This hydroponic farm in Japan cuts water usage by 99%! The farm occupies an abandoned Sony chip manufacturing facility in Miyagi prefecture, near where the earthquake and tsunami struck the country in 2011. It is the brainchild of Shigeharu Shimamura, a plant physiologist who was inspired by a vegetable factory he saw at the Expo ’85 World’s Fair in Tsukuba, Japan. Shimamura used his passion to start his own aquaculture company called Mirai in 2005. The name means “future” in Japanese. Shimamura’s newest…
Green roof design is becoming popular all over the world, but this vertical garden conceptual model – part of the Fast Forward exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) – takes the concepts of aquaponics, locally-grown produce, and urban farming to new heights by stuffing all those things into a single, “green” skyscraper. Vertical farming, which some experts claim uses just 1/6 of the resources required by conventional “flat” farming to produce a given quantity of produce, is…
The dangerous gas mining process of hydraulic fracturing is threatening the fresh water supply on our planet. And though petrochemical companies still try to feebly claim that fracking is safe, in a most revealing move, Exxon’s CEO is now fighting to stop hydraulic fracturing on his own land.
Nearly half the people on our planet do not have safe water to drink. Friendly Water for the World is a nonprofit organization, founded by Quakers, whose mission is to help expand access to low-cost clean water technologies, as well as information about health and sanitation, to people in need. They teach communities how to construct simple biosand water filters, which remove nearly 99% of all parasites, disease and water-borne pathogens.
Hollywood is finally tackling the deadly drilling process known as fracking in the upcoming drama, “Promised Land”. Gus Van Sant’s latest film highlights a small rural community that is struggling economically, as they fight back against a large corporate gas company intent on poisoning their local farmland with hydraulic fracturing. The timely story not only illustrates the destructive environmental impact of fracking, but also explores our nation at the crossroads where big business and the powerful strength of small-town community converge.
The clear healing waters of the Pah Tempe Mineral Hot Springs run through an awe-inspiring desert canyon near Hurricane Utah. Many different First Nations tribes have visited this wondrous pristine site for centuries, and believe it to be most sacred. Unfortunately, this natural wonder may soon be destroyed by threatened development, but you can do something help to save these beautiful springs.
A visit to Alaska is an eye-opener for the environmentally sensitive. Its immense natural beauty is also a reminder that we humans have pretty much destroyed many such regions around the world. We all — not just environmental groups or nature lovers — must wake-up and initiate immediate action if we want to preserve what is left of such wilderness.
Two years ago the worst onshore oil spill in United States history was caused in Michigan by a Canadian company named Enbridge. Over one million gallons of tar sands crude spewed out of a ruptured pipeline into the Kalamazoo River, and the attempted clean up has only just been completed, sort of. The NTSB has released a report analyzing the extreme negligence that led to this environmental disaster, and found that the company knew five years beforehand that this burst pipeline was sorely in need of repair, but did nothing to fix it.
Oceanic dead zones are in the news again this week, and the lifeless sea regions seem to be spreading. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the EPA because of their stance on waterway contamination and their enforcement (or lack thereof) on pollution limits. Pollution is the major cause of oceanic dead zones, which are characterized by hypoxic (oxygen deficient) waterways that are uninhabitable to most living organisms.
Considering the growing list of problems erupting from destructive modern agriculture practices, it is clear that new leadership is desperately needed at our Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many of these problems have been issues for decades, and only superficial responses have been made by the USDA.
I am looking out my frozen window, watching flurries of wet flakes continuing to fall, as Western Washington becomes completely engulfed in thick blankets of snow. Nearly everything is closed, as local residents marvel at the white winter wonderland. It does, however, feel a bit like being permanently trapped inside of a tiny frosty snow globe.
Canadian professor Glynnis Hood’s fantastic new book, “The Beaver Manifesto”, just arrived in the mail today. I started reading the small volume immediately, and found both the writing and the message most engrossing. I am already a devout fan of the beaver, and was immediately sold at the first few words of the manifesto:
“If I could design the perfect animal, it would be the beaver…”
As clean water becomes increasingly scarce globally, it is probably not an accident that access to water is one of the prominent themes in two of the most gripping films that have been released this year. The first movie, “Even the Rain” is an excellent Spanish movie which I wrote about a few months ago, that is set in Bolivia. The need for water is also one of the main characters interwoven into the engaging dramatic plot of my other favorite movie of 2011, “Meek’s Cut Off”.