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Small Robot Company uses artificial intelligence and robots to revolutionize farming
On July 17th AbilityNet has announced the winners of their Tech4Good Awards – an award that celebrates people and companies that are using digital tech to make a world a better place. Naturally, I was super excited when one of my personal favourites – Small Robot Company – won the BTGroup Connected Society Award and I would love to share their innovative approach with other sustainability and tech enthusiasts here on WhatsOrb.          Small Robot Company is a UK start-up that aims to revolutionize farming by combining the power of AI and robots. According to their website, their technology will allow farmers to increase their revenues by 40% and reduce their costs by 60%. But it is not all about the profit – Small Robot Company’s main goal is to make farming more sustainable. When size really matters Research shows that currently 95% of cultivation energy in arable farming is used on ploughing – and the only reason ploughing is necessary is because of the heavy machinery that is used in the fields. Big tractors crush the soil and are overall inefficient and not environmentally friendly. On the other hand, small robots are very light and don’t squish the soil (and worms). This improves soil health and root growth and allows for a reduction of fertilizer usage by a whopping 90%! Small size also allows the robots to be powered by electricity and with many farmers already investing in solar panels these little helpers can become self sufficient. The little experts in their fields Tom, Harry, Dick and Wilma are the ones tasked with changing the farming the way we know it. And no, they aren’t farming consultants – they are the robots that will take care of the fields and monitor the plants’ needs. Tom is the one that lives on the farm and is constantly checking on the crop and soil. He can keep an eye our for weeds, monitor health and development of each plant and suggest what fertiliser and chemicals you need to maximise your crop. Tom creates a digital map of the field and when he returns to his “Kennel” to recharge he shares this data with Wilma. Wilma is the AI driven operating system and the heart and brain of the whole system. She is the one who can analyse the data that Tom has collected and develop care instructions based on her extensive farming knowledge. Wilma bases her suggestions on agronomy, soil science and even market conditions – this helps farmers make the best decisions about their crops. When the farmer gives Wilma permission to proceed with her plan, she sends our Dick and Harry to take care of the field. Harry is the first robotic drill for combinable crops. He is the one who will place individual sees and record exactly where he has planted them. Harry is incredibly precise in everything he does and can even replace an individual seed if Wilma tells him that it hasn’t germinated! Last of the bunch is Dick. Dick is the one who takes care of the plants themselves – he micro-sprays them with fertilizers or chemicals and does the weeding. Like Harry, he is also very precise, which helps him minimize the use of chemicals. This makes a huge difference for the environment, wildlife and the quality of our food. Together, the four of them make up a farming dream team. Their unique strengths allow for an incredible degree of accuracy in plant treatment and monitoring that was simply impossible to achieve with traditional tools. A modern approach to an ancient practice Farming is one of the most analogue industries out there and while some are focusing on modernizing agricultural trade, Small Robot Company is arguably one of the first to attempt digitizing the fields. Their innovative technology can help farmers become better at what they do and make the industry more sustainable and productive. And we as consumers will also benefit from this – these robots help make produce safer and more ethical.  Small Robot Company is planning to offer their robots through a “Farming as a Service” model. This way farmers can reduce their risks and pay only for the actual work that the robots perform rather than the equipment itself. The company is planning to have the service up and running within 3 years’ time and personally I cannot wait to see these hard workers in the fields! Do you think these robots can become the future of agriculture? Let us know in the comments!
On July 17th AbilityNet has announced the winners of their Tech4Good Awards – an award that celebrates people and companies that are using digital tech to make a world a better place. Naturally, I was super excited when one of my personal favourites – Small Robot Company – won the BTGroup Connected Society Award and I would love to share their innovative approach with other sustainability and tech enthusiasts here on WhatsOrb.          Small Robot Company is a UK start-up that aims to revolutionize farming by combining the power of AI and robots. According to their website, their technology will allow farmers to increase their revenues by 40% and reduce their costs by 60%. But it is not all about the profit – Small Robot Company’s main goal is to make farming more sustainable. When size really matters Research shows that currently 95% of cultivation energy in arable farming is used on ploughing – and the only reason ploughing is necessary is because of the heavy machinery that is used in the fields. Big tractors crush the soil and are overall inefficient and not environmentally friendly. On the other hand, small robots are very light and don’t squish the soil (and worms). This improves soil health and root growth and allows for a reduction of fertilizer usage by a whopping 90%! Small size also allows the robots to be powered by electricity and with many farmers already investing in solar panels these little helpers can become self sufficient. The little experts in their fields Tom, Harry, Dick and Wilma are the ones tasked with changing the farming the way we know it. And no, they aren’t farming consultants – they are the robots that will take care of the fields and monitor the plants’ needs. Tom is the one that lives on the farm and is constantly checking on the crop and soil. He can keep an eye our for weeds, monitor health and development of each plant and suggest what fertiliser and chemicals you need to maximise your crop. Tom creates a digital map of the field and when he returns to his “Kennel” to recharge he shares this data with Wilma. Wilma is the AI driven operating system and the heart and brain of the whole system. She is the one who can analyse the data that Tom has collected and develop care instructions based on her extensive farming knowledge. Wilma bases her suggestions on agronomy, soil science and even market conditions – this helps farmers make the best decisions about their crops. When the farmer gives Wilma permission to proceed with her plan, she sends our Dick and Harry to take care of the field. Harry is the first robotic drill for combinable crops. He is the one who will place individual sees and record exactly where he has planted them. Harry is incredibly precise in everything he does and can even replace an individual seed if Wilma tells him that it hasn’t germinated! Last of the bunch is Dick. Dick is the one who takes care of the plants themselves – he micro-sprays them with fertilizers or chemicals and does the weeding. Like Harry, he is also very precise, which helps him minimize the use of chemicals. This makes a huge difference for the environment, wildlife and the quality of our food. Together, the four of them make up a farming dream team. Their unique strengths allow for an incredible degree of accuracy in plant treatment and monitoring that was simply impossible to achieve with traditional tools. A modern approach to an ancient practice Farming is one of the most analogue industries out there and while some are focusing on modernizing agricultural trade, Small Robot Company is arguably one of the first to attempt digitizing the fields. Their innovative technology can help farmers become better at what they do and make the industry more sustainable and productive. And we as consumers will also benefit from this – these robots help make produce safer and more ethical.  Small Robot Company is planning to offer their robots through a “Farming as a Service” model. This way farmers can reduce their risks and pay only for the actual work that the robots perform rather than the equipment itself. The company is planning to have the service up and running within 3 years’ time and personally I cannot wait to see these hard workers in the fields! Do you think these robots can become the future of agriculture? Let us know in the comments!
Small Robot Company uses artificial intelligence and robots to revolutionize farming
Small Robot Company uses artificial intelligence and robots to revolutionize farming
State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury
Last month we have already discussed circular fashion, a way of manufacturing and utilising clothes and accessories in a way that will what we wear more environmentally friendly. Today, we would like to introduce you to State of Fashion 2018: Searching for the New Luxury – an exhibition that explores new techniques and technologies that aim to make fashion more sustainable. This exhibition is currently taking place in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a country that, as we discovered in our previous article, is at the forefront of making fashion more sustainable.  It features works by established designers and fashion houses, such as G-Star Raw, Hermes and Vivienne Westwood, as well as upcoming studios like Threeasfour and Algaefabrics. This event aims to rethink what fashion is on a fundamental level and help consumers make better choices in a market that is focused on launching new things as quickly as possible. Why New Luxury? The exhibition explores a new definition of what luxury is – less waste and pollution, more equality, welfare and inclusiveness. According to José Teunissen, the curator of this exhibition, "The new luxury is about imagination and coming up with new ideas, and a new universe that matches better with our daily lives and values. It's about agency and taking control." The future of sustainable fashion State of Fashion acts as a host to multitude of projects that are focusing on various areas and aspects of fashion and we would like to introduce you to some of the most innovative and interesting ones. First on our list is Funghi Fashion, also known as MycoTex, a project from NEFFA and one of the 5 winners of 2018 Global Change Awards. Like many of us, they were very becoming very aware of the waste that fast fashion creates and they have decided to tackle the problem at its root – quite literally. Funghi Fashion use mycelium – mushroom roots – in combination with their Body-Based modelling process to create perfectly fitting custom garments.  Unlike traditional clothing, these garments do not need to be cut and sewn and their shorter supply chain reduces water usage and eliminates need for chemical and pesticides. But best of all is the fact that after you have worn the garment, you can simply burry it in the ground and it will naturally decompose. This innovative scheme tackles many major concerns that exist in apparel production and we would love to see more designs from Funghi Fashion! Another project that is looking to introduce new materials into the world of fashion is AlgaeFabrics. As the name suggests, they are working on developing a new type of raw textile material from algae. Algae are found in abundance in oceans and lakes and have many amazing properties – they act as a crucial food source for many species, they convert large volumes of CO2 to oxygen and help clean up the oceans by absorbing waste. However, when they grow excessively, algae can become a nuisance and have a negative impact on water quality and thus local communities. They often get removed from the lakes and burnt, but Tjeerd Veenhoven, the founder of AlgaeFabrics, sees it as a waste. Algae are rich in cellulose, which means that they have a great potential. While this project is still in development, we are sure that it has a great potential and who knows, perhaps this could become the most fashionable material in floating communities of the future? Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato takes a different approach to sustainable fashion. Instead of inventing new materials, he is focusing on developing a new garment construction system called Unit Constructed Textile. His designs are made with panels of fabric called Units that are all connected in a way that allows them to be easily replaced. This unique system lets consumers repair their clothing with ease and make changes to the design, potentially allowing the garments to be handed down over generations. The last company on our list, Fashion 4 Freedom calls themselves “the first socially responsible, ethical and transparent supply chain in Vietnam”. In the recent years there was a lot of controversy surrounding working conditions on many clothing factories and more companies have pledged to conduct more thorough checks of their suppliers. Unfortunately, most companies outsource their production and rely on agents to oversee that process, which makes it hard for them to have full control over day-to-day operations. Fashion 4 Freedom connects companies directly with local artisans, craft and textile villages and partnered companies without the need for middlemen. Their system allows for production of higher quality garments, preservation of many crafts, higher transparency and economic empowerment for the artisans. As the companies have more control and awareness of where and how their garments are manufactured, they will be more willing to share this with the consumers. This is a truly inspiring initiative that benefits many and it would be great to see more companies adopt this approach! What do you think the new luxury should be? Are there any new companies in the fashion industry that you think can make a real change? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Last month we have already discussed circular fashion, a way of manufacturing and utilising clothes and accessories in a way that will what we wear more environmentally friendly. Today, we would like to introduce you to State of Fashion 2018: Searching for the New Luxury – an exhibition that explores new techniques and technologies that aim to make fashion more sustainable. This exhibition is currently taking place in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a country that, as we discovered in our previous article, is at the forefront of making fashion more sustainable.  It features works by established designers and fashion houses, such as G-Star Raw, Hermes and Vivienne Westwood, as well as upcoming studios like Threeasfour and Algaefabrics. This event aims to rethink what fashion is on a fundamental level and help consumers make better choices in a market that is focused on launching new things as quickly as possible. Why New Luxury? The exhibition explores a new definition of what luxury is – less waste and pollution, more equality, welfare and inclusiveness. According to José Teunissen, the curator of this exhibition, "The new luxury is about imagination and coming up with new ideas, and a new universe that matches better with our daily lives and values. It's about agency and taking control." The future of sustainable fashion State of Fashion acts as a host to multitude of projects that are focusing on various areas and aspects of fashion and we would like to introduce you to some of the most innovative and interesting ones. First on our list is Funghi Fashion, also known as MycoTex, a project from NEFFA and one of the 5 winners of 2018 Global Change Awards. Like many of us, they were very becoming very aware of the waste that fast fashion creates and they have decided to tackle the problem at its root – quite literally. Funghi Fashion use mycelium – mushroom roots – in combination with their Body-Based modelling process to create perfectly fitting custom garments.  Unlike traditional clothing, these garments do not need to be cut and sewn and their shorter supply chain reduces water usage and eliminates need for chemical and pesticides. But best of all is the fact that after you have worn the garment, you can simply burry it in the ground and it will naturally decompose. This innovative scheme tackles many major concerns that exist in apparel production and we would love to see more designs from Funghi Fashion! Another project that is looking to introduce new materials into the world of fashion is AlgaeFabrics. As the name suggests, they are working on developing a new type of raw textile material from algae. Algae are found in abundance in oceans and lakes and have many amazing properties – they act as a crucial food source for many species, they convert large volumes of CO2 to oxygen and help clean up the oceans by absorbing waste. However, when they grow excessively, algae can become a nuisance and have a negative impact on water quality and thus local communities. They often get removed from the lakes and burnt, but Tjeerd Veenhoven, the founder of AlgaeFabrics, sees it as a waste. Algae are rich in cellulose, which means that they have a great potential. While this project is still in development, we are sure that it has a great potential and who knows, perhaps this could become the most fashionable material in floating communities of the future? Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato takes a different approach to sustainable fashion. Instead of inventing new materials, he is focusing on developing a new garment construction system called Unit Constructed Textile. His designs are made with panels of fabric called Units that are all connected in a way that allows them to be easily replaced. This unique system lets consumers repair their clothing with ease and make changes to the design, potentially allowing the garments to be handed down over generations. The last company on our list, Fashion 4 Freedom calls themselves “the first socially responsible, ethical and transparent supply chain in Vietnam”. In the recent years there was a lot of controversy surrounding working conditions on many clothing factories and more companies have pledged to conduct more thorough checks of their suppliers. Unfortunately, most companies outsource their production and rely on agents to oversee that process, which makes it hard for them to have full control over day-to-day operations. Fashion 4 Freedom connects companies directly with local artisans, craft and textile villages and partnered companies without the need for middlemen. Their system allows for production of higher quality garments, preservation of many crafts, higher transparency and economic empowerment for the artisans. As the companies have more control and awareness of where and how their garments are manufactured, they will be more willing to share this with the consumers. This is a truly inspiring initiative that benefits many and it would be great to see more companies adopt this approach! What do you think the new luxury should be? Are there any new companies in the fashion industry that you think can make a real change? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury
State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
In 1995, Universal Studios released a movie called “Waterworld”. It takes place in distant future, where polar ice caps have completely melted and the sea consumed nearly all of the land, forcing remaining humans to live on floating communities. At the time this was the most expensive movie ever made – and it wasn’t exactly a box office hit. But would it be possible to successfully recreate the futuristic communities from the movie in real life? The Seasteading Institute answers this question with a resounding “yes!” Seasteading Institute is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2008 and their mission is “ to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government”. They have partnered up with many companies, academics, architects and governments, and they are aiming to build the first prototype off the coast of Tahiti by 2020. Solution to rising sea levels that raises concerns At first glance, the idea seems very appealing. Rising sea levels and populism are putting pressure on many communities and the founders of Seasteading Institute are hoping to give people a chance to redesign society and experiment with new forms of government. According to Joe Quirk, the current president of the institute, existing governments don’t get better because “land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it”. Thus, according to him “no land means no problem”, but this isn’t a view that’s shared by everyone. Many experts have criticized the plan, calling it impractical and elitist. Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University described the idea as “apartheid of the worst kind”. He argues that only the wealthy will be able to afford living on these islands and allowing them to set their own rules will only further the divide between the wealthy and the rest of the world. He also doubts that this is something that will be possible to sustain long-term in most places from a societal point of view – after all, healthcare, education and various forms of entertainment are vital to societies, yet hard to deliver in such small, isolated communities. However, Professor Newman did agree that we have the technology to create such eco-friendly, self-sustaining cities. Neil Davies, the executive director of the University of California agrees with him – it is possible to build floating cities that wouldn’t have a negative impact, as long as you respect certain conditions about shading and location. A precedent was set by the Barrier Reef Resort, which was located about 70km(or 43,5 miles) off Queensland coast. It withstood a cyclone and water quality and noise monitoring has shown that it had no significant effect on the surroundings.  Floating cities are not a way to escape environmental issues – they are a way to solve them Mr Quirk’s plans are truly ambitious when it comes to making these islands self-sufficient and sustainable. The islands will be built on floating panels that will help regenerate coral reefs and reverse coral bleaching. This will be made possible by positioning them in such a way that a perfect balance of light and shadow will be created to allow for photosynthesis, while at the same time lowering the temperatures enough to achieve restorative effect. In addition to this, the floating panels will have a plethora of solar panels integrated into them to power the islands. Regenerating coral reefs isn’t the only positive impact on the environment Mr Quirk is hoping his seasteads can achieve. The Institute is hoping to harness ocean aquaculture as a way to meet food, energy and nutritional supplement demands. Rutger de Graaf and Karina Czapiewska are aquatic engineers from the Netherlands that have partnered up with the Seasteading Institute to create algae farms. Micro- and macroalgae (better known as plankton and seaweed) have an important role in regulating the earth’s atmosphere, absorbing waste such as oil spills and providing food for fish, as well as being a valuable crop on their own. When seaweed is mass-produced, it can also be converted into biofuel. This way the islands can not only be self-sufficient, but also provide communities on land with more eco-friendly energy and food sources – all while helping create new, complex ecosystems that will be able to sustain thousands of species. Another technology that Mr Quirk is hoping to see implemented in their seasteads are drifter pens made by Velella Mariculture Research Project. These pens will allow to farm fish in conditions that are closest to their natural habitats, but are in fact better. The fish are well-fed, they have no parasites, don’t get exposed to mercury and pesticides, all while being able to school like they would in the wild. This technology is a sustainable food source and it is set to help repopulate oceans with healthier, happier fish. The founder of Velella Mariculture Research Project, Neil Anthony Sims, says “We need to bring together the environmental motive, the humanitarian motive, the profit motive, so they are not at odds with each other, but aligned with each other.” Certainly, these plans sound incredibly ambitious – but if realised, these floating cities can transform many nations and have a positive impact on the environment, economies and societies around the globe. Do you think that Seastead Institute will be able to make these floating communities? Are there similar projects that you think could become more successful? Let us know in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
In 1995, Universal Studios released a movie called “Waterworld”. It takes place in distant future, where polar ice caps have completely melted and the sea consumed nearly all of the land, forcing remaining humans to live on floating communities. At the time this was the most expensive movie ever made – and it wasn’t exactly a box office hit. But would it be possible to successfully recreate the futuristic communities from the movie in real life? The Seasteading Institute answers this question with a resounding “yes!” Seasteading Institute is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2008 and their mission is “ to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government”. They have partnered up with many companies, academics, architects and governments, and they are aiming to build the first prototype off the coast of Tahiti by 2020. Solution to rising sea levels that raises concerns At first glance, the idea seems very appealing. Rising sea levels and populism are putting pressure on many communities and the founders of Seasteading Institute are hoping to give people a chance to redesign society and experiment with new forms of government. According to Joe Quirk, the current president of the institute, existing governments don’t get better because “land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it”. Thus, according to him “no land means no problem”, but this isn’t a view that’s shared by everyone. Many experts have criticized the plan, calling it impractical and elitist. Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University described the idea as “apartheid of the worst kind”. He argues that only the wealthy will be able to afford living on these islands and allowing them to set their own rules will only further the divide between the wealthy and the rest of the world. He also doubts that this is something that will be possible to sustain long-term in most places from a societal point of view – after all, healthcare, education and various forms of entertainment are vital to societies, yet hard to deliver in such small, isolated communities. However, Professor Newman did agree that we have the technology to create such eco-friendly, self-sustaining cities. Neil Davies, the executive director of the University of California agrees with him – it is possible to build floating cities that wouldn’t have a negative impact, as long as you respect certain conditions about shading and location. A precedent was set by the Barrier Reef Resort, which was located about 70km(or 43,5 miles) off Queensland coast. It withstood a cyclone and water quality and noise monitoring has shown that it had no significant effect on the surroundings.  Floating cities are not a way to escape environmental issues – they are a way to solve them Mr Quirk’s plans are truly ambitious when it comes to making these islands self-sufficient and sustainable. The islands will be built on floating panels that will help regenerate coral reefs and reverse coral bleaching. This will be made possible by positioning them in such a way that a perfect balance of light and shadow will be created to allow for photosynthesis, while at the same time lowering the temperatures enough to achieve restorative effect. In addition to this, the floating panels will have a plethora of solar panels integrated into them to power the islands. Regenerating coral reefs isn’t the only positive impact on the environment Mr Quirk is hoping his seasteads can achieve. The Institute is hoping to harness ocean aquaculture as a way to meet food, energy and nutritional supplement demands. Rutger de Graaf and Karina Czapiewska are aquatic engineers from the Netherlands that have partnered up with the Seasteading Institute to create algae farms. Micro- and macroalgae (better known as plankton and seaweed) have an important role in regulating the earth’s atmosphere, absorbing waste such as oil spills and providing food for fish, as well as being a valuable crop on their own. When seaweed is mass-produced, it can also be converted into biofuel. This way the islands can not only be self-sufficient, but also provide communities on land with more eco-friendly energy and food sources – all while helping create new, complex ecosystems that will be able to sustain thousands of species. Another technology that Mr Quirk is hoping to see implemented in their seasteads are drifter pens made by Velella Mariculture Research Project. These pens will allow to farm fish in conditions that are closest to their natural habitats, but are in fact better. The fish are well-fed, they have no parasites, don’t get exposed to mercury and pesticides, all while being able to school like they would in the wild. This technology is a sustainable food source and it is set to help repopulate oceans with healthier, happier fish. The founder of Velella Mariculture Research Project, Neil Anthony Sims, says “We need to bring together the environmental motive, the humanitarian motive, the profit motive, so they are not at odds with each other, but aligned with each other.” Certainly, these plans sound incredibly ambitious – but if realised, these floating cities can transform many nations and have a positive impact on the environment, economies and societies around the globe. Do you think that Seastead Institute will be able to make these floating communities? Are there similar projects that you think could become more successful? Let us know in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/architecture
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
Floating city – a sci-fi trope or a salvation for many nations?
Bamboo traffic signs will help us make our cities safer and more sustainable
  As consumers, we are often aware of how sustainable are the items we use every day – our food, clothing, skincare and other items have special labels to let us know that they are environmentally friendly and fair trade. But what about common objects that surround us outside of our homes? HR Groep in collaboration with MOSO International have introduced a new product line –traffic signs made out of bamboo – that is aiming to make our streets a bit more green. Why bamboo? Bamboo is one of the fastest growing sustainable resources in the world. A single bamboo plant consists of multiple stems. Every year, new shoots sprout from them. On average, 20-25% of the stems can be harvested in a sustainable plantation or commercial forest every year. Due to the rapid growth rate, this can happen without the number of stems per hectare decreasing! Deforestation is averted as a result of selective logging, keeping the plants alive and healthy. In fact, this means of harvesting the mature stems actually improves overall yield and quality of the commercial forest.Another great thing about bamboo is that it absorbs large quantities of CO2 as it grows. This, combined with ease of recycling, makes it more sustainable than aluminium and carbon neutral throughout its entire life cycle. And, naturally, high CO2 absorption rates help combat global warming! Lastly, bamboo’s properties are comparable to – or even superior to – hardwood. It is a very strong material that can be used in a multitude of ways – it can be fully recycled into things such as chipboard, or used in biomass power plants to generate green energy. This, combined with bamboo’s growth rates, makes it a more attractive crop for many farmers that can provide them with a steady annual income. What makes the bamboo sign unique? For the usage of bamboo as an information carrier, multiple layers of bamboo are glued together. The result is a remarkably resilient, scratchproof product that will neither rip nor deform.HR Groep uses their Ultimate Signing™ technology to make these signs even more sustainable. Ultimate Signing™ is a special UV printing method that is more long lasting than traditional foils. It provides a better viewing angle that improves visibility and thus helps make our roads safer! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation https://www.hrgroep.nl/ https://www.moso.eu/nl/producten/bamboo-unlimited/bamboo-ultimate-verkeersbord
  As consumers, we are often aware of how sustainable are the items we use every day – our food, clothing, skincare and other items have special labels to let us know that they are environmentally friendly and fair trade. But what about common objects that surround us outside of our homes? HR Groep in collaboration with MOSO International have introduced a new product line –traffic signs made out of bamboo – that is aiming to make our streets a bit more green. Why bamboo? Bamboo is one of the fastest growing sustainable resources in the world. A single bamboo plant consists of multiple stems. Every year, new shoots sprout from them. On average, 20-25% of the stems can be harvested in a sustainable plantation or commercial forest every year. Due to the rapid growth rate, this can happen without the number of stems per hectare decreasing! Deforestation is averted as a result of selective logging, keeping the plants alive and healthy. In fact, this means of harvesting the mature stems actually improves overall yield and quality of the commercial forest.Another great thing about bamboo is that it absorbs large quantities of CO2 as it grows. This, combined with ease of recycling, makes it more sustainable than aluminium and carbon neutral throughout its entire life cycle. And, naturally, high CO2 absorption rates help combat global warming! Lastly, bamboo’s properties are comparable to – or even superior to – hardwood. It is a very strong material that can be used in a multitude of ways – it can be fully recycled into things such as chipboard, or used in biomass power plants to generate green energy. This, combined with bamboo’s growth rates, makes it a more attractive crop for many farmers that can provide them with a steady annual income. What makes the bamboo sign unique? For the usage of bamboo as an information carrier, multiple layers of bamboo are glued together. The result is a remarkably resilient, scratchproof product that will neither rip nor deform.HR Groep uses their Ultimate Signing™ technology to make these signs even more sustainable. Ultimate Signing™ is a special UV printing method that is more long lasting than traditional foils. It provides a better viewing angle that improves visibility and thus helps make our roads safer! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation https://www.hrgroep.nl/ https://www.moso.eu/nl/producten/bamboo-unlimited/bamboo-ultimate-verkeersbord
Bamboo traffic signs will help us make our cities safer and more sustainable
Bamboo traffic signs will help us make our cities safer and more sustainable
Please support my petition about climate change awareness and look at my promotion of Citizens
Please "check out" my petition drawing attention to the threat of a climate-engineered future.https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/UN_SecretaryGeneral_Ban_Kimoon_Improve_Climate_Change_Impact_Awareness/(see NASA You-Tube referenced near the end, long but good).Facebook "Like" is good, but to sign please go to the AVAAZ petition site & Please SHARE. I am also encouraging all my friends to join and be active in Citizens’ Climate Lobby.“If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming a member of this group.” Dr James Hansen We help generate political will to address climate change with the required urgency through correctly pricing carbon.US based now growing in internationally. Hope you Sign the petition and Join CCL http://citizensclimatelobby.org/ .
Please "check out" my petition drawing attention to the threat of a climate-engineered future.https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/UN_SecretaryGeneral_Ban_Kimoon_Improve_Climate_Change_Impact_Awareness/(see NASA You-Tube referenced near the end, long but good).Facebook "Like" is good, but to sign please go to the AVAAZ petition site & Please SHARE. I am also encouraging all my friends to join and be active in Citizens’ Climate Lobby.“If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming a member of this group.” Dr James Hansen We help generate political will to address climate change with the required urgency through correctly pricing carbon.US based now growing in internationally. Hope you Sign the petition and Join CCL http://citizensclimatelobby.org/ .
Please support my petition about climate change awareness and look at my promotion of Citizens
Please support my petition about climate change awareness and look at my promotion of Citizens' Climate Lobby
Blockchain technology is set to change agricultural trade
Agricultural trade plays an important role in global food security and is a major part of many countries’ economies. And yet, this is a sector where it is common for trades to be merely verbal agreements or have various brokers, agencies and traders act as mediators. A French start-up called Ositrade is looking to change that with the help of blockchain technology. Last month, Ositrade has launched their new online market place that allows producers, buyers and manufacturers to connect with each other directly and conduct transactions in a transparent and safe manner. Moreover, it changes the way that administration and documentation of such deals is handled, therefore making it more efficient for all parties. The founder of this platform believes that it could not only make trading easier, but also revolutionise the sector and raise the quality of all French production. This will be made possible by cutting out the middlemen and providing more data on each of the parties involved in a transaction. This increased transparency, as well as the security of the platform, will guard against fraud and promote stronger relationships. In order to make this a reality, Ositrade has partnered up with Hyperledger, an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools that was started by the Linux Foundation. More sustainable and ethical practices Ositrade platform offers a multitude of functions to its users, including automatically generated contract templates, cloud storage for relevant documents and certificates and various filtering possibilities. One of the most important filters according to Ositrade is the geolocation filter. By helping companies find partners that are close to their location, Ositrade aims to improve logistics and push the supply chains towards more sustainable and ethical practices. At the moment Ositrade is only available in France, but they are aiming to expand to the rest of the EU by 2019 and go global in 2020. Do you think using blockchain technology can change the agricultural sector? Share your opinion with us in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
Agricultural trade plays an important role in global food security and is a major part of many countries’ economies. And yet, this is a sector where it is common for trades to be merely verbal agreements or have various brokers, agencies and traders act as mediators. A French start-up called Ositrade is looking to change that with the help of blockchain technology. Last month, Ositrade has launched their new online market place that allows producers, buyers and manufacturers to connect with each other directly and conduct transactions in a transparent and safe manner. Moreover, it changes the way that administration and documentation of such deals is handled, therefore making it more efficient for all parties. The founder of this platform believes that it could not only make trading easier, but also revolutionise the sector and raise the quality of all French production. This will be made possible by cutting out the middlemen and providing more data on each of the parties involved in a transaction. This increased transparency, as well as the security of the platform, will guard against fraud and promote stronger relationships. In order to make this a reality, Ositrade has partnered up with Hyperledger, an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools that was started by the Linux Foundation. More sustainable and ethical practices Ositrade platform offers a multitude of functions to its users, including automatically generated contract templates, cloud storage for relevant documents and certificates and various filtering possibilities. One of the most important filters according to Ositrade is the geolocation filter. By helping companies find partners that are close to their location, Ositrade aims to improve logistics and push the supply chains towards more sustainable and ethical practices. At the moment Ositrade is only available in France, but they are aiming to expand to the rest of the EU by 2019 and go global in 2020. Do you think using blockchain technology can change the agricultural sector? Share your opinion with us in the comments below! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
Blockchain technology is set to change agricultural trade
Blockchain technology is set to change agricultural trade
Wastewater farming – a forced risk that could become a solution
It is no secret that world’s population has grown very rapidly in the past decades. This has put a lot of pressure on natural resources, especially when it comes to the most important one of them all – water. With it becoming more and more scarce, we are now turning to reusing waste water and for some farming communities it has become the only solution – but it is much more dangerous than they realise. Naturally, nobody would want to drink waste water and yet it seems like less of a concern when it comes to watering our plants with it. It is true that wastewater can provide plants with important nutrients and act as a natural fertiliser, however when untreated it can also introduce heavy metals, organic contaminants, pathogens or antibiotic-resistant bacteria into our food. So why do some communities still take the risk of using it? The answer is very simple – untreated wastewater is free. In some areas this is the only way a farmer can afford irrigation, while in others it is simply a way of increasing profits. According to the World Health Organisation nearly 10% of the world’s population relies on food grown on waste water, but in reality the true extent of the problem is unknown due to lack of regulations and checks in some developing countries. How untreated wastewater farming puts everyone at risk The Mezquital Valley in Mexico is a textbook example of the problem. Lack of appropriate water treatment facilities and rapid expansion of Mexico City has forced local farmers to use untreated wastewater for irrigation. High prices of pre-treated water made unsafe practices the only way that produce could be grown at a low cost. Affordable produce came at a very high price – it cost the population their health. Mezquital Valley has the highest incidence of kidney cancer in the region, as well as very high rates of helminith and severe gastrointestinal diseases. As using untreated waste water has been practiced in this region for more than a 100 years, many generations of locals were affected and it is likely that future generations will be affected as well. A controversial solution Luckily, the government has recognized the issue and a new water treatment plant called Atotonilco plant has been in the works since 2010. It is expected to be able to provide enough water for irrigation of 80,000 hectares of land. While many see this as a great step forward, there are some that don’t want to see this project finished – the farmers themselves. Switching to treated water would require them to switch to using fertilizers and agrochemicals, which will increase costs. Many farmers are concerned that they will not be able to sustain these additional costs and would thus have to quit the trade that has been passed down in their family for many generations. Most of them also downplay the risks of using untreated water, claiming that their families haven’t suffered from it – in fact, some wash their hands with that water before eating. This is a conflict that will be hard to resolve in a way that would leave both sides of it happy – the farmers want to see no reduction in the amount of water they get or how much organic material it contains, while the government wants to see a drastic improvement in water quality. Is there still hope? Unfortunately, experience has shown that even the latest technology does not eliminate all of the risks of using wastewater. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other pollutants can still find ways to pass through these treatment systems and pose a serious thread to human health. This can make developing countries less likely to invest in plants such as the Atotonilco one as they are incredibly costly (according to the company behind the plant’s contruction, it has required an investment of more than 560 million euros so far, which is nearly 650 million USD) and their limitations might seem insufficient by some. World Health Organisation has been campaigning for safer waste water use in farming for many decades and various solutions are being developed for low-income countries. They work with experts across various industries to define safe practice guidelines and offer low-cost options that, while imperfect, will reduce health risks for both farmers and locals. Mezquital Valley’s situation has illustrated that we cannot avoid using wastewater for farming and that more needs to be done to make it safer. New technology, governmental regulations and policies and educating communities about risks are all needed for us to be sustainable without risking more in the process. Have you heard of other communities affected by using untreated wastewater for farming? What other steps do you think can be taken to make the practice safer for everyone? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
It is no secret that world’s population has grown very rapidly in the past decades. This has put a lot of pressure on natural resources, especially when it comes to the most important one of them all – water. With it becoming more and more scarce, we are now turning to reusing waste water and for some farming communities it has become the only solution – but it is much more dangerous than they realise. Naturally, nobody would want to drink waste water and yet it seems like less of a concern when it comes to watering our plants with it. It is true that wastewater can provide plants with important nutrients and act as a natural fertiliser, however when untreated it can also introduce heavy metals, organic contaminants, pathogens or antibiotic-resistant bacteria into our food. So why do some communities still take the risk of using it? The answer is very simple – untreated wastewater is free. In some areas this is the only way a farmer can afford irrigation, while in others it is simply a way of increasing profits. According to the World Health Organisation nearly 10% of the world’s population relies on food grown on waste water, but in reality the true extent of the problem is unknown due to lack of regulations and checks in some developing countries. How untreated wastewater farming puts everyone at risk The Mezquital Valley in Mexico is a textbook example of the problem. Lack of appropriate water treatment facilities and rapid expansion of Mexico City has forced local farmers to use untreated wastewater for irrigation. High prices of pre-treated water made unsafe practices the only way that produce could be grown at a low cost. Affordable produce came at a very high price – it cost the population their health. Mezquital Valley has the highest incidence of kidney cancer in the region, as well as very high rates of helminith and severe gastrointestinal diseases. As using untreated waste water has been practiced in this region for more than a 100 years, many generations of locals were affected and it is likely that future generations will be affected as well. A controversial solution Luckily, the government has recognized the issue and a new water treatment plant called Atotonilco plant has been in the works since 2010. It is expected to be able to provide enough water for irrigation of 80,000 hectares of land. While many see this as a great step forward, there are some that don’t want to see this project finished – the farmers themselves. Switching to treated water would require them to switch to using fertilizers and agrochemicals, which will increase costs. Many farmers are concerned that they will not be able to sustain these additional costs and would thus have to quit the trade that has been passed down in their family for many generations. Most of them also downplay the risks of using untreated water, claiming that their families haven’t suffered from it – in fact, some wash their hands with that water before eating. This is a conflict that will be hard to resolve in a way that would leave both sides of it happy – the farmers want to see no reduction in the amount of water they get or how much organic material it contains, while the government wants to see a drastic improvement in water quality. Is there still hope? Unfortunately, experience has shown that even the latest technology does not eliminate all of the risks of using wastewater. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other pollutants can still find ways to pass through these treatment systems and pose a serious thread to human health. This can make developing countries less likely to invest in plants such as the Atotonilco one as they are incredibly costly (according to the company behind the plant’s contruction, it has required an investment of more than 560 million euros so far, which is nearly 650 million USD) and their limitations might seem insufficient by some. World Health Organisation has been campaigning for safer waste water use in farming for many decades and various solutions are being developed for low-income countries. They work with experts across various industries to define safe practice guidelines and offer low-cost options that, while imperfect, will reduce health risks for both farmers and locals. Mezquital Valley’s situation has illustrated that we cannot avoid using wastewater for farming and that more needs to be done to make it safer. New technology, governmental regulations and policies and educating communities about risks are all needed for us to be sustainable without risking more in the process. Have you heard of other communities affected by using untreated wastewater for farming? What other steps do you think can be taken to make the practice safer for everyone? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
Wastewater farming – a forced risk that could become a solution
Wastewater farming – a forced risk that could become a solution
Solar power without panels on your roof
The need for solar energy The urge for energy is getting bigger every day and the old fossils fuels are polluting and over time will run out. So why not start using solar power in a simple way. Thus, to be more sustainable and getting used to organize your live without gas, oil or coal generated energy To collect solar power by solar panels is not possible for everyone. For some its too expensive to buy panels, some have no roof to install them. And even when people have a roof it is not always pointing in the right direction. Fortunate there is still more and more small-scale techniques where solar cells are integrated. There are a lot of innovative ways to harvest solar power without the need of expensive solar panels. Solar Powered Bike If your bike is standing still it will be charged by solar cells. When in use, the battery and the solar cells will supply the energy for the engine when in motion. There are bikes which run on solar power and don’t require peddling because they run on the solar power which is absorbed. Solar bikes store the generated electricity in batteries. The stored electricity can be used to power the bike but it also can be used to charge small electric devices like: phones and tablets. Of course, phones are nowadays often used to navigate while biking. Solar Lights Lights and especially LED lights don't use a lot of electricity. Therefor it is not necessary to install solar panels. Many of these solar lights are used in developing countries, where there is no grid or if there is no money to install solar panels. Often it are lights combined with solar cells. They can be charged at daytime and some of the solar lights go on for ten hours. There are also solar lights which are specially developed for use outside. Some are even provided with a motion sensor which can be used for security. It only lights up when motion is detected. Solar Power Plug Its a small box which is portable. It can be mounted on a wall or window. There is an outlet where you can plug in electronical devices. The box itself exists out of solar cells and a battery. Because the box is portable you can take it anywhere the recharge your low voltage equipment. 'Power on the go'. Solar Powered Backpacks We all like to travel and because of all the electric gadgets we nowadays have we need also electricity. Some backpacks are provided with solar cells so you can carry your stuff and generate electricity at the same time. The backpacks are waterproof and you can charge your phone or tablet while 'on the move' There are also solar backpacks which have an integrated battery. So even in the evening you have electricity for a light and to get connected with the outside world. Solar Cookers Solar Cookers Cooking costs a lot of energy. Besides in many countries people still use wood or charcoal. Solar cookers make it possible to cook without using above or gas or electricity. There are many different kinds of solar cookers. Box cookers with solar panels on the side which absorb the heat. Photo by: Hans van der BroekThe parabola designed cookers are very efficient. You put a pan in the centre of the mirror and all solar energy gets concentred in the middle where the pan with water or food is. With a little sun it will start cooking already very fast. You also can put a metal plate in the centre for barbequing. Cooking generally cost an enormous amount of energy and using these solar cookers saves lots of electric energy, gas and wood. So, no use of fossil fuels, less pollution and thus better for the environment.Photo by: Hans van der Broek Solar Water Heaters There are solar water heaters in all kind of versions and sizes. There are which have oil or water filled tubes. The oil filled tubes stay longer warm and their heat release lasts longer. When mounted on a roof in the sun it will generate hot water as long as the sun shines. Its already common use in tropical countries for industrial and residential use. Portable Solar Generator If you need more electricity than just for charging your phone or tablet you can buy a solar generator. You can combine this generator with small solar panels. Together you have a powerful self-sufficient electricity system. Of course, the unite are supplied with different outputs from USB to 2020 Volt. Lights, electric tools, cool-boxes, laptops, smartphones and other equipment can be supplied with energy with this 'portable socket' Solar Powered Water Pumps Solar water pumps are ideal to use in remote areas. There are portable ones and pumps which can be fitted permanently. With these pumps it is not necessary to install wiring which can be dangerous in certain situations and expensive. Of course, the ones with only solar panels stop at sunset but the ones with a battery can run up to five hours after being charged fully at daytime. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/solar  
The need for solar energy The urge for energy is getting bigger every day and the old fossils fuels are polluting and over time will run out. So why not start using solar power in a simple way. Thus, to be more sustainable and getting used to organize your live without gas, oil or coal generated energy To collect solar power by solar panels is not possible for everyone. For some its too expensive to buy panels, some have no roof to install them. And even when people have a roof it is not always pointing in the right direction. Fortunate there is still more and more small-scale techniques where solar cells are integrated. There are a lot of innovative ways to harvest solar power without the need of expensive solar panels. Solar Powered Bike If your bike is standing still it will be charged by solar cells. When in use, the battery and the solar cells will supply the energy for the engine when in motion. There are bikes which run on solar power and don’t require peddling because they run on the solar power which is absorbed. Solar bikes store the generated electricity in batteries. The stored electricity can be used to power the bike but it also can be used to charge small electric devices like: phones and tablets. Of course, phones are nowadays often used to navigate while biking. Solar Lights Lights and especially LED lights don't use a lot of electricity. Therefor it is not necessary to install solar panels. Many of these solar lights are used in developing countries, where there is no grid or if there is no money to install solar panels. Often it are lights combined with solar cells. They can be charged at daytime and some of the solar lights go on for ten hours. There are also solar lights which are specially developed for use outside. Some are even provided with a motion sensor which can be used for security. It only lights up when motion is detected. Solar Power Plug Its a small box which is portable. It can be mounted on a wall or window. There is an outlet where you can plug in electronical devices. The box itself exists out of solar cells and a battery. Because the box is portable you can take it anywhere the recharge your low voltage equipment. 'Power on the go'. Solar Powered Backpacks We all like to travel and because of all the electric gadgets we nowadays have we need also electricity. Some backpacks are provided with solar cells so you can carry your stuff and generate electricity at the same time. The backpacks are waterproof and you can charge your phone or tablet while 'on the move' There are also solar backpacks which have an integrated battery. So even in the evening you have electricity for a light and to get connected with the outside world. Solar Cookers Solar Cookers Cooking costs a lot of energy. Besides in many countries people still use wood or charcoal. Solar cookers make it possible to cook without using above or gas or electricity. There are many different kinds of solar cookers. Box cookers with solar panels on the side which absorb the heat. Photo by: Hans van der BroekThe parabola designed cookers are very efficient. You put a pan in the centre of the mirror and all solar energy gets concentred in the middle where the pan with water or food is. With a little sun it will start cooking already very fast. You also can put a metal plate in the centre for barbequing. Cooking generally cost an enormous amount of energy and using these solar cookers saves lots of electric energy, gas and wood. So, no use of fossil fuels, less pollution and thus better for the environment.Photo by: Hans van der Broek Solar Water Heaters There are solar water heaters in all kind of versions and sizes. There are which have oil or water filled tubes. The oil filled tubes stay longer warm and their heat release lasts longer. When mounted on a roof in the sun it will generate hot water as long as the sun shines. Its already common use in tropical countries for industrial and residential use. Portable Solar Generator If you need more electricity than just for charging your phone or tablet you can buy a solar generator. You can combine this generator with small solar panels. Together you have a powerful self-sufficient electricity system. Of course, the unite are supplied with different outputs from USB to 2020 Volt. Lights, electric tools, cool-boxes, laptops, smartphones and other equipment can be supplied with energy with this 'portable socket' Solar Powered Water Pumps Solar water pumps are ideal to use in remote areas. There are portable ones and pumps which can be fitted permanently. With these pumps it is not necessary to install wiring which can be dangerous in certain situations and expensive. Of course, the ones with only solar panels stop at sunset but the ones with a battery can run up to five hours after being charged fully at daytime. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/solar  
Solar power without panels on your roof
Solar power without panels on your roof
Circular fashion - sustainability is set to become the biggest trend of the century
For centuries, humans have used clothing as a way to express themselves and underline their status in society. Aristocracy was constantly chasing new rare materials, continuing world exploration made exotic fabrics very sought after and when new emerald green arsenic fabric dye was developed in 1814 in Europe for some it became (quite literally) to die for.  These days fashion became much more attainable. Thanks to the fast fashion trend and clothing giants like Primark, H&M and Zara anyone can look like they stepped right off the runway without spending a fortune. But with clothing prices being so low and fashion changing so often, it can sometimes feel like it is easier to buy a brand new garment rather than fix one that has slight signs of wear. This current “Take-Make-Dispose” system puts pressure on economies around the world, requires consumption of a very significant amount of already-limited resources and increases pollution.  According to Ellen McArthur Foundation, if nothing changes in the way that the current clothing supply chain system operates then by 2050 our non-renewable resource consumption will increase threefold and our oceans will have a whopping 22 million tons of microfiber added to them over the span of the next 32 years. This is something that neither nature nor economy can sustain and luckily many apparel, shoe and accessories manufacturers are already looking to better the industry. So what is circular fashion? Circular fashion is a term that was coined in 2014 and it combines the concepts of circular economy and sustainable fashion. The key principles of circular fashion define a system where wearable items are designed, sourced, produced, used and recycled in such a way that the materials can be reused over and over for production of new items with minimal environmental impact and high degree of social responsibility.  This also means eliminating many toxic materials from our clothing, making sure it will last for a long time and encouraging sharing among multiple users.   Over the past 4 years a lot has been done to being the switch to this more sustainable approach. Many big brands have pledged to increase use of recycled textiles and use more sustainable practices and materials. Slowing down fast fashion H&M is a company that is normally seen as one of the biggest names in fast fashion, however they are actually the ones who have been trying to popularize circular fashion – in fact, they might have been the first ones to use the term! They have committed to following sustainable and ethical practices in every step of the apparel creation process and they offer customers incentives such as discounts for bringing in their old clothing to be reused and recycled. G-Star Raw have also shown their dedication to increasing sustainability and social responsibility throughout their supply chain. They have not only been focusing on their own products, but are collaborating with other companies to help push the industry towards using more environmentally friendly materials and practices. They continue to innovate and one of their most prominent innovations was Bionic Yarn, a comfortable and durable material that is made out of ocean plastic. Not only does this material help find a great use for the plastic that is collected from the ocean, but it also minimizes the release of plastic microfibers back into the oceans.   Another company who is trying to make a change is MudJeans. This is a European company that has pioneered a “Lease a Jeans” business model. It is simple: you pick a pair of jeans, pay a monthly fee for a year and then you can either chose to keep the jeans, send them back to MudJeans or lease another pair. The jeans that are returned to the company get recycled and turned into new pieces of clothing. According to MudJeans, their innovative business model and manufacturing technologies help them cut water usage by 78% per pair compared to average jeans manufacturers. New professionals to raise the sustainability bar With such acceleration in adoption of circular fashion, there is a need for more intra- and entrepreneurs who have the skills necessary to build and run businesses with sustainable goals at their core. The Amsterdam Fashion Institute is the first one to offer a Circular Fashion Master’s. According to Leslie Holden, Head of design and of the Master of Fashion Enterprise, this programme is essential to safeguarding the long-term future of the fashion industry. And in the UK the online retail giant Asos has just announced that it will be partnering with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to run a pilot training programme on circular fashion! The Netherlands is one of the countries that are really set to push the circular fashion movement forward – throughout February and March the first edition of The Circular Fashion Games took place in Eindhoven and Amsterdam. Sponsored by C&A Foundation, this event saw 40 students, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs from different countries present their innovations for the fashion industry, which ranged from new ways to spread awareness of sustainability in fashion to introducing new technologies that would allow use of other materials in textiles. This event helped bring industry leaders together with the new players and from what we’ve heard, one of the winners might be working with G-Star Raw in the future. We are looking forward to the second edition of the Games and are hoping to see it go global! Do you know of other companies in the fashion industry that are introducing interesting sustainable innovations? What changes would you like to see when it comes to how our clothes are made? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/fashion
For centuries, humans have used clothing as a way to express themselves and underline their status in society. Aristocracy was constantly chasing new rare materials, continuing world exploration made exotic fabrics very sought after and when new emerald green arsenic fabric dye was developed in 1814 in Europe for some it became (quite literally) to die for.  These days fashion became much more attainable. Thanks to the fast fashion trend and clothing giants like Primark, H&M and Zara anyone can look like they stepped right off the runway without spending a fortune. But with clothing prices being so low and fashion changing so often, it can sometimes feel like it is easier to buy a brand new garment rather than fix one that has slight signs of wear. This current “Take-Make-Dispose” system puts pressure on economies around the world, requires consumption of a very significant amount of already-limited resources and increases pollution.  According to Ellen McArthur Foundation, if nothing changes in the way that the current clothing supply chain system operates then by 2050 our non-renewable resource consumption will increase threefold and our oceans will have a whopping 22 million tons of microfiber added to them over the span of the next 32 years. This is something that neither nature nor economy can sustain and luckily many apparel, shoe and accessories manufacturers are already looking to better the industry. So what is circular fashion? Circular fashion is a term that was coined in 2014 and it combines the concepts of circular economy and sustainable fashion. The key principles of circular fashion define a system where wearable items are designed, sourced, produced, used and recycled in such a way that the materials can be reused over and over for production of new items with minimal environmental impact and high degree of social responsibility.  This also means eliminating many toxic materials from our clothing, making sure it will last for a long time and encouraging sharing among multiple users.   Over the past 4 years a lot has been done to being the switch to this more sustainable approach. Many big brands have pledged to increase use of recycled textiles and use more sustainable practices and materials. Slowing down fast fashion H&M is a company that is normally seen as one of the biggest names in fast fashion, however they are actually the ones who have been trying to popularize circular fashion – in fact, they might have been the first ones to use the term! They have committed to following sustainable and ethical practices in every step of the apparel creation process and they offer customers incentives such as discounts for bringing in their old clothing to be reused and recycled. G-Star Raw have also shown their dedication to increasing sustainability and social responsibility throughout their supply chain. They have not only been focusing on their own products, but are collaborating with other companies to help push the industry towards using more environmentally friendly materials and practices. They continue to innovate and one of their most prominent innovations was Bionic Yarn, a comfortable and durable material that is made out of ocean plastic. Not only does this material help find a great use for the plastic that is collected from the ocean, but it also minimizes the release of plastic microfibers back into the oceans.   Another company who is trying to make a change is MudJeans. This is a European company that has pioneered a “Lease a Jeans” business model. It is simple: you pick a pair of jeans, pay a monthly fee for a year and then you can either chose to keep the jeans, send them back to MudJeans or lease another pair. The jeans that are returned to the company get recycled and turned into new pieces of clothing. According to MudJeans, their innovative business model and manufacturing technologies help them cut water usage by 78% per pair compared to average jeans manufacturers. New professionals to raise the sustainability bar With such acceleration in adoption of circular fashion, there is a need for more intra- and entrepreneurs who have the skills necessary to build and run businesses with sustainable goals at their core. The Amsterdam Fashion Institute is the first one to offer a Circular Fashion Master’s. According to Leslie Holden, Head of design and of the Master of Fashion Enterprise, this programme is essential to safeguarding the long-term future of the fashion industry. And in the UK the online retail giant Asos has just announced that it will be partnering with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to run a pilot training programme on circular fashion! The Netherlands is one of the countries that are really set to push the circular fashion movement forward – throughout February and March the first edition of The Circular Fashion Games took place in Eindhoven and Amsterdam. Sponsored by C&A Foundation, this event saw 40 students, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs from different countries present their innovations for the fashion industry, which ranged from new ways to spread awareness of sustainability in fashion to introducing new technologies that would allow use of other materials in textiles. This event helped bring industry leaders together with the new players and from what we’ve heard, one of the winners might be working with G-Star Raw in the future. We are looking forward to the second edition of the Games and are hoping to see it go global! Do you know of other companies in the fashion industry that are introducing interesting sustainable innovations? What changes would you like to see when it comes to how our clothes are made? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/fashion
Circular fashion - sustainability is set to become the biggest trend of the century
Circular fashion - sustainability is set to become the biggest trend of the century
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
A tiny house shaped as the Lunar-lander! Would you like to live in it?
For over 35 years I have been designing composite catamarans and trimarans. I was trained originally as a land architect. I have long wondered how much boatbuilding could teach homebuilding. A fusion of boatbuilding and homebuilding can in fact provide many advantages. The Lunar-Lander tiny house. Photo by: Kurt Hughes A fusion of boatbuilding and homebuilding  At work, I design what are basically houses that are designed to leap off of a 25’ wave at 30 miles per hour. You think any code compliant homes could fly off of a 25’ cliff at 30 mph even once, much less all day long? Probably when you think of boat building, you think of a 25 Bayliner powerboat. Wrong. They are built from polyester and chopped fiberglass. The polyester burns hellaciously and the chopped strand matt is only good for about 20,000 psi bending strength. Boatbuilding as I do it means epoxy, which is self-extinguishing, and triaxial knitted laminates which have bending strengths of up to 70,000 psi or about twice that of A36 steel. I have homebuilding experience also. Including with factory built homes. The mission was to design a habitable dwelling with the latest marine composite technology, providing creature comforts with low impact on the land and high amazement factor. It is waterproof, airtight (but with air to air heat exchanger ventilation) resistant to vermin, mold and insects. It needs no roofing nor siding. Lets explore something new! Why not just build a composite cube? It would be simpler, and not “weird” looking. Easy. A cube is not interesting. Cube has been done before. Lets explore something new. The lunar lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things. Innovators were prized, not feared. And more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. What happened to the courage to innovate?  Inside find an open space, with external modules for bath, galley, breakfast nook and storage. On top is a clear geodesic dome so the light can stream in down all around. A foam/glass cover will be used to keep extreme heat or cold out of the dome. Down inside is a soft lounging pit and bed. On one side is an outside deck. The systems are placed in the hexagonal ring that the living space rests on.Inside the 'Lunar-Lander'. Photo Kurt Hughes The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint. These off-the-grid outposts will use the latest marine technology to afford a strong, light, and easily maintained structure.Construction is plywood/epoxy/core/fiberglass. There is no framing, no headers, no joists.  The insulating SIP sandwich panels do it all.  They are all bonded together with biaxial roving, a fiberglass with the same strength as A36 steel.Inside the 'Lunar-Lander'. Photo Kurt Hughes If this were production, or if I had a larger budget, it would be entirely fiberglass and core. The core is both for insulation and structure. It is vacuum bagged between the plywood faces. Everything is encapsulated in epoxy and sheathed in fiberglass cloth. After the prototype Lunar Lander is built, as a proof of concept, a line of other larger models may follow. Story and photo's by: Kurt Hughes https://www.businessinsider.nl/lunar-lander-tiny-home-2018-6/?international=true&r=US http://www.homecrux.com/kurt-hughes-lunar-lander-tiny-home-looks-like-apollo-replica/89122/ https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
For over 35 years I have been designing composite catamarans and trimarans. I was trained originally as a land architect. I have long wondered how much boatbuilding could teach homebuilding. A fusion of boatbuilding and homebuilding can in fact provide many advantages. The Lunar-Lander tiny house. Photo by: Kurt Hughes A fusion of boatbuilding and homebuilding  At work, I design what are basically houses that are designed to leap off of a 25’ wave at 30 miles per hour. You think any code compliant homes could fly off of a 25’ cliff at 30 mph even once, much less all day long? Probably when you think of boat building, you think of a 25 Bayliner powerboat. Wrong. They are built from polyester and chopped fiberglass. The polyester burns hellaciously and the chopped strand matt is only good for about 20,000 psi bending strength. Boatbuilding as I do it means epoxy, which is self-extinguishing, and triaxial knitted laminates which have bending strengths of up to 70,000 psi or about twice that of A36 steel. I have homebuilding experience also. Including with factory built homes. The mission was to design a habitable dwelling with the latest marine composite technology, providing creature comforts with low impact on the land and high amazement factor. It is waterproof, airtight (but with air to air heat exchanger ventilation) resistant to vermin, mold and insects. It needs no roofing nor siding. Lets explore something new! Why not just build a composite cube? It would be simpler, and not “weird” looking. Easy. A cube is not interesting. Cube has been done before. Lets explore something new. The lunar lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things. Innovators were prized, not feared. And more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. What happened to the courage to innovate?  Inside find an open space, with external modules for bath, galley, breakfast nook and storage. On top is a clear geodesic dome so the light can stream in down all around. A foam/glass cover will be used to keep extreme heat or cold out of the dome. Down inside is a soft lounging pit and bed. On one side is an outside deck. The systems are placed in the hexagonal ring that the living space rests on.Inside the 'Lunar-Lander'. Photo Kurt Hughes The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint. These off-the-grid outposts will use the latest marine technology to afford a strong, light, and easily maintained structure.Construction is plywood/epoxy/core/fiberglass. There is no framing, no headers, no joists.  The insulating SIP sandwich panels do it all.  They are all bonded together with biaxial roving, a fiberglass with the same strength as A36 steel.Inside the 'Lunar-Lander'. Photo Kurt Hughes If this were production, or if I had a larger budget, it would be entirely fiberglass and core. The core is both for insulation and structure. It is vacuum bagged between the plywood faces. Everything is encapsulated in epoxy and sheathed in fiberglass cloth. After the prototype Lunar Lander is built, as a proof of concept, a line of other larger models may follow. Story and photo's by: Kurt Hughes https://www.businessinsider.nl/lunar-lander-tiny-home-2018-6/?international=true&r=US http://www.homecrux.com/kurt-hughes-lunar-lander-tiny-home-looks-like-apollo-replica/89122/ https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
A tiny house shaped as the Lunar-lander! Would you like to live in it?
A tiny house shaped as the Lunar-lander! Would you like to live in it?
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