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.
Denmark has onshore and offshore wind turbines that are generating so much power that on one recent day, there was enough wind energy that it could have met the electricity needs for the entire country. It seems that Denmark is well on its way to its goal for 2020 of generating 50% of its power with renewable energy. As early as 2015, 42% of Denmark's electricity was generated by wind.
Large events like Mardi Gras in New Orleans have a huge environmental impact that revelers are unlikely to consider in their frenzy for fun. But think about what's left behind: massive amounts of unrecyclable trash going to landfills, cheap beads and other trinkets made by low-paid workers in China that are thrown away after one use, decorations and costumes that fall apart and can't be reused. But there's good news. Some local groups and small businesses have been working in recent years to change that. Katrina Brees founded the Greening the Gras Conference in 2012 and with her and other's efforts, much more waste is recycled after the celebration and there are now sustainable options made locally, like the paper beads made by Zombeads, and other ecofriendly decorations. The Krewe of Kolossos creates upcycled costumes recycled from previous celebrations. Let's hope this kind of mindset becomes commonplace in large celebrations everywhere.
New ideas for sharing are popping up everywhere. Sharing and reusing not only saves money, but reduces waste and helps you meet people in your community. We've used Freecycle to give and receive household items locally. This article mentions several other ways to create or make use of a sharing culture near you.
Thanks to the owner's innovative son, Bulk Barn has found a way for customers to bring their own reusable containers for buying food items. With over 250 stores across Canada, this important step to zero-waste shopping can be a model for other large grocery stores to follow.
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.
You always knew it, but now science is providing evidence to prove it: going for a walk in the woods is good for your health. The essential oil, "phytoncide," not only helps the tree protect itself, it helps humans who stroll nearby strengthen their immune systems. Even going for a walk in a city park in the vicinity of trees will help you. Hugging a tree doesn't sound so weird now, does it?