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Boy discovers microbe that eats plastic

It's not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last May's Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic. Daniel had a thought it seems even the most esteemed PhDs hadn't considered. Plastic, one of the most indestructible of manufactured materials, does in fact eventually decompose. Editor's note: There are two high school students who have discovered plastic-consuming microorganisms. Could those microorganisms be bred to do the job faster? That was Daniel's question, and he put to the test with a very simple and clever process of immersing ground plastic in a yeast solution that encourages microbial growth, and then isolating the most productive organisms. Related:  Sustainable Development

Seawater Greenhouses Produce Tomatoes in the Desert According to the World Health Organization, about 20 percent of the world’s people live in regions that don’t have enough water for their needs. With the global population increasing by 80 million each year, a third of the planet will likely face water shortages by 2025. This looming water crisis is inextricably linked to food production because agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all fresh water used, and obtaining irrigation water in arid regions has serious environmental impacts. The Seawater Greenhouse, however, provides what may be an economical and sustainable way of producing fresh water and crops in hot, dry regions near the ocean. Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection A seawater greenhouse produces crops year-round in hot dry areas using only seawater and sunlight. The humidification and de-humidification that result from differences in temperature between surfaces heated by the sun and cold water from the sea are the keys to the seawater greenhouse system.

What our civilization needs is a billion-year plan Artist’s concept of a Kardashev Type 2 civilization (credit: Chris Cold) Lt Col Garretson — one of the USAF’s most farsighted and original thinkers — has been at the forefront of USAF strategy on the long-term future in projects such as Blue Horizons (on KurzweilAI — see video), Energy Horizons, Space Solar Power, the AF Futures Game, the USAF Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the USAF RPA Flight Plan. Now in this exclusive to KurzweilAI, he pushes the boundary of long-term thinking about humanity’s survival out to the edge … and beyond. — Ed. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. government. It isn’t enough just to plan for two or 20, or even the fabled Chinese 100 year periods. For this discussion, I define a “significant event” as an event about which we have foreknowledge and which will fundamentally change our planning assumptions. Beyond the solar system

16 year old Makes Bioplastic from Banana Peels & Wins $50,000 Science Award Elif Bilgin, a 16 year old from Turkey, won the 2013 Science in Action Award at the Google Science Fair for her invention of a bioplastic made from banana peels that could be used to replace petroleum-based plastics. Thomas Edison, who was just age 14 when he began work that led to the invention of the electric light bulb, once said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” No doubt then, Edison would have approved of 16 year old Elif Bilgin from Turkey – winner of the 2013 Scientific American Science in Action Award, powered by the Google Science Fair. Bilgin won for her project – ‘Going Bananas’ – that uses banana peels in the production of bio-plastic as a replacement for traditional petroleum-based plastic. The award honors a project that can make a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. “The banana peel is something we throw away everyday but little do we know all those peels may be put to use”, she said.

Feed Your City: Architecture + Farming Brooklyn Grange by Bromley Caldari Architects Architizer is hosting the world’s definitive architectural awards program, with 50+ categories and 200+ jurors. As part of an ongoing series, we’re spotlighting projects that fit into “Plus” categories, including “Farming,” that tap into topical and culturally relevant themes. To see a full list of categories and learn more about the awards, visit architizerawards.com. It may sound gluttonous, but we just can’t stop thinking about food! As these cities grow, it is important that we continue to find new and innovative ways to provide for the populace. Stand-Alone Industrial Vertical Greenhouse Designed by Plantagon Plantagon’s geodesic Stand-Alone Industrial Vertical Greenhouse is a building solely dedicated to the industrial production of food, integrated within a city’s infrastructure, creating a new urban environment. Add To Collection Save this image to a collection Bright Dawn Farm Designed by Freecell Levittown, New York New York, New York

PART 2 - How 1 MILLION Pounds Of Organic Food Can Be Produced On 3 Acres By Andy Whiteley Co-Founder of Wake Up World I recently posted an article, How 1 MILLION Pounds Of Organic Food Can Be Produced On 3 Acres, which featured the work of farmer Will Allen, the Urban Farmer. Will has figured out a self-sustaining agricultural system that can grow 1 million pounds of food every year, on just 3 acres of land using the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a re-circulating system. And you can do it too! The response we received from our previous story was amazing, and we received countless questions from readers who wanted to know more about this simple but ground-breaking concept. If you missed our first article, you’ll find an introduction to self-sufficient Aquaponics farming here. If you want to jump straight in with step-by-step instructions on setting this system up in your home, you’ll find details at www.aquaponics.wakeup-world.com. Growing Power Growing Power began with a farmer, a plot of land, and a core group of dedicated young people.

This Vertical Farm in Chicago Is Cool, But Can It Really Be the Future? Humans will probably be living on Mars within a few decades, but we're still a long, long ways away from finding the next Earth. With our population booming and only about 37.7 percent of the Earth's land even suitable for farming, we're going to continue to have to develop higher and higher tech methods of producing food for ourselves. While productivity in traditional agriculture has increased markedly in the last century, there's still that question of limited space. Rad, right? Plus there's the fact that while the Sun powers traditional farms for free, warehouses require fluorescent lights. @derektmead

Rethinking sustainable development in the Anthropocene | The Anthropocene Journal This week, a bunch of us published an article in the international journal Nature entitled Sustainable development goals for people and planet. We argued that if nations are to set sustainable development goals they need to take a systems approach otherwise the goals will be a patchwork of good causes that ultimately fail on long-term global sustainability. We proposed six goals. But on the way we ended up questioning some of the key tenets of sustainable development. Our article picked up a bit of media coverage. Nations urged to combine environmental and development goals. Skip to the sub-heading “six goals for people and planet” if you just want the interesting bit. New “universal” goals The idea for a set of universal sustainable development goals (SDGs) came about at last years UN Rio+20 summit. In any sane world SDGs would begin in 2015 when the highly influential Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) run out. The MDGs have had some considerable successes. Systems thinking This is good.

How 1 MILLION Pounds Of Organic Food Can Be Produced On 3 Acres By Andy Whiteley Co-Founder of Wake Up World The quality and accessibility of our food supply is a mounting issue today. With GMOs, chemical pesticides and low-nutrition processed foods now commonplace in the mainstream supply, taking control of your own food supply is one of the smartest things you can do – for your health and for your hip pocket. So, with limited space, how can we create an independent food supply? I recently came across this amazing video of a man, urban farmer Will Allen, who has figured out a self-sustaining system that can grow 1 million pounds of food every year, on just 3 acres of land, using the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a re-circulating system. If you’re interested in starting your own Aquaponics system in your home, be sure to check out our exclusive special offer to Wake Up World readers at the bottom of this page. Grow 1 Million Pounds of Food on 3 Acres * Maintaining 3 acres of land in green houses * Producing 10,000 fish Growing Power

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