama, can survive with a quarter of the water that bluegrass varieties need.

What you can do: Xeriscape your lawn.

Discover Solution 212: Drone fireworks

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Human Effort Your Home

207: Sewing with seaweed

Problem:

As the world consumes more and more clothing, brands and suppliers are trying to meet this increasing demand by producing more garments. As these clothes make their way through the supply chain and product lifecycle, they take part in an environmentally hazardous sequence of events.

Solution:

Rapidly degradable yarns from kelp.


In Brooklyn, New York, Aaron Nesser, a graduate of Pratt Institute, Tessa Callaghan, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, with Aleksandra Gosiewski, Asta Skocir and Theanne Schiros researched into polymers made mostly from sustainable sea kelp

By 2018, they got to a point where they were spinning the polymer into something that, when worn, was durable and which they called AlgiKnit. Completely customizable, the material’s yarn-like strands can be any dimension and knitted to spec for sneakers and handbags, or the company can alter the hand-feel, durability and size of the material to create accessories like wrist watches

With their proof of concept landing the team $2.2m in seed investment from Hong Kong venture capital firm Horizons Ventures, AlgiKnit was also awarded €100K from the Dutch Postcode Lottery Green Challenge

While they experimented with an idea for a futuristic-looking trainer and collaborated with a designer to make a French-style market bag that was hitting fashion weeks that year, they eventually decided to focus on scaling up the production of the seaweed textile which can be died with pigments at scale.

Discover Solution 208: Office and home decor made from chopsticks

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

202: Invisible barcodes for recycling

Problem:

Many consumers struggle to figure out which items can be recycled while sorting our rubbish at home. Machines in sorting plants can face the same problem. This prevents many countries from achieving the recycling rates they would such as.

Solution:

Ravi K. Sharma of Digimarc in Portland, Oregon has developed and patented an “invisible” barcode which can more accurately identify recyclable plastics that could prevent their unnecessary disposal into landfills or incinerators.

Digimarc has signed Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which is focused on building a Circular Economy for plastics.

Products have disguised codes printed all over them making it easier to scan distinguishing food-grade plastics from non-food grade plastics so the right kind of plastic can be re used to manufacture new items.

Following successful initial trials carried out by TOMAR at a recycling facility in western Germany, involving scanning and photographing items at 150 frames per second, in 2020 the system will be installed in a conventional waste sorting plant.

The system, called HolyGrail has already involved a consortium of twenty of the world’s biggest brands, including Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Danone.

At home, individuals will be able to use an animated app on their cellphone to identify and place different types of plastic in the right trash cans.

Discover Solution 203: Iron fuel

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Energy Your Home

181: Greener personal desktop computing

Problem:

Internets cause global warming. Blog servers might have more than 10,000 PCs occupying an area of more than 40, 0000 sq. ft that generate huge amount of heat while running.

Each click of the keyboard engenders heat in a computer or laptop and processing of information data causes a minuscule rise in environmental temperature. Single internet search, depending upon the initial data, might consume enough electricity to run an 11 watt energy saving light bulb few minutes to an hour.

With about more than 5.6 billion searches internet searches estimated globally daily, the power consumption and GHG emissions generated by internet and computers is alarming. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day (Internetlivestats, 2019). If you break this statistic down, it means that Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average.

Solution:

Greener computing.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program has set up green computing criteria, and compliance with these requirements earns systems the Energy Star label.

To gain Energy Star compliance, computers must use an energy-efficient power supply, operate efficiently in power saving modes (standby/off, sleep and idle modes), and also provide power management features (along with information about how to use those features).

If all the computers that are sold in the United States met Energy Star requirements, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by the equivalent of 2 million cars and save about $2 billion annually on energy costs

In addition to the Energy Star label, EPEAT (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool), run by the Green Electronics Council, rates computers based on more than 50 energy-efficient criteria including everything from what materials were used in the system and its packaging to its energy conservation and end-of-life management.

This is a three-tiered rating system — gold, silver and bronze — and computers ranked by EPEAT are also Energy Star compliant.

In June 2007, Dell of Round Rock, Texas, set a goal of becoming the greenest technology company on Earth for the long term. The company launched a zero-carbon initiative that included partnering with customers to build the “greenest PC on the planet”.

Called the Studio Hybrid, its 87% efficient power supply meets Energy Star’s 4.0 green computing standards, and EPEAT gives the system its highest rating, gold.

The Studio Hybrid is 80% smaller than a typical desktop computer while its packaging is made from 95-percent-recyclable materials and comes with less printed documentation – 75 % less by weight (all documentation is made available online instead)

For an additional charge, owner-users can personalize it with a bamboo sleeve. And when they are ready to upgrade, the Studio Hybrid comes with its own system recycling kit.

Alongside Dell, other PC manufacturers have come up with solutions, including Lenovo’s ThinkCentre M57p, the Apple Mac mini, the Zonbu Desktop Mini, the Acer TravelMate TimelineX, the Asus Bamboo Series, the CherryPal etc.

What you can do: Shutdown and unplug your computer when not in use. Using your system’s power settings (for instance, programming a sleep mode or turning the machine off and unplugging it) is a smart way to conserve energy. But when it’s time to upgrade your system, consider going green. And don’t forget to recycle your outdated system.

Discover Solution 181: An app to help clean up rubbish

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Your Home

175: Biodegradable glue sticks

Problem:

Paper glues have a long history. UHU was developed by August Fischer of Bühl, Germany from 1905, and for a century this twist-and-glue stick was used in offices, classrooms and homes worldwide. But their single-use plastic condemned them to the landfill.

Solution:

From 2014, UHU, now owned by the Bolton Group, marketed its ReNATURE stick with a sugar cane based PE-HD container and 70% nature-based adhesive.


In 2018, the product received the Österreichisches Umweltzeichen für Produkte (the official Austrian environmental label for products), a hallmark of high environmental standards, quality and product safety. (uhu.com)

Similarly Henkel of Düsseldorf’s Pritt Stick has formulated a glue power primarily from natural sources, 93% of it is made from raw materials such as potato starch.

To mark the environmentally friendly formulation, “Mr. Pritt” is supporting the global urban green-space charity ‘Trees for Cities’ through Pritt’s ‘Stick up for Trees’ campaign. Mr Pritt is encouraging kids to use their imaginations and get artistic by creating tree collages from renewable and recycled materials such as leaves, bottle caps and egg boxes.

In 1927, Aldo Balma and Andrea Capoduri of Voghera, Italy manufactured their Coccoina natural glue made of potato starch, glycerine, almond oil and water. It was contained in an unbreakable aluminum packaging complete with little biodegradable brush with natural bristles in the middle.

In 1984, Coccoina 84 was launched, a formulation of liquid glue based on polyvinyl alcohol, a biodegradable water soluble polymer but still characterized by an almond scent. The Coccoina stick, based on water-washable polyvinylpyrrolidone, was produced from 2007. (coccoina.it)

What you can do: Use biodegradable glue sticks.

Discover Solution 176: Substitute river sand

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Human Effort Your Home

162: BPA-free food cans

Problem:

Since the 1950s manufacturers discovered that lining the inside of their tins with bisphenol A (BPA) epoxy resins strengthened the tins and extended shelf life. But BPA is also an endocrine disruptor the effects of which have been linked to an increased risk of breast, lower sperm counts in men and prostate cancer, infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, and ADHD.

Solution:

BPA-free food cans


Eden Foods grocery store set up in 1968 is now the oldest organic food produce in the US. In 1997, Eden Foods became alarmed by the toxicity of bisphenol-A (BPA) in cans and food packaging long before it made it to mainstream news. From April of 1999, Eden beans have featured a custom made can lined with an oleoresinous c-enamel that does not contain the endocrine disrupter.

Oleoresin is a mixture of oil and resin extracted from plants such as pine or balsam fir. Since then Eden uses BPA-free enamel-lined cans for most of its products (the only exception being tomato-based foods). After years of trying to realise a BPA-free tomato can, in 2011 Eden found an alternative in the amber glass jar.

Recently, some of the world’s biggest food companies such as Nestlé, Heinz, General Mills and Campbell Soups have attempted to remove BPA from their products. Several other firms, such as Coca-Cola, declined to disclose a timetable for its withdrawal, saying that BPA was safe.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency has examined BPA, and says that levels of the compound people would typically consume do not represent a risk to consumers.

What you can do : Make sure to buy food cans that are BPA-free

Tomorrow’s solution: bioplastic food wrap

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Materials Your Home

145: Recycling false teeth

Problem:

Dental crowns, bridges, and PFMs are alloyed with gold, platinum, palladium, and silver, nylon and acrylic. When their wearer changes them or dies, they must be recycled in order not to end up in the landfill.

Solution:

In 2006, Isao Miyoshi was running a dental laboratory in Sakado, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Every day, he visited the dentistry department at the local Meikai University Hospital, where he collected dozens of plaster impressions of people’s gums and their remaining teeth. Back at Miyoshi’s lab, his 12 dental technicians then crafted new dentures as replacements for the patients’ lost teeth.


But then 63-year-old Miyoshi came up with a solution. In his lab, they were making about 30 new dentures a day. People on average get new dentures every three years, because the condition of their teeth changes. Once the new ones are made, dentists usually give the old ones back to the patients. But most people don’t know what to do with them and they end up keeping them in a drawer.

That’s really a waste of something useful.

What if he were to collect crowns, bridgework, dentures, inlays, clasps, gold teeth and other metal extractions, then remove the metals and re-sell them for recycling while discarding the rest.

With 5 grams of these alloys worth around 2,000 yen, once they are separated from the dentures recycle used dentures, if all of the 3.6 million dentures with precious metals discarded each year in Japan were recycled, they would be valued at up to 7 billion yen (roughly $83.3 million).

Miyoshi founded a non-profit Japan Denture Recycling Association and it was not long before the program was able to donate all its earnings to UNICEF and has since given over $400,000 to charity

Founded in 1892, Garfield Refining in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the oldest and most respected precious metal refineries in the world. Recognized in North America as DentalTown’s “Best Dental Scrap Refiner” for 9 years in a row, for Garfield refining is recycling.

In England, Simple Refining, a family run company based in Cheshire, also specialises in gold refining and recycling of dental scrap. While in France a D3E (ou DEEE) dentaires are recycled Récyclum (formerly Recydent)

What you can do: Ensure that yours and your family’s false teeth etc are sustainably recycled.

Discover Solution 146: Faux fur

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Materials Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

143: Face masks – recycling

Problem:

Face masks, part of personal protection equipment (PPE) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, are also proving a major new source of pollution, with used masks seen littering streets, countryside and waterways across the world. Once used, they can be destroyed at CO2 producing hazardous incineration plants or landfilled, publicly and privately.

Solution:

When Plaxtil in Chatelleraut, Vienne France was started up in 2017, it had specialised in the circular economy of recycling clothes by turning them into a plastic-like material. Since June 2020, it has transitioned to recycling masks.


First, they are collected and placed in “quarantine” for four days. They are then ground down into small pieces and subjected to ultraviolet light to ensure they are completely decontaminated before the recycling process begins. The masks could be turned into a vast array of different objects, but for the moment Plaxtil is turning them into products that can be used in the fight against Covid, such as plastic visors.

At first the French company collected 70,000 masks from the 50 collection points that we ourselves set up in the city, producing between 2,000 and 3,000 recycled products. Since July, overwhelmed with requests, Plaxtil has been in contact with the public authorities to set up a national mask recycling channel.(plaxtil.com)

Not far from Plaxtil, is Elise in Lille who have transitioned their conventional waste collection business (from paper to furniture, batteries or even computers) to make COVID-19 waste bins placed at around fifty collection points in Lille alone.

When the bags are full, they are carefully closed and picked up by Elise’s collectors then sent to their premises to be treated in energy recovery. Elise has been able to treat around 200,000 masks for a total weight of 739 kg.

A third company Cosmolys, also near Lille, recovers the polypropylene contained in the masks to produce granules for making garden furniture.

What you can do: Dispose of your masks in an eco-friendly manner.

Discover Solution 144: The Fairphone

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Planet Care Your Home

138: Endangered Species Adoption

Problem:

Tens of species are vanishing from the face of the Earth every day. Almost one third to one-half of all species could become extinct by 2050. Well over 900 plants and animals are endangered, and hundreds more are threatened. Many of the reasons certain animals are disappearing forever are because of human activities.

Solution:

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), founded in 1961, has a program “Adopt an animal now”, whereby those interested visit and by one click can choose from their range of adoption animals, donating from £3 per month to protect precious habitats around the world and all the species which rely on them.


The Australian branch of the WWF also presents their own range of threatened species.

Not to be confused, The World Animal Foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 to raise public education regarding the preservation of the planet and the animals that inhabit it. WAF works through public education, research, investigations, animal rescue, legislation, special events and direct action. Three years later it moved its headquarters to Vermilion.

WorldAnimalFoundation.com, acts as a one-stop information portal for people wishing to learn more about animals and the earth.

Visitors can print dozens of free flyers and fact sheets and surf hundreds of pages regarding wildlife, endangered species, companion animals, aquatic animals and farm animals.

One of their solutions is “Adopt an Endangered Species”. WAF Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Kit comes in a deluxe WAF folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Adoption Certificate
  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues
  • How You Can Help Animals And The Environment.

Over in France, in 2008, Kevin Desmond, author/compiler of “Planet Savers: 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists”, attempted to set up an ngo EvE-Urgent.org, short for Espèce-ville espèce (species-town-species) whereby towns and cities worldwide were each encouraged to adopt a threatened species as its totem and to take measures to protect it and its ecosystem from extinction.

To select their species a town had decided to sponsor, the EvE-Urgent website recommended looking for it in the local biodiversity or consulting the Natura 2000 network. But nothing prevented them from choosing one abroad. In order to avoid duplication, an “EvE counter” for the participating cities was set up.

Once the species had been chosen and the information about it has been collected, the project can be presented to the municipality. But “the engagement of the town hall is not obligatory”, the site specified.

In case of refusal, citizens could themselves create an association with the help of EvE-Urgent.org in order to contribute to the protection of the species, either by collaborating with specialized NGOs, or by acting directly on the ground. Fund-raising events, cultural and sporting could raise funds for the species chosen.

Among the first to adopt was the city of Bordeaux choosing the Angélique des estuaries which grows alongside the River Garonne and subsequently creating a Park named after the species. Although never developed, the EvE-Urgent solution could still be used….

What you can do: Adopt at least one threatened species.

Discover solution 139: Using landfill gas for ceramic kilns

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Energy Your Home

132: Energy communities

Problem:

Sustainable energy limited to individual domestic use may not be the most beneficially efficient solution.

Solution:

Energy sharing is a model where citizens can exchange locally produced power with one another (peer-to-peer) — or external markets.


The EU Directive 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources defines peer-to-peer trading of renewable energy as: “The sale of renewable energy between market participants by means of a contract with pre-determined conditions governing the automated execution and settlement of the transaction, either directly between market participants or indirectly through a certified third-party market participant, such as an aggregator.”

The Energy Community, also referred to in the past as the Energy Community of South East Europe is an international organisation established between the European Union and a number of third countries to extend the EU internal energy market to Southeast Europe and beyond.

One example, Decidim is a collaborative project which encourages citizens of Barcelona to use a digital, open-source participatory platform to suggest, debate, comment and back new proposals for the city. The platform is a concrete output of the 2015-2019 municipal plan called “73 neighbourhoods, one Barcelona, Towards the city of rights and opportunities” and which gathered the input of some 40,000 people.

Catalonia’s first renewable energy cooperative, Som Energia, has used the Decidim platform to host its 2018 General Assembly and various debates with cooperative

What you can do: Check out whether you can become part of an energy community.

Discover Solution 133: Electricity from sidewalks

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Your Home Materials

130: Elevating house

Problem:

IPCC scientists expect a warming world to lead to more extreme rainfall, exposing an additional 250,000 to 400,000 people in Europe to river flooding, and potentially up to 5.5 million per year to coastal flooding.

Solution:

Since 2016, Tom Kelly and Graham Hicks of the UK-based Larkfleet Group, have been working on an experimental house that could rise on jacks above floodwaters. The 72 tons (65 tonne) house could be raised 4.5 ft. (1.5 m.) in less than five minutes.


In October 2017, South Holland District Council Planners gave permission for Larkfleet Homes in Lincolnshire, to build a test house in a paddock in Weston Hills near Spalding. Oddly, the developers, who believe it is the world’s first such home, have not been allowed to place it on a flood plain. If tests are successful the house could provide a model that would enable housebuilding on thousands of sites across the UK which at present cannot be developed because of the risk of flooding.

Once built, experiments with raising and lowering the house, including testing long-term maintenance and operation of the jacking system, will take place. Because the house will be of modular steel-frame design it can then be disassembled and re-erected on another site on conventional foundations as a family residence.

It is anticipated that houses of this design would be jacked up well ahead of the arrival of flood waters, based on advance warnings from organisations such as the Environment Agency. Rooftop solar panels and a battery would provide the house with some continuing electricity supply when raised above the ground and the water and sewage would remain connected through flexible hoses.

However, it is not envisaged that residents would remain in occupation during floods. Instead, the householders would pack up, lock up and jack up the home before taking refuge in temporary accommodation on higher ground elsewhere.

What you can do: Search out protective solutions if you choose to live or work beside seas or rivers.

Discover Solution 131: carbon footprint calculator for builders

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Planet Care Your Home

129: Elevated villages

Problem:

AGW causing the rise in global sea levels has been flooding the Pacific atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands. This also includes Vanua Levu, the second largest of Fiji’s 106 habitable islands in the South Pacific and villages such as Vunidogoloa in Korolao District.

Solution:

Elevated villages.


In 2006, the Fijian Government decided to abandon the flooded village and build a new Vunidogoloa for its 130 inhabitants, a couple of miles (2 km) inland. Eight years and half a million dollars later, on the January 16, 2014, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji inaugurated the new village of thirty timbered homes on stilts on a hillside.

Further Fijian villages have been completely relocated and two are in the initial stages of moving: Denimanu (Yadua Island) and Vunisavisavi, both of which have been provided with cyclone-proof houses donated by USAID. This leaves about 40 villages earmarked for relocation in the short to medium term as sea levels continue to rise. In 2015, a Fijian official said the government was looking at possibly relocating as many as 676 villages.

Other alternative solutions for flooding villages will include dredging and reclaiming land.

 

Discover Solution 130: Keeping your house out of the water

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Your Home

128: Nickel-iron based electrolysis

Problem:

Currently the most popular system used for water splitting, or water electrolysis, relies on precious – hence very expensive – metals such as platinum and iridium as catalysts.

Solution:

An electrolyzer based on nickel and iron, elements that are less expensive and more abundant in the environment.


Yu Seung Kim, a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Yuehe Lin of Washington State University’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, have developed a system that uses less expensive and more abundant materials. They worked to solve this problem by splitting water under alkaline, or basic, conditions with an anion exchange membrane electrolyzer based on nickel and iron, elements that are less expensive and more abundant in the environment.

By 2023, the global hydrogen generation market is anticipated to reach $199.1 billion. Promising markets for hydrogen energy comprise everything from power grid management and mass-energy conversion to fuel cells for cars. According to the duo, around 600 wind farms in the United States are prepared for direct connections to water electrolysis systems.

Discover Solution 129: Safety from flooding on higher ground

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Human Effort Your Home

124: Effective altruism

Problem:

Our hyper-consumer world soils, hurts and exhausts the Planet.

Solution:

Giving of time and money more effectively.


In 2009, Toby Ord and William MacAskill, philosophy professors at Oxford University launched a community around Ord’s “Giving What We Can”, and MacAskill’s “80,000 Hours” (You have 80,000 hours in your career. How can you best use them to help solve the world’s most pressing problems?).

Ord’s earlier work had explored the ethics of global health and global poverty, demonstrating that aid has been highly successful on average and has the potential to be even more successful if we were to improve our priority setting

This led him to create an international society called Giving What We Can, whose members have pledged over $600 million to the most effective charities helping to improve the world.

Giving What We Can (GWWC) members have pledged to donate at least 10% of their income for the remainder of their working lives to the causes that they believe are the most effective.

Ord and MacAskill founded the wider effective altruism movement, encouraging thousands of people to use reason and evidence to help others as much as possible.

The Centre for Effective Altruism inspires critical thinking by applying evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to improve the world.

Effective altruism can add meaning to our lives and can help us in finding fulfilment in what we do. Many effective altruists say that in doing good, they feel good.

Ord has advised the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the US National Intelligence Council, the UK Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office, and Government Office for Science. His work has been featured more than a hundred times in the national and international media.

Factoring in these aspects, EA activists usually come to the conclusion that the three most-pressing issues for humanity are: extreme poverty, animal suffering, and what they call “long-term future.” This is basically the minimization of global catastrophic risks, also known as existential risks.

What you can do: Be altruistic and help others less fortunate than yourself.

Tomorrow’s solution: Electric boats supplying the grid

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

121: Edible water bubbles

Problem:

About 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are produced in the United States each year, and most are discarded. The properties that make PET useful as a packaging material (stability and durability) also make it resistant to breaking down after its useful life is over.

Solution:

Edible water bubbles.


The idea of an edible biodegradable capsule for artificial edible cherries, soft sheets, and the like, called spherification, was first patented in London by Unilever engineer William Peschardt in 1942. More recently the method was introduced into modernist cooking by Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.

The most recent adaptation has been made by Pierre-Yves Paslier of Skipping Rocks Lab. Paslier started his career as a packaging engineer for L’Oréal in the daytime and hacking 3D-printers in his living room at night.

He then decided to study design at the RCA and in 2013, he co-designed one of the first consumer delta 3D-printers. Paslier left L’Oréal in 2012 to start a Masters degree in innovation, design and engineering at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, where he set about brainstorming non-plastic container designs.

He and classmate Rodrigo García González studied the properties of watermelons, tomatoes, coconuts and tapioca to understand how natural foods hold liquids. They finally settled on seaweed as their material of choice.

They called their edible water ball, made by dropping ice into separate solutions of calcium salt and “Notpla” a brown sodium alginate, the Ooho.

You can drink them by tearing a hole into the skin and pouring the water into your mouth, or they can be consumed whole. Containing 100 ml of liquid, the balls can be produced by a compact machine at their point of sale, eliminating the need for cups.

In 2014 Paslier and Gonzales founded Gravity Sketch, a VR 3D design platform and Skipping Rocks Lab, a sustainable packaging company, in London’s East End.

A crowd sourcing campaign as well as its accompanying YouTube went viral enabling Skipping Rocks to raise more than US$ 1 M from 1,000 investors in a mere three days. The manufacturing processes are covered under a Creative Commons license, making the recipe freely distributed and readily available for anyone to use.

In July 2018, they launched sauce sachets made from the seaweed material, which were on a six-week trial at 10 London takeaways with the delivery service Just Eat. Following the success of the trial, 10 London restaurants further trialled this product for 8 weeks, which is expected to prevent approximately 40,000 plastic sauce packets from entering homes.

Ginger and fruit juice shots were delivered to Selfridges department store, and the product was sold at UK music festivals as edible alcohol shots, including espresso martini and tequila sunrise.

In April 2019, when more than 41,000 people running in the London Marathon reached reach mile 23, thanks to Lucozade Ribena Suntory, they were handed Oohos instead of bottles. However, a video surfaced that showed streets strewn with plastic waste after the race was over.

That September, the Harrow half marathon in London replaced single use bottles and cups with Oohos. Paslier and Gonzalez are now experimenting with on green alternatives to cling film and the plastic liners used in throwaway coffee cups and ways to replace plastic toiletries bottles in hotel rooms.

What you can do: Discover Oohos or plan for the extended use of bottles and flasks.

Discover solution 122: The Climate Clock

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

119: Edible cutlery and crockery

Problem:

Plastic cutlery is a major contributor to the growing plastic waste crisis. An estimated 40 billion plastic utensils are used and thrown away each year in the United States alone. 122 millions tons (111 million tonnes) of plastic waste will have nowhere to go by 2030 due to Chinese import ban.

Solution:

Edible cutlery made of flour, and rice and wheat.


In 2005, Narayaana Peespaty, an agricultural scientist specialising in groundwater research, was on a field visit to Mahabubnagar, a drought-prone district in Telangana, India. Peesapaty had ordered a jowar roti millet bread for lunch. He arrived late. The roti had become cold and hard. Forced to break the roti and scoop the dal and curry with its pieces, crunching into them, Peeseapaty realised if a two-dimensional spatula can work, then why not a three-dimensional spoon?

Plastics should not be used for handling food, since they contain chemicals with toxic properties that leach into what we eat. Peesapaty founded a company called Bakeys to produce edible cutlery, made primarily from jowar, a millet flour, and rice and wheat flour in three flavours – savoury, sweet and plain. Tasting like crackers, even if they are not eaten, they are safe to dispose into the environment, as they are biodegradable.

The company has expanded to smaller spoons for soups and desserts as well as small bowls and pots. By 2011, Bakeys had manufactured over 1.5 million edible spoons made from rice, wheat, and millet in eight different flavours: sugar, ginger-cinnamon, ginger-garlic, celery, black pepper, cumin, mint-ginger, and carrot-beetroot.

Several materials such as wheat bran, rice bran, sorghum, corn, etc. are being used for manufacturing of edible cutlery and edible tableware. It is baked at high temperature and is non-polluting from production to disposal. Over 10,000 edible knives, spoons and forks are made per day by a growing number of companies.

For example, Mede Cutlery Company in Zhejiang, China manufactures edible cutlery in attractive colors with new flavours of purple potato, sesame, and corn. Biotrem’s wheat bran tableware production process was invented by Jerzy Wysocki in Poland After only two years commercialising it, Biotrem already produces 15 million pieces a year and they are currently under expansion.

Since 2017, Eclery Foods in Hyderabad, Telangana, India has a fully automated process enabling a capacity of 200,000 spoons per day, which expected to double by November 2018.

In France, former student at the AgroParisTech, Nicolas Richardot, has started up Tassiopée in Normandy, France to manufacture an edible coffee cup, made of biscuit with an inside chocolate coating. As an alternative to plastic cups, once the coffee has been drunk, the cup can be eaten.

In Auckland, New Zealand, the burger chain Better Burger teamed up with Innocent Packaging to create plant-based and compostable packaging for their burgers. The wafer paper packaging made from potato starch and water encouraged their customers to eat everything on their plate, rubbish included. The wrappers are made of potato starch with a taste reported to be similar to a “potato version of a prawn cracker”.

On International Earth Day (April 22, 2018), 500 burgers sold at the chain’s Mount Eden restaurant were wrapped in the material. They even went the distance and used edible ink to brand the packaging, adding their logo and a fun design. Although pitched as a one off activity to raise awareness for the challenges of the environment, since October 2017, Better Burger have saved more than 366,000 plastic items from going to the landfill from its outlets.

What you can do: Stop throwing away single-use cutlery and crockery, try out an edible version.

Tomorrow’s solution: Edible packaging

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Human Effort Materials Planet Care Your Home

117: ecovelopes

Problem:

Traditional manufacture of envelopes were not concerned about the source of their paper nor of the chemical after-effects of their glues.

Solution:

Recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes.


In 1997 Emmanuel Druon and a small team set up a factory they called Pocheco in Forest-sur-Marque close to Lille, northern France. Their goal was to manufacture ecovelopes, recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes, while creating zero waste during the operation.

Druon based his organisation on “Ecolonomie”, where instead of a hierarchy, there is a four-strong steering committee. Paper is sourced from sustainable managed forests, unbleached and lighter weight, with solvent free ink and glue. The amount of paper waste from envelope cutting is sold and then recycled.

The vegetal roof of the plant hosts several beehives and also recuperates rainwater, which is then used both to dilute ink, clean chines and to supply water for the toilets. This water, polluted by the ink is then sent to a station where it is cleaned by 80 bamboos, then sent back to the building, ready to be used again. Energy from the machines is used to heat the factory, while solar power contributes to electricity.

Before long Pocheco were manufacturing some 2 billion ecovelopes per year. Also part of his Ecolonomie aproach, Druon collaborated with a Finnish paper manufacturers (UPM) so that every time one tree is cut down to make wood pulp , another four are planted in return, working out at 300,000 trees per year.

Pocheco’s Canopée Reforestation: Association for reforestation of the Northern Region of France has seen some 7,000 trees planted since 2009.

In 2019, Adare Post, producers of more than 115 million envelopes with transparent windows, partnered with Pocheco to produce windows made of pulp instead of plastic film. This made these business ecovelopes 100% recyclable and biodegradable, saving some 30 tonnes of plastic landfill waste every year. In the face of internet emails and text messages, Pocheco has also diversified to producing bags for use by pharmacies.

What you can do: Use recyclable and biodegradable envelopes and packages.

Tomorrow’s solution: Sunfire, fuel made from carbon dioxide

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114: Eco-City

Problem:

The history of the Planet is one of unending conflict between creeds, politicians and nations where the world’s resources are plundered indiscriminately.

Solution:

Auroville,: City of Dawn


In the 1960s, Mirra Alfassa, a 90-year-old a spiritual guru, known as “the Mother”, dreamed of a place where humanity can live united, in peace and in harmony with nature, beyond of all beliefs, political opinions and nationalities.

She asked French architect Roger Anger to design an experimental eco-city in Viluppuram district mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

She called it Auroville (“City of Dawn”). The inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968 was attended by delegates of 124 nations, who brought soils from all parts of the world. In the mixing of these soils, known as a Yagna began the journey of one-ness.

Endorsed by UNESCO and the Government of India, Auroville is now famous for being known as the most environment friendly and pollution free city of India.

Construction materials used are mainly organic and natural including wood, mud, grass, stabilised earth bricks and fired bricks. In the early 1960s and 70s, a small group of pioneering residents took up extensive tree planting to rejuvenate the barren land and harvest rainwater. There is now a forest of over two million trees and some of them exotic.

Since then, Aurovilians (residents of Auroville) have been constantly experimenting with new ideas and solutions in areas of forestation, organic farming, renewable energy, water management, waste treatment, building technologies and environmental awareness programs among others.

Auroville’s EcoService collects waste from 2/3rd’s of the Aurovilians while the remaining 1/3rd prefer to dispose waste in their own way. 60% of the waste collected is recycled while the rest 40% is land filled. Auroville is working towards a zero waste policy.

In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which was conceived by Alfassa as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”.

Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and the entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called the Peace area. Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air-conditioned chamber of polished white marble referred to as “a place to find one’s consciousness”.

Matrimandir is equipped with a solar power plant and is surrounded by manicured gardens. When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by a beam from a solar-powered light.

There is a solar kitchen equipped to cook for over 1,000 people everyday primarily uses the energy generated from the largest solar collector in Asia developed and build indigenously at Auroville.

Windmills, mainly used to pump water, are a common sight in Auroville along with many solar power panels that provide energy to almost everything in Auroville, ranging from the street lights to the big town hall. Bicycles or motorised 2-wheelers (and some electric 2-wheelers) can be rented.

As of January 2018 Auroville had 2,814 residents (2,127 adults and 687 children) from 54 countries with two-thirds from India, France and Germany

What you can do: Visit and stay at Auroville and/or apply its solution to your local community.

Tomorrow’s solution: Eco-friendly boat moorings

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Your Home Human Effort

112: Eat-Lancet commission

Problem:

There is a need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our Planet.

Solution:

The EAT-Lancet Commission consists of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries from various scientific disciplines, among them Dr Walter Willett of the Harvard Medical School.


The goal of the Commission was to reach a scientific consensus by defining targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. It proposes an approach to eating that balances the appetites of a growing global population with the increasing fragility of the earth itself.

The EAT-Lancet Commission diet consists of a large amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grain, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils, some seafood and poultry, and little to no red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables

What you can do: Create a balanced diet for yourself and for those around you.

Tomorrow’s solution: the Ecocapsule  home – producing more energy than it consumes

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

109: Earth Overshoot Day

Problem:

Since 1961, the first year consistent United Nations statistics were available, humanity’s demand on resources has gone from being within the means of what nature could support to significantly over budget. Our planet went into global overshoot in the early 1970s. A symbolic indicator had to be created which would show the world the urgency to find and apply solutions.

Solution:

In themed 1980s, Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation came up with a smart solution which he called Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) or Ecological Debt Day which marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.


For the rest of the year, by maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we are operating in overshoot.

In 1990, EOD was October 11, by 2000, it was September 23, by 2019 it was July 29. By 2020, EOD had moved back by more than three weeks to August 22. but only due to the global coronavirus lockdown. Solutions for making it move further back can be found on overshootday.org but also here on 366Solutions.com

What you can do: Keep Earth Overshoot day in the back of your mind for being frugal.

Discover solution 110: early warning system for earthquakes

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Your Home

107: Dishwashing balls

Problem:

In 1889, when after ten years of prototypes Mrs W.A. Cockran of Shelbyville, Indiana, USA, produced an electrically operated dish-washing machine, neither its energy and water consumption, nor the harmful effects of chemical detergents on the ecosystem, were taken into account.

Solution:

Dishwashing balls


The eco-efficient bio dish washing machine has become of primary importance and one key solution is the natural ceramic Eco Hi-Ball.

The Eco Hi-Ball for dishwashers uses oxygenation of the water to effectively clean and shine, without the harmful effects of a chemical detergent.

Its case body is formed by thermally bonding a top plate and a bottom plate and has through holes formed in an outer side portion to completely drain the washing water at the time of washing dishes. In this way the washing balls can be maintained in a dried state and their efficiency.

What you can do: Use Eco Hi-Balls.

Discover solution 108: relief from the most common source of ocean plastic pollution

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102: Dopper bottle

Problem:

Single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills.

Solution:

The Dopper bottle


Merijn Everaarts lived near BloomendahlSee beach in Haarlem, North Holland Province, the Netherlands, where he daily saw plastic bags and bottles either left by holidaymakers or washed in by the tide.

In October 2009, after watching a documentary about ‘plastic soup’ Merijn joined in the search for a solution for plastic waste and a better plastic use lifestyle.

Merijn, an entrepreneur in the event and marketing business, joined the local Haarlem Legacy, a group of 25 creative people who were pitching ideas every few weeks to make the perfect disposable plastic bottle for tap water.

In 2010, Merijn launched a design competition. Rinke van Remorte, working at VDL Hapro having graduated at TU Delft, won that competition. Remorte beat nearly a 100 other contestants because he provided a sleek and clean design while also making it durable (lasting up to five years).

The name chosen was Dopper. From the 16th Century, a dop as a kind of hat inspired by the Middle Dutch dop or dopper meaning shell, or goblet or pot. The first real Dopper bottles (certified B-Corp), were released on October 10, 2010, also known as Durability Day which created a lot of media attention. A Dopper bottle prevents 40 single-use water bottles from entering our oceans.

In 2017, 1,687,598 Doppers were sold. The  Dopper Foundation conducts an annual Change maker Challenge where students doing Masters in any Dutch university can apply and participate. The participants should select a topic for thesis either on water management or plastic waste. With 5% of the net proceeds, since the very first water bottle was sold, Dopper has been donating to the Simavi water projects in Nepal.

They are part of the WASH programme. By installing water points and toilets, tens of thousands of Nepalese people now have better access to drinking water and sanitary facilities. Dopper Foundation started in the southern district of Ruphendi, and in the Gorkha and Baglung districts for 20.000 people. When they teamed up with local partner Sebac, they extended their projects to the Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha districts.

In 2018, Dopper introduced an insulated water bottle. Designed to keep drinks hot or cold, this is the first insulated bottle the company has added to its line. According to the company, the bottle will keep drinks hot for 9 hours and cold for up to 24 hours and holds 17 oz. (0.5 liter) of liquid.

That June Dopper Foundation and National Geographic Encounter unveiled a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge in Times Square made with 5,000 single-use plastic water bottles to turn the tide on plastic pollution through Art and education. The plastic bridge replica represents the scale of bottles sold in a split second – 5,000. (dopper.com)

What you can do: Use Dopper and other re-usable bottles such as thermos flasks.

Discover solution 103:

Catching the city’s waste, with giant socks.

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

101: Documentary films

Problem:

Poor communication can lead to ignorance of the dangerous situations which the Planet has deteriorated.

Solution:

Well-made and promoted documentary films urging solutions to protect the Planet.


From 1903, with British cinematographer F. Martin Duncan’s Unseen World series about microscopic creatures, the big screen has served that purpose.

Between 1968 and 1975, the television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau focussed on marine biodiversity and warned that life in the oceans had diminished 40 % in just 20 years.

Following former United States Vice President Al Gore’s bestseller book Earth in the Balance, and his slide show An Inconvenient Truth given to over one thousand audiences worldwide, from 2006 a namesake film version became the eleventh highest grossing documentary film to date in the United States.

In 2007, billionaire actor Leonardo DiCaprio co-wrote and narrated 11th Hour. Through interviews with experts in many scientific fields, as well as prominent activists and politicians, the film seeks to convince viewers, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the planet is in danger and that action needed to be taken immediately if we are to have any chance of reversing the negative consequences.

In the UK, the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) is best known for its highly regarded nature documentaries presented by David Attenborough. Life on Earth: A Natural History sold to 100 territories and was watched by an estimated audience of 500 million people worldwide. In Blue Planet II (2017) and Climate Change – The Facts, Sir David, aged 93, discusses the science of climate change and possible solutions to counteract it, including plastic recuperation.

In 2019 Australian actor-turned-filmmaker Damon Gameau took a different approach in his film 2040, Join the Regeneration. In this he structures the film as a one-way conversation with his four-year-old daughter, who will be 25 when the titular year arrives and, he hopes, part of a brighter and better world.

Gameau’s documentary bills itself as a “journey to explore what the future could look such as by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us.”

Working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), The Anthropocene Project, created by renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal is a multidisciplinary body of work combining fine art photography, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and scientific research to investigate human influence on the state, dynamic, and future of the Earth.

Through evocative photography, a documentary, 360° cinematography, and captivating augmented-reality installations, this multimedia project explains the emergence of the Anthropocene epoch, distinguished by human-caused changes to our planet. As part of this the RCGS offered #OnlineClassroom, its free, bilingual learning tools to all Canadians to support teachers, parents and students isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I Am Greta is a 2020 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Nathan Grossman, following climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

What you can do: Download and watch these movies.

Discover Solution 102: Dopper bottle from Holland

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Carbon Capture Energy Human Effort Materials Mobility Planet Care Your Home

Solution 100

Solution:

100 days ago, on September, 1, 2020,  we began publishing one solution per day about cleaning up, repairing and protecting our Planet, with the bottom line of “What you can do!” If you look at our growing Encouragements page, you will see several approving comments for our simple approach. We welcome comments for all who visit our pages, not only on this website, but also your “likes” on our dedicated Facebook page, and you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter.

Onwards to 200 solutions!
Kevin, Jeff, Helen and Josh

What you can do: Follow and share 366solutions and tell your friends about ways we all can clean up, repair and protect our planet!

Discover solution 101: Documentary films to make us aware

 

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Human Effort Your Home

98: Biodegradable diapers

Problem:

Parents who use disposable diapers will throw away 4,000 to 6,000 of the items by the time their baby is potty trained. The vast majority of diapers are not recyclable and must be thrown away with general waste, meaning they will probably end up in landfill or being burnt.

Solution:

Eco-friendly diapers.


In 1991, Moltex in Germany launched the world’s first unbleached panty diaper. Its components were wood (cellulose, absorbent material) harvested from sustainable forestry operations bearing the seal of the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council), a 100% chlorine-free absorbent core (TCF) and a tea-leaf extract to bind odours. They were designed to biodegrade within 50 years.

ECO diapers developed by Marlene Sandberg of Stockholm, Sweden use wood pulp responsibly harvested from Scandinavian forests as the main absorbent and are fully biodegradable. The conventional plastic outer sheet has been replaced with a biodegradable material made from maize starch and cellulose fiber, both natural materials. ECO is the first eco nappy to receive OK Biobased Certification by Vincotte, one of the world’s most demanding independent certifications.

Another solution is diapers made from breathable bamboo fibres and chlorine-free wood pulp, making them more than 60% decomposed in less than 3 months and can achieve ~80% decomposition over time. Bambo Nature eco diapers are manufactured in a production facility where 95% of the production waste is recycled, making Bambo Nature one of the most eco-friendly diapers on the market.

Since September 2019, a French composting company called Les Alchimistes has been experimenting with the composting of 11 million diapers coming from ten nurseries around Paris.
The truckloads of compost produced will be sold to horticulturists. Co-founder Alexandre Guilluy realising that the only element for which they have not reached a bio-sourced solution is the attachment scratches. However they are working to launch the manufacture of 100% compostable diapers.

What you can do: Use bio-diapers for your baby.

Tomorrow’s solution: Forest fire alert system.

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Mobility Your Home

96: Delivery vehicle, door-to-door

Problem:

Continuing to use cars to individually travel to and from supermarkets to buy weekly provisions is not eco-efficient.

Solution:

The door-to-door delivery vehicle


As long ago as August 1967, the UK Electric Vehicle Association put out a press release stating that Britain had more battery-electric vehicles on its roads than the rest of the world put together. All manufacturers of battery electric vehicles were, at one time, members of the Electric Vehicle Association of Great Britain, and they received returns from the manufacturers on a regular basis, so they were able to give accurate numbers of BERVs in use in the UK for a certain year.

The EVA also had industrial truck manufacturers, battery manufacturers and component suppliers as members of the Association. Closer inspection disclosed that almost all of the 30,000 battery driven vehicles licensed for UK road use were milk floats or door-to-door delivery vehicles, the final link from electric milking machines at the dairy farm.

This link continues today with the addition that instead of the milkman taking orders and being paid at each doorstep, the client can command pay for their groceries on-line.

In 2012, a startup calling itself Picnic was formed by a team of IT specialists, led by Joris Beckers, Frederik Nieuwenhuys, Bas Verheijen and Michiel Muller in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Backed by these four investors, it planned to come up with a new business that would be able to gain a position in a market dominated by giant companies in the grocery market.

The idea was simple. Clients ordered their dairy products and groceries using an on-line App-only which would then be delivered for free within a one-hour timeslot of their choice, using an electric truck with a 68 mi (l10 km) range called the E-Worker, built by the French company Goupil. Starting off with 150 customers in Amersfoort, by 2016 Picnic was serving over 30,000 households in several cities in the middle of the Netherlands.

In March 2017, having received US$110 million (€100 million) in funding, Picnic announced an aggressive expansion in the years ahead, including 5 new warehouses,70 distribution hubs, and the procurement of a staggering 2,000 electric delivery vehicles.

In 2018 Picnic entered the German market, selecting Kaars, Neuss, Meerbusch and Oberkassel (part of Düsseldorf’s district 4) with further expansion, starting in North Rhine-Westphalia which has a population of about 18 million people.

Picnic is also expanding its delivery service in the Netherlands, to Noord Brabant, starting with Breda and Tilburg. Launching in May, 185,000 families will be able to use the grocery delivery service. The next move is Belgium. There is no reason why Picnic should not eventually serve the 27 counties in the European Union. By mid-2019, around 700 of these electric carts were making deliveries around in the Netherlands and around 80 in Germany, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia. (picnic.app)

Tomorrow’s electric trucks will most surely be working hand-in-hand with electric cargo drones in the business of doorstep delivery.

It has already begun. In 2017, Workhorse of Loveland, Ohio, already makers of an electric W-15 pick-up truck, unveiled their 100 mi. (160 km) range N-Gen delivery van as part of their concept towards delivery with their integrated HorseFly drone. The latter takes off from the parked N-Gen lifting packages weighing up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and delivering them to a destination within the driver’s line of sight. Production of the N-Gen-1000 began in 2019. Thus the definition of a milk float enters the future…

In September 2019, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Michigan-based startup Rivian. The announcement came during an event in Washington, DC where Bezos unveiled Amazon’s sweeping plan to tackle climate change.

What you can do: Order your good on-line and have them delivered to your door by electric vehicles, four wheels or two.

Tomorrow’s solution: Aquaporins for purifying water

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Materials Carbon Capture Your Home

91: Cross-laminated timber

Problem:

The dependency on concrete and steel to build everything from homes to sports stadiums comes at a severe environmental cost. Concrete is responsible for 4 – 8% of the world’s CO₂ emissions.

Solution:

Cross-laminated timber.


Some architects are therefore arguing for – and pressing ahead with – a return to wood as our primary building material. Wood from managed forestry actually stores carbon as opposed to emitting it: as trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As a rule of thumb, 35 cubic ft. (1 cubic meter) of wood contain around a tonne of CO² more or less, depending on the species of tree.

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, has become the primary material on the construction site. It is an “engineered wood”, the planks of which are made stronger by gluing them in layers of three, with each layer perpendicular to the other. This means that the CLT does not bow or bend, it has integral strength in two directions allowing the manufacture of plates or surfaces – or walls.

It is a plywood made of boards that can reach enormous dimensions: between 7.8 ft. (2.40 m) and 13 ft. (4.00 m) high, and up to 40 ft. (12 m) long. CLT is a renewable, green and sustainable material, since it is made out of wood and does not require the burning of fossil fuels during production. CLT, however, is below 1% adhesive, and typically uses a bio-based polyurethane. The planks are bonded together under heat and pressure to fuse that small amount of adhesive using the moisture of the wood.

CLT was first developed and used in Germany and Austria in 1994 after Austrian-born researcher Gerhard Schickhofer at Graz University of Technology presented his PhD thesis research on CLT, “Starrer und nachgiebiger Verbund bei geschichteten, flächenhaften Holzstrukturen” (“Rigid and resilient composite in layered, flat wood structures”).

This was partly in response to the death of the furniture and paper industries. 60 % of Austria is forest and they needed to find a new sales outlet.

Indeed it was Austria which published “Holzmassivbauweise”, the first national CLT guidelines in 2002, based on Schickhofer’s extensive research. These national guidelines are credited with paving a path for the acceptance of engineered elements in multi-story buildings.

Many CLT factories in Austria are even powered by renewable biomass using the offcuts, branches and twigs. Some factories produce enough electricity to power the surrounding communities. (tugraz.at)

Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT) and Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT) have been revived, while stick-framing started looking good again because it is so efficient in its use of wood.

An increasing number of architects now build tall with CLT, allowing the construction of buildings with up to 30 floors for the 180 ft. (53m) Brock Commons Tallwood House, in Vancouver, in Canada, up to 18 floors in Finland and in Sshickhofer’s native country, the 276 ft (84m), 24-storey ‘HoHo Tower’ nearing completion in the Seestadt Aspern area of Vienna, Austria.

76 % of the latter structure will be constructed from CLT, which will save a 2,800 tonnes of CO₂ emissions over similar structures built out of steel and concrete. Moreover, 1 m³ of concrete weighs approximately 2.7 tons (2.5 tonnes), while 35 cubic ft. (1 m³) of CLT weighs 882 lbs (400 kg) and has the same resistance. The same goes for steel.

Completed in March 2019 after two years of construction, the 280 ft (85.4 m) “Mjøstårnet” 18-storey skyscraper, located in Brumunddal, some 60 mi (100 km) north of Oslo is built in CLT. It takes its name from Lake Mjøsa, on the edge of which it was built.

Designed by Voll Arkitekter its timber was located and prepared within a radius of 10 mi (15 km) around the tower. Containing apartments, hotel, a 10,760 ft² (4,700 m²) swimming hall. office space and a restaurant, it has been declared “The Tallest Timber Building in the World.” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

In 2019, Gerhard Schickhofer, Head of the Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology at Graz University of Technology, was awarded the Marcus Wallenberg of SEK 2 million (US$ 209,000).

What you can do: Live and work in buildings constructed using CLT

Discover Solution 92: Crowdfunding for Planet care

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Categories
Carbon Capture Your Home

89 :Credit card as personal CO2 calculator

Problem:

There were a total of 1.06 billion credit cards in 2017 and the projection for 2022 is close to 1.2 billion. Cards are made of several layers of plastic laminated together. The core is commonly made from a plastic resin known as polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA). This resin is mixed with opacifying materials, dyes, and plasticizers to give it the proper appearance and consistency. This bodes badly for landfills.

Solution:

A personal CO2 calculator.


In 2008, Discover launched a “green” credit card made of biodegradable PVC, 99 % of which can be absorbed back into the environment given the right conditions. Discover contended that, with exposure to soil, water, compost, and other microorganisms, the card will degrade completely within nine months to 5 years.

But can a biodegradable card do more than facilitate purchases? Having worked for nearly ten years in Sweden’s banking and insurance section, when Nathalie Green was faced with the inertia of large institutions to respond to the climate change emergency, she decided to leave her post and dedicate all her energy to the creation of products to accelerate the ecological transition.

Founding a company called Doconomy, Nathalie conceived “Do”, a mobile application that measures CO2 emissions from our purchases. From there on, Doconomy has progressed to the Do-Card, incorporating technology from the Ålands Bank Index, a Finnish financial tool that uses big data to match every purchase with the most accurate estimation of CO2 emissions related to its production and consumption.

Specifically, each time the card is used, its owner receives an alert that indicates the carbon footprint of the purchase. For example, at a checkout, he will know that the purchase of jeans is 70 lb (32 kg) of CO2. Those who sign up to DO will receive access to a free savings account that helps them understand their carbon footprint, learn about UN-certified climate compensation projects, and discover investment funds that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

The card itself is made of bio-sourced material and is printed with Air-Ink, which was our Solution #6  and with no magnetic strip is the first of its kind in the world. For this solution, Doconomy is working with Mastercard via their global network, reaching and levering the power of consumers all over the world and direct capital towards sustainable initiatives. In October 2020 when Mastercard launched the expansion of the Priceless Planet Coalition to support planting 100 million trees, Doconomy was one of the 33 banking partners.

What you can do: Buy and use a Do-Card and tell your friends about it.

Discover  Solution 90: crop fertilizer from recycled batteries

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