For five years now, RAXA Collective has called the state of Kerala, India, its home. Over the years, the ‘three magic words’ – community, collaboration, conservation – have guided our work here. And every story in these three spaces has us glad for finding another believer. Now we’ve found a believer who puts his thoughts into action in the Cochin International Airport. Welcome to our land and the world’s first solar-powered, power-neutral airport.
A recent report from United Nations University (UNU) found that the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste in 2014 – an amount that would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. Lined up, those trucks would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back. Computers and smart phones are among the ditched items, which could top 50 million tonnes by 2017, UNEP estimates. Virtually all electronics contain toxic materials and a lot of this hazardous stuff is in the circuit board, including lead (in the solder), mercury (in switches and relays), and brominated flame-retardants. Some electronics, like smart phones and laptops, contain heavy metals like cadmium, beryllium, hexavalent chromium, or arsenic, which have been shown to build up in our bodies and the environment. Also, the wires and cables that run through all this stuff are often coated with PVC, which contains toxic additives called phthalates.
In the years since, they’ve seen a rapid increase in numbers. Today there are over 20,000 natural pools in Europe, including plenty open to the general public.
Look at what’s installed and ready-for-use in Dubai this summer: “Smart palms” that store solar energy during the day and discharge power at night. Smart Palm, the company, has set up two so far—one on Surf Beach, another in a park near the waterfront. It plans to plant them in 103 locations under a contract with the United Arab Emirates city.
Hyundai Motor Co believes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the future for eco-friendly cars despite challenges of limited infrastructure and slow sales. South Korea’s largest automaker has sold or leased 273 Tucson fuel cell SUVs since beginning production in 2013, lower than its 1,000 target, mostly in Europe and California. Fuel cell cars represent a bigger opportunity than electric cars because competition is less fierce. Hydrogen-powered cars also give more flexibility to designers. They can be scaled to big vehicles such as buses as well as small cars.
In the living room of the not-so-distant-future, you might have a glowing green blob of microorganisms next to your sofa instead of a lamp. A new line of photosynthetic furniture is filled with spirulina—a tiny, edible bacteria—that the designers imagine could help feed us without the incredible environmental footprint of conventional agriculture.
A new line of photosynthetic furniture is filled with spirulina… The custom glass bioreactors use waste heat, light, and carbon dioxide from a home to feed the spirulina inside. Periodically, someone can turn a tap, empty out the green sludge, and eat it.
Welcome to the age of ‘organic’ being the marketing appeal of food production, design, crafts, consumer goods, and more. With it being a coveted USP and given the large planning and effort that go into taking the organic route, you might as well tell everyone who has a moment to listen. And that’s precisely what French organic food retailer Biocoop is doing. And doing it with a creative difference – rather than investing in commercials and monstrous hoardings, the company and its agency Fred & Farid Paris decided to make the medium their message. Marshall Mcluhan, you’d be proud! Organic by business and eco-friendly in their ad campaign, Biocoop’s message is crystal clear.
Now, to ask someone to take your garbage will be met with censure in any part of the world, but not in Sweden. Since the country’s waste incineration program began in the 1940s, 950,000 homes are heated by trash; this lowly resource also provides electricity for 260,000 homes across the country, according to statistics. But there’s a problem: there is simply not enough trash.
Americans, in general, are bad at recycling. In 2010, U.S. residents recycled 34% of their waste—an embarrassing amount compared to European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, where people recycle almost all of their waste. In Sweden, people are so diligent about recycling that just 4% of all trash ends up in landfills, It’s a heartening statistic, but it has led to a problem for the country—there’s not enough garbage to power the country’s large waste-to-energy program. Sweden’s solution: import trash. More.
Considering she is one of our favorite science writers, it has been a while; just over a year in fact, since we last we read of her, at which time she was in one of our favorite locations. The wait was worth it, because this article helps us understand why we reference green so often in these pages:
…Goethe praised green as the “soothing” marriage of the chromatic opposites yellow and blue. George Washington called green “grateful to the eye,” and painted his Mount Vernon dining room a brilliant verdigris. And let’s not forget that everybody’s favorite elephant, Babar, wore a dapper suit in a “becoming shade of green.” Continue reading