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August 2016 - page 2

Spectacular green transition for a farm in Alberta

in Agriculture by

A farm in Brant, southeast of Calgary was challenged to produce all the energy it uses to reduce its ecological footprint or 30,000-kilowatt hours per year. (Article from ICI.RADIO-CANADA.CA, 26, July 2016) Read more

Let there be fuel… from leaves

in Renewable Energy by
artificial leaf

Researchers from the University of Illinois have reasons to rejoice. They did as good a job as Mother Nature. Not only did they manage to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, but they also succeeded in making good use of it by turning it into fuel, thanks to a special leaf. Let us take a glance at this promising technology. Read more

Spanish company invents bladeless wind turbines

in Renewable Energy by
bladeless vortex

bladeless vortexA Spanish company has developed the future of wind power by removing the blades. This invention contains many advantages. Read more

Lowline, the first underground park in the world, soon in New York

in Sustainable development by

lowline-new-yorks1Lowline will be an incredible underground park project recently receiving the preliminary agreement of the City of New York for its achievement in Manhattan by 2018. Read more

Solar tent rescues Malawi’s dried fish industry

in Innovation by

solar malawi

It not only brings a smile to Malawi fishermen, but it also fills their wallets. The revolutionary solar drying tent was made available to them and stands a better life for the fishing community. Read more

Sponge Cities: Don’t waste a drop

in Sustainable development by

At the beginning of June 2016, the river Seine burst its banks, and Paris was witnessing to bewilderment how quickly the water rose up to 6.10 meters. But what was even more alarming, was that the flooding came at the beginning of the summer time instead of the typically expected autumn or winter seasons.

metropolitan-cityThe rapid growth of cities doesn’t only result in demographic and economic novelties, but urbanization brings environmental and climate changes as well. As it’s becoming more common to experience extreme weather conditions, scientists and politicians are tackling the problem with the scheme of “sponge cities”, as discussed by Mark Harris in his article for The Guardian. The new concept of our urban environment suggests that every raindrop is captured, harvested and reused.

Nature is accountable for trillions of litres of rainwater annually falling directly onto our cities — all fresh and clean, but, unfortunately, mostly wasted. Instead of letting the rainwater being channelled into the gutters and drains of our cities, sponge cities collect it for diverse uses for their own benefit. From using it to fill their toilet tanks and water their gardens to recharge depleted aquifers and clean their homes, this natural  resource can become even more precious, if adeptly processed and served into a glass … of water.

In the long term, sponge cities can perform miracles when it comes to the reduction of carbon emissions and the battling of climate change. For example, think of the already popular rain barrels that are collecting rainwater to carry out everyday home maintenance tasks. On a larger scope, rain barrels can be replaced with rooftop gardens for better results on blocks of flats and offices. Such gardens wouldn’t only help towards the water recycling process, but would also reduce the temperature in the air, consequently reducing the need for the use of air conditioning systems.

According to the 2015 statistics of the World Resources Institute, India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and Pakistan are the top five countries in the world that along with 10 other countries account for 80% of the population that is exposed to river flood risk. Thus, for the least developed or currently developing countries, controlling stormwater is an opportunity not only to save water supplies for the future but to prevent the overflow of water when excessive rainfall occurs.


Changde, a city west of Shanghai, has replaced 15% of its hard-standing with bioswales — an environmentally friendly action that has cut its engineering bill for new drains in half. This is a good example of how sponge cities can have a positive financial impact as well. Whether it is rainwater for storage and use during droughts, or whether we are looking into implementing methods that will prevent flooding during unpredictable and unmeasurable rainfall, sponge cities have been invented to make our lives better.

Belgian scientists transform urine into beer and fertilizer

in Waste Management by
urine participants
Participants queue up to give their urine
Participants queue up to give their urine

“Pee for science”  is the name of the operation that led to Ghent University researchers to collect more than 1 000 liters of urine which they have transformed into drinking water, then into beer and fertilizers for developing countries. (Article from We Demain, 1 August 2016)

Read more

Malta became the first EU country to ban Glyphosate

in Agriculture by

Malta is one more step in its fight for our planet. The Mediterranean island is the first country of the European Union to ban glyphosate, a carcinogenic herbicide. Read more

Unsung heroes’ app distribute food to the needy

in Collaborative Economy by

Unsung-App-released-UnsungNo one has to sleep hungry. Especially when across the world, there are enough resources to produce the necessary amount of food so that everyone can eat stomach full. Read more

The benefits of a sharing economy: Anyone need a ride?

in New economy by

You may not be a seasoned traveler, or convinced about your feelings around sleeping in a stranger’s guestroom, but you definitely know of Airbnb — San Francisco’s gem and the most prominent example of a new sharing economy. But what exactly is a sharing economy and why is it important to follow it?


The principle of the sharing economy — as the term suggests —  is to share resources and services. For example, a violoncello owner rents out the instrument for USD 63 per month to another person, who wants to learn playing the violoncello but doesn’t have one to practice. This concept doesn’t sound original, and it might even be characterised as primitive, but the sharing economy  of today is different from anything we have known before due to the availability of vast amount of data about the proprietors, the renters and the things or services.

Airbnb, RelayRides, Uber, SnapGoods are all good examples of a contemporary sharing economy and are all online marketplaces that have flourished thanks to the internet. Their servers match owners and renters with each other, the social networks allow on checking up people’s profiles, reading reviews and building trust, navigation satellites guide people to the nearest available service and bills are processed online.

It’s therefore the world wide web that coordinates the associates of the sharing economy and supports their eco-friendly habits.

Renting a bicycle, a sofa-bed or a camping tent instead of buying your own, immediately reduces your carbon footprint because you save on the resources that are required to make a brand new product.

Airbnb — an inspirer of the new sharing economy — has announced through its chief product officer and co-founder Joe Gebbia that guests in North America alone “use 63% less energy than hotel guests”. Uber,  another San Francisco based multinational online company, also appraises its service as advantageous for the environment: sharing a car instead of driving your own reduces the number of cars on the road, which reduces carbon dioxide.

Sharing economy may have started as a way to cut down on personal costs and supplement our income but it has evolved into an environmental movement and a revolutionary transformation of lifestyle. The players of this type of economy aren’t just trading — they are working towards their reputation, are building trust with each other and are practicing their social skills.Save

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