Besides all the toxic compounds of arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, and copper that reside in your cell phone, there are also polybrominated biphenyls used as flame retardants on everything from wires to the plastic covers. We have a nice toxic brew in our hands and pockets all day - incinerate it, or let it become landfill leachate, and we release a cacophony of carcinogenic compounds into the environment. The price for innovation is paid at both ends - one miner death per week occurred in 2011 in the tin mines of Indonesia, extracting the ore for our gadgets (deaths which do not include long-term health effects of such mining). Apple's iPhone 5 generated 62,000 pounds of plastic waste in the first weekend alone as it changed, ironically, to a smaller SIM card. It would be interesting to assess what goes into and out of the life of one phone, to understand the social and environmental footprint...
Those of you who know my colleague Rob Greenberg also know his passion for the earth. He recently linked to this image of the Osborne Reef Project, an attempt in the 1970s to find a use for used tires, combined with a desire to improve underwater habitats for fish populations. Storms and strong currents, however, have different motivations, and the tires have subsequently been shifted and moved to the point where they threaten existing natural reefs. The problem became compounded by the logistics of removing the tires.
Artificial reefs are not always well planned. Attempts in New Zealand and England to "improve" habitats or bring in tourism have met the full strength of Mother Nature, which doesn't always agree with an engineer's intentions. If you're looking for a research project, read about the Osborne Reef Project here. What makes an artificial reef successful? What makes it an epic FAIL? - LINK
A great program to bring light to millions of Filipinos without power. From the site:
"Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light), is a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly Solar Bottle Bulb to disprivileged communities nationwide. Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Solar Bottle Bulb is based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies – a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities."
Amazingly innovative and quite easy to assemble, these solar-powered "light bulbs" are made of a simple combination of water and bleach. Watch the short video at the website - very cool use of recyclables without involving electricity. - LINK
Who is Riss?
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