With so much news circulating about our doomed ecosystem and the decreasing quality of our lives because of it, it’s both exciting and relieving to learn about projects taking place all around the world in the realm of sustainability. These sustainability projects promise a brighter future for us all, taking current environmental issues inherent in a variety of industries and proposing creative, unique and mind-boggling solutions.
Tackling issues as vast and pressing as our polluted oceans and as individual as prostate cancer, get inspired and motivated by these ideas to make your own change in the world!
1. Ocean Cleanup Array
When he was just 17, Dutch inventor Boyan Slat made headlines for developing a system that can catch plastic debris driven by ocean currents. The Ocean Cleanup array system involves a static platform that passively collects plastic as wind and ocean currents push debris through 2000-meter booms. In June 2015, Slat announced that the structure, which will be the world’s first ocean-cleaning system, is set to deploy in 2015 near the Tsushima island in Japan, where there is a build up of some one cubic meter of plastic pollution per person. The island will discern whether the plastic captured can be used as an alternative energy source.
2. Two Fingers Brewing Co.
This beer company’s name may seem random and overall inconsequential, until you learn about the “man-kind” beer’s oath: to donate 100 percent of its profits to Prostate Cancer UK. The 7-strong team based in the UK is determined to give back to the men who drink their beer. Men are 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women with breast cancer, but prostate cancer gets far less attention than breast cancer. One in eight men (and one in four black men) in the UK are affected by prostate cancer, which sheds light on the severity of the disease and how ventures like the microbrewery Two Fingers are necessary and should be celebrated. Despite its overall higher conscience, Two Fingers founders are committed to not letting its higher purpose deflect from the quality and taste of the beer itself and they are keen on raising money for a good cause by selling good beer.
3. Solar Impulse 2
In July 2015, Swiss pilot André Borschberg flew over the Pacific, from Japan to Hawaii, but not in any old plane – with a solar-powered plane called Solar Impulse 2. The flight took 118 hours and the cockpit was so small, Borschberg couldn’t stand, let alone walk around. The Solar Impulse 2 is the brainchild of Swiss scientists Bertrand Piccard and Borschberg himself. It took the two 12 years to build the aircraft, which has a 72-meter wingspan and weighs as much as a car. Some 17,000 solar cells are built into the wings, which harness the sun’s energy.
4. Pasona Group
In Tokyo, Japan, the staffing company Pasona Group’s headquarters is decked out with plants. Tomatoes dangle from the ceilings of meeting rooms and rice paddy is in the lobby centerpiece. The urban farm design is meant to encourage employees’ innovating thinking about agriculture as well as to create a sense of community among them. The crops grown are used to prepare food served in the company cafeteria.
5. Kombucha Clothing
Fashion designer turned biological conjurer Suzanne Lee uses kombucha to grow clothing. That’s right, kombucha. The fashion industry is a dirty business – the second-largest biggest polluter in the world, in fact. Lee approaches the future of fashion with radical ideas, including growing kombucha-based material that can be used like a fabric. She currently directs the BioCouture research project, which is the world’s first biocreative design consultancy that explores Nature’s sustainable materials for future consumer products.
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Photo Credit: Solar Impulse from Shutterstock