Mother Nature Network, "Remember that kid who invented a way to clean up ocean plastic? He's back, and it's happening"
Boyan Slat, a Dutch high-school student, was so distressed by the amount of plastic floating in the ocean during a diving trip in Greece six years ago, he decided to do something about it. "I finally decided to put both university and my social life on hold to focus all my time on developing this idea. I wasn’t sure if it would succeed, but considering the scale of the problem I thought it was important to at least try," said Slat.
Two years later, after conducting a two-year feasibility study of his ingenious invention and receiving $320 million in donations, his first booms will be launched in 2018. Working with scientists and computer modeling, he predicts his booms will be effective enough to clean up half of the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch in just five years.
With young people like this, we may yet have a chance to clean up our world.
Thanks to the Clean Water Act of 1977, the waters around New York City are now cleaner than ever. The food system that whales depend on has improved dramatically. Increasingly more humpback whales are being spotted in the water, so much so that ferry services are now offering whale-watching tours. Here's yet more inspiration and evidence that environmental protection works. We must keep protections in place on land and at sea.
The inspiration and hard work of one man in Mumbai, India and his 84-year-old neighbor turned into a two-year beach cleanup project with over a thousand volunteers. The beach that was unwalkable in 2015 has now been returned to its former beauty and the momentum of this success is leading to plans to clean up more of India's shoreline. Whenever you start to think that you can't make a difference on your own, remember Afroz Shah and his dream, and know that you can.
Sustainable practices are beginning to make their way into large events and we hope they will continue to become commonplace at all events, not just when the event has a "green" theme. Examples of good ideas we've seen at events are providing reusable or compostable plates and cutlery, composting food waste, and making recycling containers available.
Another sustainable practice at large events is to provide water coolers for attendees to refill their glasses and water bottles rather than wasting hundreds of plastic water bottles that have to be recycled later. We were at The People's Climate March in Washington, DC in late April. With over 200,000 people marching together and temperatures in the high 90s on a sunny day, there was a desperate need for water, lots of water.
With all of us toting our reusable water bottles, it was thoughtful and appreciated that the march organizers provided huge water reservoirs, called Water Monsters, and kept them refilled throughout the day. They were perfect for the huge crowd, with multiple spigots on each barrel. Thank you to all who helped keep us hydrated and comfortable without using wasteful plastic. It was a perfect way to take our water to go as we marched to raise awareness of climate change and the need for making changes to live lightly on the earth.
Abeer Seikaly, an architect and artist from Jordan, was so moved by the many Syrian refugees she saw in her country living in inadequate housing that she invented a new type of solar-powered weatherproof tent that also collects water. She envisions these tents being used as housing for the homeless and for refugees.
She says, "There are one billion people globally that live without adequate shelter, and a rapidly growing proportion of this population that are being forced to live semi-permanently out of their environment or who are transient. So this whole idea and focus of researching a shelter building process with several communities has really been integral to the development and research I’ve been conducting."
She plans to join a team of women on Mt. Everest next year on an expedition led by fellow Jordanian, Mustafa Salaamed. She will be bringing a prototype of her tent not only to test it in the harshest of circumstances, but to raise awareness of the global need of so many for safe and comfortable housing.
Plastic never fully breaks down and is responsible for destroying ocean ecosystems around the world. As of January 1, 2017, India's National Green Tribunal has banned all plastic cutlery, cups, and bags in Delhi. As a city of of nearly 19 million people, this is great news for India, its nearby oceans, and could be a model for other large cities to follow worldwide.
The Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont is making the case for returning urine to the soil to give back the nitrogen and phosphorus that the vegetables you ate gave to you. They have been working with scientists and farmers since 2011 to gather and test urine-derived fertilizers. Initial results for commercial use look promising and a number of custom toilets offer a variety of ways for "pee-ple" to make a contribution.
Sacred Stone Camp
The Dakota Access Pipeline is part of a proposed pipeline to transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline would not only cross sacred Lakota Sioux lands, but would endanger the water sources all along the pipeline. Native Americans and supporters from all over the country are gathering in Cannon Ball, ND to do everything they can to halt construction of the pipeline.
In an interview on September 30, 2016, Bill McKibben of 350.org says that the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement may be powerful enough to overwhelm the fossil fuel industry. See the complete story on democracynow.org here: