Topic: sustainability

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How are luffa/loofah sponges made?

The luffa or loofah scrubbing sponge found at spas and eco-friendly stores is made from a giant Egyptian cucumber. The fibrous xylem of the fruit can be harvested after the fruit has matured, browned, and dried. Natha...

Crow herding with urban falconry in Portland

“Downtown Portland seems to be a very inviting place for crows and I think the reason for that is due to the presence of garbage and food and lights and warmth, and it’s a relatively predator-free environment,” [bird ...

Can we get solar power to everyone who wants it?

By the end of 2016, the US was home to over 1 million household and commercial solar energy operations, with 4 times as many solar panels installed that year compared to just four years earlier. But if you don’t own t...

Which life form really dominates Earth?

In 2018, there are around 7.6 billion people on the planet, but weigh us all together on a giant scale and we only make up 1/10,000 of Earth’s biomass. What is biomass? And what life forms dominate the rest of the pla...

Geothermal energy in Iceland

Iceland is a geothermal energy pioneer. Their unique geology, thanks to volcanism along a rift in the Eurasian tectonic plate and North American tectonic plate, provides a sustainable advantage: Heat from the ground. ...

Using seawater and sunlight to grow sustainable food in the desert

Australia's Sundrop Farms uses sunlight to desalinate seawater. The resulting fresh water is used and re-used to power and irrigate four hydroponic greenhouses with 175,000 tomato plants in each. Those sustainable yea...

Soil Life in Action: Bioturbation with and without soil fauna

Bioturbation is the mixing of (plant) residues into soils and sediments by biotic activity. It is one of the fundamental processes in ecology, as it stimulates decomposition, creates habitats for other (micro)fauna an...

The Solar Grandmothers of Ambakivao, Madagascar

Not having access to electricity, life in Ambakivao, Madagascar was dark. A group of grandmothers decided to change that, bringing light to their community by becoming the village’s first solar engineers. With the hel...

How to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics on Vacation

In the end, I avoided 79 pieces of single-use plastic and only used two on this weeklong trip. This experience reminded me that you don't have to be perfect. Even if you mess up along the way, doing something makes a ...

Linen: How It’s Made

From seed to fabric: See how linen is pulled, dew-retted, bundled, scutched, heckled, spun, and woven in this excellent video from the Victoria & Albert Museum's 'Fashioned From Nature' exhibition, showing until Janua...

Plastics 101: What is plastic and how is it made?

Once a completely natural product, much of today's plastic is man-made and largely dependent upon fossil fuels. From polymers to nurdles, learn how plastic is created and what we can do to slow the lasting repercussio...

What Can You Actually Do About Climate Change?

The average carbon footprint of a person in the US is 16.5 tons –TONS. So, what can you actually do decrease this number and make a meaningful difference? Miriam Nielsen itemizes how our individual choices can hav...

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In 2014, Ecovative Designs was working to combine mycelium with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial for packaging, and continue to expand their efforts. One example: A collaboration with Netherlands-bas...

How long have we known about climate change?

What is climate change, how long have we known about it, what will its effects be, and what can we do to help solve it? Hot Mess is a new PBS Digital Studios YouTube series from hosts Miriam Nielsen, Talia Buford, and...

Koi are unusual kitchen helpers in the kabata of Harie, Japan

For over 300 years, the village of Harie (針江) in Japan has thrived on its interconnected system of mountains, canals, streams, rice fields, spring water, and kabata, small separate rooms that are used as a kitchen s...

An innovative edible spoon, a smart alternative to plastic waste

Plastic cutlery has been around for years, widely considered the only choice for cheap, disposable cutlery. Knowing the threat plastic poses to our environment and health, Narayana Peesapaty created a tasty and nutrit...

Transforming Human Poop Into Eco-Friendly Fertilizer

Everyone poops. But not everyone around the globe has access to a clean toilet. Some communities in Haiti have set up a clean and healthy sanitation system that can also provide a homegrown resource for boosting food ...

Gardening & the science of food – PBS Kids’ What’s Good

How can science help grow better food, stronger communities, and smarter economies? Dr. Pancho McFarland, Chicago State University professor and food justice activist, is working with local neighborhoods to grow food....

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