Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Sustainability
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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Lots of us make sacrifices for the environment, but few of us would consider supporting the cause by moving into a dumpster. Dr. Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University, however, is doing just that. Working with his students and the community, he has transformed an old dumpster and is living in it for a year.

The aim of the Dumpster Project is to investigate sustainable living practices in recognition of a world with an increasing population but decreasing space and resources to go around. The dumpster itself is 33 sq ft (3 sq m).

Additions to the basic dumpster have included solar panels to generate electricity, a high-efficiency toilet, a false floor to provide storage, a weather station, air conditioning, a pitched roof, locks and a mailbox. The dumpster pockets have been sealed so that the dumpster cannot be mistaken for and serviced as a standard trash receptacle.

See where Dr. Jeff Wilson is his year-long journey:

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Dr. Wilson is making quite a sacrifice in the hope of getting more people to think about reducing our impact on our planet.  Could you live (for even a short time) in a dumpster?

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October 20th, 2014
7:52
 

Solar Impulse 2 will attempt an historic journey relying on the sun’s energy to power its trip around the world. It can fly day and night fueled only by solar power or termed “perpetual endurance”. Just think, taking a flight using no fuel and with no emissions.

After some short trial flights, the journey around the world is scheduled for March 2015. The aircraft was developed in Switzerland and is sponsored by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government’s clean-energy company.

The future of aviation looks very bright and very sustainable with these advances in technology. Read the wealth of information that led up to this historic event here.

Do you have any expertise or ideas that can advance current technology to leave a smaller footprint in our world?

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October 19th, 2014
1:03
 

Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Buffalo are working with the Rich Earth Institute to generate some means of making human urine usable as fertilizer. Just like researchers at the University of South Florida are trying to find ways to make sustainable fertilizer production possible from livestock waste, researchers are working with the Rich Earth Institute to find ways to achieve the same ends with human waste. It is something to see useful results from this research that could potentially lead the world beyond chemical fertilizers.

Read more here.

Carrots grow in a plot of land at Hope Roots Farm in Westminster set aside for the Rich Earth Institute's use. The collaborative research team funded by the EPA from the University of Michigan and the University at Buffalo met on Monday in Brattleboro and visited the test plots in Westminster in the afternoon. The group is studying the pharmaceutical residuals in urine and what happens to them in soils, water and plant tissue when it is used for fertilizer. (Kayla Rice/Reformer)

Carrots grow in a plot of land at Hope Roots Farm in Westminster set aside for the Rich Earth Institute’s use. The collaborative research team funded by the EPA from the University of Michigan and the University at Buffalo met on Monday in Brattleboro and visited the test plots in Westminster in the afternoon. The group is studying the pharmaceutical residuals in urine and what happens to them in soils, water and plant tissue when it is used for fertilizer. (Kayla Rice/Reformer)

The time needed to get the project underway has made it to where it will take years to get results, but finding a way to put urine rich in nitrogen and phosphorus to use is now in reach. Urine can be toxic for water supplies but if the work is done right, a sustainable and efficient way can be found to make fertilizer from urine that will help the environment and provide nutrition to plants while being harmless to local water sources.

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October 17th, 2014
8:54
 

Building your dream home with your own two hands and a bunch of your friends just became a little easier…  That is, if your family will fit comfortably in about 700 square feet of house!
 

Check out this amazing structure assembled in public view, on the grounds of the London Building Centre, in England-

Downloadable, 3D-printed house built with staples, screws and a hammer

WikiHouse

 

Take a look at the company’s website (including their blog):  WikiHouse

Challenges remain on the structural integrity in the face of weather issues – strong winds… lashing rains… violent, ‘no fun’ kinds of storms.  Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to bring your mind to the puzzle and create a more sustainable model?  Great opportunity to put your “inner architect”, as well as your techie self, into a potentially great future!

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