Planet Care

221: Petráková’s 8th Continent


The live-giving ocean is suffering, and we need to help restore its balance for our planet’s survival. We can not achieve it only by technology, but we need an interdisciplinary platform to educate people and change their relationship with the marine environment for the generations to come.

Solution: “The 8th Continent”

Lenka Petráková, a Slovakian-born Senior Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects has come up with a design for a huge floating station that collects plastic debris from the water’s surface and breaks it down into recyclable material. She calls it The 8th Continent.

The structure is designed for the Pacific Ocean and it is composed of five main parts: the barrier, the collector, the research and education centre, greenhouses, and living quarters with support facilities.

The barrier serves to collect waste and harvest tidal energy. The waste is then sorted, biodegraded and stored in the collector. As well as cleaning up the water, Petráková also imagines the floating station as an interdisciplinary platform.

The research and education centre is, therefore, a place to study and demonstrate the increasingly worrying conditions of marine environments.

Each of the five parts is adapted to suit its function. The barrier floats on the water’s surface and moves waste towards the collector. the collection technology at the centre of the building is designed to optimize waste handling. the research and education centre is linked to the collector and greenhouses to follow the water processes and study them.

Greenhouses are shaped to optimize condensed water collection and resemble large sails to allow wind to navigate the station. The living quarters, public spaces and support facilities pass through the building’s centre and connect all parts, geometrically matching the ship’s keel.

Natural forces affect the station’s movement and position as well as the inside environment. The floating station is self-sufficient so the station’s elements must cooperate and optimize the power source.

The barrier also collects tidal energy, which powers the turbine to collect the waste. Solar panels cover greenhouses and ensure there is enough power for the water reservoirs’ heating, allowing the evaporation of water and its desalination.

After the wastewater extraction, the filtered clean water is pumped into the water tank and either desalinated or used for halophilic plants’ hydrophobic cultivation.

The 8th Continent was awarded the 2020 grand prix award for architecture and innovation of the sea following a competition launched by the Foundation Jacques Rougerie Génération Espace Mer – Institut de France

It has still to be built.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 222: The Earth Charter

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Planet Care

220: Nanosprings to break down microplastics


Up to 14 million tons of plastic enters the ocean annually, 40 percent of which is considered “single-use”, which means it goes into the water within the same year that it was produced. Most plastics never fully break down; they just fragment into smaller pieces called microplastics (5 millimetres across or smaller).

Microplastics have been found in every corner of the globe, from the deepest part of the Mariana Trench to the top of the French Pyrenees.


Nanosprings for breaking down microplastics

Xiaoguang Duag and a team at the University of Adelaide South Australia found that nanotechnology – which involves the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules – could be a solution to our plastic problem.

Duag and a team of scientists have created magnetic coils that will be used to break down microplastics using a chemical reaction.

These tiny magnetic coils are coated with nitrogen and manganese, causing a chemical reaction with oxygen molecules. This reaction can break down microplastics, turning them into environmentally friendly salt compounds, carbon dioxide and water. In a new study published in the journal Matter, scientists describe a new type of nanotechnology that could help: tiny magnetic “nano-coils” that create chemical reactions in order to break down microplastics in the ocean. The process converts the plastic into carbon dioxide and water.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 221: ‘The 8th Continent’

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Planet Care Your Home

216: Less thirsty rice


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


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

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

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

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

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 217: Indoor vertical farms

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Your Home Planet Care

211: Xeriscaping your lawn


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


Xeriscaping: lawns that are less thirsty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you can do: Xeriscape your lawn.

Discover Solution 212: Drone fireworks

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Planet Care

209: Predators as pesticides


Chemical insecticides kill off good insects as they do bad ones, and they poison the ecosystems on which crops and wildlife thrive


Using natural predators such as ladybird beetles as a form of pest control.

In 1888–1889 the vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis, a lady beetle, was introduced from Australia to California to control the cottony cushion scale, Icerya purchasi. This had become a major problem for the newly developed citrus industry in California, but by the end of 1889 the cottony cushion scale population had already declined.

This great success led to further introductions of beneficial insects into the US. A century later, the convergent lady beetles or bugs are a strong solution for the biological control of aphids. They will lay 600-700 eggs in batches of 40-50 close to the pests and during their larval stage, lady beetles will consume 600 aphids each and in doing so they help to protect crops.

Companies like Insect Lore have them for sale in batches of 1500 but often homeowners find them too expensive. The ladybugs should be released within one week of emerging from their pupal stage, preferably in the evening after sundown or in the morning before sunup.

Results of a study, published in June 2018 in Environmental Research Letters, demonstrated for the first time the economic benefit of using natural predators such as ladybird beetles as a form of pest control. The study estimated that cotton farmers in China could save more than US$300 million by doubling the density of ladybirds in their fields.

Discover Solution 210: Fighting rising seawater with The Great Wall of Lagos.

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Mobility Planet Care

192: Ships that cool ocean waters


Of climate catastrophes, hurricanes have caused by far the most damage. The cost of an average hurricane is US$21.6 billion and total damage from hurricanes hitting the U.S. between 1980 and April 2018 totals US$862 billion.


Prevent hurricanes by cooling the warming ocean waters that allow and encourage them to form.

While casualties from hurricanes since 1900 have numbered from a handful of fatalities to deaths in the low hundreds, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is by far the costliest and most devastating storm in U.S. history, causing 1,833 deaths and an estimated US$160 billion in damage.

After observing the damage wrought by Katrina, Stephen Hugh Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, began to study how to disperse hurricanes.

For ocean temperatures, the magic number for hurricane formation is 26.5° C (79.7° F). So what if you could nudge that number down early on and reduce the risks and intensities of ensuing storms?

To cool the surface of the ocean, Salter invented a wave-powered pump that would move warm surface water down to depths as far as about 650 ft. (200 m.).

It would be made from a 150 – 330 ft (50- 100 m.) diameter ring of thousands of tyres lashed together to support giant plastic tubes which extend 300 ft (100m) deep into the ocean.

The naturally working pumps would be located in “hurricane alley”, the warm corridor in the Atlantic through which the most damaging storms typically develop and pass. Salter estimated that about 150-450 of these structures would be required. They would drift around and send out radar signals so that no one would collide with them.

What became known as the “Salter Sink” was first presented to the US Government in 2005 at a post-Katrina US Homeland Security meeting on hurricane suppression.

It was picked up and developed by Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based new tech company led by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold. Despite devastating hurricanes such as Dorian (September 2019) which destroyed the Bahamas, the Salter Sink” system has still not been trialled except with 1/100 scale wave tank tests.

Stephen Salter’s other tactic for fighting hurricanes is making clouds a tiny bit brighter using aerosols, harnessing a phenomenon called the Twomey effect.

Twomey observed that for clouds containing the same amount of moisture, the clouds with smaller suspended water droplets reflect more sunlight.

The increased sunlight reflectance in the sky would keep the waters below from warming up to the hurricane threshold while also curbing evaporation, thereby reducing the atmospheric moisture needed to make a storm.

Working with John Latham, Salter proposes a fleet of around 1,500 unmanned Rotor ships, or Flettner ships, that would spray mist created from seawater into the air at a rate of approximately 1760 ft3 (50 m³) per second over a large portion of Earth’s ocean surface.

The large-scale test would affect an area of 10,000 km². The power for the rotors and the ship could be generated from underwater turbines. Subsequent researchers determined that transport efficiency was only relevant for use at scale, and that for research requirements, standard ships could be used for transport.

Salter estimated that it would cost US$40 million to construct a prototype cloud seeding system but has not been able to find any public or private takers.

Despite this, since 2012, a Marine Cloud Brightening Project (MCBP) team has been meeting on a weekly basis at a lab in Sunnyvale, California. In 2017 Salter held talks with major Scottish engineering firms Ferguson Marine Port, Glasgow and Clyde Blowers about building his spray vessel ‘weather machines’. A prototype is still to be built and tested.

“If we can put them in the right place at the right time, 300 ships spraying 10 cubic m. a second would put sea surface temperature back to where they used to be.  We would need a few thousand is we are criminally stupid enough to double CO₂.” Said Salter in 2019.

Meanwhile, a wind engineering team led by Arindam Gan Chowdhury and Andrew W. Conklin at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at Florida International University has been working at a full-scale large 12-fan “Wall of Wind (WoW) facility, testing building materials and designs against Category 5 hurricane-strength winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The Wall began with two fans, then six fans and finally twelve fans able to simulate wind-driven rain. Current WoW projects, funded by federal and state agencies and by private industry, are offering focus and leadership in the urgently needed hurricane engineering research and education from an integrative perspective to quantify and communicate hurricane risks and losses, mitigate hurricane impacts on the built environment, and enhance sustainability of infrastructure and business enterprise, including residential buildings, low-rise commercial buildings, power lines, traffic signals, etc. s.

The team has a patent pending for a new type of roofing material. Additionally, recommendations made as a result of Wall of Wind testing were published in the 2010 Florida Building Code. The new code provisions are geared toward decreasing the vulnerability of roofs and rooftop equipment.

Discover Solution 193: underground rivers and hydro dams

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Materials Planet Care

190: Spray-on soil


Every year 30 million ac (12 million ha) of productive land are lost due to desertification and drought. By 2025 1.8 billion people will suffer absolute water scarcity and 2/3 of the world will experience water-stressed conditions.


Spray-on soil. An inorganic binder with static electric charge and a homogenised dispersion of clay particle consisting substantially of single flakes of clay and air bubbles dispersed in a fluid.

In 2005, Kristian P. Olesen, a veteran in the HVAC industry, based in Stavengar, Norway developed a mixture of clay and water called Liquid Nano Clay.  Olesen’s vision and that of Desert Control, the firm he founded with Atle Idlund, is to “Make Earth Green Again”.

Sprinklers are used to spray the LNC 1.6 ft (0.5 m) into the sand. The binder composition of clay and air bubbles then helps the sand hold water so crops can be grown.

One major use of the binder composition is to reclaim arid and hyper-arid deserts and to prevent desertification and the movement and advancement of sand dunes, in other words stopping wind erosion efficiently. With this process any poor-quality sandy soil could be transformed into high-yield agricultural land in only seven hours.

In a field test made using the world-patented LNC in the United Arab Emirates, two areas were planted with a selection of crops: tomatoes, aubergines and okra.

One was treated with LNC while a second control area was left untreated. While the untreated area used almost 4838 ft³ (137 m³). of water for irrigation, the one treated with LNC used just 2860 ft ³ (81 m³), an enable saving of up to 52% of irrigation water and increase yields with less strain on scarce resources.

Using LNC, deserts have been planted with over ten thousand trees, wheatfields, pepper fields. Other successful tests took place in Pakistan and China.

Olesen proposes that the biomass produced from desert-grown plants could provide clean electricity to power the desalinisation plants from which water could be used to irrigate the green deserts.

Among the awards received by Olesen and his son is the World Wildlife Foundation’s acclamation of Desert Control as a Climate Solver.

Discover Solution 191: Beating guns into plowshares, watches and writing pens

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Planet Care

189: Hotspots


Some regions of the Planet are home to a disproportionately high number of species which, threatened by human habitation, need special protection.


Biodiversity hotspot zones.

In 1988, Norman Myers, an English environmentalist, published an article entitled “Threatened Biotas: ‘Hot Spots’ in Tropical Forests” in The Environmentalist wherein he proposed ten localities in the tropical forests by virtue of their floristic richness and deforestation rates. Myers called these ten localities as “hotspot” areas, thus, giving birth to the concept of biodiversity hotspots.

He recommended they should be made the focus of preservation efforts as a way to cut the rates of mass extinction. Another article, published in “Nature” in 2000 had been cited 19,000 times by 2017. This work was cited when Myers was named 2007 Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics, which is to say, it must have a high %age of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable and must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.

To date, ecologists have identified 36 biodiversity hotspots that cover about 15 % of the surface Earth: areas such as the Galápagos Islands, Madagascar, the West African rainforest, Japan, California and the Mediterranean coastline.

Among global hotspot initiatives, the World Wide Fund for Nature has derived a system called the “Global 200 Ecoregions”, the aim of which is to select priority Ecoregions for conservation within each of 14 terrestrial, 3 freshwater, and 4 marine habitat types.

They are chosen for their species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary.

Discover Solution 190: Spray-on soil

Planet Care

182: GreenR


In addition to our solution N° 19 on Applications, GreenR allows you to report rubbish or geolocate it to pick it up.

Tired of seeing waste lying around everywhere, Ruben Longin, a 16-year-old high school student from Villefranche-sur-Saône, North of Lyon, France created the GreenR mobile application to collect cans, bottles, masks or other rubbish lying by the side of the road.

Launched in July 2020, the application available on all stores (Apple, Android, Google) already has more than 16,000 registered users, around 550 declared waste spots as well as around sixty organized collection walks.

Its users are mainly located in France, but also abroad, in 25 different countries, even if the application has not yet been translated

What you can do: Upload the GreenR app.

Discover Solution 183: Henna for hair

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Planet Care

178: Great Bubble Barrier


In 2015, Dutch students Saskia Studer, Anne Marieke Eveleens and Francis Zoet looked at the bubbles of a beer glass in a bar and thought they should do something similar to recuperate plastic waste in Amsterdam.


The Great Bubble Barrier.

Philip Ehrhorn, a German student of naval architecture, had the same idea after seeing a water treatment plant in Australia. After he found out about the plans of the three Dutch women, they decided to join forces in Amsterdam.

Their design, a perforated tube laid across the bottom of the canal with compressed air pushed through, was commissioned by the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Management Board and the Municipality of Amsterdam as an extension of “Amsterdam Clean Water” which strives for clean plastic-free waters in Amsterdam.

The location of the Great Bubble Barrier, the Westerdok, is one of the points where the water flows from the monumental canals of Amsterdam into the IJ. The IJ flows into the North Sea Canal and this leads directly to the North Sea. This makes Westerdok an ideal place to catch Amsterdam’s canal plastic. Tests have shown it can divert more than 80% of flotsam.

Implemented in the fall of 2019, this first Bubble Barrier will run 24 hours a day for three years to supplement dredging operations, which currently collect 92,600 lbs. (42,000 kg.) of larger plastics from the Dutch capital’s waterways each year.


Discover solution 179: Bonds. Green Bonds.

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Planet Care

177: Graphene-based desalination membranes


As the demand for fresh water increases worldwide, large-scale, new technologies for desalination are becoming increasingly sought after. Equally in wastewater treatment, the ability to remove industrial effluent, pesticides and hormones is becoming more important, especially when water re-use is considered.


Graphene-based desalination membranes.

In the natural world, aquaporins rapidly shuttle water molecules into and out of cells and mimicking this function could help improve the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

One answer could be to use graphene, which is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick. Graphene is very strong, and sheets can be punctuated with sub-nanometre-sized pores that let water through while blocking salt.

While this works well for micrometre-sized membranes it is very difficult to make larger graphene sheets without defects, which act as large pores that let salt through.

Another approach is to create a membrane from a patchwork of small overlapping sheets of graphene oxide (also just one atom thick). Water can move through the membrane by permeating the gaps between the sheets, but the larger salt ions cannot.

While scientists have already made 0.4 in (1 cm) membranes this way, this material tends to swell-up when wet and let more salt through.

In Saudi Arabia, desalination researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have tailored the structure of graphene-oxide layers to mimic the hourglass shape of these biological channels, creating ultrathin membranes to rapidly separate chemical mixtures.

In China, Yanbing Yang and Xiangdong Yang at Wuhan University have developed a graphene-based desalination membrane with the potential to be scaled-up for practical applications. (

In Australia, Mainak Majunder and a team at Nanoscale Science and Engineering Laboratory of Monash University, Melbourne, have developed a similar system that uses gravure printing, a widely available industrial printing process.

The technology will directly benefit Australian and international companies seeking energy savings and other cost advantages in water and wastewater filtration and industrial processes associated with pulp and paper, food and beverage, inks, pigments and dyes, pharmaceuticals and metals.

Supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program of approximately US$1.2 million, and with investment from industry partners Clean TeQ Holdings in Melbourne and Ionic Industries, the technology entered the commercialisation phase after undergoing seven years of research and development.

In June 2019, Clean TeQ announced the successful completion of its hardness removal demonstration project in Inner Mongolia.
The demonstration program treated waste-water from a large coal-to-chemical refinery, producing DME (Dimethyl Ether) owned by Jiutai New Material located about 60 mi (100 km) from Hohhot, China.

The process requires large volumes of industrial grade water, putting a strain on sources of water supply in this water scarce region. The demonstration program confirmed that increasing water recovery by adopting Clean TeQ’s CIF (Continuous Ionic Filtration) system could substantially reduce the plant’s net water use.

Discover Solution 178: The Great Bubble Barrier!

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Planet Care

174: Global Seed Vault



Is there a way to conserve flora for eventual replanting to counteract the biological annihilation of the Holocene or 6th Extinction?


An impregnable seed vault.

It was the idea of two men: Morgan Carrington “Cary” Fowler, Jr, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and Henry Shands, Head of the U.S. National Seed Bank in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Although big international seed banks were fuelling plant-breeding efforts all over the world, including in the United States and RBG at Wakehurst, Sussex (housing more than 92,500 seed collections), Fowler and Shandon realised that these were in Mexico and in Colombia, Peru, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Syria, Philippine, that are not secure simply because of their location. They selected Norway as a safer location.

On June 19, 2006, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland’s prime ministers ceremonially laid “the first stone” of a giant global storage vault for plant seeds. It was opened two years later.

It is tucked into the side of the sandstone Platåberget mountain located near the village of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a group of islands north of mainland Norway. Located about 1,300 km (810 mi) from the North Pole, the “Doomsday” Global Seed Vault serves as a safe haven for the world’s vast variety of edible plant seeds.

In the event of a nuclear war or catastrophic natural disaster, the vault keeps “back-up” seeds frozen and safe at a temperature of an icy minus 0.4° F (minus 18° C) until they can be reclaimed. Should the power at the facility fail for any reason, the seeds will likely stay frozen thanks to the Arctic permafrost that covers the vault.

The preciousness of such seeds is reflected in the inaccessible nature of the vault. Anyone seeking access to the seeds themselves will have to pass through four locked doors: the heavy steel entrance doors, a second door approximately 377 ft (115m.) down the tunnel and finally the two keyed air-locked doors. Keys are coded to allow access to different levels of the facility. Not all keys unlock all doors.

To-date the vault holds just over 2.5 million seed samples from all over the world, but it is capable of holding many more. In total, it has the capacity to store 4.5 million seed samples.

Each sample is typically about 500 seeds, so a maximum of 2.25 billion seeds can be stored in the facility giving a huge diversity – more than 5,000 different species, about 1,000 genera crops including more than 150,000 different kinds of rice and more than 150,000 different kinds of wheat.

The vault has proved itself when seeds were withdrawn needed to replace plant material stored in a gene bank (a facility that stores genetic material). The national seed bank of the Philippines was damaged by flooding and later destroyed by a fire; the seed banks of war-torn Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq having been lost completely: all have been replaced.

Discover Solution 175: Biodegradable glue sticks

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Planet Care

173: Global tax on carbon


Research shows that carbon taxes effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of fuels (transport and energy sector) and, like carbon emissions trading, is a form of carbon pricing. … As of 2019, over 40 countries have implemented carbon taxes. 77 countries and over 100 cities have committed to achieving net zero global emissions by 2050.

There is overwhelming agreement among economists that carbon taxes are the most efficient and effective way to curb climate change, with the least adverse effects on the economy.

There is a consistently high level of public support across nations for a global carbon tax if the tax policy is carefully designed, according to a survey of people in the United States, India, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. Such tax is encouraging electric utilities to rapidly switch from coal to somewhat cleaner natural gas.

This is perhaps the clearest example in the world of a carbon tax leading to a significant cut in emissions. It should however be introduced gradually to be successful: a 1% per year guaranteed increase in gasoline taxes would give consumers time to shift to more economical vehicles.

Discover Solution 174: Global seed vault

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Planet Care

170: Glacier restoration by snow and ice making machines


World-wide glacier retreat is one of the most obvious and impressive manifestations of global warming. On a regional scale, glaciers’ fluctuations may affect landscape, meltwater supply (reservoirs, irrigation), security of infrastructure and buildings (ice avalanches, outbursts of glacial lakes), and the tourist industry (ski areas, attractiveness of alpine scenery). Arctic sea ice extent has decreased drastically. It is likely that the late‐summer Arctic will be ice‐free as soon as the 2030s.


Glacier restoration

In the Himalayas, the Ice Stupa artificial glacier project involves piping water 190 ft (60 m.) upstream which then easily rises close to 180 ft (60 m) up from the ground when it reaches the village. It is then made to fall from that height in cold Ladakhi winter nights when it is -30 to -50°C outside (with wind chill factor). The water then freezes by the time it reaches the ground and slowly forms a huge cone or Ice Stupa roughly 100 to 160 ft ( 30 to 50m) high.

The idea is also to conserve this tower of ice as long into the summer as possible so that as it melts, it feeds the fields until the real glacial melt waters start flowing in June. Since these ice cones extend vertically upwards towards the sun, they receive fewer of the sun’s rays per the volume of water stored; hence, they will take much longer to melt compared to an artificial glacier of the same volume formed horizontally on a flat surface

In the Swiss Alps, led by Johannes Oerlemans, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, a study based on a 20-year weather data shows that the Morteratsch Glacier can reglaciate and advance again using artificial summer snow produced just by its gravity.

A cable car would carry 4,000 snow machines from Graubunden to compensate for the poor precipitation over the past winters by spraying a 16 ft (5 m) thick artificial snow cover on a climate-sensitive region of the glacier. Covering retreating glaciers in blanket of snow could protect them from sunlight enabling them to grow by 2,600 ft (800 m) within 20 years.

The melting of the giant West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at a tipping point. One idea to save it from complete collapse, might be to blow 7.4 trillion tons (6.7 trillion tonnes) of artificial snow on top of it. The collapse of this Sheet is predicted to lead to sea level rises of around three nearly 10 ft (3 m) worldwide.

In a report called “Arctic Ice Management”, Steven J. Desch and researchers at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, wind-powered pumps would refreeze parts of the Arctic ice sheet.

This would ensure that “first-year ice” would have a better chance of surviving the summer. By placing machines that would use wind power to operate pumps, they estimate that water could be brought to the surface over the course of an Arctic winter, when it would have the best chance of freezing.

Based on calculations of wind speed in the Arctic, they calculate that a wind turbine with 20 ft (6 m) diameter blades would generate sufficient electricity so that a single pump could raise water to a height of 23 ft (7 m) and at a rate of 29.76 tons (27 tonnes) per hour.

The net effect of this would be thicker sheets of ice in the entire affected area, which would have a better chance of surviving the summer. To keep the ice sheet protected, at least 7.4 trillion tons (6.7 trillion tonnes) of snow, blasted over the course of 10 years would require 12,000 wind turbines.

Then there’s the ‘small’ matter of providing enough equipment and enough power for the job in one of the harshest environments on our planet.

Over time, the negative feedback created by more ice would cause less sunlight to be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean, thus leading to more cooling and more ice accumulation. This, they claim, could be done on a relatively modest budget of US$500 billion per year for the entire Arctic, or US$50 billion per year for 10% of the Arctic.

In 2017, a prototype of this system planned in Switzerland. Instead of entire ice caps, the target would be a small, artificial glacier at the foot of the Diavolezzafirn glacier. While the Arctic plan proposed the use of wind-powered pumps to spew water on top of ice, this mini-version of the project would use snow machines to preserve the glacier over the summer by covering it with artificially created snow. (

Another solution would be to make new icebergs. Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, who studied at Islamic University of Indonesia and is now a practising architect in Jakarta has envisaged a fleet of ice-making submarines.

Kotahatuhaha worked on the prototype with collaborators Denny Lesmana Budi and Fiera Alifa for an international competition organised by the Association of Siamese Architects. The team was awarded second prize in the contest.

The submarine-like vessel would submerge to collect sea water in a central hexagonal tank. Turbines would then be used to blast the tank with cold air and accelerate the freezing process so creating 80 ft (25 m) wide hexagonal blocks of ice with a volume of 71,578 cubic ft (2,027 m³) that would then nest together to form new ice fields.

During this process, the vessel would return to the surface of the sea and the tank would be covered to protect it from sunlight. A system of reverse osmosis would be used to filter some of the salt from the water in order to speed up the process.

Discover Solution 171: Lighter glass bottles

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Planet Care

169: Glacial Engineering


Global warming is melting glaciers and leading to catastrophic sea-level rise and flooding.


Subsea glacial engineering

Michael Wolovick, a glaciology postdoc at the Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences Program, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University and John C. Moore Professor of Climate Change at Arctic Centre, University of Lapland and visiting chief scientist at the College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, China propose subsea glacial engineering.

In a comment published in the journal Nature on March 15, 2018 Moore and Rupert Gladstone of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland with colleagues from CSC – the Finnish IT Center for Science and Princeton University, USA, argued that applying targeted geo-engineering to preserve the ice sheets was a topic worthy of serious research and investment in Antarctic infrastructure.

The glaciers could be slowed in 3 ways: warm ocean waters could be prevented from reaching their bases and accelerating melting; the ice shelves where they start to float could be buttressed by building artificial islands in the sea; and the glacier beds could be dried by draining or freezing the thin film of water they slide on.

Artificial islands have been built in other places such as Hong Kong airport; water is drained into rock tunnels beneath a glacier in Norway to feed a hydropower plant; raising a berm in front of the fastest flowing glacier in Greenland would need a wall only 3 mi. (5 km) across and 330 ft. (100 m.) high.

Wolovick’s less radical solution would involve the building of sills or walls made up of huge piles of loose aggregate, stretching for mi. across the sea floor. These would keep warm water at depth from reaching the glacier. With less warm water to paw at their grounding line, glacial retreat would stop, and often they actually gain mass.

If they work as planned, these large walls could make glaciers last as much as 10 times longer than they otherwise would. In rudimentary simulations, the walls make a glacier that would collapse in 100 years last for another millennium.

Wolovick presented his work in December 2018 at the annual Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, DC where more than 24,000 attendees from 113 countries, where leaders from academia, government, and the private sector examined and discussed the latest research.

Discover Solution 170: Rebuilding glaciers

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Planet Care

165: 4IR: Fourth Industrial Revolution


Over a century, the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions have had their advantages, but also their disadvantages including the dirtying and the climate destabilisation of the Planet.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution

For all the inventions and machines in this book to work together, an overall smart plan called the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth has been developed. 4IR is the brainchild of Klaus Martin Schwab, a German engineer and economist.

In 2015, Klaus Schwab 77-years-old, decided to address the increasing frenzy around technological disruption. As founder and executive chairman of the WEF, he published an article in Foreign Affairs, “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution“. 4IR became the theme of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in October 2016 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, when the opening of its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco was announced.

In his 274-page book of the same name, Schwab includes in this fourth era technologies that combine hardware, software, and biology (cyber-physical systems), and emphasizes advances in communication and connectivity.

Schwab expects this era to be marked by breakthroughs in emerging technologies in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality (VR), nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D printing and fully autonomous vehicles.

With time to save the Planet running out, there are two key attributes that differentiate the 4IR from the industrial revolutions that preceded it: speed and efficiency. This is what creates a remarkable opportunity for technological innovations to secure the sustainability of our planet.

The 4IR for the Earth programme is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, PwC, and Stanford University, and which is also supported by the MAVA Foundation. The programme is looking to accelerate tech innovation for Earth’s most pressing environmental challenges.

It will help identify, support and scale new ventures, partnerships and business models that harness tech to transform how the world tackles environmental challenges.

This AI-infused, digital geospatial dashboard for the planet may enable the monitoring, modelling and management of environmental systems at a scale and speed never before possible – from tackling illegal deforestation, water extraction, fishing and poaching, to air pollution, natural disaster response and smart agriculture.

The top 20 4IR patent applicants at the European Patent Office from 2011 to 2016 include 4IR pioneers such as Sony, LG, Samsung, Google, and Intel—a majority of these companies are Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) subscribers (European Patent Office).

Patents filed in the United States follow a similar trend. In fact, a recent study shows that IEEE is cited more in U.S. patents related to several key 4IR technologies than any other publisher (1790 Analytics LLC).

According to Stanford University, the share of jobs requiring AI skills has grown 4.5 times since 2013. During 4IR, that percentage will rise as the world’s most innovative companies invest more in AI applications.

The downside is that 4IR will disrupt labour markets and create further inequality. Over 7 million jobs will be affected over the next five years in the world’s largest economies, as technological progress in 3D printing and robotics starts to disrupt manufacturing and other industries.

It will also end the lives of some traditional organisations, similar to previous industrial revolutions.

Discover Solution 166: Water-based fuel

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Materials Planet Care

164: Forest Stewardship Council


Irresponsible logging and forest destruction has robbed the Planet of a Nature-based carbon capture system. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, half of the world’s forests have already been altered, degraded, destroyed or converted into other land uses. Much of the remaining forests today suffer from illegal exploitation and otherwise poor management.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste. There are three types of FSC label: 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.

FSC grew out of the International Tropical Timber Agreement (1983), the Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species (1975) and the Global Environment Facility (1991). After 18 months of consultation in ten different countries, the Forest Stewardship Council was finally established in 1993 in the forested region of Oaxaca, Mexico. In 1995, the US chapter of the FSC was established, and is now headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2003, the FSC Secretariat it was relocated to Bonn, Germany.

Since its inception, FSC has gone from strength to strength. FSC Chain-of-Custody certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC-certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified material throughout the chain. The number of certificates issued in both forest management and chain of custody, have increased exponentially, passing a total of 20,000 Chain of Custody certificates in 2011, and a further total of 30,000 in 2016. (

What you can do: If you a considering building something or having something built in wood, make sure that it has the FSC certificate.

Discover Solution 165: 4IR industrial revolution

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Planet Care

159: Flood barriers


In 2020, 150 million people were now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by 2050, threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities. As one example, the River Thames in London is liable to serious flooding. As sea levels continue to rise, the Houses of Parliament, the O2 arena, Tower Bridge, and areas including Southwark, the Isle of Dogs, Whitechapel and West Ham would be flooded unless a barrier was built which could protect 48 mi² (125 km²) of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.


Flood barriers.

In the early 1970s, such a barrier was designed by Rendel, Palmer and Tritton for the Greater London Council and tested at the Hydraulics Research Station, Wallingford.

The site at New Charlton was chosen because of the relative straightness of the banks, and because the underlying river chalk was strong enough to support the barrier.

Work began at the barrier site in 1974 and construction, which had been undertaken by a Costain/Hollandsche Beton Maatschappij/Tarmac Construction consortium, was largely complete by 1982. The barrier was officially opened on 8 May 1984 by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Maeslantkering is a storm surge barrier on the Nieuwe Waterweg, in South Holland, Netherlands. Controlled by a supercomputer, it automatically closes when Rotterdam is threatened by floods.

Part of the Delta Works, it is one of largest moving structures on Earth, On May 10, 1997, after six years of construction, Queen Beatrix opened the Maeslantkering. The barrier is connected to a computer system which is linked to weather and sea level data. It is expected to be closed once every ten years due to a storm surge.

With the rise in sea levels, the storm surge barrier will need to close more frequently in 50 years time, namely once every five years.

Sjoerd Groeskamp and ​​​​Joakim Kjellsson, oceanographers from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Oceanography and the Oceanographic Research Center in Kiel, Germany, respectively, have presented a plan to build two giant dams, to close the North Sea and thereby protect 25 million Europeans from rising sea levels. One, measuring 295 mi (475 km) would be built between the north of Scotland and Norway, while the other 100 mi (160 km) between France and the south-west of England.

Over in northern Italy, in 2003, work began on a massive flood barrier designed to isolate Italy’s Venetian Lagoon, the enclosed bay where Venice is located. The project, known as Mose, (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico = Experimental Electromechanical Module) is one of the largest civil engineering endeavours in the world.

The design consists of 78 yellow mobile caissons or gates stationed at three different inlets. When the tide reaches 43 in. (109 cm) (which happens around four times a year), the gates rise above the water’s surface and protect the lagoon from flooding. When the tide dips, the gates fill with water and lower back in place.

The total barrier spans 1 mi (1.6 km) and weighs around 300 tons (272 tonnes). In 2020, the Mose protected Venice twice from flooding.

In 2007 the United States Army Corps of Engineers started construction of an ambitious project that aimed to prevent storm surges from flooding New Orleans by 2011. The IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier on the confluence of these waterways is the largest in the United States.

It protects the city from the Gulf of Mexico from flooding the area. The new Seabrook floodgate prevents a storm surge from entering from Lake Ponchartrain. The GIWW West Closure Complex closes the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to protect the west side of the city.

This complex is unique in that it contains the world’s largest pumping station, necessary to pump out rainwater that is discharged in the protected side of the canal during a hurricane. In December 2008, the Corps held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of test pile driving.

Construction of the barrier’s flood wall began on May 9, 2009. On October 21, 2009 the last of the 1,271 main piles was driven. On August 29, 2012 (the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina), the barrier was utilized for the first time, to protect the city from Hurricane Isaac. By June 2013, all major construction had been completed.

The Saint Petersburg Dam, is a 16 mi (25 km) complex of dams for flood control near Saint Petersburg, Russia. The complex is intended to protect Saint Petersburg from storm surges by separating the Neva Bay from the rest of the Gulf of Finland. Construction of the complex started in 1978 and became one of the longest construction projects in Russia, completed in 2011.

Discover Solution 160: flygskam

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Energy Planet Care

158: Global cooling using floating solar farms


Greenhouse Global warming is increasing at an exponential and alarming rate.


Scientists from Norway and Switzerland are proposing that a network of millions of floating offshore solar farms could be used to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into renewable energy.

Their concept is clusters of marine-based floating islands, on which PV cells convert sunlight into electrical energy to produce H2 and to extract CO₂ from seawater, where it is in equilibrium with the atmosphere.

These gases are then reacted to form the energy carrier methanol, which is conveniently shipped to the end consumer. Co-author Swiss scientist Andreas Borgschulte explained the idea for the solar islands was conceived when the Norwegian researchers were assigned the task of pushing fish farms out to open sea that would require their own energy.

The researchers determined that 70 of these artificial islands could make up a single facility that covers an area of about 0.4 square mi. (10 km²). The experts identified locations across the globe where conditions are suitable to properly manage the facilities. The coasts of South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia were found to be ideal sites for the solar farms. The team is now working to build prototypes of the floating islands.

Discover Solution 159: flood barriers

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Planet Care

154: Fishery data management system


Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, distorts competition, puts honest fishers at an unfair disadvantage, and weakens coastal communities, particularly in developing countries. One of the leading causes of IUU fishing is the lack in capacity of effective monitoring, control, and surveillance operations within fishing industries.


OLSPS Marine (OLSPS), based in Cape Town, South Africa, was set up by Amos Barkai and Mike Berg to prevent illegal fishing through a fishery e-log or data management system that can record and report marine and vessel-based information.

Their Olrac Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting solution (iEMR) incorporates on-board Camera Monitoring (EM for Electronic Monitoring) and eLog Reporting (ER).

While the underlining technologies of the EM and ER core components are different from each other, they are complimentary in that together they can deliver effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) of fishing operations and related activities. Olrac iEMR has the potential to make a dramatic, positive impact on the Blue Economy

Discover Solution 155: Flash graphene

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Planet Care

153: Fish transportation system


In commercial freshwater aquaculture where salmon welfare is paramount, hydroelectric dams can prove detrimental to passage past dams of fish, particularly those listed as threatened or endangered.


A floating selective fish passage system.

In 2011, Vincent Bryan III or “Vince 3”, a lifelong sports fisherman of Mercer Island, Washington was field-testing Whooshh, his firm’s fruit harvester to mechanically harvest and sort tree fruit and like objects.

One afternoon, Vince 3 observed helicopters flying overhead with large buckets, moving migratory salmon over a dam. Later, he observed a citrus grove in California that had been alive with 50-year-old trees the year before, but was now completely dead. It was explained that the irrigation water that fed the orchard had been diverted to save the salmon.

The wonders of the salmon returning through fish ladders that Vince 3 had learned about in grade school was now in conflict with agriculture, his own sense of the changing environment, and his passion for fish and fishing.

What would happen if he modified Whooshh into a floating selective fish passage system for entry and exit which would work at dams of every height, while at the same time accelerating recovery, restoring natural habitat and limiting CO₂?

Whooshh began testing their fruit transport tubes on fish.  It worked and it was the “a-ha” moment that caused the Company to pivot from fruit to fish.

From 2013, Whooshh focused all its energy and resources on developing game changing fish transport solutions that are economical for its users and for the shared water resources. They developed a whole range: Fishway,  FishFaucet, FishL Recognition, GateKeeper, Burst Buster and Whooshh Migrator.

Today Whooshhh solutions are used to transport fish: in processing plants where hygiene is critical and water is expensive; in commercial aquacultures where fish welfare is paramount; and for fish passage past dams, including where many fish are invasive and/or listed as threatened or endangered.

Whooshh systems are deployed in the United States and Europe. In 2014, they were used to transport tilapia up and over the dams blocking the Columbia river.

Working together with Whooshhh Innovations, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers, all necessary permits were issued to deploy the Whooshhh Passage Portal just below Chief Joseph dam during the 2019 Summer and Fall Chinook salmon runs.

Whooshh helped to move thousands of spawning salmon that had been trapped on the Fraser River by a rockslide north of Lillooet. For the millions of fish, the Whooshh’s salmon cannon, spanning 1,700 ft (515 m) was able to move 50,000 fish per day.

Discover Solution 154: Monitoring illegal fishing

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Planet Care

152: Offshore and enclosed fish farm


Due to the micro plastic soup in the world’s oceans, microplastic has entered fish food chain and nobody quite knows how to clean it up. Despite all these environmental and potential human health impacts, most scientists agree that it is not feasible to clean up the plastic in our oceans.


Offshore and enclosed fish farms.

The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal affairs recently decided to award development licenses for aquaculture purposes. The objective is to spur new technology concepts that can ensure sufficient growth whilst also ensuring environmental sustainability.

Since 2013, Mowi and Aquafarm Equipment have tested post smolt production in the semi-closed cage “Neptun” at Skånevik, Western Norway. It is the third generation of the research cage “Neptun”, which is now in use.

The cage is 130 ft. (40 meters) in diameter on the inside, and 413 ft. (126 m) in circumference. The cage is 72 ft. (22 m) deep and holds 5 million gallons (21,000 cubic meters) of water.“Neptun” is designed to produce up to one million smolts. By October 2019, it was ready for the sixth release of fish when 600,000 smolt would enter the cage.

Scaling it up, in 2017, Ocean Farming ASA of Kverva, Norway, collaborated with China’s Wuch ang Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIS) in Qingdao to produce Ocean Farm 1, the world’s first semi-submersible automated offshore fish farm. 223 ft. (68 m) high by 110m², its 66 million gallons (250,000 m³) volume can accommodate water for farming 1.5 million baby salmon. Its moveable bulkhead was built by Malm Orstad.

Ocean Farm 1 is a full-scale pilot facility for testing, learning, research and development. It will be equipped for R&D activities, with particular focus on biological conditions and fish welfare.

Aiming to reduce environmental footprints, improve fish welfare and answer acreage challenges, the learning and new solutions from the project could represent a new era in sustainable seafood production – and is potentially adaptable worldwide. It is located at Frohavet, some 5km off the coast of Central Norway, at the same latitude as Alaska.

In September 2018, the crew on board observed that the seabed mooring under Ocean Farm 1 was leaning. The issue was quickly corrected and measures were taken for capture the escaped fish. Despite this, by January 2019, Ocean Farm I enjoyed a fine harvest. SalMar announced it would take a further step towards open sea farming with the “Smart Fish Farm” development concept with MariCulture AS, in which SalMar has bought a controlling stake in.

The cage is divided into eight zones and is designed to handle waves of up to 100 ft. (30 m) in the open sea. It has a diameter of 525 ft. (160 m) and it can accommodate three million salmon. SalMar aims to establish a deepwater mooring in the Norwegian Sea off the coast of Trøndelag.

In comparison with other types of food, salmon performs well in terms of GHG-emissions. Production of 2.2 lbs (1 kg.) of farmed salmon requires approximately 2.6 lb. (1.2 kg.) of feed, whereas 8 to 17 lbs. (4 – 8 kg.) of feed is required to produce 2.2 lb. (1 kg) of beef. SalMar’s offshore cage can produce approximately 8,000 tons of salmon in 12 to 15 months. This is equivalent to 25,000 bulls. Furthermore, arable land is fast becoming a limited resource. The biggest potential for sustainable growth now lies at sea. (

A second ocean fish farm, financed by Rizhao Wanzefeng Fisheries, is the 115 ft.-tall (35 m), 200 ft. (60m) wide Deep Blue 1 pen, China’s largest offshore salmon farm, also built by Wuchuan Shipbuilding.

It was launched and then towed 130 nautical mi. to the Yellow Sea. It was then stocked with 200,000 smolt salmon. Due to teething problems, less than a year after its launch, it was returned to a port in Weihai, Shandong province where it underwent “regular maintenance”. When it returned to the sea, it had been retrofitted with a large 115 ft (35 m) tower, as tall as an 11-story building.

Some 130,000 fish smolt were then transferred back into the pen, half of them rainbow trout. Deep Blue I is designed to sit on the seabed where the water, at 200-230 ft. (60-70m) deep, is colder than water at the surface, and therefore more suitable for raising salmon.

During its first year, Deep Blue I survived nine typhoons and other harsh conditions during two important seasons, summer and winter. In February 2019, Wuchang Shipbuilding announced plans for a second, possibly even third offshore salmon farm, capable of farming one million salmon.

In the next few years, Rizhao Wanzefeng Fishery Co. will also invest in the construction of a number of “deep blue” series of cages, which will form a “deep-sea salmon farming platform” with workboats, processing vessels and transport vessels.

Discover Solution 153: fish transportation system

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Human Effort Planet Care

150: Eco-friendly football club


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.

Discover solution 151: houses to resist forest fires

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Materials Planet Care

147: Floating farm


Energy is used to transport farm produce from the countryside to towns and cities and to keep it fresh during transit.


A floating dairy farm

In June 2019, a Dutch property company called Beladon launched the world’s first floating dairy farm anchored to the ocean’s floor in the middle of Rotterdam’s Merwehaven harbour. 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows are milked by Lely robots to produce 1700 pints (800 liters) of milk a day.

Peter van Wingerden, an engineer at Beladon, came up with the idea in 2012 when he was in New York working on a floating housing project on the Hudson River.

While there, Hurricane Sandy struck, flooding the city streets and crippling its transport networks. Deliveries struggled to get through and within two days it was hard to find fresh produce in shops. Seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy van Wingerden was struck by the need for food to be produced as near as possible to consumers.

The top floor of the cow garden houses greenhouses for clover, grass, and other crops that feed the cows; the middle level is the animals’ floating home, a grassy enclosure meant to resemble a natural garden, but populated with artificial trees.

The cows called Karma, Courage, and Sustainabetty are free to roam in and out of their stalls, and also have the option to graze on solid ground in an adjacent field they can access via a ramp. Lely Robots provide them with fodder and brush them down. Finally, the bottom floor contains a processing plant, turning fresh milk into consumer products, including yogurt and, possibly, Comté-style cheese.

All of this futuristic food manufacturing is happening behind glass walls to literally emphasize transparency. School children and consumers are being invited to tour the farm and watch robots milk the cows and pick up their waste, which is used as fertilizer or converted into energy for on-site use.

To power it, the farm uses solar and wind energy from rooftop windmills and solar panels, while artificial trees with real ivy provide shade for the cows and reduce energy consumption by cooling the space.

One of the Dutch farming organizations that collaborated with Beladon is planning to take the same concept to other cities, and is already developing a floating vegetable and egg farm. Before they move on to chickens, however, they will hopefully have solved one current problem: what to do about that distinct animal farm odour.

The cows arrived on board in April 2019. No matter how much rain falls, no matter how high sea level goes, this farm can always produce life-essential, healthy food. By August, floating production was more than 160 gallons (600 litres) of milk a day.

Van Wingerden has talked to food companies and developers seeking to bring buoyant dairies to Singapore, Dubai, and New York.

Discover Solution 148: Fibreglass boat recycling system

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Planet Care Human Effort Materials

146: Faux fur


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.

Discover Solution 147: Farms that float

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Materials Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

143: Face masks – recycling


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.(

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 144: The Fairphone

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Planet Care Your Home

138: Endangered Species Adoption


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


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

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

Not to be confused, The World Animal Foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 to raise public education regarding the preservation of the planet and the animals that inhabit it. WAF works through public education, research, investigations, animal rescue, legislation, special events and direct action. Three years later it moved its headquarters to Vermilion., acts as a one-stop information portal for people wishing to learn more about animals and the earth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover solution 139: Using landfill gas for ceramic kilns

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Planet Care Your Home

129: Elevated villages


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


Elevated villages.

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

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

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


Discover Solution 130: Keeping your house out of the water

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Energy Planet Care

127: Electroculture


Chemical fertilisers and weed killers such as Monsanto’s glyphosate have been legally proved to be lethally harmful to both Nature and to human beings.


Since the beginnings of electricity in the 1780s, experiments have been made to use electro-magnetic energy to increase the crop yield of fruits and vegetables.

In 1923 independent researcher Justin Etienne Christofleau of La Queue-les-Yvelines, France published “Augmentation des récoltes et sauvetage des arbres malades per l’électroculture” and obtained patents concerning his Electro-Magnétique Terro Celeste. His system made use of “lightning rod” antenna, but with a buried antenna connected to buried north-south wires. Christofleau explained that it is not electricity as we know it but a breath of energy between heaven and earth, which stimulates and increases the fertility of the place.

For the next twenty years, the Frenchman was persecuted for his inventions by lobbyists from the agrochemical industry who even attempted to have the word electroculture deleted from national dictionaries and encyclopaedias. In spite of this, Christofleau’s system was adopted by farmers all over, in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and even China.

He was not alone. In the August 1935 issue of Popular Science, an article entitled “Electricity Controls Tree Growth” reported on the experiments of reputed French nurseryman Georges Truffaut at his Laboratories in Versailles. He planned to invent the orchard of the future where it would be possible to control (advance or delay) the growth of trees and fruits.

Seventy years later, electroculture has finally been validated.

Since the 1990s, Chinese scientists have been developing electroculture. In 2019, The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and other government research institutes released the findings of nearly three decades of study in areas with different climate, soil conditions and plantation habits. They hailed the results as a breakthrough.

Across the country, from Xinjiang’s remote Gobi Desert to the developed coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean, vegetable greenhouse farms with a combined area of more than 3,600 ha (8,895 ac) have been taking part in an electroculture programme. The technique has boosted vegetable output by 20 to 30 %. Pesticide use has decreased 70 to 100 %. while fertiliser consumption has dropped more than 20 %.

In a series of large greenhouses, with a combined area of 3,600 has (8,895 ac), the vegetables grow under bare copper wires, set about 10 ft (3 m) above ground level and stretching end to end under the greenhouse roof. The wires are capable of generating rapid, positive charges as high as 50,000 volts, or more than 400 times the standard residential voltage in the US.

The cables run the full length of the greenhouses and carry rapid pulses of positive charge, up to 50,000 volts. These high-voltage bursts kill bacteria and viral plant diseases both in the air and the soil. They also affect the surface tension of any water droplets on the leaves of plants, accelerating vaporization.

What you can do: Tell local farmers about electroculture

Tomorrow’s solution: Lower-cost electrolysis

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Planet Care

123: e-faunalert


The disappearance of raptors is an increasingly alarming problem in the Mediterranean. Collisions and electrocutions on power lines are among the biggest threats affecting populations in the region.


To tackle this issue, IUCN’s Center for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) has developed the free mobile application e-faunalert, which helps both to identify and map dangerous areas posing an electrocution or collision risk for these species on such infrastructures.

Conceived for all types of users, from scientists, to the conservation community, governments, energy sector stakeholders to general global audiences, e-faunalert helps to collect data to quickly identify areas of intervention and thus facilitate decision-making in the planning of future power lines.

Moreover, the app contains information on the technical characteristics of pylons and different types of electrocution or collision incidents. It also allows to download georeferenced images, create and join workgroups to maximize fieldwork, as well as sharing data with other colleagues.

The programme has made it possible for specialists from Spain and North Africa to exchange information, organize cross-border expeditions with Moroccan and Spanish ornithologists to monitor and create a census of raptors in Morocco.

This tool has been developed in collaboration with Fundación Amigos del Águila Imperial Ibérica, el Lince Ibérico y Espacios Naturales Privados and is part of the project Safe Flyways – reducing infrastructure-related bird mortality in the Mediterranean”, funded by the MAVA Foundation.

What you can do: Download e-faunalert for your locality.

Discover Solution 124: effective altruism

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