Category Archives: Sustainability

Restoration: How Rivers ‘Should Look’ In Nature

The Guardian – The quintessential image of a river you might recognize from post cards and paintings – nice and straight with a tidy riverbank – is not actually how it is supposed to look.

It’s the result of centuries of industrial and agricultural development. And it’s become a problem, exacerbating the impact of both extreme flooding and extreme drought. Josh Toussaint-Strauss looks into how so many rivers ended up this way, and how river restoration is helping to reestablish biodiversity and combat some of the effects of the climate crisis.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories – Jan 13, 2023

World Economic Forum – January 13, 2023 top stories:

0:15 Solar powered car drives 1000kms – The Sunswift 7 weighs just 500kg. While an average car weighs between 1,500 and 2,000kg and boasts incredibly low rolling resistance due to its shape. A team at UNSW Sydney designed and built the car. Which completed 240 laps of a special test circuit. Equal to driving from Sydney to Melbourne, plus 100km.

1:32 3D printed bionic arms – Cure Bionics 3D-printed prosthetics are lightweight and muscle-controlled. They can be attached without surgical intervention and are charged wirelessly by solar power. The arms can be printed and ready within a week at the cost of just $3,000. Other providers can take months and charge up to $100,000. Cure Bionics’ arms are available for children with limb differences aged 8 and up. The low weight makes them easy for kids to operate. An immersive VR training programme helps patients learn to use their arms even before it’s made. Cure Bionics was founded in Tunisia, where the start-up has already launched a prototype. In spring 2023, it’s releasing a public version.

3:17 Geneva introduces driverless buses – 15 self-driving minibuses will be deployed in 2025. Providing an on-demand, door-to-door service, 24 hours a day. This pilot project will run for 1 year alongside similar schemes in Germany and Norway.

4:55 Implants restore vision to blind people – The implants were given to 20 people by scientists at Sweden’s Linköping University and LinkoCare Life Sciences. 14 were blind and 6 were on the verge of losing their sight. After 2 years, none of them were blind.

Pre-Fab Tiny Home Tours: ‘The Cutting’ In Australia

The Local Project – The Cutting by Small and Ample is a DIY pre-fab tiny home that encompasses sustainable living. Designed to shatter the idea that small homes cannot be generous, Aaron Shields, Director at Ample, and aspiring architect Nick Lane collaborate on The Cutting, a DIY pre-fab tiny home.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the DIY Tiny Home 00:36 – The Brief – Small but Generous 00:54 – Situated on a Patch of Farmland with Views of The Cutting 01:11 – A Tour of the Tiny Home 02:30 – The Challenges in Designing a Small and Transportable Home 03:14 – A Reclaimed and Recycled Material Palette 03:35 – Textural Materiality 03:52 – The Aussie Shed

Promoting a better future with the idea that less is more, the designers have provoked others to think outside the box when crafting residential projects. Looking over The Cutting, an area where the sea cuts into the sand dunes, the home provides plentiful living within its 30 square meters. The house tour of the small home begins at arrival, with basalt pavers that lead up towards the DIY pre-fab tiny home. A set of steps – made from cow trough supports, reclaimed hardwood and perforated mesh salvaged from an old farm shed on the property – brings the occupants to the front door that pivots into the passive house.

Once inside, the kitchen, dining and living spaces are infused with warm timbers and bamstone cobbles, which together pare back the interior and tie the cabin into the surrounding landscape. At the south-western end of the DIY pre-fab tiny home, a double-glazed and steel window section with operable awnings allows for cross flow ventilation throughout the small home. Up on the mezzanine level, a study nook has been inserted into the floor and blurs the connection between upstairs and downstairs.

To cooperate with Victorian road rules, Aaron and Nick needed to design to specific dimensions in order to make the DIY pre-fab tiny home transportable. After collapsing the roof by 1500 millimetres, the small home can then be moved to its new location and settled on the land. With a hope to change the perception surrounding how homes can contribute to sustainability agendas, the designers use reclaimed materials. By doing so, every piece of furniture within the DIY pre-fab tiny home is built from reclaimed wood.

The floor is recycled iron bark, while many of the other timber elements have been sourced from other structures. Futhermore, the designers have championed the idea of the Australian shed with the use of timber and metal on the exterior, reflecting the history of the landscape. Overall, Aaron and Nick have created a modest home with an unexpected perceived spatial generosity that celebrates the value of materials.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories Of The Week

World Economic Forum – November 18, 2022 stories:

  1. 0:15 Global Population Reaches 8 Billion – That’s 8 times more humans than existed in 1800. Even so, the world’s population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950 due to a declining global fertility rate. Today there are an average of 2.3 births per woman. In 1950 it was 5. The world’s population is projected to peak at 10.4 billion by 2080.
  2. 1:49 The Economic Case for Climate Adaption – Climate adaptation means preparing our ecological, social and economic systems so they can cope with the future impacts of climate change. Heatwaves, storms, wildfires: the costs of climate change are already mounting but so far only 20% of climate finance has gone towards adaptation.
  3. 3:44 French Start Up Blends Wind and Solar Energy – Unéole’s energy system combines a photovoltaic rooftop panel with 2 compact wind turbines, generating 40% more energy than an ordinary rooftop panel. Solar panels work best in strong sunlight but Unéole’s units generate power when it’s overcast or during winter and can turn through the night to ensure a steady flow of power. The turbines are silent, so they don’t disturb building occupants and they’re built from mostly recycled aluminium and steel.
  4. 4:54 Lab Grown Blood Used in World First – UK scientists have transfused lab-grown blood into humans for the first time. It could revolutionize treatment for people with rare blood types, especially those who need regular transfusions. Two people were injected with 1-2 teaspoons of the synthetic blood to see how how their bodies respond. So far, so good – the trial participants are fit and healthy with no reported side effects.

The Future Of Cities: CO2 Absorbing & Repurposed

Will the cities of the future be climate neutral? Might they also be able to actively filter carbon dioxide out of the air? Futurologist Vincente Guallarte thinks so. In fact, he says, our cities will soon be able to absorb CO2, just like trees do.

To accomplish this, Guallarte wants to bring sustainable industries and agriculture to our urban centers, with greenhouses atop every building. But in order for Guallarte’s proposal to work, he says, cities will have learn to submit to the laws and principles of nature. Urban planners also have big plans for our energy supply. In the future, countries like Germany could become energy producers.

In Esslingen am Neckar, residents are working on producing green hydrogen in homes, to be used as fuel for trucks. It’s a project that‘s breaking new ground, says investor Manfred Norbert. Our future cities will be all about redefining a new normal. Architects and urban planners are expecting to see entirely new approaches to communal living, as well as new urban concepts for autonomous supply chains. The repurposing of old buildings, and the generation of food as well as energy, are other important topics.

The architect Arno Brandhuber thinks the current building stock available, and the possibilities it offers, have been underestimated. His spectacular business headquarters are located in an old silo in Berlin’s Lichtenberg district. His most provocative project, something he calls his “Anti-villa,” is a repurposed East German factory for cotton knitwear. It‘s a prime example of sustainable design.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories – Nov 11, 2022

World Economic Forum – Stories of the Week, November 11, 2022:

  • 0:15 The World’s Fastest Shoes – These inventors have made the ‘world’s fastest shoes’. They let you walk at 11kph, which is the speed of a run. The shoes are called Moonwalkers and they’re powered by a tiny electric motor that turns 8 wheels on the base of the shoe.
  • 1:37 These Cities Are Facing a Housing Bubble – Years of low interest rates and cheap mortgages have increased demand among homebuyers but the supply of housing has not grown at the same rate. This mismatch has caused house prices to shoot up around the world, creating housing ‘bubbles’. When these bubbles burst, prices can plummet and experts say rising interest rates could be the pin that pops them
  • 2:53 First Female Crash Test Dummies – The crash test dummy most often used as a stand-in for women Is just a scaled-down version of the male dummy. At 149cm tall and weighing 48kg, it’s actually the size of a 12-year-old girl. The new crash test dummy is 163cm tall and weighs 62kg, taking into account the physiology of the female body. It was created by Astrid Linder and her team in Linköping, Sweden.
  • 4:22 This Company Is Making Chocolate Healthier – The world’s biggest chocolatier has created a new, healthier chocolate. Which contains 50% less sugar, 60-80% more cocoa and zero processed additives. Second-generation’ chocolate uses a new method of preparation. Growing, fermenting and roasting the cocoa beans differently reduces their bitterness without the need for lots of sugar.

Indoor Farms: AppHarvest – 90% Less Water With Tech

Business Insider – AppHarvest is exploring the future of indoor farming and agriculture technology by using up to 90% less water, human-assisting AI, and the power of the sun for reliable food growth. Alongside local education efforts, AppHarvest’s main focus is to provide US consumers with sustainable, reliable produce so that we can all enjoy a healthier, more vibrant planet in the future.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories – Nov 4, 2022

World Economic Forum – Stories of the Week November 4, 2022:

0:15 – This small airport is Europe’s largest outdoor music venue – The 20-hectare RCF Arena is located on the fringes of Reggio Emilia Airport, just outside Bologna in northern Italy.

01:38 – 7 tips to create a healthy remote working culture from this fully remote team – Tango is a software company with 30 team members working remotely. With all employees working remotely, they ask new hires to write a personal user manual with questions such as ‘how do you like to receive feedback’ and ‘what’s commonly misunderstood about you?’. They also suggest that each team member shares their thoughts on the week; they can celebrate each other, highlight customer feedback or just talk about something going on in their life. Here are some more of their tips for remote workers.

03:31 – This is India’s first solar powered village – Modhera in the state of Gujarat has round-the-clock solar energy with 12 hectares of land covered in solar panels.

04:31 – New Zealand’s parliament has more women than men – New Zealand now has 60 women lawmakers and 59 men in Parliament after Soraya Peke-Mason was recently sworn in as an MP.

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories – Oct 21, 2022

World Economic Forum – Top Stories of the Week:

00:16 Why more people than ever are short-sighted – The trend is worst in children and young adults, and half the world’s population could be short sighted by 2050.

01:37 Six species saved from extinction – Recent ecosystem restorations have rescued some species from the brink of extinction.

03:30 You could soon 3D-print furniture at home – Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a new wood-based ink that can be used for making 3d printed furniture

04:48 How Dark Data Affects Your Carbon Footprint -Companies generate 3.5 trillion gigabytes of dark data every day. But what is dark data?

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.

World Economic Forum: Top Stories Of The Week

World Economic Forum ‘Stories of the Week’ for October 14, 2022:

00:15 How a Chinese village eradicated poverty – In 2017, nearly a third of villagers lived below the poverty line. Here’s how one the project saw poverty drop from 28% to zero in just 3 years.

02:28 New mosquito repellent – From 2015 to 2019, dengue fever cases in Southeast Asia rose by 46%. This new repellent may be the answer.

03:35 Australia to end species extinction – More than one in ten species have gone extinct in the past 200 years. The Australian government is now taking steps to prevent further extinctions.

05:12 Firefighters’ AI helmet – The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service trialled the helmet which could help them better locate victims and teammates in firefighting situations.

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.