LINKS OF THE WEEK: March 6-12, 2023
Everything's coming up seaweed! Plus a new tool to help prevent soil degradation, right to repair, a biking utopia, semi-transparent organic solar cells for greenhouses, and so much more.
- ARE ALGAE THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE NUTRITION? Yet another article talking about how nutritious algae is. (And how sustainably it can be cultivated.) When I think about how much I love seaweed in Japanese and Korean cooking – and the potential for growing a thriving seaweed industry here in coastal BC – I get super excited about the possibilities.
- BILL SEEKS TO BOOST SEAWEED FARMING IN ALASKA - A bill introduced in US Congress this week calls for a federal study on the possibilities of coastal #seaweed farming on the West Coast and creating an Indigenous Seaweed Farming Fund that would "reduce cost barriers for indigenous communities ... to participate in coastal seaweed farming." We should be thinking about this in British Columbia, too!
- UN SIGNS BILL TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY ON THE HIGH SEAS: Good news for oceans! UN members have agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas. More than 190 countries were involved in negotiating the agreement, which is seen as a crucial step toward the target of protecting 30% of the planet for nature by 2030.
- NEW TOOL FOR PREVENTING SOIL DEGRADATION: Engineers at the University of Colorado have created cheap biodegradable sensors that farmers can use to monitor and prevent soil degradation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – with no negative impact on the soil itself. Soil health = human health!
- STUDY: BIRDS AVOID WIND TURBINES: Birds have adapted to avoid wind turbine blades. A two-year study of seabirds at an offshore wind farm showed that birds have adapted their behaviour to avoid the turbines and rotor blades. Not a single collision was recorded during the entire two years. Birds are smart and wind energy is awesome!
- RIGHT TO REPAIR BILL GOES TO WASHINGTON STATE - Happy to see that our neighbours in Washington State have bipartisan support for a "Right to Repair" bill, which passed in the House and has now moved on to the state Senate for consideration. Here's hoping we can get Bill C-244 passed in Canada soon. Right to repair + modular tech are key to creating a sustainable future!
- HOW THE NETHERLANDS BUILT A BIKING UTOPIA: In the 1970s, about 500 children in the Netherlands died from car fatalities each year. In 2010, 14 children died – a decrease of about 97%. All of this biking is also improving people’s health. Everywhere in Europe, obesity rates are growing – except The Netherlands. If the US could replicate this, they’d save 25,000 lives per year.
- SEMI-TRANSPARENT ORGANIC SOLAR CELLS FOR GREENHOUSES: UCLA engineers have developed semi-transparent organic solar cells for use in greenhouses to power the lights and water controls. During their tests, the research team was surprised to discover that the crops in the greenhouse with the organic solar roof grew more than the crops in a regular greenhouse!
- SCIENTISTS CREATE SUPERCONDUCTOR THAT COULD TRANSFORM THE WORLD? University of Rochester researchers claim to have created a superconducting material at a temperature and pressure low enough for practical applications. "With this material, the dawn of ambient superconductivity and applied technologies has arrived," the team announced. (Others have their doubts, especially given the fact that the lead researcher had to retract a previous research report into superconductivity and has been accused of plagiarism in the past. Still - this March 8 article hasn't been retracted as of 2023.05.16 and seems like a story worth following – so we shall see how it pans out!)
- MEET THE JORDANIAN ARCHITECT REGENERATING NATIVE FORESTS: Great story about a Jordanian architect working to regenerate her desert country's native forests. “It is not drought that causes bare ground – it is bare ground that causes drought,” she says. "The more we work on greening, the more we give nature the ability to restore itself, even in the driest places."
- AN ENZYME THAT MAKES ELECTRICITY OUT OF THIN AIR? So.... apparently scientists have discovered an enzyme that makes electricity out of hydrogen in the air around us. Not sure if or how this can scale into a workable clean energy source for humans, but it certainly sounds pretty cool!
- MICROSOFT TURNS TO ALGAE AS CARBON SINK: To mitigate its increasing emissions, Microsoft is partnering with a company called Running Tide to remove carbon from the atmosphere using algae as carbon sink. I mean, it would probably be better if they focused more on NOT putting so much carbon into the atmosphere in the first place, but I guess every little bit helps?