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The 2014 Sustainia Awards, chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, attracted more than 900 submissions for projects and technologies representing 10 different sectors from food, fashion, city development, transportation, and healthcare. Collectively, these projects are deployed in more than 84 countries. You can submit your winning ideas for 2015 – see the bottom of this post.

Nigerian Pedal-Powered Recycling Initiative Takes 2014 Sustainia Award for Best Sustainability Solution

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Here are the 9 runners up:

1. Food finalist: Netafim (Israel) – gravity-powered irrigation

This irrigation system increases and secures yields while saving water and cutting costs. It drips precise quantities of water and nutrients right at the root zone of crops while an elevated tank distributes the water using gravity.

2. Transportation finalist: 8D technologies (Canada) – bike sharing app

The Spotcycle app from 8D technologies aims to make bike-sharing more convenient and smartphone-friendly.

3. Buildings finalist: Advantix (USA) – air-conditioners which use saltwater

Advantix’s air conditioning system uses saltwater which means it needs 40% less energy than normal systems.

4. Fashion finalist: I:CO (Switzerland) – textile recycling

Through an advanced take-back system, I:CO works to keep apparel, footwear and other textiles in a continuous closed-loop cycle.

5. IT Finalist: Fairphone (Netherlands) – A smart-phone with social values

Through development, design and production, social enterprise Fairphone works to create positive social impact in the consumer electronics supply chain – from responsible mining, decent wages and working conditions to reuse and recycling.

6. Health finalist: We Care Solar (USA) – solar suitcases giving life

The Solar Suitcase provides solar electricity for medical lighting, mobile communication and essential medical devices for rural areas and humanitarian settings. This enables safe and timely obstetric care, which ultimately improves maternal and neonatal outcomes.

7. Resource finalist: Newlight Tech (USA) – carbon-negative plastic

With its novel technology that converts greenhouse gases into plastic material, AirCarbon has disrupted the market by replacing oil-based plastics with a sustainable product that is competitive in both price and performance.

8. Education finalists: Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha (Bangladesh) – school boats combatting climate change

By building a fleet of solar-powered school boats, the Bangladeshi initiative Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha has secured year-round education in flood-prone regions of Bangladesh.

9. Energy Finalists: Opower (USA) – personal energy-efficient expert

The software solution combines cloud technology, big data and behavioral science to produce data analyses and personalised information on how to save energy.

Read all about these sustainability innovations here.

Do you have a great new idea on sustainability – find out how you can submit for the next round of finalists to be announced in the fall of 2015 – you may even take home the top prize!

 

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Just following the People’s Climate March in NYC, Rick McGahey, who teaches economics and public policy at The New School, published an CNN Opinion article.

In the article, Rick tries to debunk the notion that helping our environment would hurt our economy. Though transitioning would cost more, the end result would actually create new US jobs.  Studies have shown that for every $1 million of investment in clean energy, the U.S. can create 16.7 jobs compared with only 5.3 jobs from fossil fuel investments.

blog carbon

Read the article here.  Where do you weigh in with this debate?  And, more importantly, do you have the expertise for one of these newly created jobs?

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October 23rd, 2014
9:13
 

With the hazards of Ebola and anti-government protests and genocide being front and center in the news, we sometimes overlook the many organizations quietly operating in the background to bring assistance to those in strife or peril.  I ran across this entity quite by accident as part of my work for university programming.  Maybe your studies will bring you to become part of their efforts? Click on the logo below to learn more…

TIDES stands for Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support. This research project is coordinated at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at the National Defense University (NDU), which is part of the Department of Defense.

startidesSTAR-TIDES (Sharing To Accelerate Research-Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) is a research effort that promotes sustainable support to stressed populations – post-war, post-disaster, or impoverished, in foreign or domestic contexts, for short-term or long-term (multi-year) operations. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those working in the field. It uses public-private partnerships and “whole-of-government” approaches to encourage unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of command, and facilitates both inter-agency and international engagement.

TIDES has three strategies that frame everything they do:

  • Leverage Global Talent
  • Promote Integrated Approaches
  • Sustain through the Private Sector

 

There are internships available through the National Defense University – check it out!

2014 Star-Tides interns building sustainable village models. Photo credit: NDU AV.

2014 Star-Tides interns building sustainable village models. Photo credit: NDU AV.

 

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September 19th, 2014
8:59
 

Here’s a novel approach to ‘garaging’ your automobile…it’ll keep you from breaking into a sweat when you enter the vehicle.  Of greater value is the eco-friendly aspect of the whole idea!

Per Jim Kliesch, research associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and vehicle analyst for GreenerCars.org, parking in the shade reduces evaporative emissions – gas evaporating from your tank because of the heat (a hot gas tank may result in more evaporation of fuel – which is both wasteful and potentially expensive over the long term.)  Installing solar panels on the rooftop of a car-port keeps your auto cooler AND can generate energy for your home’s electrical system.

While it may take some time to convince the masses, wouldn’t all those parked cars baking in the sun be a neat way to power a mall?  Or a stadium?  How about the parking lots at railway stations being energy producers while the cars owners are elsewhere?  Think of the possibilities – - – and use your own inventiveness to figure out other applications for solar technology!

Solar Carports

 

Check out     ACEEEfor other applications of

energy-efficient technology, jobs, internships, etc!

 

 

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September 11th, 2014
6:20
 

There has been a lot of discussion about eco-friendly packaging.  Part of the challenge is making it durable enough for transport, safe enough that it won’t affect the contents, and bio-degradable or otherwise recyclable.  Kind of a tall order, isn’t it?  Plus you want any package to be reasonably attractive to catch a buyer’s eye and make them drool over your product from the outside, before they actually use it, right?

Here are some notes from various sources about the ways that packaging is becoming more ‘green’- and the why’s behind this trend.  Maybe you have some ideas of your own that you can bring to market and make a contribution in helping to cut down on landfill…links for the companies are within each article – perhaps your new career lies with one of these corporations!

“Consumers are increasingly expecting eco-friendly packaging, says SIG Combibloc, as it sets ‘ambitious targets’ to reduce its environmental impact”

EcoShield, an environmentally friendly moisture barrier paper

“Pack The Future 2014” Award goes to Promens

Cartons are most eco-friendly packaging

AstraPouch introduces 750ml soft packaging solution

Promoting Eco-friendly Physical Distribution and Packaging

The eco-container by Murata Packaging Co., Ltd.

The eco-container by Murata Packaging Co., Ltd.

 

And here’s an article about packaging problems you’ll want to avoid repeating…

Good product, bad package: top sustainable packaging mistakes

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