Sustainable development and environmental preservation have stirred the minds of millions since the 1960s. With global warming, ozone layer depletion, and another series of natural calamities, it is time we give importance to the several restorations of flora and fauna, to maintain the ecological balance of the planet. It is important to conserve natural resources and wherever possible, repair damages, and reverse the negative consumption trends too.
Several green initiatives have been undertaken world over for offsetting the dangerous environmental degradation due to various human activities. Thanks to the advancement in technology, a damage control revolution is underway, so as to restore and maintain the natural condition of the planet. From carbon neutralization to choosing a sustainable lifestyle, many steps have been taken to restore the bio-diversity of earth. From where we see it, Technology will have a pivotal role to play in this effort to ‘Go Green’. Some of the eco-friendly innovations that made their way in this ever-evolving process are:
A revolutionary farming technique that reaps the yield in simple fashion was first set up in Jackson, Wyoming. This farming type is known as the Vertical Harvest Farm and is a three-storeyed hydroponic greenhouse on a 30 foot by 150-foot plot land. This farm is capable of producing 37000 pounds of greens, 4400 pounds of herbs, and 44000 pounds of tomatoes, without the use of any pesticides or chemicals. The idea behind this setup was to eradicate the fast-food culture people resort to when they don’t find fresh food. These vertical farms are weather agnostic and can also adapt to impending disasters. The concept has since been replicated at multiple locations.
Many initiatives have been taken to reduce the number of carbon emissions from vehicles and automobiles, most of which revolve around the usage of cleaner fuels. One such innovation is solar-powered electric bikes. These bikes have solar cells on the wheels that absorb the sunlight and process it to transfer the kinetic energy directly to their batteries. On a full charge, they can go up to 30mph. It is important to encourage people to drive less and bike more. Electric cars are gaining stance in the automobile industry and their sales are soaring as well. The Governments across the world have been working towards the improvement of the EMVs and also providing subsidies to increase their sales.
Ocean Plastic Cleanup
Dumping of plastic has posed a major threat to aquatic life and disruptions in the marine ecosystem. It also causes about $13 billion in damages to the marine ecosystem. The fact that the aquatic animals are finding it hard to survive is a different and way bigger issue altogether. To solve this issue, Boyan Slat, a 20-year-old former aerospace engineering student, started the Ocean Cleanup project to clear the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within a decade. The project works through utilisation of a stable platform that passively locks up plastic and diverges the plastic waste and debris through a V-shaped boom using the power of the wind and ocean currents. Also, it has floating filters up to three meters into the water, which allows fish ad other aquatic animals to pass through without getting caught. This project is regarded as the “world’s first reasonable concept to clean the oceans of plastics.”
It is a sad fact to learn that 41% of the world’s total energy consumption comes from residential and commercial buildings. This made the way for the ‘Green Building Movement’, which is a genius endeavour that net-zero buildings produce at least as much energy as it uses( if not more). This Green Innovation concept was first introduced by an Australian architect firm called Archiblox, where they unveiled the world’s first carbon-positive home. The Archi+ carbon positive house is so efficient it can put energy back on the grid. This innovation can be considered one of the best searches to ensure sustainable development.
More than Just Plastic
A sustainable substitute for plastic, that is bio-degradable and carbon-negative is AiRCarbon. It was developed by Newlight technologies and has already won many awards for its innovative sustainability. The material is made from carbon emissions that would otherwise be released into the air and can have multiple uses. Since it is carbon negative, its production process is fully eco-friendly and increases green-footprints. It is also a cost-efficient proxy to other synthetic material since it is not made from oil like other plastics.
The Food Preservation Concept
In a world where one in every nine-person or 821million people are starving, Food wastage is a very disheartening and unfortunate phenomenon, which stigmatizes society. Research has shown that around one-third of edible parts of food, produced for human consumption, end up as food waste. An Italian startup named ‘Green Code’ has taken up the initiative to fight this environment and humanitarian vice, by its Green Innovation projects named ‘Demetra’. Demetra is an all-natural treatment for food preservation. Its made from 100% plant extracts and can improve the shelf life of natural produce. The produce can stay fresh and ripe by itself, for longer, and thus minimizing food wastage.
Truly Organic Farming
Sundrop Farms is a green innovation which is more of a concept than an actual product. It is actually a chemical-free method of production, which is known for cultivating a set of agricultural technologies, that require lesser resources from traditional farming. The eco-friendly greenhouse operations, depend on concentrated solar power and thermal desalination. Their farm in port Augusta, south Australia is irrigated with water drawn from the Spencer Gulf, which is desalinated before being used to feed the crops and is entirely powered by concentrated solar energy.
Fog to Water
Water conservation is an alarming concern in many places across the globe. Every time it rains, garbage dumps, which primarily include plastic debris, get drained into the various water bodies, even seeping into the groundwater and polluting the very source of your drinking water! This environmental predicament has been addressed by a company called Aqualonis. Through its green innovation called CloudFisher, it allows people living in coastal or tougher terrain areas, to convert fog into safe drinking water. It is made from a 3D mesh that can withstand high wind speeds, while still retaining water. This water can also be used to irrigate crops or forestry efforts.
The Green Plates
An ethical take on the plastic cutlery and dishes, used by restaurants and food trucks to serve, is Bakey’s green alternative to plastic cutlery. Plastic cutlery is non-biodegradable and also depletes the environmental health of the planet. Bakey’s is a brand of edible cutlery, which comes in there different flavours: plain, sweet, and savoury. They are 100% natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. Now you can eat your spoon along with that pastry. Now isn’t that a cold Green Innovation!
The Smog Free Project
This project was initiated by Daan Roosegaarde and its principle forms the basis of the world’s first smog vacuum cleaner. The Smog Free Tower measures almost 23 feet high (7 meters) and sucks polluted air, cleaning it through a process of ionization. Roosegaarde’s designs also enable you to wear jewellery and rings that are made from smog.
The Smart Planter
Water crisis and lack of adequate forest covers is a common phenomenon of deserts and dry landfills. It also causes many environmental hazards that deplete natural resources. The Groasis Waterbox is a Dutch Flower exporter brand, created by Pieter Hoff. The Groasis is an exemplary green innovation in the terms that it is a planting device that makes growing crops in the desert possible and resource-efficient. The mechanism includes an ‘intelligent bucket’, made from recycled paper, which can germinate incubate saplings and water plants. It requires 90% less water than traditional growing methods.
Coffee Powder Fuel
London’s coffee industry creates over 200000 tonnes of waste every year. This poses big environmental challenges causing natural discourse. Entrepreneur Arthur Kay gave a solution for the same by using his company, Biobeans, to turn 85% of the coffee waste into biofuels for heating buildings and powering transport. It has proven to be a clean source of power, which doesn’t contribute to any further carbon-footprint leading to environmental degradation. Thus, we can say that our dear coffee lovers have one more strong reason to support their love for the beverage in terms of this awesome green innovation.
Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of bringing about a change in the fashion industry by providing for an eco-friendly approach towards the fashion industry and thereby bringing about ecological integrity and promoting social justice. Many brands have come up with various fashion practices that are ethical and cruelty-free. One such brand is Frumat, which uses apples to create a leather-like material from apple pectin, which is an industrial waste. The leather can be naturally dyed without any chemical technique.
The Smart Carpet
Air pollution is out of control in most parts of the world, leading to various respiratory diseases and breathing issues. Desso Airmaster is an innovative carpet brand that can purify the air in your home, office, or school. It captures dust and other pollutants leaving in the indoor air clean and fresh. Improved air quality can immensely impact the well-being of your body and mind. Desso carpetings are an energy-efficient way of maintaining clean air indoors. Thus, this piece of green innovation called the Desso Airmaster will not just add beauty to your homes but also ensure that you breathe free.
The Green Desalinator
The last in our series on green innovations, the Desalination system addresses the water scarcity concerns at a different level altogether. Only one-third of the total water supply on earth is suitable for consumption. With deforestation and seriously low resources of freshwater, drought is a common natural calamity witnessed in several parts of the world. An invention by MIT and Jain Irrigation Systems can, however, turn the saltwater into clean drinking water, using solar energy. This innovation pertains to a method of turning brackish water into drinking water using renewable energy. These machines are mostly operated by solar power, and further, sterilize the water with ultra-violet rays.