WhatsOrb - Home
Close Login
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password
or
or

Close
Close Inspiration on environmental sustainability, every month.

Currently 5,988 people are getting new inspiration every month from our global sustainability exchange. Do you want to stay informed? Fill in your e-mail address below:

Close Receive monthly UPDATES ON ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN YOUR MAILBOX EVERY MONTH.

Want to be kept in the loop? We will provide monthly overview of what is happening in our community along with new exciting ways on how you can contribute.

your profile is 33% complete:
33%
Update profile Close
  • 1
    uploadicon
    Upload your Story on any sustainable topic
  • 2
    shareicon
    Share and connect
    with like minded people
  • 3
    worldicon
    Improve the world together!
MenuMenu
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS YOUR DIET REALLY?
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   WHAT ABOUT THIS  FOOD THAT I AM EATING? One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. IS IT REAL, ORGANIC, AND SUSTAINABLE ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. WHY THIS DOUBT HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. GREENWASHING VS SUSTAINABILITY The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   WHAT ABOUT THIS  FOOD THAT I AM EATING? One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. IS IT REAL, ORGANIC, AND SUSTAINABLE ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. WHY THIS DOUBT HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. GREENWASHING VS SUSTAINABILITY The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS YOUR DIET REALLY?
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS YOUR DIET REALLY?
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Sunbathing in your tiny house with a sliding roof. Try it with the Cécile
We have shown you already many types of tiny houses on the www.whatsorb.com site but again we found one with a new feature; 'a sliding roof'. The French company ‘Optinid) build the Cécile with the nickname: The head in the stars! A tiny house which has a sliding roof. When open you can watch the stars from your bed or take a sunbath without moving to your terrace. There is also a new model from the Cécile but with a different exterior. It provides a additional loft which gives even more space. About the tiny house Cécile Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo The  tiny houses  trailer is 6 meters long and 2.55 meters wide. The exterior of the Cécile is clad in fir siding with black polycarbonate accents. The layout is as follows. If you enter the Cécile you have the living room at your right. Opposite the entrance door is a small kitchen and a retractable dining table. At the far left of the tiny house is the bathroom with shower and a separate toilet. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo The staircase has a double function. It brings you to the main bedroom with the sliding roof. In the staircase is storage integrated and it also can function as a desk. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo From the main bedroom area the sling roof can be opened to catch the sun or watch the stars. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo If you have guests who will stay overnight they can sleep at the second loft which can be accessed by a ladder. At this loft are also some shelves where you can store stuff. The  tiny house Cécile can be powered by solar panels and what is special is the insulation which is made from recycled clothing. The starting price for the Cécile is €54,000 (around US$62,500). Source:  Optinid  (in French), (Credit:Optinid/Agence Argo) http://www.optinid.fr/2-non-categorise/33-tiny-house-cecile https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
We have shown you already many types of tiny houses on the www.whatsorb.com site but again we found one with a new feature; 'a sliding roof'. The French company ‘Optinid) build the Cécile with the nickname: The head in the stars! A tiny house which has a sliding roof. When open you can watch the stars from your bed or take a sunbath without moving to your terrace. There is also a new model from the Cécile but with a different exterior. It provides a additional loft which gives even more space. About the tiny house Cécile Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo The  tiny houses  trailer is 6 meters long and 2.55 meters wide. The exterior of the Cécile is clad in fir siding with black polycarbonate accents. The layout is as follows. If you enter the Cécile you have the living room at your right. Opposite the entrance door is a small kitchen and a retractable dining table. At the far left of the tiny house is the bathroom with shower and a separate toilet. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo The staircase has a double function. It brings you to the main bedroom with the sliding roof. In the staircase is storage integrated and it also can function as a desk. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo From the main bedroom area the sling roof can be opened to catch the sun or watch the stars. Image by: Optinid/Agence Argo If you have guests who will stay overnight they can sleep at the second loft which can be accessed by a ladder. At this loft are also some shelves where you can store stuff. The  tiny house Cécile can be powered by solar panels and what is special is the insulation which is made from recycled clothing. The starting price for the Cécile is €54,000 (around US$62,500). Source:  Optinid  (in French), (Credit:Optinid/Agence Argo) http://www.optinid.fr/2-non-categorise/33-tiny-house-cecile https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
Sunbathing in your tiny house with a sliding roof. Try it with the Cécile
Sunbathing in your tiny house with a sliding roof. Try it with the Cécile
DRONES SAFEGUARDING YOUR FOOD AND LANDS
Most of us will associate  drones with all kinds of cool, sophisticated applications. During big sporting events, we see them circling the stadiums and tracks; while they have also infiltrated our music festivals, beaches and tourist attractions. The cool little remotely flown devices are used by architects to get sweeping views of an area or skyscraper, while the army and intelligence agencies rely on them for reliable and low-risk intel. However, this grandeur of imaginative applications does not limit the possibilities. Quite the contrary, the autonomously flying choppers can be employed for situations that do not translate to the big screen as well. Such as saving the environment and communities from the adverse effects of climate change. WHAT CAN DRONES BE USED FOR? Drones are generally described as being able to gather and analyse information about geography, infrastructure, assets, buildings, the environment and events in a quick and effective way. The availability of such - literally - high level insights can greatly improve business insights as well as general awareness of the event or object in question.   As such, they can also be used for improving and increasing awareness of environmental issues as well. One of these innovative uses is in agriculture, where drones are used to keep track of food supplies. The benefits of those unmanned aerial vehicles include their ease of transportation (small and easy to take with you), real-time images and/or results (for example through a camera or sensor attached to the drone), and relatively low costs (drones can sell for under 100 €).   WHY AGRICULTURE ? Especially for farmers who own huge plots of land, it is crucial to keep a close eye on the state of the planted crops. Or, so to speak, get the bird’s eye view over the fields. This is where drones come in handy, as they are able to both cover a large area through their long-range capabilities, as well as perform precision farming jobs, through a close management of crops and spotting of potential dangers, such as diseases, insect infestations and extreme weather.   At the same time, drones can be equipped with special containers and deployment mechanisms, that allows them to perform standard jobs such as pesticide deployment in lieu of the farmer. So, it is not only an extra eye for the farmer, but also an extra pair of hands when it comes to working on the land. IMPORTANCE OF ‘FAIR’  FOOD Not only do drones in agriculture benefit the farmer, they will also help in realising a more transparant and honest food chain, along with fair information for consumers. Through drones, a map can be made of the origin of certain food products, that can be registered and tracked throughout the season.   This includes taking note of the exact origins of a certain product (which is very important for modern consumers) and providing an overview of if and when it has been treated with certain pesticides or particular fertilisation methods. Consumers can be provided with actual proof that a certain food adheres to set quality and sustainability standards.   Not only something that is useful for the consumer, though: as it has the ability to trace back items that are somehow faulty, which will allow for a quicker intervening if something is amiss, preventing the potential (preventive) destruction of many more crops or products. All of this adds to the mission of agricultural companies to be more sustainable and durable in their operations, all the while producing safe and fair  food in a more efficient manner. BIG BUSINESS OF AGRICULTURAL DRONING The commercial and desirable values of producing more sustainable and fair products are not the only consideration in the agricultural field. There are many more reasons why drones could improve the day-to-day business, as well as provide value for other chain partners. The current land use can be kept track of, as well as information on plants and crops. This allows for a more sustainable way of farming the available lands, without (unintentionally) maltreating and exploiting the environment.   Similarly, the data on land use and state of plants of crops that is obtained by drones can be compiled and used to generate actual insights and recommendations. Knowing what has worked or what has not worked in the past, and analysing trends in the business and in the industry, is key in coming up with an actionable and effective strategy. This information is used for a variety of applications, including plantation management, agricultural experimentation and seed production, crop monitoring, and product traceability. MOVING TO DRONE-ONLY FARMING? The image of our lands being farmed by drones alone, that are actively monitoring, detecting and treating crops accordingly, sure is a compelling one. Farmers would turn into active managers and supervisors, sitting in a room filled with TV-screens showing live footage and graphics instead of knee-deep in the mud.   Will it ever get this far? Maybe, for  agriculture businesses that own vast plots of land and are suffering from the current lack of personnel. And, provided that it leads to more sustainable farming and fair and safe products, it is perhaps even the desirable future. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/gardening---agriculture/general
Most of us will associate  drones with all kinds of cool, sophisticated applications. During big sporting events, we see them circling the stadiums and tracks; while they have also infiltrated our music festivals, beaches and tourist attractions. The cool little remotely flown devices are used by architects to get sweeping views of an area or skyscraper, while the army and intelligence agencies rely on them for reliable and low-risk intel. However, this grandeur of imaginative applications does not limit the possibilities. Quite the contrary, the autonomously flying choppers can be employed for situations that do not translate to the big screen as well. Such as saving the environment and communities from the adverse effects of climate change. WHAT CAN DRONES BE USED FOR? Drones are generally described as being able to gather and analyse information about geography, infrastructure, assets, buildings, the environment and events in a quick and effective way. The availability of such - literally - high level insights can greatly improve business insights as well as general awareness of the event or object in question.   As such, they can also be used for improving and increasing awareness of environmental issues as well. One of these innovative uses is in agriculture, where drones are used to keep track of food supplies. The benefits of those unmanned aerial vehicles include their ease of transportation (small and easy to take with you), real-time images and/or results (for example through a camera or sensor attached to the drone), and relatively low costs (drones can sell for under 100 €).   WHY AGRICULTURE ? Especially for farmers who own huge plots of land, it is crucial to keep a close eye on the state of the planted crops. Or, so to speak, get the bird’s eye view over the fields. This is where drones come in handy, as they are able to both cover a large area through their long-range capabilities, as well as perform precision farming jobs, through a close management of crops and spotting of potential dangers, such as diseases, insect infestations and extreme weather.   At the same time, drones can be equipped with special containers and deployment mechanisms, that allows them to perform standard jobs such as pesticide deployment in lieu of the farmer. So, it is not only an extra eye for the farmer, but also an extra pair of hands when it comes to working on the land. IMPORTANCE OF ‘FAIR’  FOOD Not only do drones in agriculture benefit the farmer, they will also help in realising a more transparant and honest food chain, along with fair information for consumers. Through drones, a map can be made of the origin of certain food products, that can be registered and tracked throughout the season.   This includes taking note of the exact origins of a certain product (which is very important for modern consumers) and providing an overview of if and when it has been treated with certain pesticides or particular fertilisation methods. Consumers can be provided with actual proof that a certain food adheres to set quality and sustainability standards.   Not only something that is useful for the consumer, though: as it has the ability to trace back items that are somehow faulty, which will allow for a quicker intervening if something is amiss, preventing the potential (preventive) destruction of many more crops or products. All of this adds to the mission of agricultural companies to be more sustainable and durable in their operations, all the while producing safe and fair  food in a more efficient manner. BIG BUSINESS OF AGRICULTURAL DRONING The commercial and desirable values of producing more sustainable and fair products are not the only consideration in the agricultural field. There are many more reasons why drones could improve the day-to-day business, as well as provide value for other chain partners. The current land use can be kept track of, as well as information on plants and crops. This allows for a more sustainable way of farming the available lands, without (unintentionally) maltreating and exploiting the environment.   Similarly, the data on land use and state of plants of crops that is obtained by drones can be compiled and used to generate actual insights and recommendations. Knowing what has worked or what has not worked in the past, and analysing trends in the business and in the industry, is key in coming up with an actionable and effective strategy. This information is used for a variety of applications, including plantation management, agricultural experimentation and seed production, crop monitoring, and product traceability. MOVING TO DRONE-ONLY FARMING? The image of our lands being farmed by drones alone, that are actively monitoring, detecting and treating crops accordingly, sure is a compelling one. Farmers would turn into active managers and supervisors, sitting in a room filled with TV-screens showing live footage and graphics instead of knee-deep in the mud.   Will it ever get this far? Maybe, for  agriculture businesses that own vast plots of land and are suffering from the current lack of personnel. And, provided that it leads to more sustainable farming and fair and safe products, it is perhaps even the desirable future. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/gardening---agriculture/general
DRONES SAFEGUARDING YOUR FOOD AND LANDS
DRONES SAFEGUARDING YOUR FOOD AND LANDS
Succes Urgenda in climate case is
Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma is happy with the verdict. The State must ensure that CO2  emissions in 2020 are 25 percent lower than in 1990, according to the Court of Appeal in The Hague. The cabinet lost again this morning in the courtroom against climate organization Urgenda, a 'pleasant surprise' for followers of the case. Marjan Minnesma. Image by © RTL Z  "Urgenda won on all points and eliminated arguments from the State," says professor of Climate Law Jonathan Verschuuren from Tilburg University. According to him, the Court is known as conservative, so he is 'pleasantly surprised' that the ruling of the judge from 2015 has maintained. The judge has 'swept the floor' Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda, said afterwards that she had not dared to hope for this statement. "The judge has 'swept the floor' with the reasoning of the State", says Minnesma. The state has never gotten one point right." This is confirmed by Verschuuren, who calls the verdict 'a direct hit' from the judge to the government'. Important judgment The Cabinet's main defense - that the judge meddled with policy - did not stand up. "The State has very much insisted on the separation of powers (trias politica)", says Verschuuren. But because the population can be at risk due to climate change , the judge must intervene, he explains the verdict. The importance of the verdict is great, says Minnesma: "The whole world is watching, in other countries things are being done or prepared." Cover image by: RTV Rijnmond https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma is happy with the verdict. The State must ensure that CO2  emissions in 2020 are 25 percent lower than in 1990, according to the Court of Appeal in The Hague. The cabinet lost again this morning in the courtroom against climate organization Urgenda, a 'pleasant surprise' for followers of the case. Marjan Minnesma. Image by © RTL Z  "Urgenda won on all points and eliminated arguments from the State," says professor of Climate Law Jonathan Verschuuren from Tilburg University. According to him, the Court is known as conservative, so he is 'pleasantly surprised' that the ruling of the judge from 2015 has maintained. The judge has 'swept the floor' Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda, said afterwards that she had not dared to hope for this statement. "The judge has 'swept the floor' with the reasoning of the State", says Minnesma. The state has never gotten one point right." This is confirmed by Verschuuren, who calls the verdict 'a direct hit' from the judge to the government'. Important judgment The Cabinet's main defense - that the judge meddled with policy - did not stand up. "The State has very much insisted on the separation of powers (trias politica)", says Verschuuren. But because the population can be at risk due to climate change , the judge must intervene, he explains the verdict. The importance of the verdict is great, says Minnesma: "The whole world is watching, in other countries things are being done or prepared." Cover image by: RTV Rijnmond https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Succes Urgenda in climate case is
Succes Urgenda in climate case is 'hurting’ the Dutch government'
Wine unplugged
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine.    If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine.    If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Wine unplugged
Wine unplugged
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
The electric car truly is the kind of stuff that science fiction dreams are made of. Driving around without the sound or smell of typical cars, and upon coming home, plugging in the car in the reload station. And once it is fully charged, off you go again, without ever having to bother with filling up the tank at smelly, crowded gas stations. Most of us are longingly staring at the Teslas zooming past in the street, or throwing somewhat jealous glances at the reserved parking spots, exclusive for electric charging. Governments have made it clear that they are looking to subsidise these vehicles, to move towards an economy that is largely fuelled by electric cars, motorcycles, busses, planes… and phase out the polluting, gas guzzling products of the fossil fuel industry. GREATER, BETTER, CLEANER? While the retail price of electric cars still far outweigh that of ‘regular’ cars, there are increasingly more subsidies and grants available for those who are seriously considering ‘a car with a plug’. And yes, they will still be more expensive (ranging anywhere between € 20,000 and € 10,000), even though the savings will start to flow in almost instantly, as the average cost of electricity required for fuelling the car adds up to some hundred euros, perhaps, or maximum € 600-700 per year (depending on the exact car brand and type chosen and the kilometers driven in a year). This puts it at roughly 30% to 50% of the cost for fuel. Additionally, the maintenance costs are likely to be lower as well - there are fewer moving parts and a system that is generally easier to understand and repair when needed. Not to mention the cheaper insurances and tax discounts offered for electric cars.   CARBON EMISSIONS One of the major selling points for the electric car is its zero emissions promise. Whereas regular gas-powered vehicles pump out carbon dioxide while driving, the claim used to be that electric cars do not have any (as they are not burning fossil fuels while driving). Yet this is not entirely true, as there have been instances in which the electric car actually produced higher amounts of CO2 per kilometer driven in its lifetime.   What has to be added to this, though, is that this was a result of the size of the car and hinged on the word ‘lifetime’. For example, if you place a rather big Tesla car opposite a regular compact or economy-sized car, this will lead to a negative outcome for the Tesla. Whereas if you put it head-to-head with a similar sized car, it will always come out on top. The crux in this is the cost of car production, battery manufacturing, and projected recycling opportunities. All or this adds to the lifetime CO2 emission, so logic dictates that a larger car, with more parts, will get a higher rating than a smaller ‘regular’ car. Or, as the US Department of Energy put it, considering all, “an electric car like the Tesla Model S has almost four times lower CO2 per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car.” USE OF ‘DIRTY’ ENERGY Some people will claim that it hardly matters anyway. With an electric car, you are merely shifting the pollution source: instead of using fuel and gas, you are employing electricity, that still largely depends on coal and natural gasses for its production as well. Hence, fossil fuels are used no matter what, and so pollution will be the same as well. Right?   No, not exactly. While it cannot be denied that electricity production still largely hinges on fossil fuels, there is a clear shift towards renewable energy sources. Depending on the exact region, renewable energy sources already make up a significant part of the power needs. Tesla’s Elon Musk has pledged a switch to fully renewable energy sources for the production of their Tesla, using nothing but wind and solar energy to manufacture the cars. Especially in the wake of the Paris Agreement, energy is predicted to become increasingly more sustainable. LITHIUM BATTERIES A final, unavoidable note must be made regarding the lithium batteries that are commonly used in electric cars. This rare element is not only difficult to mine, but also potentially hazardous to those processing it. So, its creation is relatively hard on the environment: if only considering the huge amounts of water that are required for the mining (a staggering 1.9 million liters per tonne of lithium) and the adverse effects that the released chemicals have on the local environment and population alone. And yes, this battery will eliminate the need for similarly polluting elements, but the huge (ethical and environmental) pressure that its production puts on primarily third world countries is worrying. SO, WHAT TO DRIVE? There are undoubtedly aspects of the electric car that are far from desirable. And no, it is not the end-product that we have been able to witness in science-fiction pop culture hits, effortlessly floating on air. Yet the current electric car does take a significant bite out of the emission of its gas counterparts. For now it may be a question of being ‘the lesser evil’, but the great progress made in more sustainable production processes of the car and electricity alike, shows great promise. The electric car is driving down the right road! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/battery
The electric car truly is the kind of stuff that science fiction dreams are made of. Driving around without the sound or smell of typical cars, and upon coming home, plugging in the car in the reload station. And once it is fully charged, off you go again, without ever having to bother with filling up the tank at smelly, crowded gas stations. Most of us are longingly staring at the Teslas zooming past in the street, or throwing somewhat jealous glances at the reserved parking spots, exclusive for electric charging. Governments have made it clear that they are looking to subsidise these vehicles, to move towards an economy that is largely fuelled by electric cars, motorcycles, busses, planes… and phase out the polluting, gas guzzling products of the fossil fuel industry. GREATER, BETTER, CLEANER? While the retail price of electric cars still far outweigh that of ‘regular’ cars, there are increasingly more subsidies and grants available for those who are seriously considering ‘a car with a plug’. And yes, they will still be more expensive (ranging anywhere between € 20,000 and € 10,000), even though the savings will start to flow in almost instantly, as the average cost of electricity required for fuelling the car adds up to some hundred euros, perhaps, or maximum € 600-700 per year (depending on the exact car brand and type chosen and the kilometers driven in a year). This puts it at roughly 30% to 50% of the cost for fuel. Additionally, the maintenance costs are likely to be lower as well - there are fewer moving parts and a system that is generally easier to understand and repair when needed. Not to mention the cheaper insurances and tax discounts offered for electric cars.   CARBON EMISSIONS One of the major selling points for the electric car is its zero emissions promise. Whereas regular gas-powered vehicles pump out carbon dioxide while driving, the claim used to be that electric cars do not have any (as they are not burning fossil fuels while driving). Yet this is not entirely true, as there have been instances in which the electric car actually produced higher amounts of CO2 per kilometer driven in its lifetime.   What has to be added to this, though, is that this was a result of the size of the car and hinged on the word ‘lifetime’. For example, if you place a rather big Tesla car opposite a regular compact or economy-sized car, this will lead to a negative outcome for the Tesla. Whereas if you put it head-to-head with a similar sized car, it will always come out on top. The crux in this is the cost of car production, battery manufacturing, and projected recycling opportunities. All or this adds to the lifetime CO2 emission, so logic dictates that a larger car, with more parts, will get a higher rating than a smaller ‘regular’ car. Or, as the US Department of Energy put it, considering all, “an electric car like the Tesla Model S has almost four times lower CO2 per mile than an equivalent gas-powered car.” USE OF ‘DIRTY’ ENERGY Some people will claim that it hardly matters anyway. With an electric car, you are merely shifting the pollution source: instead of using fuel and gas, you are employing electricity, that still largely depends on coal and natural gasses for its production as well. Hence, fossil fuels are used no matter what, and so pollution will be the same as well. Right?   No, not exactly. While it cannot be denied that electricity production still largely hinges on fossil fuels, there is a clear shift towards renewable energy sources. Depending on the exact region, renewable energy sources already make up a significant part of the power needs. Tesla’s Elon Musk has pledged a switch to fully renewable energy sources for the production of their Tesla, using nothing but wind and solar energy to manufacture the cars. Especially in the wake of the Paris Agreement, energy is predicted to become increasingly more sustainable. LITHIUM BATTERIES A final, unavoidable note must be made regarding the lithium batteries that are commonly used in electric cars. This rare element is not only difficult to mine, but also potentially hazardous to those processing it. So, its creation is relatively hard on the environment: if only considering the huge amounts of water that are required for the mining (a staggering 1.9 million liters per tonne of lithium) and the adverse effects that the released chemicals have on the local environment and population alone. And yes, this battery will eliminate the need for similarly polluting elements, but the huge (ethical and environmental) pressure that its production puts on primarily third world countries is worrying. SO, WHAT TO DRIVE? There are undoubtedly aspects of the electric car that are far from desirable. And no, it is not the end-product that we have been able to witness in science-fiction pop culture hits, effortlessly floating on air. Yet the current electric car does take a significant bite out of the emission of its gas counterparts. For now it may be a question of being ‘the lesser evil’, but the great progress made in more sustainable production processes of the car and electricity alike, shows great promise. The electric car is driving down the right road! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/battery
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
ELECTRIC CARS: TRULY GREEN OR A NEW KIND OF LIABILITY?
BLOCKCHAIN FOR SUSTAINABILITY: IMPLEMENTING A BETTER WORLD
Much has been written about the technology of blockchain. This invention of the as of yet unidentified person or entity Satoshi Nakamoto, who published it in 2008, is one of the most hyped methods that will affect businesses on a global level. In its simplest form, blockchain is best described as a ledger or database of sorts. One with an unparalleled level of security, through advanced cryptography techniques, that makes it resistant to modification.   At the same time, its public and decentralised nature ensures that everyone can have access to it and add to it as they want - after which the peer-to-peer network, over which the database is distributed, has to verify the new data before it literally becomes set in stone. This makes it an ideal solution for any industry where it is crucial that data is accurate, publicly available, and can be relied on. APPLICATIONS IN SUSTAINABILITY While blockchain has achieved most of its fame as the platform enabling cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, it shows plenty of promise for other, widely varying industries as well. To illustrate this versatility, the World Economic Forum has published a comprehensive report on the use of blockchain in environmental conservation, adeptly titled ‘Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet’.   It looks at potential game-changing applications of blockchain in battling the greatest dangers that our planet is facing, including environmental degradation, air pollution and climate change. In this, examples of initiatives per challenge are singled out, that could potentially have a massive positive impact on our globe. BLOCKCHAIN IN CLIMATE CHANGE The applications for blockchain in combatting climate change are diverse. It could include initiatives relevant to any of us, for example through a citizen loyalty and reward platform, which allows citizens of a certain area to register and be rewarded for their own smart and green home innovations. This includes lighting, heating, and other sustainable smart home improvements.   Another application of blockchain in battling climate change is its function in allowing for sustainable land use. Through blockchain, mining and agricultural activities can closely and publicly be monitored, and through automation of data collection, the entire process can become more sustainable and durable. Similarly, blockchain could enhance clean power initiatives, for example through peer-to-peer renewable energy trading systems or an optimised distributed grid management.   BLOCKCHAIN IN BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION Applicaties of blockchain can also be used to increase global biodiversity and conservation. It could, for instance, be used to track the geographic reach and movements of endangered animal species, while at the same time raise more funds for investments in habitat restoration and species conservation.   Natural resources, such as wood, can also be better protected and tracked if it is included in a blockchain ledger, that requires the input of producers and manufacturers alike. At the same time, it could incentivise farmers and reward them for responsible waste management or limited use of pesticide on their land.   The word ‘sustainable production’ and ‘sustainable trade’ can also be given more meaning, now that it is possible to track the entire supply chain of produce or livestock. The transparant supply chain will allow consumers to look right back to the origins of a product, and verify whether its production has in fact be sustainable. BLOCKCHAIN FOR HEALTHY OCEANS The application of blockchain for the protection of species and habitats in our oceans is mentioned as well, allowing for a decentralised and open-source database with ocean data and tracking data. Secondly, it will allow for more sustainable fishing solutions: fish can be tracked, while illegal fishing can quickly be identified. Additionally, pollution of the oceans can largely be prevented, for example through incentivised ocean plastic recycling initiatives, as well as a transparent ledger for faster, safer and more efficient shipping routes. Finally, the impact from climate change can be made visible, for instance through real-time monitoring of the ocean temperature and collection of data on ocean conditions. And, once again, the ease of fundraising through blockchain will also make a world of difference for our oceans, as people can easily, directly and safely donate to ocean clean-up efforts or the protection of endangered sea-species. BLOCKCHAIN FOR CLEAN WATER   Another huge challenge that the world is facing is the availability of clean and safe drinking water. Blockchain could assist through increasing water supply - through water monitoring and micropayment generation for water meter donations - as well as increased water efficiency, through the introduction of peer-to-peer trading systems of excess water supplies and smart meters.   The quality of water can be improved through control applications. Similarly, adequate sanitation efforts could “feed” more efficient water treatment systems. All the while, blockchain could empower drought planning through monitoring and forecasting of precipitation and the provision of automated crop insurances for drought periods.   BLOCKCHAIN FOR CLEAN AIR Alongside water, a second resource crucial to mankind is air. After all, without clean water and clean air, life would not be possible. As such, the applications of blockchain towards improving the quality of air are potentially very valuable as well. These include filtering and capturing solutions, such as the automatic activation of air-filtration devices and the collation of data on air pollutants from various sources.   Similarly, air quality can be monitored through intelligent methane monitoring systems and real-time, local monitoring of particulates and NO2. Through early warning systems, operating on blockchain, we can be quicker and more effective in combatting potentially hazardous or health-comprising situations.   BLOCKCHAIN FOR WEATHER AND DISASTER RESILIENCE A final byproduct of our current environmental problems, is the occurrence of extreme weather and natural distasters. Once again something that blockchain can offer various applications for: from prediction and forecasting to early warning systems, and from resilience planning and resilient infrastructure to the quick deployment of financial instruments to fund recovery efforts and insurance claims.   WHY INCLUDE BLOCKCHAIN? Blockchain has the potential to not only aid, but also transform the way in which we deal with environmental issues. Its potential impact on existing and innovative solutions alike could be huge, especially through the ease and the transparency of the system. Everyone will know what is being done and by who, without any room for error or fraud. Not only will it become painfully obvious where the sore points are, therefore making it easier to identify and punish wrongdoers or great polluters, blockchain is also able to reward and incentivise those who are doing the right thing.   As such, industry and consumers alike are pushed to take a good, critical look at their use of resources and the way that they treat the environment. A technology that, therefore, does not only have disruptive and transformative attributes, but that also harnesses the collective self-interests to let people combine their efforts to push the world to a better place.
Much has been written about the technology of blockchain. This invention of the as of yet unidentified person or entity Satoshi Nakamoto, who published it in 2008, is one of the most hyped methods that will affect businesses on a global level. In its simplest form, blockchain is best described as a ledger or database of sorts. One with an unparalleled level of security, through advanced cryptography techniques, that makes it resistant to modification.   At the same time, its public and decentralised nature ensures that everyone can have access to it and add to it as they want - after which the peer-to-peer network, over which the database is distributed, has to verify the new data before it literally becomes set in stone. This makes it an ideal solution for any industry where it is crucial that data is accurate, publicly available, and can be relied on. APPLICATIONS IN SUSTAINABILITY While blockchain has achieved most of its fame as the platform enabling cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, it shows plenty of promise for other, widely varying industries as well. To illustrate this versatility, the World Economic Forum has published a comprehensive report on the use of blockchain in environmental conservation, adeptly titled ‘Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet’.   It looks at potential game-changing applications of blockchain in battling the greatest dangers that our planet is facing, including environmental degradation, air pollution and climate change. In this, examples of initiatives per challenge are singled out, that could potentially have a massive positive impact on our globe. BLOCKCHAIN IN CLIMATE CHANGE The applications for blockchain in combatting climate change are diverse. It could include initiatives relevant to any of us, for example through a citizen loyalty and reward platform, which allows citizens of a certain area to register and be rewarded for their own smart and green home innovations. This includes lighting, heating, and other sustainable smart home improvements.   Another application of blockchain in battling climate change is its function in allowing for sustainable land use. Through blockchain, mining and agricultural activities can closely and publicly be monitored, and through automation of data collection, the entire process can become more sustainable and durable. Similarly, blockchain could enhance clean power initiatives, for example through peer-to-peer renewable energy trading systems or an optimised distributed grid management.   BLOCKCHAIN IN BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION Applicaties of blockchain can also be used to increase global biodiversity and conservation. It could, for instance, be used to track the geographic reach and movements of endangered animal species, while at the same time raise more funds for investments in habitat restoration and species conservation.   Natural resources, such as wood, can also be better protected and tracked if it is included in a blockchain ledger, that requires the input of producers and manufacturers alike. At the same time, it could incentivise farmers and reward them for responsible waste management or limited use of pesticide on their land.   The word ‘sustainable production’ and ‘sustainable trade’ can also be given more meaning, now that it is possible to track the entire supply chain of produce or livestock. The transparant supply chain will allow consumers to look right back to the origins of a product, and verify whether its production has in fact be sustainable. BLOCKCHAIN FOR HEALTHY OCEANS The application of blockchain for the protection of species and habitats in our oceans is mentioned as well, allowing for a decentralised and open-source database with ocean data and tracking data. Secondly, it will allow for more sustainable fishing solutions: fish can be tracked, while illegal fishing can quickly be identified. Additionally, pollution of the oceans can largely be prevented, for example through incentivised ocean plastic recycling initiatives, as well as a transparent ledger for faster, safer and more efficient shipping routes. Finally, the impact from climate change can be made visible, for instance through real-time monitoring of the ocean temperature and collection of data on ocean conditions. And, once again, the ease of fundraising through blockchain will also make a world of difference for our oceans, as people can easily, directly and safely donate to ocean clean-up efforts or the protection of endangered sea-species. BLOCKCHAIN FOR CLEAN WATER   Another huge challenge that the world is facing is the availability of clean and safe drinking water. Blockchain could assist through increasing water supply - through water monitoring and micropayment generation for water meter donations - as well as increased water efficiency, through the introduction of peer-to-peer trading systems of excess water supplies and smart meters.   The quality of water can be improved through control applications. Similarly, adequate sanitation efforts could “feed” more efficient water treatment systems. All the while, blockchain could empower drought planning through monitoring and forecasting of precipitation and the provision of automated crop insurances for drought periods.   BLOCKCHAIN FOR CLEAN AIR Alongside water, a second resource crucial to mankind is air. After all, without clean water and clean air, life would not be possible. As such, the applications of blockchain towards improving the quality of air are potentially very valuable as well. These include filtering and capturing solutions, such as the automatic activation of air-filtration devices and the collation of data on air pollutants from various sources.   Similarly, air quality can be monitored through intelligent methane monitoring systems and real-time, local monitoring of particulates and NO2. Through early warning systems, operating on blockchain, we can be quicker and more effective in combatting potentially hazardous or health-comprising situations.   BLOCKCHAIN FOR WEATHER AND DISASTER RESILIENCE A final byproduct of our current environmental problems, is the occurrence of extreme weather and natural distasters. Once again something that blockchain can offer various applications for: from prediction and forecasting to early warning systems, and from resilience planning and resilient infrastructure to the quick deployment of financial instruments to fund recovery efforts and insurance claims.   WHY INCLUDE BLOCKCHAIN? Blockchain has the potential to not only aid, but also transform the way in which we deal with environmental issues. Its potential impact on existing and innovative solutions alike could be huge, especially through the ease and the transparency of the system. Everyone will know what is being done and by who, without any room for error or fraud. Not only will it become painfully obvious where the sore points are, therefore making it easier to identify and punish wrongdoers or great polluters, blockchain is also able to reward and incentivise those who are doing the right thing.   As such, industry and consumers alike are pushed to take a good, critical look at their use of resources and the way that they treat the environment. A technology that, therefore, does not only have disruptive and transformative attributes, but that also harnesses the collective self-interests to let people combine their efforts to push the world to a better place.
BLOCKCHAIN FOR SUSTAINABILITY: IMPLEMENTING A BETTER WORLD
BLOCKCHAIN FOR SUSTAINABILITY: IMPLEMENTING A BETTER WORLD
TREMENDOUSLY BIG AND TREMENDOUSLY WET: HURRICANE SEASON EVOLVING
“ They haven’t seen anything like what’s coming at us in 25, 30 years, maybe ever. It’s tremendously big and tremendously wet .” As hurricane Florence barrelled its way towards the East Coast of the United States last week, many meteorologists looked on with equal parts trepidation and amazement. There was even talk of this storm turning into a category 5 hurricane upon landfall, which is the highest category that could be awarded to this kind of natural disaster. The awkward words of President Trump above did very little to calm the nerves of his anxious fellow citizens; nor did the large-scale evacuations that were hastily executed. INCREASING  DAMAGES Eventually the storm literally blew over, dissipating on September 19 and leaving behind a trail of casualties and extensive damage in its wake. And although it was not quite the ‘greatest thing to come their way - ever’, it was a pretty bad storm. And, judging by the Atlantic hurricane season of last year, the worst might be yet to come.   2017 has gone down in history books as the costliest hurricane season on record, mostly due to the notorious trinity Harvey, Irma and Maria. All together, the total damage was estimated at close to 300 billion USD. Looking at this, we’d better brace ourselves for Florence’s successors. ‘STORMS ARE BECOMING MORE POWERFUL’ The funny thing is that, even though Trump was mostly ridiculed for his statement above, it is actually hitting the nail on the head. The occurrence of so many intense hurricanes over the last few years can hardly be considered a coincidence. Now that global warming is hurrying along, racing towards the point of no return, natural phenomena such as hurricane are bound to intensify as well. Both in strength - and in wetness. Storms will become stronger due to the difference in temperature between the warming ocean water and the upper atmosphere, that does not heat up with the rest of the earth. It is exactly this difference that will make hurricanes more intense and powerful, increasing their speed limits to a point that the world has never seen before. Judging by the record wind speeds as set by Irma (at 185 mph) and Maria (175 mph), along with 2015’s Patricia (215 mph), this process already appears to have been set in motion. ‘STORMS ARE GETTING WETTER ’ While climate scientists are still not entirely sure on the how or what of hurricanes and big storms, more and more data is starting to flood in (no pun intended). Through the use of unmanned aircraft, increasingly sensitive weather satellites and storm sensors, the previously largely unpredictable behaviour of these stormy giants can better be charted and determined. So, what else did it tell us? Well, mostly that we should invest in umbrellas (perhaps not in the wind, though) and a mightily good flood insurance, if we are living in coastal regions. As both air and water around us are heating up, a vicious circle is entered where potential hurricanes suck up the water’s heat, convert it to even more wind energy, and subsequently absorb even more heat. While the storm is growing, it also sucks up more moisture from the warm water. Hence, becoming ‘tremendously wet’, ‘with tremendous amounts of water’, as so elegantly articulated by the Commander in Chief.   ‘STORMS ARE CHANGING’ Aside from the increase in intensity and wetness, more worrying data has come to light. While the traditional hurricane season generally does not kick off until June, it is likely that in the not-too-distant future this threshold should be changed to mid-May, perhaps even before that. Signs are that storm season is getting longer. And while bringing bad news: the storms are expanding geographically as well. The physical range of hurricanes is growing, making it easier for them to reach places that were previously deemed ‘safe’.   FEWER STORMS , HIGHER IMPACT? If you are looking for a silver lining on this cloudy (and stormy) horizon, perhaps it will make you feel better to know that all of this does not mean that there will be a relentless stream of monster hurricanes. The number of storms is predicated to remain the same, if not decrease somewhat. So while they are becoming stronger and heavier, there might be fewer of them to deal with. This has to do with climate change also taking away some of the favourable conditions in which a storm initially develops - so, it will be harder for them to sprout. Although everyone knows it only takes one good one to cause mayhem. Another plus (if it could be considered as such): the advanced technologies and available data will be able to predict well ahead of time when it might be a better idea to find higher ground. And if there’s one lesson to be learned from the rising death toll resulting from storms in recent years: it is better not to test Mother Nature’s force, as she seems to continuously be getting bigger and wetter - and not even Donald Trump will be able to grab a hold of her. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/climate/general
“ They haven’t seen anything like what’s coming at us in 25, 30 years, maybe ever. It’s tremendously big and tremendously wet .” As hurricane Florence barrelled its way towards the East Coast of the United States last week, many meteorologists looked on with equal parts trepidation and amazement. There was even talk of this storm turning into a category 5 hurricane upon landfall, which is the highest category that could be awarded to this kind of natural disaster. The awkward words of President Trump above did very little to calm the nerves of his anxious fellow citizens; nor did the large-scale evacuations that were hastily executed. INCREASING  DAMAGES Eventually the storm literally blew over, dissipating on September 19 and leaving behind a trail of casualties and extensive damage in its wake. And although it was not quite the ‘greatest thing to come their way - ever’, it was a pretty bad storm. And, judging by the Atlantic hurricane season of last year, the worst might be yet to come.   2017 has gone down in history books as the costliest hurricane season on record, mostly due to the notorious trinity Harvey, Irma and Maria. All together, the total damage was estimated at close to 300 billion USD. Looking at this, we’d better brace ourselves for Florence’s successors. ‘STORMS ARE BECOMING MORE POWERFUL’ The funny thing is that, even though Trump was mostly ridiculed for his statement above, it is actually hitting the nail on the head. The occurrence of so many intense hurricanes over the last few years can hardly be considered a coincidence. Now that global warming is hurrying along, racing towards the point of no return, natural phenomena such as hurricane are bound to intensify as well. Both in strength - and in wetness. Storms will become stronger due to the difference in temperature between the warming ocean water and the upper atmosphere, that does not heat up with the rest of the earth. It is exactly this difference that will make hurricanes more intense and powerful, increasing their speed limits to a point that the world has never seen before. Judging by the record wind speeds as set by Irma (at 185 mph) and Maria (175 mph), along with 2015’s Patricia (215 mph), this process already appears to have been set in motion. ‘STORMS ARE GETTING WETTER ’ While climate scientists are still not entirely sure on the how or what of hurricanes and big storms, more and more data is starting to flood in (no pun intended). Through the use of unmanned aircraft, increasingly sensitive weather satellites and storm sensors, the previously largely unpredictable behaviour of these stormy giants can better be charted and determined. So, what else did it tell us? Well, mostly that we should invest in umbrellas (perhaps not in the wind, though) and a mightily good flood insurance, if we are living in coastal regions. As both air and water around us are heating up, a vicious circle is entered where potential hurricanes suck up the water’s heat, convert it to even more wind energy, and subsequently absorb even more heat. While the storm is growing, it also sucks up more moisture from the warm water. Hence, becoming ‘tremendously wet’, ‘with tremendous amounts of water’, as so elegantly articulated by the Commander in Chief.   ‘STORMS ARE CHANGING’ Aside from the increase in intensity and wetness, more worrying data has come to light. While the traditional hurricane season generally does not kick off until June, it is likely that in the not-too-distant future this threshold should be changed to mid-May, perhaps even before that. Signs are that storm season is getting longer. And while bringing bad news: the storms are expanding geographically as well. The physical range of hurricanes is growing, making it easier for them to reach places that were previously deemed ‘safe’.   FEWER STORMS , HIGHER IMPACT? If you are looking for a silver lining on this cloudy (and stormy) horizon, perhaps it will make you feel better to know that all of this does not mean that there will be a relentless stream of monster hurricanes. The number of storms is predicated to remain the same, if not decrease somewhat. So while they are becoming stronger and heavier, there might be fewer of them to deal with. This has to do with climate change also taking away some of the favourable conditions in which a storm initially develops - so, it will be harder for them to sprout. Although everyone knows it only takes one good one to cause mayhem. Another plus (if it could be considered as such): the advanced technologies and available data will be able to predict well ahead of time when it might be a better idea to find higher ground. And if there’s one lesson to be learned from the rising death toll resulting from storms in recent years: it is better not to test Mother Nature’s force, as she seems to continuously be getting bigger and wetter - and not even Donald Trump will be able to grab a hold of her. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/climate/general
TREMENDOUSLY BIG AND TREMENDOUSLY WET: HURRICANE SEASON EVOLVING
TREMENDOUSLY BIG AND TREMENDOUSLY WET: HURRICANE SEASON EVOLVING
FLOATING IN YOUR OWN TINY HOUSEBOAT
Have you always dreamed of living on the water? Waking up every day to wide-open views of endless water bodies, boats floating past, perhaps the occasional water bird? Then you might be in for a treat. The Dutch company of VaarHuis Consultancy, based in the Frisian town of Joure, has just the thing for you - a tiny houseboat. You can live in it, navigate it, use it as a holiday home or other form of (temporary) accommodation… and it is nothing like you would expect it to be. “The best psychiatrist is a day on the water,” claims Robert-Jan Wik, the initiator and developer of the HouseBoating concept. This 47-year-old entrepreneur has turned his hobby and passion of spending time on the water into a flourishing enterprise.   WHAT IS THE  TINY HOUSEBOAT? The Tiny Houseboat is Dutch in every fibre of its being: from the traditionally shaped house to the concept of living on a boat, to the adventurous and boundary-pushing mentality of its founders. It essentially is exactly as it claims to be: a tiny house on a boat. It has all the certifications that allow it to be used as both as well, letting the owner ship off his house to wherever he wants.   Or, if you are merely planning to stay in one location, it could also be delivered as a floating house, without any actual steering or boating capacities. This option is the first of many, as the design of the actual house can be selected and customised as well, as are its dimensions. The founders strongly believe that it is something that will appeal to anyone, both as a pleasure craft as well as a means of accommodation. As well as fun and compact, it is also a sustainable and durable product. The intention is to have it employed as a mobile accommodation on the water as well, that can temporarily be docked in a certain location before moving on to the next, or used as recreational accommodation for holiday resorts or hotels. Other applications include use as a detached guest suite of your home on the water, your very own man-cave to go fishing with on the weekends, or a student room that provides accommodation in overcrowded cities. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? A Tiny Houseboat offers pretty much all of the amenities and luxuries that you are used to from your own home. It can even have a second floor, accessible by stairs, containing a full-sized bedroom, fitting a queen bed. Downstairs, you will find a seating/dining area with an open kitchen and a luxurious bathroom. And, befitting the outdoor lifestyle that this boat will unquestioningly bring along, a spacious outdoor area is available that functions as a proper lounge deck.   The exact configuration can be determined, as there are three different spatial lay-outs available, as well as five sizes, ranging from 7.5 to 14.99 meter in length. Although a new initiative of the company experiments with floating hotel rooms and saunas, which are basically smaller, well-designed versions of the larger Houseboat.   WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME? First of all, this innovation basically guarantees you a new way of recreating or living. It is affordable, with pricing starting at € 55,000 excl. VAT, and provides a luxurious yet simple interior, that can be customised to your exact liking. It will let you fall asleep to the gentle rocking of waves, and wake up the next morning with an unparalleled view: the large, ceiling-high windows in both the bedroom and the downstairs living area allow for plenty of natural light while putting on a great show. Although your design could include a television, you might not even need it. From a business perspective, the Tiny Houseboat offers plenty of interesting opportunities as well. From low-priced and mobile accommodation for your personnel, partners or guests, to a viable way of exploiting a hotel or resort business. A touring organisation could organise all-inclusive holidays that lets people enjoy the richness of a country or region, while combining it with a fixed accommodation and the unique experience of navigating your own boat. TRY YOUR OWN HOUSEBOAT VH Consultancy is still in its early days, having introduced the concept last March. Yet it is very real, and shows great promise. Especially in densely populated areas, where house prices are skyrocketing and accommodation is scarce, it will be a welcome solution. Whether it is an extension of your actual home, vacation home, hotel room or man-cave: the Tiny Houseboat will provide a durable mobile accommodation where and when you need it. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
Have you always dreamed of living on the water? Waking up every day to wide-open views of endless water bodies, boats floating past, perhaps the occasional water bird? Then you might be in for a treat. The Dutch company of VaarHuis Consultancy, based in the Frisian town of Joure, has just the thing for you - a tiny houseboat. You can live in it, navigate it, use it as a holiday home or other form of (temporary) accommodation… and it is nothing like you would expect it to be. “The best psychiatrist is a day on the water,” claims Robert-Jan Wik, the initiator and developer of the HouseBoating concept. This 47-year-old entrepreneur has turned his hobby and passion of spending time on the water into a flourishing enterprise.   WHAT IS THE  TINY HOUSEBOAT? The Tiny Houseboat is Dutch in every fibre of its being: from the traditionally shaped house to the concept of living on a boat, to the adventurous and boundary-pushing mentality of its founders. It essentially is exactly as it claims to be: a tiny house on a boat. It has all the certifications that allow it to be used as both as well, letting the owner ship off his house to wherever he wants.   Or, if you are merely planning to stay in one location, it could also be delivered as a floating house, without any actual steering or boating capacities. This option is the first of many, as the design of the actual house can be selected and customised as well, as are its dimensions. The founders strongly believe that it is something that will appeal to anyone, both as a pleasure craft as well as a means of accommodation. As well as fun and compact, it is also a sustainable and durable product. The intention is to have it employed as a mobile accommodation on the water as well, that can temporarily be docked in a certain location before moving on to the next, or used as recreational accommodation for holiday resorts or hotels. Other applications include use as a detached guest suite of your home on the water, your very own man-cave to go fishing with on the weekends, or a student room that provides accommodation in overcrowded cities. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? A Tiny Houseboat offers pretty much all of the amenities and luxuries that you are used to from your own home. It can even have a second floor, accessible by stairs, containing a full-sized bedroom, fitting a queen bed. Downstairs, you will find a seating/dining area with an open kitchen and a luxurious bathroom. And, befitting the outdoor lifestyle that this boat will unquestioningly bring along, a spacious outdoor area is available that functions as a proper lounge deck.   The exact configuration can be determined, as there are three different spatial lay-outs available, as well as five sizes, ranging from 7.5 to 14.99 meter in length. Although a new initiative of the company experiments with floating hotel rooms and saunas, which are basically smaller, well-designed versions of the larger Houseboat.   WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME? First of all, this innovation basically guarantees you a new way of recreating or living. It is affordable, with pricing starting at € 55,000 excl. VAT, and provides a luxurious yet simple interior, that can be customised to your exact liking. It will let you fall asleep to the gentle rocking of waves, and wake up the next morning with an unparalleled view: the large, ceiling-high windows in both the bedroom and the downstairs living area allow for plenty of natural light while putting on a great show. Although your design could include a television, you might not even need it. From a business perspective, the Tiny Houseboat offers plenty of interesting opportunities as well. From low-priced and mobile accommodation for your personnel, partners or guests, to a viable way of exploiting a hotel or resort business. A touring organisation could organise all-inclusive holidays that lets people enjoy the richness of a country or region, while combining it with a fixed accommodation and the unique experience of navigating your own boat. TRY YOUR OWN HOUSEBOAT VH Consultancy is still in its early days, having introduced the concept last March. Yet it is very real, and shows great promise. Especially in densely populated areas, where house prices are skyrocketing and accommodation is scarce, it will be a welcome solution. Whether it is an extension of your actual home, vacation home, hotel room or man-cave: the Tiny Houseboat will provide a durable mobile accommodation where and when you need it. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/architecture/tinyhouses
FLOATING IN YOUR OWN TINY HOUSEBOAT
FLOATING IN YOUR OWN TINY HOUSEBOAT
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
The concept of the ‘plastic soup’, also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California.   Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesised its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole. FIGHT THE SOUP While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier .   Only a number of weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their “Bubble Barrier”, an innovation that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean. USING THE BUBBLE BARRIER Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers. As such, cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles.   This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled. SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the problem at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even larger, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe.   Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole; where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime. LOW IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection.   Additionally, while using bubbles is great for blocking plastic, it is absolutely harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike.   THE ROAD AHEAD Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam GayPride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities, to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events. After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the 10 most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup.   So, excuse the pun: the promising bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
The concept of the ‘plastic soup’, also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California.   Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesised its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole. FIGHT THE SOUP While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier .   Only a number of weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their “Bubble Barrier”, an innovation that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean. USING THE BUBBLE BARRIER Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers. As such, cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles.   This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled. SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the problem at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even larger, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe.   Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole; where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime. LOW IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection.   Additionally, while using bubbles is great for blocking plastic, it is absolutely harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike.   THE ROAD AHEAD Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam GayPride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities, to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events. After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the 10 most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup.   So, excuse the pun: the promising bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.

Whatsorb

Whatsorb info

whatsorb whatsorb whatsorb whatsorb@example.com