Minimalism: Reduce Before You Reuse

Most often when we discuss our ecological footprint, we like to talk about turning off lights before we leave the house, taking shorter showers, and washing clothes on a cold cycle. The fact is, there is an even greater conversation to be had. It’s not about how we USE the products and services around us, but our approach to ownership.

Enter Minimalism. A new lifestyle approach which focusses on REDUCING before we even have to reuse or recycle. People are buying 4 times as much clothing than they did 20 years ago. Whether fuelled by the fast fashion industry, or the ‘Apple consumer’ mindset of buying immediate device upgrades, Minimalism offers a lifestyle alternative which is known to increase personal happiness and our positive effect on the environment. You can read more about the relationship between Minimalism and the environment here!

The Top Green-Tech of 2017

Just this month, Google has announced that they will be powered by 100% renewable energy by the end of the year. The green industry is accelerating rapidly and major corporations are taking major notice. But let’s not forget about the small guys. Here is my list of the Top 5 Green-Tech start-up companies of 2017.

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Can Power Plants Reverse Air Pollution?

We’ve done it! The world finally has its first negative emissions power plant. This might seem like an oxymoron, but to the environmentally passionate team at Climeworks, it’s their job.

They’ve managed to modify a geothermal plant in Iceland, to not only generate power, but to remove carbon dioxide from the air around it. What’s more? They power their carbon capture technology through residual waste heat generated by the plant. You can read more here.

Checking our Environmental Privilege

I would like to preface this post by first introducing myself. My name is Henry Gould, I am a 20 year-old white, cis-, heterosexual male Queen’s student. I grew up in Toronto in an upper class neighbourhood, where I attended a preposterously expensive private school. I have full financial support at University, which has allowed me to spend my summers tree planting and leading canoe trips – effectively doing what I love. I am the quintessential embodiment of privilege, so with a large grain of salt, I invite you to read my take on environmental privilege.

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Coca-Cola Leads the Way In Renewable Packaged Goods

In Coca-Cola’s attempt to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, we can all look forward to the implementation of their PlantBottle. The product is made entirely of sugar-cane derived plastic, with the goal of using exclusively green packaging by 2020. Coca-Cola hopes to lead the packaged goods industry away from its dependence on non-renewably sourced plastic.

Their comments: “It hasn’t been an easy task, but it shows our commitment to doing the right thing int he right way.”

You can read more here.

Curbing Our Traffic Habits – Try Biking Instead

Traffic sucks. We’ve all had dreadful experiences with it, whether it be holding in your bladder crawling at 30 km/hr with no On-Route in site, being stuck on the 401 when your flight has already left Pearson, or having to listen to Toronto blow a 4-1 lead to Boston in the 2013 playoffs through a half broken car radio. Nobody enjoys traffic, but nevertheless it’s something that we’ve become complacent with, something that we’ve come to expect, and accept, in our daily routines.

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Fisheries On Demand: The Future of Aquaculture

Last year the United States of America consumed 4.8 billion pounds of seafood, 50% of which is supported by fish farms. A method of fishing consisting of isolating a ‘pen’ of water to securely harvest fish from. What’s the problem with this? In addition to the societal overconsumption of fish, fish farms are stationary. This means that the pens are trapped within the produced waste of millions of fish. This often leads to disease, and the complete desertification and destruction of nearby ecosystems from increased toxicity.

Cue an innovative solution: InnovaSea is attempting to create free-floating domes which will seemingly solve the problem. What’s more? Not only will these pods ensure that the produced waste is distributed across the ocean safely and effectively, but these pods will actually utilize ocean currents to DELIVER matured fish to shipping ports across the world.

To see the effects of a collaboration between innovation, business and nature the following video goes into amazing details about the Aquapod A3600.  And as always, feel free to read more at this link. 

 

Let’s Break Up with Single Use Plastic

Before I started learning about my environmental impact, I would shop with plastic bags. Going to a coffee shop and grabbing a latte in a single use cup was a no brainer. Buying fruits and vegetables was a process that involved individually bagging the produce (despite the fact that I was going to wash it before eating anyways). I’d leave the house knowing I was going to buy lunch that day, and I’d still opt for using plastic cutlery and purchasing a 300ml container of juice at the restaurant.

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The UK’s Plan to Reduce Power Usage? Machine Learning

Alphabet’s London-based AI outfit DeepMind and the National Grid are in early-stage talks to reduce the UK’s power usage by as much as 10% purely through neural networks and machine learning—no new infrastructure required.

Read more:

https://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2017/03/deepmind-national-grid-machine-learning/

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