What if, instead of buying our clothes from big corporations for over 500% of their manufacturing costs, we only wore clothes made by local merchants from our own communities? What if, instead of being poisoned by GMO foods or paying for overpriced “organic” goods, we only ate from community farms and gardens? What if, instead of being brainwashed by an ineffective school system, we had our own schools to teach our children true knowledge and life skills? What if, instead of going into debt from HMOs and pharmaceutical companies, we started our own healing clinics using sustainable, holistic practices? What if, instead of having our neighborhoods be occupied by a hostile military like the police, we took our safety into our own hands and watched out for our own neighborhoods? What if, instead of being forced fed false news, film, and music, we only supported local and independent media?

What if, instead of being dependent on and conforming to the very institutions that oppress us, we created our own institutions and empowered and trained our young people to run them?

—  Reza DregsOne Harris

Remember this invention? 19 year-old student proposed this design to clean up plastics in the oceans. The idea was picked up by TED, and green blogs exploded with glee.

I criticized the project as ineffective buffoonery and likely illegal. And several others also panned the invention as foolish and naive. Well, now the student is back with a revised version of the plastic’s clean up machine. He’s partnered with some serious engineers and PR and he formed a new company, “The Ocean Cleanup.” Video here.

A science journalist in Germany, Sarah Zierul, interviewed me and a few other experts who also criticized the machine. Sarah’s article really got to the heart of the story and you can see researched for several months to get to the facts. She re-tells the story of the young inventor, and describes the original machine and its problems, as well as the new machine and the engineering behind it. She also interviews several critics, noting how their complaints have evolved into support.

Excellent science reporting!

Read Sarah’s excellent article, here. If you don’t read German, go here.

We asked legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle for her menu advice. Below, check out Earle’s take on omega oils, tuna rolls, and her ideal meal.

Ask yourself this: is it more important to you to consume fish, or to think of them as being here for a larger purpose? 


BIG’s Waste-to-Energy Plant is a Ski Slope that Puffs Giant Rings of Water Vapor

A new waste-to-energy plant now under construction near the center of Copenhagen re-imagines not only what a factory looks like, but what it does. Along with producing energy and reducing pollution, the plant features a ski slope on its roof for public use. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the plant redefines how the community interacts with and understands its energy sources. “We were driven to do something that would be perceived as more than a just a power plant, one that also gave something back to the citizens of Copenhagen as opposed to just delivering power,” says BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann. Even though the power plant won’t directly emit pollution into the city, it will also remind its citizens that incineration does have an environmental cost. Every time a ton of carbon dioxide is burned at the plant, the building will emit a symbolic smoke ring made of water vapor. Bergmann hopes that by providing people with this information, they will be more cognizant of their energy spending habits. “I think we would all engage with our energy systems much more if we felt that they were a part of our city, rather than things that you push out to the periphery or industrial areas,” Bergman notes. By bringing energy into the realm of popular culture and everyday life, BIG hopes to shift public perceptions and encourage a culture of energy awareness. When the new building is completed in 2018, it will replace the city’s current waste-to-energy plant, which has been in operation for over 40 years. It aims to be the world’s most efficient and cleanest of its kind. 

Ocean Floor Mats Send Power to the Surface

A wave power technology called M3 Wave dispenses with all the problems that come with buoys or other above- and below-the-surface designs by mooring a simple device to the ocean floor. The device contains two air chambers connected by a wind tunnel of sorts. As a wave passes over the top of the first chamber, the pressure inside increases—forcing air through a passageway to the second chamber. Inside the passageway is a turbine, so the passing air is actually what generates the electricity. As the wave continues on, it raises the pressure inside the second chamber, pushing the air back through the turbine and into the first chamber (the turbine is bidirectional). Another wave, another cycle. Repeat.”

Learn more from Conservation Magazine.


Images from the Daily Overview Project

About the project:

Our project was inspired, and derives its name, from an idea known as the Overview Effect. This term refers to the sensation astronauts have when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole. They have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. That’s the cognitive shift that we hope to inspire.

From our line of sight on the earth’s surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet.

Continue reading…

You can follow them on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter


Jean Nouvel’s Responsive Solar Facade at Institut du Monde Arabe

In the early eighties famed architect Jean Nouvel, in conjunction with Architecture-Studio, won the competition to design what would become the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA). It was conceived during the Grands Projets, a major development initiative headed by the French government, as a forum to explore the relationship of the Arab culture with France. Jean Nouvel, known for his innovative façade detailing, proposed an advanced responsive metallic brise soleil based on an archetypal element of Arabic architecture, the mashrabiyya. Drawing inspiration from the traditional lattice work that has been used for centuries in the Middle East to protect the occupants from the sun and provide privacy, Nouvel created a modular system of mechanized panels that could react dynamically to changing sunlight. Each made of several hundred light sensitive diaphragms, the panels could sensitively regulate the amount of light allowed to enter the building. During the various phases of the lens, a shifting geometric pattern of squares, circles, and octagons are formed and showcased as both light and void. As a result, the IMA’s interior spaces are dramatically modified, along with the exterior appearance, throughout the day. While these ocular devices create an incredible aesthetic, they are perhaps most innovative for their environmental performance. Since solar gain is easily mitigated by closing or reducing the aperture sizes, the building can be climate controlled efficiently without relying on energy-intensive air conditioning systems. Though completed almost three decades ago, the building remains a powerful example of alternative ways of imagining an “ecological” and culturally-aware architecture. 


Soft House Kennedy & Violich Architecture

"The Soft House project in Hamburg, Germany is a winning competition entry for the International BauAustellung (IBA), a prestigious German building tradition that dates to 1901. Completed in March of 2013, it is a set of live/work row house units which offer a new model for low carbon construction and an ecologically responsive lifestyle that can be personalized to meet homeowner needs. The Soft House demonstrates how domestic infrastructure can become ‘soft’—engaging flexible living concepts, carbon-neutral solid wood (brettstapel) construction, and wireless building controls with responsive and performative textiles which create the public identity of the architecture. Through the conceptual reframing of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ materials and the integration of architecture, mobile textiles, and clean energy infrastructure the Soft House transforms the German PassiveHaus typology, offering a more flexible living experience.”

Are you worried about our planet’s future? About our oceans, about pollution, about the ice caps melting, about world hunger, about deforestation?

By making one simple change in your life, you - a single person, can save every day:

1100 gallons of water
45 lbs of grain
30 square feet of forest
20 lbs of CO2

With one simple change you can avoid supporting the leading cause of all the issues named above.

Are you interested?



Altaeros Energies' Buoyant Wind Turbine (BAT) Floats in the Sky

The Buoyant Wind Turbine (BAT) is designed to take advantage of high altitude winds, which are often five times greater than those found at typical wind turbine heights. Composed of an inflatable helium shell with stabilizing fins and turbine in the middle, the BAT also has the advantage of being quickly deployable, making it a potential power source for remote areas and emergency zones. The BAT, which would float about 1,000 ft. above the landscape, also addresses the noise and aesthetic concerns commonly lobbed at wind turbines. A strong cable tethers the turbine to the ground and also acts as the conduit through which electricity flows. 

The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.
—  "Is Meat Sustainable?" World Watch Institute.