Should animals continue to be killed so their pelt is transformed into fur clothing? Since animal fur is treated with heavy dyes and chemicals including chromium and formaldehyde (both of which are highly toxic), it is slow to biodegrade. The bodies of fur animals are just wasted since they are not eaten, while their poop and blood are dumped into water systems as waste. Equally, faux fur made of plastics and acrylics is slow to biodegrade.
Artificial – “faux” – fur
Ecopel, a Franco-Chinese company, has developed a faux fur material made from recycled plastic bottles using a collection system internalized at the company’s mills in Asia. Ecopel works with more than 1,000 employees.
The fiber used, MODACrylic or polyester, allows the creation of a eco-friendly product. The resin is enriched with natural fibers such as cotton or hemp, to bring luster and softness. Ecopel is used by famous brands such as Gucci, Calvin Klein or Tommy Hillfiger and many others.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney OBE also uses a beauty-without-Cruelty Fur-Free-Fur product. In 2019, by Her own decision, the mink lining of a coat that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wore to Slovakia in 2008 has been replaced with faux fur.
Bolt Threads,whose products are made using mushroom-based leather, are collaborating with McCartney, Kering (the fashion house behind brands like Belenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta) and Adidas to create consortium to create a new range of faux fur.
In Russia, Sergey Leonov at the School of Biological and Medical Physics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology successfully bioengineered animal pelts and hides in petridishes. Such vertebrate cells used could come from an antelope, cheetah, chinchilla, crocodile, ermine, leopard, lynx, lion, marten, mink, sable, and stoat, indeed all species killed for their pelts. Marie Vlad has started up Furoid to make and sell the product.
What you can do: Do not use real fur unless it’s a hand-down, instead buy faux fur.
Conflict minerals, including the metals cassiterite, columbite-tantalite and wolframite are natural resources extracted in a conflict zone and sold to directly or indirectly benefit armed groups perpetuate the fighting in countries such as the Congo.
Fairphone was founded in January 2013 beside the River Ij in Amsterdam by Bas van Abel, Tessa Wernink and Miquel Ballester as a social enterprise company, having existed as an anti-conflict minerals campaign for two and a half years.
The company’s website states that its mission is to “bring a fair smartphone to the market – one designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet”.
To achieve this, Fairphone sourced conflict-free tin and tantalum from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and worked closely with its manufacturers to improve working conditions in its factories.
It was supported in its startup phase by the Waag Society, a foundation which aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture.
The second version of the company’s device is one of the first modular smartphones available for purchase, focussing on durability, reparability and the availability of spare parts that can be easily replaced to extend the smartphone’s usable life. Building a phone that lasts longer reduces the overall toll on people and the environment.
Although Fairphone’s co-founder and first CEO Bas van Abel was one of the three winners of the German Environmental Award in 2016, he acknowledged in 2017 that it was currently impossible to produce a 100% fair phone, suggesting it was more accurate to call his company’s phones “fairer”.
In 2020, the large-team operator Vodafone and Fairphone announced a strategic partnership to bring ethical Fairphone 3 Smartphone , made with 40% recycled plastics to Vodafone’s European customers. By this time there were over 100,000 Fairphone owners
In 2019 van Abel co-founded the circular start-up De Clique, a logistical service, physical hub and marketing platform to help transform wasted resources from his Utrecht into new products again.
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.
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.
There are over 164 million payment cards in circulation in the UK. The vast majority of these cards are made from non-biodegradable plastic such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contributes to harmful landfill waste.
In 2017, Dutch-founded ethical bank Triodos launched a current account in line with its values, which includes a biodegradable contactless card made from a plastic substitute called polylactic acid (PLA), which as it is created from renewable sources such as plant leaves and corn, rather than petroleum has not toxic leakage.Only the chip and strip in the Triodos card are not biodegradable, but they are recyclable.
Since 2016, Bevis Watts has been CEO of Triodos Bank UK Ltd. in Bristol. From 2013-16, he had been Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust and Head of Business Support at The Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) for 6 years (2001-07), creating their Financial Mechanisms Program.
Triodos’s no-frills account costs £3 a month and comes with no eye-catching offers or temporary bonuses. Instead it offers a simple overdraft and no unplanned borrowing facility, traditionally the most expensive way to borrow.
Customers’ money goes to a whole range of projects including organic farmers, and renewable energy.
For example, a loan from Triodos contributed to TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s renovation of the 65-acre organic farm in Devon, home to the famous River Cottage cooking school. It also helped fund the build of Premise Studios, a music studio built with reclaimed and recycled materials, invested in Thrive Renewables, a Caton Moor wind farm which produces enough energy to power 10,000 homes.
Triodos is not alone. ASN Bank is a former Dutch bank, now a brand name for some consumer banking operations by de Volksbank. ASN focusses on socially responsible and sustainable investments. ASN Bank is currently the largest sustainability-driven bank in the Netherlands and was elected as the second most climate-friendly bank in the Netherlands (behind Triodos Bank).
The Cumberland Building Society based in Cumbria, has a branch operating area covering Cumbria, South West Scotland, West Northumberland and North Lancashire. The Cumberland recognises that it has an impact on the environment arising from its activities, including the use of energy, the purchase and disposal of materials and equipment and pollution arising from its motor vehicles.
France’s la Banque Postale is taking an ethical approach with a few initiatives focused on ecology. On the customer side, the sustainable and solidarity development booklet (LDDS) is intended to support citizen projects linked to the social and solidarity economy.
It is also possible to invest in companies that integrate social or environmental issues into their financial management (renewable energies, circular economy, transport and La Banque Postale announced in 2018 its “carbon neutrality” across its entire operational scope thanks to the internal monetization of its carbon footprint via its “Carbon Fund” launched in 2015. sustainable obilities, green buildings and innovative environmental services).
The online green banking at Aspiration was founded by Andrei Cherny and Joseph Sanberg at Marina del Rey, California. Unlike many big banks, Aspiration does not invest in fossil fuel funding, so clients’ deposits won’t go towards projects like pipelines, oil drilling, and coal mines. They also have the option to plant a tree with every swipe. And with its Aspiration Plus card—made from recycled ocean plastic—they can carbon-offset all their gas purchases and get 10% cashback when they buy from brands that are part of its Conscience Coalition, like TOMS.
In April 2017, Aspiration launched a feature on its mobile app called Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), which examines 75,000 data points and shows scores for companies where Aspiration customers shop, based on how those companies treat people and the planet.
Green Bond Credit Guidelines were promulgated by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) in February 2012, a milestone directive encouraging Chinese banks to support green, low-carbon and recycling economies; to well manage environmental and social risks in lending service; and to improve sustainable performance in their operations. In 2019, the portfolio of green loans made in The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was worth an estimated US$199 billion,, reaching 8% of its total portfolio
To achieve China’s recent pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060, new investment of around 138 trillion yuan (US$20 trillion) will be needed between 2020 and 2050 in the energy system alone, over 2.5% of annual GDP.
Italy and Spain
Banca Popolar Etica in Padua is a cooperative bank operating in Italy and Spain, owned by citizens and social organizations and inspired by the principles of Ethical Finance. With the collected savings Banca Etica provides loans exclusively to people and organizations with sustainable projects in the areas including the environment.
The UmweltBank, founded in 1997, is also profiting from the boom in ethical banking products. The Nuremburg-based institution boasts that it funds environmental projects exclusively, from building renewable energy sources to funding ecological farming initiatives.
These are just a handful in a growing number of ethical banks ready to support solutions to clean, to repair and to protect the Planet.
What you can do: Use an “Ethical Bank” or ask your own bank what environmental offers it is making.
With the speed and frequency of global transport by sea and air involving the mass movement of millions of passengers, on the outbreak of a life-threatening virus there is always the problem of the speed at which a vaccine can be trialled, manufactured and made avail able
First pioneered in the 1990s, mRNA (Messenger Ribonucleic acid) vaccines represent a promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches because of their high potency, capacity for rapid development and potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration.
Late in 2019, Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, China. As of 2 March 2020, more than 89,000 people across 58 countries had now been diagnosed with the infection, while the death toll globally had exceeded 3,000. The race was on to find a vaccine and the challenge taken up by six drug companies across the world.
As one example, 42 days after receiving the genetic sequence of the COVID_19 virus, called SARS-CoV-2, from Chinese researchers, Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Norwood, Massachusetts shipped the first batches of its Mrna-1273 vaccine.
Hundreds of vials were sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. A team led by Dr Stephen Hoge at Moderna had loaded its vaccine with mRNA that coded for the right coronavirus proteins which could then be injected into the body.
Immune cells in the lymph nodes could process that mRNA and start making the protein in just the right way for other immune cells to recognize and mark them for destruction. Like a software molecule in biology, this vaccine method can be scaled up quickly, saving critical time.
By mid March, human trials had already begun with a group of 45 healthy volunteers getting three doses of the vaccination 28 days apart. They were administered the 25-microgram dose level or the 100-microgram dose level, the low and the middle levels, In May 18 Moderna announced that all 45 participants had developed some antibodies in their blood that bound the virus.
The company began its second phase with The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granting the Moderna Fast Track Designation to begin the mid-stage study soon with 600 patients.. In July 2020, Moderna announced that its Mrna-1273 candidate in Phase 1 clinical testing had led to production of neutralizing antibodies in healthy adults.
Phase 3 could begin. The trial conducted at U.S. clinical research sites, would enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers who did not have COVID-19. The trial is designed to evaluate the safety of mRNA-1273 and to determine if the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses.
Under a deal with the US Government, worth up to $1.525 billion, Moderna agreed to deliver 100 million doses of its mRNA vaccine candidate if it succeeds in late-stage testing. The deal does not stipulate a timeline for vaccine shipments, at least publicly, but does include “incentive payments for timely delivery,” Moderna says. The pact also includes an option for another 400 million doses. (modernatx.com)
Moderna has not been alone in mRNA research. On November 9th a team led by Mikael Dolsetn at Pfizer Inc of New York and BioNTech SE of Mainz, Germany publically announced their mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted on November 8, 2020 by an external, independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) from the Phase 3 clinical study.
Following safety tests on 43,500 people in six countries, a preliminary analysis has shown that BNT162b2 can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19. The two companies say they will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Each person needs two doses.
Pfizer/BioNTech started the phase 3 clinical trial around the same time as Moderna. But while the former give the booster shot for their vaccine 21 days after the initial dose, the latter’s protocol calls for doctors to wait 28 days before giving the second dose.
This vaccine needs to be stored at minus 80c. This could create major logistical challenges for mass treatment outside major urban areas and in low or middle income countries.
On November 16th Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer at Moderna announced that its mRNA-1273 vaccine, remaining stable at minus 20c is able to protect 94.5% of people tested and hopes to have 20 million doses available in the USA, with one billion doses worldwide.
It has since been authorized in Europe (EMA), the USA, Canada. Hundreds of millions of doses will soon be administered.
There are of course several other serious contenders in the race to obtain efficient and reliable COVID-19 vaccines.
Our hyper-consumer world soils, hurts and exhausts the Planet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seafaring turtles and gulls die, ensnared and poisoned in the net like plastic rings that yoke six-packs of canned beverages together.
Edible and 100% biodegradable six-pack rings.
In 2012, Chris Gove and Justin Jeffers founded of SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, USA with a mission to not only brew good beer, but to give back to our oceans.
As part of this initiative, in 2017, they developed six-pack rings E6PR which are 100 % biodegradable and edible, constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process. E6PR is said to provide the strength necessary to hold cans through distribution.
The carrier is also designed to be compostable, both on land and if left in a water system where the organic materials are said not to harm wildlife upon ingestion. Packaging is done on-site with the brewery’s in-house canning line, as well as their new in-line labeler for seasonal and special releases.
It took about 18 months for the sustainable packaging to be fully adopted throughout all of SaltWater’s distribution network. The rings developed by E6PR are now used by 35 brewers across the globe, including in Africa, Europe, and Australia.
The industry has yet to settle on a single supplier or format that could fully replace plastic six-pack rings. In 2018, Corona became the first major global beer brand to pilot E6PR’s technology, they are also considering interlocking cans that can screw into each other.
Molson Coors has vowed it would aim for all its packaging to be reusable, recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025. The Coors Light and Miller Lite brewer says an increased focus on finding sustainable packaging solutions is coming from all sides: consumers, retailers, and investors. They commissioned manufacturer Footprint to make compostable, biodegradable rings for a small test run of the craft brand AC Golden in Colorado.
Carlsberg is working with German supplier NMP Systems GmbH in using glue to adhere cans in a production method that the Danish brewer says would avoid using 1,200 tons of plastic annually, or the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags, once fully adopted. Carlsberg is also tinkering with the inks on labels to improve recyclability, using recycled materials in wrapping where plastic is needed and ending coal use at nine breweries in China as it aims for zero carbon dioxide emissions. (nmp.khs.com)
John Kell, “Beermakers Are Experimenting With New—and Sustainable—Six-Pack Designs,” Fortune, September 2, 2019.
What you can do: When buying cans or bottles of beverages, make sure that the packaging is biodegradable.
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.
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.
Traditional manufacture of envelopes were not concerned about the source of their paper nor of the chemical after-effects of their glues.
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.
The history of the Planet is one of unending conflict between creeds, politicians and nations where the world’s resources are plundered indiscriminately.
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.
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.
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.
Repairing and protecting our Planet will need major inventives to encourage hundreds of solutions described on this website.
The Earthshot Prize
On January 1, 2020 Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, joined forces with Sir David Attenborough to launch a multi-million pound prize which will be awarded to five winners a year over 10 years, comprising at least 50 innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.
The prestigious prize, inspired by US President John F. Kennedy’s ambitious “Moonshot” lunar program, called the Earthshot Prize is a bid a bid to galvanise a decade of action to repair the planet. earthshotprize.org
Many of these solutions can be found throughout 366solutions.com. Many more are coming!
Why not follow us on social media or better yet, support 366solutions on Patreon (for only €3 / $5 per month)
What you can do: Submit your solutions to the Earthshot Prize, but also publish them here at www.366solutions.com
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.
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.
An estimated 1.69 billion pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash each year. A cigarette does not readily biodegrade. The core of the butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose.
Cigarette butts are among the most abundant types of human-produced garbage in the world’s oceans. Most of the roughly 5.5 trillion cigarettes manufactured globally every year contain a plastic-based filter, made of cellulose acetate, according to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project.
Sunlight will degrade it and break it into very small particles, which wind up in the soil or swept in water, contributing to water pollution.
More recently, when testing the effects of soaked used cigarette butts on two fish species (saltwater topsmelt and freshwater fathead minnow), researchers found that the nicotine from one cigarette butt per liter of water was enough to kill half of the exposed fish. It is not clear which toxin was responsible for the death of the fish.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes
The first electronic cigarette was developed in America. In 1963 Herbert A. Gilbert applied for a patent for his “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette”, and the patent was granted in 1965. Gilbert’s invention was nicotine-free, but it produced a flavoured vapour that was supposed to replace tobacco smoke. Gilbert actually got as far as making prototypes of the gadget, but there was not any real commercial interest.
There were some technical challenges, too. Gilbert’s design relied on battery power, but battery technology in the early 1960s was a long way behind where it is now. Rechargeable batteries were expensive and usually heavy; conventional batteries were expensive and had limited energy storage. The first electronic cigarette was ahead of its time both socially and technologically, but after Gilbert’s patent was granted the concept sank into obscurity for almost 40 years: the stored energy could not be withdrawn fast enough.
In 2001, Hon Lik of Beijing, China, a 52-year-old research pharmacist, who worked as a research pharmacist for a company producing ginseng products reportedly created an electronic cigarette after his father, also a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. Lik thought of using a high frequency, piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine. This design created a smoke-like vapor. Lik found that using resistance heating obtained better results and the difficulty was to scale down the device to a small enough size.
In 2003, he registered a patent and the e-cigarette was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market the following year. E-cigarettes entered the European market and the US market in 2006 and 2007. The company that Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, registered an international patent in November 2007 changing its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally “like smoke”) later the same month.
The number of e-cigarette brands sold on the internet is large and the variety of flavours staggering: more than 460 brands and 7700 flavours. Roughly 10.8 million American adults are currently using e-cigarettes, and more than half of them are under 35 years old, a U.S. study suggests.
From their very roots, what they do, to where they end up, vapor cigarettes have a far lighter carbon footprint than their combustible counterparts. Designed to be reusable, they last a very long time, and only e-cigarette cartridges get changed out according to the smoker’s usage.
They are not a landfill burden but they do pose an environmental threat of considerable proportions. Instead of merely being thrown away, these complex devices present simultaneously a biohazard risk with potential high quantities of leftover or residual nicotine and an environmental health threat as littered electronic waste.
While most batteries are recyclable, unfortunately, many vapers tend to throw their old ones in the trash. Whether it is vape pens or mods, all vaporizers operate on li-ion batteries. Some may last longer than others, but the result is that sooner or later, these will be disposed of and replaced.
According to their manufacturers, safe disposal of li-ion batteries requires ensuring that they are fully discharged and cooled, then submerging them in cold saltwater for two weeks—covered securely with a lid—before wrapping them in newspaper and placing them in the trash. In addition, the zinc and manganese recycled from such batteries can be used as fertilizer (see entry)
What you can do: If you smoke, make it eco-friendly.
For years, many towns all over Australia have been battling with waste such as plastic containers, bottles, paper and vegetation discharged into the city’s waterways by stormwater drains.
The drainage sock.
In Kwinana, a town of 40,000 inhabitants, just south of Perth in Western Australia, they considered a drainage sock as developed in the early 1990s by a fisherman based in New South Wales, then acquired by the South Australian-based Urban Asset Solutions.
The 35 in. (90 cm) wide black polyethylene sock has of a stainless-steel sleeve extension and is cleverly designed to pull shut like a drawstring bag when full.
In March 2018, Mayor Carol Adams and Kwinana Council installed two Ecosol Net Tech drainage socks over stormwater drains in the local Henley Reserve. Later, by removing them full of plastic waste and pollutants, they effectively eliminated the risk of flooding during peak-flow storms, particularly in areas where road drainage is discharged into public open spaces and wetland reserves.
During the trial, 815 lbs (370 kg) of debris consisting of food wrappers, plastic bottles, sand and tree leaves was cleaned out of the nets, the plastic sent off for recycling.
While three more locations were identified as suitable drainage points for further nets to be installed following the trial’s success, images posted by the Kwinana Council on social media went viral worldwide, scoring over 25 million views and obtaining enquiries from New Zealand, the USA, Chile, Brazil, many European countries, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Zambia and China.
Meanwhile, the neighbouring City of Cockburn has become the first West Australian council to build a new road out of recycled plastic. About 40,000 single use plastic bags collected by supermarkets across Australia were melted into an asphalt mix used to pave a laneway in Port Coogee.
What you can do: Tell your town or village hall about the Kwinana drainage sock.
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.
Poor communication can lead to ignorance of the dangerous situations which the Planet has deteriorated.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Worldwide water purification remains a major challenge.
Desalination via aquaporin water channel protein
In the late 1980s, Peter Agre, a physician-scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, found an unknown protein that contaminated his every attempt to isolate the Rh protein from red blood cells. Intrigued by this mysterious interloper, Agre persevered until he revealed its function and structure.
The protein, which he named “aquaporin,” turned out to be an essential piece of the cell’s apparatus for maintaining the right balance of water inside and outside of the cell. Its structure is superbly adapted to let water molecules, and only water molecules, pass through in large number with remarkable efficiency and speed.
Aquaporins are crucial for life in all organisms, from bacteria via plants to man. They facilitate rapid, highly selective water transport across the cell membrane, thus allowing the cell to regulate its volume and internal osmotic pressure according to hydrostatic and/or osmotic pressure differences.
The importance of the aquaporin for humans is perhaps most conspicuous in the kidney, where 40 to 50 gallons (150-200 litres) of water need to be reabsorbed from the primary urine each day, that is, aquaporin facilitated water transport is invoked when water must be rapidly retrieved from a body fluid.
Aquaporin water channels are also important to life on Earth, also transforming our ability to purify drinking water at a large scale, that in 2003 the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Professor Agre for his discovery.
The need for clean water is an equally compelling problem being tackled by bio-engineers. Biophysicist Morten Østergaard Jensen speculated that aquaporin could form the basis of a biological water filter.
Together with entrepreneur Peter Holme Jensen, he formed a company in 2005 that aimed to scale up aquaporin-based water filtration. Aquaporin A/S in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, has developed Aquaporin Inside technology devices to be employed in industrial and household water filtration and purification.
Aquaporin InsideTap Water Reverse Osmosis elements are sold globally and in standard configuration from 1812 up to 8040 elements, making it easy for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use in their systems for a more sustainable production of healthy drinking water.
In September 2015, Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen used Aquaporin A/S membranes to filter the water he drank in space. Making sure that astronauts have enough to drink is one of the toughest parts to figuring out long-term space travel. Water is heavy, quickly used and expensive to get into orbit. To put it into perspective, it costs US$10,000 per pound to launch a spaceship, and a gallon of water weighs 8.33 lb (3.8 kg).
Since 2011, Aquaporin had been working with NASA and Danish Aerospace Company, testing prototypes in a lab so that four years later Mogensen and crew members were able to drink filtered urine on the International Space Station.
In June 2018, Berghof Membrane Technology, a manufacturer of tubular membranes for the filtration and separation of industrial process streams and wastewater, signed a joint development agreement with Aquaporin A/S, wherein both companies would leverage their respective expertise in forward osmosis (FO) and tubular membrane technologies to launch products targeted for high-strength industrial wastewater and food and beverage process streams.
Aquaporin also teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to form a student program to further develop research into the applications of aquaporin. Two Chinese companies are also involved.
According to a report issued in August 2019 by Bridge Market Research, The global tubular membrane market is projected to be US$ 137.33 billion by 2026. This increase in market value stems from a growing interest and concern for the environment and a lack of freshwater sources, leading to increased interest in water treatment and purification systems.
Alongside Aquaporin, a host of companies are now involved: MICRODYN-NADIR; Filtration Group Corporation; Dynatec Systems; Spintek; Pentair plc; Berghof Membranes; Duraflow LLC; Hyflux Ltd.; Athersys Inc.; BASF SE; Lenntech B.V.; Markel Corporation; Synder Filtration, Inc.; Koninklijke DSM N.V.; Koch Membrane Systems, Inc.; ASTOM Corporation; KATMAJ Filtration; CleaNsep Systems; Advent Envirocare Technology Pvt. Ltd.; SEPRA S.r.l.; M.W. Watermark, L.L.C.; Christian Bürkert GmbH & Co. KG and SUEZ.
What you can do: Be frugal in your use of fresh drinking water and selective in your choice of bottles
Solutions created by start-ups need funding to kick-start them.
Created by entrepreneur Michael Sullivan in 2006, crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing sources of funds for any new venture. It is a method of funding a venture or project through the collective efforts of family, friends, customers and individual investors. There are many crowdfunding platforms or websites that investors can use. Crowdfunding is a particularly well-suited idea for any green business.
In 2008, Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell of San Francisco, California launched an “all or nothing” crowdfunding website they called “Indiegogo.” Powered by curiosity, the Indiegogo community has helped bring more than 800,000 innovative ideas to life since 2008.
Today, Indiegogo’s group of backers is more than 9 million strong, representing 235 countries and territories. While it covers every industry, it has a section called Environment. With the right idea, entrepreneurs have reason to be optimistic.
We wrote about some solutions for ccoral reefs in Solution #84 Here are some more.
Coral Vita, a coral reef restoration company set up 2015 in Washington, DC by Yale University grads Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern.
Using a process called micro-fragmentation pioneered by the Mote Marine Laboratory, Coral Vita uses a terrestrial farm in Palmas, USA, to grow coral. The system accelerates coral growth up to 50 times the natural rate or from decades to 6-18 months.
This is perfect for many coral species such as Brain or Great Star that serve as critical building blocks for reefs, but grow too slowly to be feasible for restoration projects using ocean-based nurseries. Coral Vita can grow these corals in months rather than decades.
In 2019, Coral Vita created the world’s coral regrowth farm in Grand Bahama, including electrical installation, plumbing and aquaculture tanks. The farm aims to restore the island’s corals reefs, featured in the Netflix film “Chasing Coral,” and provide restoration projects with hardier corals by working together with scientists, communities, coral farmers, businesses, investors and governments.
Although the initial plan is to grow about 10,000 corals per year and serve as an education and visitation center, the long-term goal is to be growing millions of corals every year, restoring reefs worldwide. (coralvita.com)
From 2017, a team led by H. Malleshappa, head of the Tamil Nadu State Climate Change Cell have deployed a semi-circle of concrete artificial coral reef modules 820 ft (250 m) from the vulnerable Vaan Island in the Gulf of Munnar.
Each module is 8 ft (2.5 m) in width, 6.6 ft (2 m) in height and 3ft (1 m) in longitudinal length, and weighs 2 tons (1.8 tonnes) In the first two phases, 4,600 modules have been deployed in eight months. Following signs of regenerat, with the funding from Adaptation Fund, the total number of artificial reefs is being increased to 10,000 in two layers.
In 2019, scientists working on Project Coral at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach in Tampa have spawned an Atlantic pillar coral in a lab setting. www.flaquarium.org
This is a world-first coral reef restoration and research advancement in which Atlantic coral, living for several years at the Center as part of a genetic archive, has been reproduced through induced spawning, setting a new stage for saving coral reefs in Florida and the Caribbean. Project Coral works in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens to create coral spawn, or large egg deposits, in a lab.
Jamie Craggs, aquarist at the Horniman Aquarium started Project Coral and in 2013 became the first organization globally to develop protocols that replicate natural reef conditions, and the triggers for mass spawning events, in the lab, to predict and induce land-based spawning in a fully closed aquarium lab setting in order to investigate, counter and repair the impact of climate change on coral reef health and reproduction.
The team started working on the research in 2014 with the Staghorn coral, but then the focus shifted to pillar coral because of a disease that has been devastating to the Florida Reef Tract. Pillar coral are now classified as almost extinct since the remaining male and female clusters are too far apart to reproduce. This conservation effort enables coral sexual reproduction to occur entirely outside of the ocean using innovative technology. It also opens up the potential for coral de-extinction.
Researchers led by Prof Jörg Wiedenmann at The Coral Reef Laboratory of the University of Southhampton, England have discovered that in warming oceans when some corals, instead of bleaching white, suddenly display fluorescent coloring they are fighting to survive.(Southampton.ac.uk)
POSCO (Pohang Steel Company) in conjunction with the Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST) and the Korean government have developed Triton, an artificial reef produced by steel slag, to create a healthy environment for marine life.
POSCO has supplied 1,418 units of Triton for marine forest projects such as artificial fish reefs executed by the government and municipalities. Triton is naturally made with high %ages of iron and calcium, which work to create the ideal conditions for seaweed and algae spore growth, and purifies contaminated sediment. These reefs can also help reef populations migrate to cooler waters. (poscoenc.com)
Siddharth Pillai, a teenage Class XI student from BD Somani School, Mumbai, India has found a way to make modular artificial reefs using 3D printing. He has named them after the late Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington.
In early 2019, several porous Linkin Park blocks, a combination of dolomite and cement in a 10-90 per cent ratio, weighing 24 lb (11 kg) each, were dropped near Puducherry in the Laccadive Sea. This design is replicable as well as stackable, enabling reefs as high as 3ft (1 m) and as wide as 66 ft (20 m) on the ocean bed. (bdsomaniinternationalschool.com)
Another solution has been developed during 2019 by David Branthôme, director of the Limousin Aquarium, and the I.Ceram company in Limoges, France: coral cuttings are installed on a piece of alumina (a special ceramic). Since ceramic is neutral, it does not have the disadvantages of plastic or concrete supports. (aquariumdulimousion.com)
Architects and scientists at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have developed a novel method of repairing a coral reef in the nearby Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park – they have designed and 3D-printed 128 hexagonal clay tiles whose complex structures encourages coral attachment.
Maoz Fine and a team at Bar-Ilan University, together with the coral research lab at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences on the Gulf of Aqaba in Eilat, Israel Israel having analysed why Red Sea corals are more resilient are investigating how their lessons could be used to influence coral reef health and resilience in the central Pacific Islands. (life-sciences.biu.ac.il)
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its partners – including Southern Cross University – have also successfully pioneered a technique dubbed ‘coral IVF’ or larval reseeding. It is the first project of its kind to re-establish a population of juvenile corals from larvae settling directly on the reef in the hope the coral withstands the increasing threats to the reef. www.scu.edu.au
The team collects spawn from heat-tolerant corals that have survived bleaching, and rear millions of baby corals in specially designed tanks and coral nursery pools on the reef before delivering them onto target areas of damaged reefs to restore and repopulate them.
Divers use fine mesh nets to capture the microscopic eggs and sperm that float to the surface.The spawn is then placed in floating enclosures, designed by Professor Peter Harrison where they grow for up to a week before reseeding the baby corals (larvae) onto damaged reefs.
In another world first, robots are giving nature a helping hand by playing ‘stork” and delivering coral babies onto damaged reefs as part of the coral IVF technique. Known as LarvalBots, they are loaded with the coral larvae and cruise a LarvalBot trial just above the reef, spitting out the baby coral directly onto the targeted areas. a trial this year re-seeded an area of 3-hectares in just six hours.
What you can do: Adopt a coral at Coral Reef, join a coral conservation group or make a donation to their growing numbers.
Plastic Christmas trees, silver, white or green, made with petrochemicals, take centuries to break down in a landfill, as does metal coated wrapping paper.
Getting a live Christmas tree with the root ball attached is by far the most eco-friendly Christmas tree, because you can plant it out and watch it grow over the years
The Marldon Christmas Tree Farm on the edge of Paignton, Devon, England, selling half a million trees a year is just one example. The trees are all grown as organically as possible. Used trees and those that don’t make the grade are mulched and turned into compost – making the soil for future generations of trees.
Marldon is linked with a group that grows 10 million a year, all of them capturing carbon dioxide before finishing in homes.
Christmas over, many town councils offer a system for communal recycling and mulching.
As for the coloured lights on the tree, these can be LED, while the tinsel decorations can be made from bio-materials such as straw, bamboo, felt, wool, cardboard, then stored away until next Christmas.
As for the presents brown paper and hemp string can wrap up eco-friendly gifts, while food and drink can also be organically produced.
A Frugal Christmas can also be a Happy one!
What you can do: Make sure that your frugal Christmas is fun!
Bleached coral reefs are dying around the world due to ocean anthropogenic global warming.
Bring down the temperatures of the waters around the reefs by bringing up cooler water from deeper in the ocean. The problem is finding a long enough pipe.
Mo Ehsani, the Centennial Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona has developed innovative solutions for infrastructure renewal and repair for over 30 years.
Having pioneered the field of repair and strengthening of structures using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) products Ehsani left the full time academic world in 2010 to devote his time to the management of QuakeWrap, Inc., a company he founded in 1994.
His products have been used in the construction industry to repair high pressure pipelines, freeway underpasses, marine piles, historical structures and more.
One of these products, called StifPipe®, received the 2016 ASCE Innovation Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers as the world’s first green and sustainable pipe.
His game-changing technology for onsite-manufactured continuous pipe, called InfinitPipe, plays a significant part in the proposed coral reef bleaching answer through piping that is long enough to continually feed cooler water from nearby greater depths to the heat-stressed coral in the shallows.
The Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. In 2010 Nirmal Shah and a team of Reef Rescuers of the Nature Seychelles set about restoring the coral bleaching within Cousin Island Special Reserve.
Utilising the ‘coral gardening’ concept, fragments of healthy coral were collected, raised in underwater nurseries and then transplanted onto a degraded reef. In eight years, 50,000 corals have been raised in underwater nurseries, of which over 24,000 were successfully transplanted, covering the area of a football field 5,600 ft² (5,225 m2).
Based on this experience, in December 2019, Nature Seychelles presented their toolkit to provide guidelines on how to complete a successful coral restoration project at the Reef Futures Symposium held in Key Largo, Florida. Six participating countries in the India Ocean, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius and Rodrigues have benefitted from the solution.
What you can do: Make a donation to Nature Seychelles.
Today’s world population is 7.6 billion, and the United Nations projects that by 2100, the world population will be 11.2 billion. Can the Earth’s resources feed this many people?
Alongside ethical family planning, sterilisation and vasectomy, the contraceptive should be regarded as a planet-protecting measure. One solution is the condom, a sheath-shaped barrier device, used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.
Early contraceptives were biodegradable. The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC) describes a vaginal plug of lint, ground acacia branches and honey. Condoms, made of silk, were not always effective.
The ancient condom was found in Lund, Sweden, and is believed to have been made and used around 1640 A.D. It is made from pig intestine, although before latex, condoms made of sheepskin or intestine were not uncommon. Condoms made of dried sheep intestines were used by Roman soldiers to protect themselves during long campaigns away from home.
Neither rubber condoms which became available in 1855, nor latex condoms since the 1920s are biodegradable. About six to nine billion are sold a year. New innovations continued to occur in the condom market, with the first polyurethane condom, branded Avanti and produced by the manufacturer of Durex, introduced in the 1990s.
With the advent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Defiency Syndrome), the protective condom as mass-produced by Durex became even more popular. Worldwide condom use is expected to continue to grow: one study predicted that developing nations would need 18.6 billion condoms by 2015.
Biodegradable, latex condoms damage the environment when disposed of improperly and they also contain preservatives and hardening agents to make sure the rubber can withstand a fair amount of friction, making it harder for the condoms to break down in the landfill.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, condoms, along with certain other types of trash, cover the coral reefs and smother sea grass and other bottom dwellers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also has expressed concerns that many animals might mistake the litter for food.
The only biodegradable condom is made of a biological material, lambskin, made from the intestinal membrane of a lamb as used by the Romans, hence non-Vegan.
One such is the “Trojan”, a brand name of condoms and sexual lubricants manufactured by the Church & Dwight Company of Ewing Township, New Jersey. Although biodegradable it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. (churchdwight.com)
There are other methods. In 1951, the oral contraceptive pill was invented by Gregory G. Pincus and Min Chuch Chang, biologists at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Research, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in collaboration with Dr John Rock, obstetrician-gynaecologist of the Brookline Reproductive Clinic, Boston and again in collaboration with Dr Carl Djerassi of the Syntax Corporation, Mexico, who discovered the progestogenic agent, 19-Norsteroids. The US Food and Drug Administration approved “the pill” for public use in 1961, after extensive trials in Puerto Rico and Haiti.
The downside are the hormones in the pill, either progestin or a combination of progestin and synthetic estrogen, known as endocrine disruptors: women who take the pill end up passing some of them through their urine.
If they make it through the wastewater systems, the hormones can flush into rivers and streams altering fish reproductive systems and damaging ecosystem dynamics. The minipill is only made with progestin, a man-made form of the hormone progesterone made by the body.
Then there is the intrauterine device (IUD). During the late 1950s these were made of plastic with a nylon string. U.S. physician Howard Tatum’s innovation of the copper IUD in the 1960s brought with it the capital ‘T’ shaped design used by most modern IUDs. Together, Tatum and Chilean physician Jaime Zipper discovered that copper could be an effective spermicide and developed the first copper IUD, TCu200.
Not only does this contraceptive have incredible 99-plus % effectiveness, but it also requires just one small plastic T—either wrapped in copper or holding synthetic progesterone hormone—to prevent pregnancies for 3 to 12 years.
Physical waste is nearly nonexistent. Copper IUDs use up less than one tenth of an ounce (0.3 gm) of copper. Hormonal IUDs release small quantities of synthetic progesterone directly into the uterus, meaning that most of the hormone stays exactly where it is needed. In short, for the Planet, IUDs are the lesser of the three evils.
What you can do: When family planning, think carefully of your SOLUTION for our crowding Planet.
When people die, usually one of two things happens to their bodies: either they are buried below ground in caskets, or they are cremated, reduced to bone fragments by intense heat.
Cemeteries take up space and crematoria emit carbon dioxide. Both cremation and conventional burial leave just over a metric ton of carbon per body.
Naturally composting human cadavers
Zoroastrians had a different approach: to preclude the pollution of earth or fire, the bodies of the dead were placed atop a tower and so exposed to the sun and to birds of prey.
The roof was divided into three concentric rings: The bodies of men are arranged around the outer ring, women in the second circle, and children in the innermost ring.
Once the bones had been bleached by the sun and wind, which can take as long as a year, they were collected in an ossuary pit at the center of the tower, where they gradually disintegrate and the remaining material, with run-off rainwater, ran through multiple coal and sand filters before being eventually washed out to sea.
White Eagle Memorial Preserve (WEMP) in Klickitat County, Washington was founded in 2008 so people could be buried in natural surroundings without embalming, caskets or headstones. It is certified as a Conservation Burial Ground by the Green Burial Council, a national non-profit certifying body.
WEMP spans 20 acres (8 ha) set within 1138 acres (461 ha) of permanently protected oak and ponderosa forest, meadow and steppe on the edge of spectacular Rock Creek Canyon near the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Deer, coyote, cougar, eagles, wild turkeys, steelhead in the canyon creek, western grey squirrels, rattlesnakes, the occasional bear or lynx live and die freely.
Paris has opened its first green cemetery at Ivry-sur-Seine. Part of the already-existing cemetery has been dedicated to eco-friendly burials, meaning that Parisians concerned about the lasting ecological impact of their funerals can now rest in peace.
The cemetery will do away with gravestones, replacing them with wooden markers that the city of Paris has said it will replace every ten years. Coffins and urns must be made out of biodegradable materials, either cardboard or unvarnished local wood, and bodies must be clothed in natural biodegradable fibres. They cannot, of course, be embalmed with formaldehyde.
Katrina Spade was studying architecture when she learned about livestock composting and wondered if the some practice could be applied for humans.
She earned a BA in anthropology from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, then turned her focus to sustainable design while attending Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. At Yestermorrow, Spade helped to build a Pain Mound – a compost-based bioenergy system invented by Jean Pain that can produce heat for up to 18 months.
She first drafted her plans for a ‘human composting’ facility in 2012 while earning her Master’s degree in architecture and design, which she completed in 2013. In 2014, she was awarded a climate fellowship from the Echoing Green Foundation.
This enabled her to start a 501c3 nonprofit called the Urban Death Project involving an urban crematorium (bodies go in, remains come out), but using the slower, less carbon-intensive means of “organic reduction,” or composting. Spade alternately describes this process as “cremation by carbon.”
To research the process of cadaver decomposition into soil, Spade collaborated with Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, a Professor of Sustainable and Organic Agriculture at Washington State University. They developed a carbon-and nitrogen-heavy mixture of wood chips, alfalfa and straw.
They found that natural organic reduction turns bodies into two wheelbarrows full of soil within 30 days. In 2017, Spade closed the nonprofit and started Recompose in Seattle, Washington, as a public-benefit corporation. In 2018 she was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship
In November 2018, Washington State Senator Jamie Pedersen pre-filed a bill to legalize this human composting, also known as “recomposition.” This law, passed on Tuesday May 21, 2019, made Washington the first state in the United States to allow the practice. The Act also legalized alkaline hydrolysis, the dissolving of bodies in a pressurized vessel with water and potassium hydroxide, or lye, a process which is already legal in 16 states.
Recompose estimates that one metric ton of CO2 is saved for every person who opts to compost a body instead of burning it. This is equivalent to taking a gas-powered car off the road for about three months.
Spade should start composting by 2021 hosting 750 bodies annually, 20 to 25 at a time. Spiritually and emotionally, there are those who are against this system. They are happy to have their ashes scattered, but do not wish to use the compost of a loved one to improve plant growth. (recompose.life)
In the Netherlands, Bob Hendrikx and a team at the Delft University of Technology have developed a living coffin made from mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that takes the form of a mass network of white filaments referred to as hyphae.
The Living Cocoon helps the body to ‘compost’ more efficiently, removes toxic substances, and produces richer conditions in which to grow (new) trees and plants. The first funeral with a mycelium-based coffin took place in September 2020.
What you can do: When you die, consider leaving the lowest carbon mortal footprint possible
Reforestation must also take place in arid and degraded land and saplings must be protected during the first months of their life.
A biodegradable cardboard donut to protect tree seedlings.
In 2013 Arnout Asjes, Harrie Lövensteain, an arid land agronomist, and Jurriaan Ruys at the Land Life Company in Amsterdam had an innovative idea: to develop a system that enables trees to grow in arid and degraded land.
This is a 100% they call the cocoon which can hold 6.6 gallons (25 liters) of water underground to aid a seedling’s first critical year. Plantation is mapped using an AI database on land conditions.
In Matamorisca, Land Life intervened in 42 acres (17 ha) of barren land owned by the regional government and peppered them with Cocoons. Around 16,000 oaks, ashes, walnuts, rowans, and whitebeams were planted in May 2018, and the company reports that 96% of them survived that year’s scorching summer without extra irrigation, a critical mi.tone for a young tree.
The three-year-old startup recently raised US$2.6 million to expand its mission to reforest the world’s 865 million acres (2 billion ha) of degraded land. By 2030, the goal is to reach 350 million has – 20% more land than India
What you can do: If you are planning to plant trees in arid areas, check out Cocoons from the Land Life Company.
How to get politicians to take action on climate change?
In November, 150 French citizens, male and female, were drawn by lot and given eight months to discuss and form their solutions for the Planet.
On Sunday June 21, 2020, La Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC) presented French President Emmanuel Macron with nearly one hundred proposals around five axes relating to the fight against global warming: produce and work, shelter, feed, move, consume.
Objective: a reduction of “at least 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”. These include making energy renovation of 20 million buildings compulsory by 2040, quadrupling the amount of the bicycle fund to 200 million Euros per year, which would finance bicycle paths, increasing the bonus for hybrid and electric cars by 25%, the deployment of short food circuits, and the curbing of overconsumption.
In response, the President pledged an additional €15 billion ($16.9 billion) to help address the issue, although not all the solutions have been adopted
On a European Union level, the month before, Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, proposed an alliance for a green recovery.
This movement, which brings together together 80 ministers, MEPs, CEOs, NGOs & Trade Unions joined by around thirty CEOs (Ikea, Unilever, Danone, Saint-Gobain, H & M, etc.) In her Green Deal, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen promised a “green, digital and resilient future”.
What you can do: Join or create a citizen’s convention in your country
Four to six-seater privately owned automobiles are seldom full, creating massive traffic holdups and emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gas.
Carpooling or ridesharing consists of a private vehicle owner sharing their ride with others.
It first became prominent in the United States as a rationing tactic during World War II. It returned in the mid-1970s due to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. It was also known as “hitch-hiking”.
At that time the first employee vanpools were organized at Chrysler and 3M. Recently, however, The Commuter Benefit system linked to the Internet has facilitated growth for carpooling and the commute share mode has grown to 10.7% in 2005.
In 2007 with the advent of smart phones and commercially available GPS, computer programmers John Zimmer and Logan Green, from Cornell University and the University of California, Santa Barbara respectively, rediscovered and created carpooling system called Zimride.
This was a precursor to Lyft launched in the summer of 2012 which operates in 640 cities in the United States and 9 cities in Canada. It develops, markets, and operates the Lyft mobile app, offering car rides, scooters, and a bicycle-sharing system.
In China, since Didi Chuxing set up a carpooling service called Hitch in Beijing, Harbin, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Shenyang and Nantong, it has clocked more than a billion rides of trips less than 31 mi. (50 km.) in metro areas between 5am and 8pm for female users. Male users can enjoy the service till 11pm.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, provided social distancing and mask wearing are observed, carpooling, hand-in-hand with public transport systems, will remain most effective when all the vehicles involved are zero emission electric.