During the 1930s, when 32nd US President Franklyn D. Roosevelt enacted his New Deals, the most popular of all, and much loved by the President, was The Civilian Conservation Corps which enrolled 3.4 million young men who built 13,000 mi (21,000 km) of trails, planted two billion trees.
On January 21, 2020, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland launched a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world over the next decade – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.
The 1t.org project aims to unite governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals in a “mass-scale nature restoration”. A day ahead of its official launch, the initiative even received the support of US President Donald Trump.
The Forum acknowledged the work of existing reforestation schemes such as the Bonn Challenge, the Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration, and the work of many environmental NGOs like American Forests, or the Trillion Trees Initiative (led by Birdlife International, WCS and WWF UK). 1t.org is an opportunity to help join-up these initiatives in a unifying platform.
1t.org is financed by Marc and Lynne Benioff, CEOs of cloud-based software company Salesforce which is contributing in the form of WEF’s UpLink, a new digital platform built to bring 300 stakeholders of all sizes, to solve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include taking on climate change.
Second, in support of the 1t.org mission, Salesforce has set a goal to support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade. 1t.org will encourage and enable millions more grassroots reforestation champions by providing a digital platform to connect them with the opportunities, tools and resources they need to thrive.
In its report “Our Future in the Land”, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, set up by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has proposed a voluntary scheme that would involve people aged 18 to 25 taking up agricultural work in rural communities, including the planting of trees.
This National Nature Service could be targeted at young people from disadvantaged communities, as well as retirees who have “time and resources to do the work”. In June 2020, Wildlife and Countryside Link – a coalition of UK-wide organisations a coalition of e-NGOs petitioned the UK Government to invest in a NNS.
In the original study to target 1 trillion trees, Thomas Crowther and a team at ETH Zürich found that before the Agricultural Revolution, there were almost 6 trillion trees on the planet. Today, the Crowther Lab estimates there are about 3 trillion covering about 2.7 billion ha (around 10.4 million mi²)] of land. They made a map that essentially evaluates where trees would naturally exist and with that, it can be observed that there is room for vastly more trees than there currently are.
While it is impossible to plant in agricultural or urban areas, once those are eliminated, about 0.9 billion ha (about 3.5 million mi²) remain, or about a third of the area those 3 trillion trees currently occupy. Such an initiative should also accompany the protection of existing sequestration areas such as the Amazon Rain Forest.
What you can do: Join a tree-planting team such as the National Nature Service.
Collectively the world human population of almost 8 billion releases about 73 metric tons of methane and 1000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by farting just 14 times a day. This is equivalent to roughly 1,000 people flying from New York to Los Angeles, daily.
Peppermint tea (Mentha piperita), is a most pleasant solution for reducing flatulence. In 2014, world production of peppermint was 92,296 tonnes, 92% of which is produced by Morocco renowned for its traditional tea drinking ceremony using organically grown leaves.
There are other solutions. Eat more slowly and mindfully. Cut back on gas-producing foods and gaseous drinks, indulging in a lower fibre diet. Eat less meat so reducing the requirement for methane-producing cattle. Try drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal to help your stomach digest better.
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. Once you take activated charcoal (via liquid or pill) in moderation, it attaches to fluid in your gut, potentially reducing gas and bloating and creating firmer stools.
What you can do: Use the above solutions to reduce your own “breaking wind.”
An estimated 8.8 million tons ( 8 million tonnes) of plastic waste finds its way into our oceans every year, and that burden is expected to grow. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is located between California and Hawaii is the area where plastic rubbish accumulates because of ocean currents, known as gyres which act such as a vortex pulling waste into a central channel. It is around three times the size of Spain.
A floating barrier that collects marine debris as the system is pushed by wind, waves and current, and slowed down by a sea anchor.
The Ocean Cleanup was founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, of Croatian origin, living in the Netherlands. In 2011, at age 16, Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project to deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up.
He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012. He founded the non-profit Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and shortly after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on several news sites.
After foundation, The Ocean Cleanup managed to raise US$2.2 million through a crowdfunding campaign with the help of 38,000 donors from 160 countries. In June 2014, the Ocean Cleanup published a 528-page feasibility study.
As a planet-protecting solution, the prototype consisted of 2000 ft (600 m.) long, U-shaped floating cylinder with a 9ft (2.74 m) skirt beneath which moves along with the current capturing plastic as it goes.
It is attached to a central platform shaped like a manta ray for stability. The barriers would direct the floating plastic to the central platform, which would remove the plastic from the water.
The refuse is then picked up by boat every few months and taken to land for processing and recycling. In 2014, the design was revised, replacing the central platform with a tower detached from the floating barriers. This platform would collect the plastic using a conveyor belt.
On June 22, 2016, The Ocean Cleanup deployed a 330 ft (100 m.)-long barrier segment in the North Sea, 14.2 mi. (23 km) off the coast of The Netherlands. It was the first time the design was put to the test in open waters and the tests conducted gave valuable insights to the engineering team.
Making modifications on a small scale structure 10 mi. offshore is relatively easy. In contrast, making corrections on a large scale structure 1,609 km (1,000 mi.) offshore would be an entirely different challenge, at a different cost.
The test indicated that conventional oil containment booms could not endure the harsh environments the system would face. They changed the floater material to a hard-walled HDPE pipe, which is flexible enough to follow the waves, and rigid enough to maintain its open U-shape. More prototypes were deployed to test component endurance.
On September 9, 2018, System 001 (nicknamed Wilson in reference to the floating soccer ball in the 2000 film Cast Away) deployed from San Francisco. The ship Maersk Launcher towed the system to a position 286 mi (440 km) off the coast, where it was put through a series of sea trials. When the tests were complete, it was towed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for real-world duty.
Research by the foundation found that, at its peak, the patch contains around 330lbs (150 kg.) of plastic per square mile, reducing to 33lbs (15 kg.) at the outer edges. Wilson arrived on October 16, 2018, and was deployed in operational configuration. System 001 encountered difficulties retaining the plastic collected. The system collected debris, but soon lost it because the barrier traveled too slowly.
In November, the project attempted to widen the mouth of the U by 195-230 ft. (60-70m.) but failed. A 60-foot chunk of the Ocean Cleanup device, deployed with much fanfare in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in October, has broken off and the entire plastic collection system will now be towed back to port for an overhaul and upgrade. The break was discovered on Dec. 29 during a routine inspection by the cleanup system’s crew. A 60-foot (18 m.) end section of the 2,000-foot (600 m.) boom that corrals the plastic had detached
Shortly thereafter, the rig began its journey to Hawaii for inspection and repair. During the two months of operation, the system had captured some 4,400 lb. (2,000 kg.) of plastic. In mid-January 2019, Wilson completed its 800 mi (1,290 km.) journey and arrived in Hilo Bay, Hawaii. Ocean Cleanup anticipates the repaired system being back in action by summer.
In July 2019, the improved System 001B its size reduced by a factor of 3, returned towards the GPGP Vortex. A string of huge inflatable buoys had been attached across the system’s opening to add to the windage of the system and pull it through the water faster. If that failed, the team would hoist a huge parachute to the opening.
Measuring 65 ft (20 m.) across, to serve as an anchor of sorts, slowing the system down so that it travels at around the same speed as the water. It has also reduced the size of the barrier by a factor of three and taken a more modular approach to its construction, allowing the team to deploy the system faster and make certain alterations without towing it back to shore.
In October, Boyan Slat tweeted that System 001B had successfully captured and retained debris.
Alongside a picture of the collected rubbish, which includes a car wheel, Slat wrote: “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?” The plastic gathered was brought to shore in December for recycling.
The project believes there may be a premium market for items that have been made using plastic reclaimed from the ocean. “I think in a few years’ time when we have the full-scale fleet out there, it should be possible to cover the operational cost of the cleanup operation using the plastic harvested,” Slat said.
In February 2020, the Globus Family of Brands, which includes Globus, Cosmos, Monograms, and Avalon, launched a new promotion in hopes of supporting The Ocean Cleanup. Globus is making a donation to The Ocean Cleanup every time a client opts for e-docs, rather than paper documents, when booking a trip.
For inshore cleaning, The Ocean Cleanup presented its latest invention in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a solar-electric trash-collecting barge called The Interceptor. The Interceptor aims to collect low-hanging fruit, plastic trash, as it voyages down the world’s most polluted rivers before reaching the sea.
When the vessel is anchored to the riverbed, a floating arm extends into the river’s current to catch plastic and direct it into the Interceptor’s open maw, where it is hauled from the water and put into dumpsters, which can be removed for recycling.
Four Interceptors have already been built, and two are operational, one on the Klang River that flows through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and one on the Cengkareng Drain, which flows through Jakarta, Indonesia. The other two are destined for Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.
Outfitted with li-ion batteries and an array of solar panels, Interceptors can operate day or night, without producing noise or pollution. The organization estimates that a single Interceptor could remove as much as 110,000 lb (50,000 kg) of plastic trash a day from a polluted river, and claims that because the arm will not completely span the river, it will not impede boat traffic or local wildlife. The idea is to implement the Interceptor as a scalable solution that can be mass-produced to meet needs around the world.
By placing Interceptors in 1,000 strategic locations in rivers around the world, the Ocean Cleanup could halt 80% of plastic from entering the oceans in five years’ time.
On October 25th 2020 Ocean Cleanup launched its first “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” product, The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses made from the recycled plastic, designed in California by Yves Behar, made in Italy by Safilo. Recycled plastic was also used for the sunglasses’ case is made from the HDPE floater of System 001 (aka Wilson), and the carrying pouch is made from recycled PET bottles.
With a similar approach, Marcella Hansch, an architectural student of Aachen, Germany, has invented “Pacific Garbage Screening”, a floating platform with a distinctive design that makes it possible to filter plastic particles out of the water from both oceans and rivers.
The platform is an anchored object, so it has no drive and needs no fuel, and works like an inverted sedimentation basin. Its architectural form calms down the ocean currents and then because of the calming and the low density of plastics, the plastic particles float to the surface. There is no need for filter systems such as nets. This means fish and other ocean life will not be harmed.
For this design, Hansch not only received the “25 Women Award – Women, whose inventions change our lives” from the magazine Edition F but also the German Federal Ecodesign Award in the category Young Talent.
The Pacific Garbage Screening ngo has funding from both Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Oris and German sanitary fittings manufacturer Grohe so that together with an interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, engineers and marine biologists, the trained architect is working on the creation of the platform to be implemented within the next five years. (theoceancleanup.com)
In the closed sea which is the Mediterranan, swelling with 600,000 tons of plastic every year. Co-founded by Pierre-Ange Giudicelli, the Mare Vivu association based at Pinu on the island of Corsica has organized the CorSeaCare 2.0 mission to inform the public about the harmful effects of single-use plastic and to clean up the coastline using a low-tech system that allows used plastic to be recycled. This includes members going out along the beaches or in their boats, catamarans and kayaks, and picking up plastic waste.
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.
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.
Lagos, the most populous city in Africa (24 million) is also one of its most vulnerable to sea level rise and floods. But during the rainy seasons, the city’s streets can become almost impassable. If global warming exceeds 2C, the city is predicted to see 90cm of sea level rise by 2100, according to research led by marine physicist Svetlana Jevrejeva, of the UK’s National Oceanography Centre.
Floating structures, ferryboat fleet, the Great Wall of Lagos, and groynes.
The suburb of Makoko, known as the “Venice of Africa”, is a labyrinthine slum built on stilts and navigated by canoe. The Makoko Floating School is a structure resting on recycled empty plastic barrels for buoyancy.
The school’s pyramid shape helped lower its centre of gravity and so increase its stability, while also being an ideal roof shape for shedding heavy rains
A floating music hub made from timber and consists of three floating vessels housing a multipurpose live performance hall, a state-of-the-art recording studio and a platform for thirsty guests. This is part of NLÉ’s African Water Cities project, which seeks to find new ways for waterfront communities to live with rising sea levels.
The Lagos State Waterways Authority now runs more than 42 ferry routes on the waterways with 30 commercial jetties and terminals spanning across three districts.
One prominent defence against rising waters is the “Great Wall of Lagos”, a barrier made of 100,000 concrete blocks weighing five tonnes each. The 18m-high (60 ft) sea defence protects a stretch of shoreline by Lagos’ Eko Atlantic, a development being built on reclaimed land, and will be 8.4km long when completed.
Other structures to protect the sea include constructing 18 groynes on the shores of the Eko Atlantic. A groyne is a structure built to trap sand and prevent it from washing into the ocean. Those installed at Eko Atlantic are each spaced 400m (1,300ft) apart and span a distance of 7.2km (4.5 miles). Further groynes have been proposed to cover up to 60km (37.3 miles) of the state’s coastline
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.
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.
For several years, Robert Downey Jr. made a great deal of money portraying billionaire industrialist Tony Stark “Iron Man” in the box office success Marvel Cinematic Universe films; Stark is a chief weapons manufacturer for the U.S. military, until he has a change of heart and redirects his technical knowledge into the creation of mechanized suits of armour which he uses to defend against those that would threaten peace around the world.
Off-set Downey pondered on how focused on how he might save the Earth in real-life rather than just on-screen?
In 2019, when Downey Jr. unveiled his new, sustainability focused initiative called the FootPrint Coalition at Amazon’s re:MARS conference it was little more than a static website and a subscription prompt.
The millionaire actor said that the goal of his initiative was to use robotics and artificial intelligence to clean up Earth and reverse its carbon footprint
By 2021 the FootPrint Coalition, with five portfolio companies working on solutions rather than “a smattering of elite mega-corporations, launched a rolling venture fund, Footprint Coalition Ventures at the World Economic Forum’s Digital Davos event.
With the new rolling fund, managed through AngelList, Downey Jr.’s initiative sits at the intersection of two of the biggest ideas reshaping the world economy — the democratization of access to capital and investment vehicles and the $10 trillion opportunity to decarbonize global industry. The firm has identified six investment areas: sustainability-focused consumer products and services; food and agriculture technology; materials and industrial tech; energy and transportation; education and media; and advanced environmental solutions.
Up to 2,000 investors are eligible to participate in each of the two funds (a limit set by SEC rules). Each backer must invest a minimum of $5,000 per quarter, meaning the first FootPrint Coalition Ventures funds could raise more than $80 million per year.
To promote its endeavours, the CV firm will tap into Downey Jr.’s creative team — and his huge social-media footprint, which comprises more than 100 million followers. The goal is to use storytelling to translate scientific concepts into accessible information to promote awareness and attract talent to the cause, according to Downey Jr.: “We want to turn complex subjects into culture-defining content, and offer our audience an opportunity to invest with us.”
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.
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.
Global warming means that some regions are stricken by historic droughts while at the same time ice from polar waters is melting at an equally unprecedented rate.
Take the cold water to the hot regions.
The volume of water that breaks off Antarctica as icebergs each year is greater than the total global consumption of freshwater. This does not include Arctic ice.
According to a National Geographic report, “the towering glaciers” of west Antarctica “are crumbling and melting, the rate speeding up over the decades and imperiling the stability of the entire ice sheet.”
Greenland is also reported to be losing its ice sheet at an alarming rate. With Europe’s heatwave reaching the Arctic, 11 billion tons (10 billion tonnes) of Greenland’s surface ice was lost to the sea in the biggest melt of the summer.
This is pure freshwater, effectively wasted as it melts into the sea and contributes to rising sea levels.
More icebergs come out of Antarctica than the total global consumption of freshwater. Every year this is around 140,000 icebergs, or 2,000 billion ton (1800 billion tonnes) of ice. These all melt in the sea.
This untapped flow of water has enticed scientists and entrepreneurs for over a century.
There were 19th-Century schemes to deliver by steam-boat to India, and to supply breweries in Chile. In the 1940s, John Isaacs of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute proposed towing an iceberg to San Diego to quench a Californian drought. The EU received proposals in the 2010s to tow an iceberg from Newfoundland to the Canary Islands.
The latest iceberg-towing schemes to emerge have come from Cape Town and the United Arab Emirates – two regions suffering from extreme and persistent water shortages.
In the spring of 2018, Cape Town came ominously near to ‘Day Zero’, the day the reservoirs could dry up and a city of four million people would run out of water. Personal use of water was limited to 50 liters per day.
When the rains finally came, Day Zero was averted, but perhaps only for another year. Meanwhile in the UAE, one of the world’s most arid states, the energy minister has declared water consumption a “huge concern” for the country, and that they were trying to find alternatives.
Since 1975, Saudi Prince Mohamed Al-Faisal, a nephew of the Saudi king, has wanted to tow an Antarctic iceberg across the equator to Saudi Arabia, and funded two international conferences on the subject.
He enlisted the help of French engineer Georges Mougin along with other engineers and a polar explorer, in a venture called “Iceberg Transport International.” Faisal planned on wrapping a 100-million-ton iceberg in sailcloth and plastic to keep it cool and tugging it from the North Pole to the Red Sea, though the cost was estimated at an exorbitant US$100 million.
For a swank conference on “iceberg utilization,” he even managed to ship, via helicopter, plane, and truck, a two-ton “mini-berg” from Alaska to Iowa, where the giant block of ice was chipped apart to chill delegates’ drinks. According to a Time report from October of 1977, Faisal predicted that he would have an iceberg in Arabia “within three years.”
Twenty years later Emirati businessman Abdulla Alshehi began to fund a project to ship an enormous Antarctic iceberg all the way to Perth. The 10-month endeavour will see an iceberg, measuring approximately 1.5 mi (2 km) by 540 yd (500 m), dragged by tugboat from Antarctic waters to the Arabian Gulf. It uses 3-D technology, recently declassified satellite data, and the new science of oceanic forecasting.
The large body could lose 30 % of its mass on the way over, but the Emirati “ice pirate” said enough would still be left over to provide fresh water to one million UAE residents over five years. The trial is set to take place in either Perth or Cape Town and if successful will see an even bigger chunk towed via tugboat to the Fujairah coast in the UAE. Generally, the weight of icebergs ranges from 100,000-200,000 metric tons.
An iceberg of that size can contain almost 25 to 50 million gallons (100 to 200 million liters) of fresh water. This would be a huge boon to the UAE which receives just 4 in (10 cm) of precipitation annually and receives much of its potable water from desalination.
In addition to providing water, the company hopes the introduction of the icebergs will have an impact on the environment. They claimed that melting icebergs will release freshwater into the Arabian Sea in a manner intended to “rebuild ecological balance, reduce seawater salinity caused by brine discharge from desalination plants and restore biodiversity.”
The company also claims that cold air from the iceberg parked off the coast could change the climate of the desert nations, generating year-round rainstorms.
Every year at least 500,000 people are killed by firearms, making small arms true “weapons of mass destruction”.
Recycling weapons for peaceful uses.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. -Isaiah 2:4
Since 2006, Luis Alberto Paredes of Bogota, one of Colombia’s top musical instrument makers, has fashioned “escopetarras” (Spanish) shotgun into electric guitars from decommissioned Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles once used by fighters caught up in the country’s lingering guerilla conflict.
He was inspired by local musician Cesar Lopez who says the idea came to him after the 2003 rebel car bombing of a Bogota social club that killed 36 people. Facing a soldier with a rifle outside the wrecked club, the musician noted the similarities between the weapon and his own guitar.
As part of a United Nations program to promote peace, Paredes receives the decommissioned rifles with the working parts welded together for safety.
Each year since 1994 thousands of handguns, rifles and automatic weapons, many of which were obtained by County Sheriff’s Department during criminal investigations and probation seizures, have been melted down at Gerdau Steel Mill in Rancho Cucamonga, about 37 mi. (60 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles. The resulting seismic rebar is then used to build highways and bridges.
In 2016, Peter Brune of international aid organization IM Swedish Development Partner introduced a metal made from destructed illegal firearms and available for commercial mass-production: Humanium Metal (Hu).
The first weapons destruction program dedicated to Humanium Metal by IM involving the melting 1825 illegal firearms. was held in November 2016 in El Salvador.
Working closely with the Salvadoran authorities, IM produced 110,000 lbs (50,000 kg.) of “Peace Metal”: Humanium. IM has since then worked closely with five Swedish brands to use Humanium in their products, including a wristwatch by Triwa and headphones by Yevo.
A second destruction program took place in Guatemala in early 2018, with Brazil and Colombia to follow. Humanium 316 SL Stainless Steel Powder has been developed for use in 3-D Printing. Artist Frank To of Falkirk, Scotland is using Hu alloy in his sculptures.
All products made with Humanium go towards funding for victims and projects aiming to rebuild conflict-torn societies. From November 2019, UNODA’s Department of Disarmament gave Humanium Metal a permanent stand in its permanent disarmament exhibition, visited by over 250,000 people each year at the UN headquarters in New York. (humanium.org)
What you can do: Visit humanium.org and purchase a stylish product made from destructed firearms.
Those who are to finance solutions need fiscal encouragement
Green bonds are designated bonds intended to encourage sustainability and to support climate-related or other types of special environmental projects.
They come with tax incentives such as tax exemption and tax credits, making them a more attractive investment compared to a comparable taxable bond.
It began in 2001, when voters in the City of San Francisco approved a revenue bond authority, in the form of a city charter amendment known as the “solar bonds,” to finance renewable energy and energy conservation measures on homes, businesses and government buildings so taking meaningful action on climate change.
Since then, green bonds have been growing rapidly. The total volume of green bonds was estimated at 160 billions of dollars on 2016; of which 70 billion were issued in 2016. The labelled volume of bonds issued in 2019 was US$ 255 billion.
The EU Green Bond Standard is a practical and secure financing tool to ensure the real economy investments create environmental impacts that fulfil Europe’s climate goals and other long-term environmental objectives.
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.
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
Educators in Bangladesh have a problem. Not only do they face many of the same challenges as teachers in other resource-poor countries — funding constraints, outdated textbooks, overcrowded classrooms — they also have to worry about monsoon rains. Flooding is so common in Bangladesh that students often cannot get to the classroom.
Architect and designer Mohammed Rezwan had considered dedicating his life to building schools and hospitals in flood-prone areas of the north-west, then he realized they would be underwater soon. Not only do floods cause the loss of lives and livelihoods, they also severely interrupt children’s education. So Rezwan started designing spaces on boats for school.
If children could not go to school, then the school should go to them. Working with local boat builders, he designed the schools by altering traditional Bangladeshi wooden boats, using native materials and building methods.
With a main cabin that can fit 30 children, the boats are 55 ft. (17 m.) long by 11 ft. (3m³5) wide incorporating a flat-bottomed hull, flexible wooden floors, top-hinged side windows for daylight and natural ventilation, arched metal beams for column-free spaces, outward-inclining bamboo and wood walls, and monsoon-proof curved roofs with large overhangs equipped with solar panels.
The floating school collects students from their homes, moors to the riverside and provides on-board small-group instruction. After school, students take home a recharged, low-cost solar lantern, which provides light at night by which they can study and women can do craftwork to earn extra income, which is also sold to community members to fund the initiative.
In the evening, the boats project educational programmes onto screens that people can watch from their homes. The project has even helped to develop floating crop beds to ensure year-round food supply and income for families in flood-prone areas.
In 2002 to finance his mission, Rezwan set up nonprofit organization Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha. Thanks to considerable donations, during the next sixteen years a fleet of over one hundred solar-powered boats with a lifespan of between 50 and 100 years were built serving close to 500,000 people in flood-prone areas.
They now serve as schools, providing free year-round primary education for children in riverbank communities; libraries fitted with books; Internet-linked computers, printers and mobile phones; health clinics offering free healthcare; and adult education centers that train parents and villagers on children’s and women’s rights, nutrition, health and hygiene, sustainable farming and climate change adaptation, such as the planting of flood-resistant crops.
Plying the waterways, they pull up alongside villages that would otherwise be too isolated to receive such support. Cultural norms restrict the movement of girls, meaning that many of them would not attend traditional school at all, but now education is delivered to their doorstep.
Shidhulai’s floating school model has spread across the world, and school boats serve children in flood-prone regions in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Zambia. In 2012, the organization won the U.N. Prize for Inspiring Environmental Action.
What you can do: Make a donation to Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha
Football is a wonderful sport to watch and play, but it also has its downsides: heaps of rubbish, squandering of water and a big CO2 footprint. The environmental consequences involve everything from building new stadiums, hotels, parking lots and other infrastructure to handling the sanitation from all those new toilets.
Eco-friendly football club
Forest Green Rovers (FGR) are a League 2 English association football club established in 1889 and based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, England.
In 2010, Dale Vince, OBE, British ‘green energy’ industrialist, and founder of Ecotricity, the world’s first green electricity company, became the club’s majority shareholder and since, with the support of the team, decided to completely transform football’s environmental footprint.
In December 2011, 180 solar panels were installed on the roof of the stadium stand, helping the club generate 10% of the electricity needed to run the stadium.
In April 2012, Forest Green introduced the first robot lawn mower to be used by a British football club on to its playing surface. The Etesia robot mower – known as a ‘mow bot’ – uses GPS technology to guide it round the pitch without the need for human intervention and gathers power from the solar panels at the stadium.
The club won the sustainability/environmental award from the Grounds Management Association thanks to their ground’s organic compost, rainwater harvesting system,
They’ve also made plans to replace their current floodlights with LEDs bulbs to further reduce their energy consumption by 60%
In 2014, the team received a message of support from Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney when they staged the world’s first plant-based football match and removed all animal-based products from the stadium’s menu. Food sales were 84% higher in the 2014 season with their mostly plant-based menu, and by late 2015, they had permanently removed all animal products, becoming the world’s first all-plant-based football club.
Hot dogs, meat pies and sausages were replaced with sweet potato burgers, Mexican fajitas, and veggie pizzas. The traditional beef burger is replaced by quinoa on a match day. Their beer and cider (provided by the Cotswold Brewing Company) are vegan. Bovril, popular manufacturer of a beef-based beverage for over a century, have produced a plant-based version for supporters to drink on cold evenings.
In 2019 planning permission was received to build the world’s first wooden eco-friendly stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
The 5,000 capacity stadium will be built within the Eco Park complex beside Junction 13 of the M5 in Gloucestershire, 1.5 miles west of the town of Stonehouse (and 8.5 miles northwest of their spiritual home of Nailsworth). Almost every element will be constructed of sustainably sourced timber, including the structure, roof cantilevers, and louvred cladding.
The stadium may be named KEVIN, after the world class footballer Kevin Keegan but which also rhymes with the word “vegan”
FGR Chairman Dale Vince is now involved with Sky Diamonds, which uses a “sky mining facility” in Gloucestershire to pull carbon out of the atmosphere to form the gemstones – which are chemically identical to diamonds mined from the earth – using wind and solar electricity, with water collected from rainfall
Forest Green Rangers is just one solution contributing to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. Among its 166 participants from all types of sport, Premier League Club Arsenal has planted 29,000 trees at the club’s training centre in London Colney since 1999 to create Colney Wood, it has installed LED lighting at its Emirates Stadium in Highbury London, and has a reusable cup scheme going during matches.
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.