A Glimpse Into The Sustainable Megacities Of The Future

Megacities are generally defined as cities with a population greater than 10 million. With this strict definition, it is no surprise that there are only around 30 or 40 megacities across the world. Alongside this, ‘sustainability’ and ‘megacity’ are terms that are almost inherently at odds with one another.

By their very design, megacities rely on resources from other distant places, as they rarely possess their own agricultural infrastructure. Because of this, megacities are generally forced to bear the costs of travel carbon for all the fresh produce that line their supermarket aisles.

Sustainable Megacities Of The Future

In short, the way megacities have been designed and managed in the past is in need of some serious reform, with greater consideration towards the environment and greater investments in green infrastructure. Here’s how the globe’s megacities may be shaped by calls for sustainable growth in the not-so-distant future.

Streamlined waste management

With a population of 5 million, the city of Melbourne is poised to become a megacity in the next few decades. Civil engineers do have some concerns about the city’s ability to adapt to its forecasted growth, however. For instance, rubbish removal in Melbourne is already lagging behind when compared to other cities with similar populations. That being said, there are some other smaller ways in which Melbourne is also catching up – perhaps ready in time for when it’s projected to become a megacity in a few decade’s time.

Public waste bins in the Melbourne CBD are a type of smart bin that are solar-powered and are able to compact the rubbish much more effectively than standard bins. This results in fewer waste trucks travelling through the city less often, reducing their contribution to traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Going further, there are also emerging technologies that are able to use AI to recognise recycling and divert it away from landfill.

Melbourne’s comparatively higher than average population density is a factor to consider here as well, as the placement of bins and the routes of waste trucks are both likely to continue to be largely dictated by the flow of pedestrians through major throughways.

And what about the future of rubbish removal? Cities that are built with sustainability in mind would also be able to install waste bins with pneumatic pipes which transport rubbish directly to waste processing facilities. Given Melbourne’s grid-like layout and substantial underground system, it’s not unlikely that pneumatic pipes may become the veins of the city’s waste disposal system.

waste-management-sweden

Increased accessibility and diverse transport options

Any larger city centre will naturally discourage the use of cars, as congested streets are already a byproduct of higher population density. This is immediately a boon in terms of sustainability, as fewer cars on the road means less pollution. That being said, the city needs to have the alternative transport options and infrastructure in place to make up for these ‘lost’ roadways. This includes bike pathways, pedestrian access, and perhaps most importantly, a variety of interconnected public transport options.

Tokyo is the largest city in the world yet is also ranked as one of the most livable. In fact, Japan’s capital is the only megacity to consistently land on many livability ranking lists. Japan’s public transport networks are world class, famous for having regular services and for being consistently on time. With bullet trains that reach 320km/h, you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere they can’t take you. As a bonus, they’ve recently become more accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, as well as blind and deaf commuters too.

An abundance of green spaces

Green spaces are exactly what it says on the tin: areas of land that are predominantly covered by grass, trees or vegetation. Green spaces are vital in the development of any city but are of course, worth focusing on particularly when a city is developing into a megacity.

The presence of these spaces bring with them a whole slew of benefits. They have demonstrated that they are better for people’s mental health and also encourage a sense of social cohesion and community for people living in cities. The trees within these green spaces also do their part to mitigate urban pollution, and can even help keep cities cool during warmer weather.

trees-sustainability

The inclusion of green spaces into cities can also be more holistic – even if there isn’t space for a dedicated park, a tree-lined urban sprawl is far more appealing (and more accommodating towards urban wildlife) than an absolute lack of green.

A culture of urban agriculture

Finally, the perfect way to work against some of the extra reliance that megacities will naturally have on produce that is cultivated elsewhere, is for them to promote the development and upkeep of urban agriculture projects.

The space in any major city is limited, so rooftop farms are an excellent space-efficient step towards making megacities a little bit more self-sustaining. And like other green spaces, rooftop gardens and farms are also a great avenue towards promoting a sense of community within densely populated cities. Through novel processes such as hydroponics and aquaponics, rooftop farms can be sustainable without reliance on soil. They bring with them all the same benefits as green spaces with the added benefit of being a food source.

sustainable agriculture

Some urban citizens are going as far as building honey farms on their rooftops, providing their wider communities with organic and locally grown honey, as well as cultivating local bee populations that can also help to maintain a city’s green spaces with ease.

As the number of megacities across the world continues to increase year upon year, our ideas about how to marry sustainability with megacities must rapidly transition from being an impossibility into being a reality. The logistics surrounding the infrastructure that makes up megacities is something that needs to be carefully considered as these cities grow larger, and not after that growth has already occurred.

Whilst these small steps towards sustainability aren’t essential to growing that city’s economy alongside its population, taking these measures for ensuring sustainable growth can certainly contribute to that city’s livability rating across the long term.

I suppose this exploration of the future of megacities all boils down to one question: without educated sustainable growth strategies in place, why should a future filled with megacities be considered anything but aspirational?

3 Ways to Reuse Water Using Renewable Energy

Water is essential to life, making it one of the most valuable resources on the planet. We drink it, use it to grow food and stay clean. However, water is of increasingly short supply and the Earth’s population only continues to expand. Many of the countries with the largest populations are also ones that use the most water. For instance, in the United States, the average person uses 110 gallons of water each day. Meanwhile, three-fourths of those living in Africa don’t have access to clean water.

To ensure we have enough water to survive — and share with those in need — the best approach is to conserve this resource and find sustainable ways of recycling it. Currently, conventional methods or water purification use about three percent of the world’s energy supply. This isn’t sustainable long-term and can have adverse effects on the environment.

Recently, however, major steps have been made to reduce both the collective water and carbon footprint. Now, there are multiple, sustainable ways to both save energy and reuse water using renewable energy.

1. Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion — or AD — is the natural process in which microorganisms break down organic materials like industrial residuals, animal manure and sewage sludge. This process takes place in spaces where there is no oxygen, making it an ideal system for cleaning and reusing wastewater. This recycled water can provide nutrients for forest plantations and farmland alike.

For example, in Yucatan, Mexico, the successful implementation of AD systems has provided water to promote reforestation efforts. This system has also helped accelerate the search for a sustainable solution to water-sanitation issues in rural Latin American communities.

Additionally, anaerobic digestion also reduces adverse environmental impacts. As the system filters water, it creates two byproducts — biogas and sludge. The biogas can be used as energy to supply electricity or even fuel vehicles. And the sludge is used as fertilizers and bedding for livestock. In poor countries, like Peru, 14 percent of primary energy comes from biogas, providing heat for food preparation and electricity to homes that would not have access to it otherwise.

2. Vapor Compression Distillation

In this process, the vapor produced by evaporating water is compressed, increasing pressure and temperature. This vapor is then condensed to water for injection — highly purified water that can be used to make pharmaceutical-grade solutions.

Vapor compression distillation is incredibly sustainable because it can produce pure water on combustible fuel sources like cow dung — no chemicals, filters or electricity necessary. This makes it water accessible to even the most rural communities.

The system only needs enough energy to start the first boil and a small amount to power the compressor. This energy can be easily supplied by a solar panel, producing roughly 30 liters of water an hour using no more energy than that of a handheld hairdryer.

3. Solar Distillation

Utilizing solar energy for water treatment may be one of the most sustainable solutions to the water crisis, without sacrificing the environment or non-renewable resources. Between 80 and 90 percent of all energy collected through commercial solar panels is wasted, shed into the atmosphere as heat. However, recent advancements in technology have allowed scientists to capture this heat and use it to generate clean, recycled water.

By integrating a solar PV panel-membrane distillation device behind solar panels, researchers were able to utilize heat to drive water distillation. This panel also increases solar to electricity efficiency. This device can even be used to desalinate seawater, providing a sustainable solution to generating freshwater from saltwater.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

Finding sustainable methods of recycling water is essential to reducing energy consumption and helping the planet, and all those dependent upon it, thrive. Using methods like anaerobic digestion and environmentally-friendly distillation processes can reduce toxic emissions and provide purified, recycled water to those who need it most.

Sustainable reuse of water can also benefit the economy. The financial costs of constructing and operating desalination and purification systems are often high compared to the above solutions. Furthermore, using recycled water that is of lower quality for agricultural and reforestation purposes saves money by reducing treatment requirements.

How Can I Make My Business More Environmentally Friendly?

Climate change is quickly becoming a major issue. While it has long been a problem, we are starting to see the direct results of global warming. Each year is hotter than the last, we are losing wildlife, and many of the natural resources we need to survive are depleting faster than we can replenish them.

There is, unfortunately, no simple answer to this issue. There are many factors that impact the progression of climate change, meaning we can’t rely on a simple trick coming in at the last minute to save us.

Instead, we need to focus on doing everything we can across the board to slow climate change. With businesses being one of the biggest contributing factors in the current climate crisis, many business owners are curious how they can transition to more environmentally-friendly operations.

This article explores a few simple ways businesses can become greener and decrease their impact on the environment.

ways businesses can become greener

Consider Your Sourcing

One of the easiest ways a business can reduce its impact on the environment is to find green materials and manufacturers.

Many businesses rely heavily on materials that harm the environment. Plastic is a fantastic example. Plastic is made of petroleum, meaning that it is non-renewable. This alone makes it a bad choice for the environment. Compounding the problem, plastic doesn’t degrade. It lasts for an extremely long time.

This means we have to dispose of it by throwing it in landfills or the ocean. Once there, the plastic can cause further harm, trapping and killing wildlife or winding up in the food we eat and the water we drink.

Businesses that find more environmentally-friendly alternatives can radically reduce their impact on the environment.

This isn’t always viable though. Sometimes plastics and other somewhat harmful materials are crucial to producing a product.

In these cases, businesses should instead look to find the most responsibly-produced version of the material available. For instance, a business might source their plastic from recycling plants, allowing them to reduce the impact they have by using the material.

There’s also the manufacturing itself to consider. Choosing a factory or plant that runs on solar or another renewable energy reduces the net impact of your business operations on the environment.

Finally, there’s the shipping and distribution. Ordering more materials at once can help reduce the amount of fuel used for transportation. You can also find shipping services that emphasize environmentally-friendly practices.

All of these things can make your production process easier on the earth.

Work Remotely

We live in the age of the digital entrepreneur. People can now start and run a business entirely from the comfort of their own homes.

Not only does this have many monetary and lifestyle benefits, but it’s also an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of your business.

Environmental Effects of Remote Work

Avoiding an unnecessary office rental means less electricity is used each day. The lights in your home office aren’t going to draw nearly the same energy as the lights in a commercial space.

Additionally, working from home lets you avoid commutes, keeping you from burning fuel when you drive to work.

Create Green Alternatives

Finally, business owners can make their businesses greener by creating green alternatives to existing products. There is growing demand for environmentally-friendly products. Unfortunately, there aren’t always green options on the market.

ecofriendly home

As a business owner, you are directly in control of your business offerings. You have the power to invest in developing green products.

Doing this can make your business better for the environment while also opening new market opportunities for you. It’s a true win-win situation.

Indoor Farming: The New Future of the Agricultural Sector

The population is growing at an alarming rate, the global population is anticipated to reach a mark of 9.7 billion by the end of 2050, and with this, food production also needs to increase by 70% to feed the entire human growth.

The overall food shortage is a challenge to be met along with the rising temperatures and global warming being impactful, indoor farming is the new future since various obstacles are making the usual methods of farming quite unpredictable and inefficient.

indoor farming systems

Modern agriculture needs to adapt to the growing technology and start using less water and chemicals in order to be more sustainable and invulnerable to the changes in the environment. The growing conditions become much more manageable when farming is done indoors with more protection and smart greenhouse application in the indoor environments.

Indoor farming has various advantages over conventional farming, crops grown indoors are possibly in a controllable climatic growth throughout the year, and pests can also be controlled along with water usage. Also, indoor farming yields more food per acre when compared to traditional farming. Undoubtedly, it has the potential to meet the ever-increasing demands of the world’s population.

Indoor farming in the world in 2016 was valued at 23.75 billion dollars and is expected to rise up to 40.25 billion dollars by the year 2022. The crops from indoor farming usually grow in three dimensions and are open to growing throughout the year irrespective of weather conditions. For instance, an indoor farm yields production similar to 2 to 3 outdoor farms of around 300 acres, this product, however, is a result of growing crops optimally at 90 degrees and also using artificial intelligence to ensure an optimized environment for the plants blended with stable day and night temperatures.

Vertical Farming

The growing trends hint at population rise, climatic changes, decrease in water supply, urbanization, and continuing global warming. All these factors are a contributing source to the decline in stocks of land per person. Land resources are on a major decline and policymakers are facing tremendous difficulty in confronting the ordeals of sustainability and feeding the expanding population. Vertical farming is the ideal solution to enhancing food production for future generations.

This method of vertical farming aims to enhance the yields of fresh fruits and vegetables with an objective to considerably bring a decrease in the environmental footprint of the world’s cultivation. Indoor farming gives access to a clean and entirely green source of food with riddance from problems of biosecurity, pests, droughts, reduced depletion of fossil fuels, and reduced transportation costs.

Vertical farming does not depend on sunlight and soil availability, they use a solution including nutrients for their proper growth. The roots are soaked in this nutrient solution and are checked on a time to ensure nutrient requirement. The plants in vertical farming derive lights from LEDs and not directly from sunlight, this reduces the risk of crop failure and maintains consistency in farming throughout the year. Techniques like hydroponics are making the consumption of waterways less than that used in traditional farming, taking a generous step toward a better future.

Final Words

According to Tobias Peggs, indoor farming systems are living biosystems constantly adapting to make optimal climatic growth for the crops, and climatic changes affect the crops’ taste and texture. Indoor farming helps one adapt to a warming planet and also assists in slowing down the climatic imbalance by being sustainable, producing minimal emissions, and using less water.

The future is secured and enhanced with these indoor farming mechanics, they follow certain strategies which are far better than conventional farming because AI is being used to make things sustainable and ever-growing.

Using Persuasion to Bring Awareness to Climate Change

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

We’ve all heard about the changes in our climate in the past years. Many people have started to look for ways to go greener in an effort to reverse the effects of climate change and live a more sustainable life. However, some people simply do not understand or know the dangers of the changing climate or simply refuse to understand.

For those who feel passionately about the environment, it can be frustrating to try to convince someone else to make changes in their own life or to look into some of the studies that exist on this topic. It is possible to get people to learn more, but you do have to be patient.

Here are some ways to use persuasion to bring awareness to the reality of climate change in our rapidly growing world.

ways to use persuasion to bring awareness to the reality of climate change

Be Patient With Them

It can be difficult not to go on a huge rant about something you feel passionate about right off the bat when trying to convince someone of something. However, it’s essential. The majority of people who don’t understand the severity of the climate crisis likely don’t understand that it’s urgent.

They may not understand what you’re saying if you start going into a tirade about carbon zero and net emissions, which are words frequently used by people who already know what they mean.

Use simple language and be patient. Express why it’s important to you and also why they should listen. If they try to argue, tell them you understand their concerns but bring up counterarguments that are backed by hard facts.

Understand Generational Divides

Many people in older generations do not believe in climate change or simply have not seen any “proof” that it exists in their lifetime. They may use their life experience as an argument as to why climate change isn’t a threat.

It’s important for you to understand this response but not to let it deter you. Use examples that they might understand of how the climate is changing today and let them put the pieces together. Express that even though they might not be alive when the climate gets worse, their children and grandchildren will be. Show them why it’s important for them to think of the younger generations.

Start Small and Back Up Your Facts With Real Studies

Start with the basics when you’re explaining how climate change impacts the world. Before discussing this with someone, you should, ideally, have put together as much information as possible from high-ranking sources. Find sources from:

  • Online scholarly journals
  • Universities
  • Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Scientific studies

You don’t want to utilize articles or blog posts as sources, as they’re not as credible as the sources compiled by experts. There are tons of sources that can back up your claims when you go to persuade someone.

NASA even has its own government webpage dedicated to the facts and research on climate change as it stands today. Share this with the person who wants to learn more. In the end, remember that you can’t force someone to read studies.

However, if they try to bring up counterarguments, remind them which sources are credible and show them the actual data being collected, as well as the evidence of leaders worldwide meeting at climate conferences to make a change.

Explain How It Affects Them, Even if They Don’t See It

In the end, climate change affects us all. Even if someone is older and won’t be alive during the worst of it, their children likely will be. For younger generations, there is a lot of fear about the future. Many people in generation Z have even opted not to have children out of fear of bringing a life into a world where they won’t survive or will have problems.

climate anxiety

Explain that climate change will affect the person by:

  • Causing temperatures to rise and more discomfort
  • Causing air quality problems, which can cause lung discomfort, breathing difficulty, and more
  • Causing fires in many towns, burning down homes
  • Causing population increases as people move away from dangerous climate zones

These are all immediate impacts of climate change that we already see, along with more natural disasters.

Use Gentle Urgency

You do want to be gentle when using persuasion to convince someone of something. However, it’s good to use a sense of urgency and explain why you feel so strongly about it. If someone truly doesn’t believe in something, explain why that hurts you and the people in society and why it’s important to you that they try to listen and hear you out.

Be a Good Example

Finally, be a good example of someone who cares about the environment. Although most of the world’s carbon emissions come from large corporations, making changes in your personal life can make changes to the planet. Show the people in your life that you care by:

  • Planting a garden
  • Using sustainable practices at home
  • Riding a bike or walking to work
  • Protesting for causes you care about
  • Voting for officials that care for the environment
  • Trying to limit waste
  • Not shopping from corporations that don’t make efforts toward sustainability
  • Spreading the word on important climate news

In the end, leading by example and showing people that climate care doesn’t have to be hard can help persuade someone to listen.

Conclusion

Not everyone will hear you out about climate change, and that’s okay. The most important thing you can do is continue to value the conversation in your own life and continue to try to help people make healthy changes for themselves. However, you can only control your own actions, so living a more sustainable life for yourself is a good way to be proactive for the environment.

If you want to learn more about persuasion and similar difficult topics, check out BetterHelp today. They’ve got an excellent site dedicated to advice and techniques, so you feel confident and comfortable in any conversation and learn more about the psychological aspects of how people interact on these topics.

Creating an Eco-Friendly Project Site

Creating a worksite for construction is already a tough task, you have to get all the workers, tools, set up transportation of resources and materials, source the whereabouts of where this will take place, and more. It can be daunting at times, as you have a lot to plan and think about, plus the costs can be outrageous.

What’s even harder is planning it to be an eco-friendly site, as more people are in a rage about making things environmentally friendly; from power to materials, to transportation, they’d want it all to be as safe and protective of the ecosystem as possible. Luckily for you, you don’t have to look every to figure out how to do so, because you can look here.

Creating an Eco-Friendly Project Site

Finding Sustainable Materials to Work With

When you think of construction and building, you’ll often think of a workplace, workers, cement mixer, pallets of materials, and much more. While this is true, to create a more eco-friendly site, you’d want to start by thinking about what kinds of materials you are using and should you be using.

There are many different materials that you can use in place of concrete or commonly found materials that are not good for the environment thanks to the gases or pollution that they cause. These materials can include bamboo, straw, recycled plastic, and much more.

Manage Powered Equipment More Effectively

Powered equipment can take a great toll on the environment since it uses mass quantities or electricity to remain powered. What’s worse, is most worksites will keep their lights, tools, and everything else on while they are no longer working, or while on break. While this may not seem so bad, this can affect the use of electricity horribly and do damage to the environment.

If you want to become more eco-friendly, ensure your workers are managing their electricity correctly, shutting their tools and lights off when not in use, and opting for more eco-friendly ways to work. This can be difficult to do, but will greatly decrease the effect and use of electricity and harm on the environment.

Try to Conserve as Much Water as Possible

Water is one of the most overused and overlooked resources when at a job site. Water can be used for basic toiletries, cleaning materials, and many other ways. One of the best ways to conserve and repurpose water would be through the use of collected rainwater.

While it may seem a bit off, you can build rainwater collection systems that allow you to repurpose, irrigate, and use water that would have just been discarded or thrown away. This gives you a source of water that is usable but most likely shouldn’t be consumed.

Recycling from Construction Materials and Demolition

Let’s face it, you are going to have a lot of construction trash, broken materials, or unused materials left over from the job site, and you are most likely going to hire some person to quickly pick it up and haul it away. While this is a cheap and easy thing to do, the better choice would be to recycle or repurpose these materials.

Recycling of Construction Materials

You could hire a recycling company that will take these materials away, harvest what’s usable, and then repurpose them for future use. Or if that’s not your fancy, you could donate them to another work site yourself, and they can take these busted materials off your hands and purpose them themselves. Lastly, you could just repurpose a need or use of the material and not let anything go to waste.

Maximize Use of Natural Light and Energy

A way to conserve and maybe even build energy rather than just use it would be to think of your natural sources of energy and light. During the day you won’t need much light as the sun will give you natural light at all times it is out. And a way to use this energy to your advantage and even build a reserve would be to invest in solar.

Solar energy allows you to use the power of the sun, and as technology advances more companies are looking into creating tools and other ways to use solar or more eco-friendly energy conserves. A reserve of energy would not just help the environment but also save you money.

Solar Energy Guide for Students

Reduce Carbon Footprint on Transportation

Moving materials from one place to another can cause a huge increase in carbon production which would hurt the environment. To make the most out of becoming more eco-friendly, try to see if you can manage the use of transportations correctly, or switch to an eco-friendly fuel.

As time advances and many more eco-safe or eco-friendly companies start to come to fruition, more and more are looking into the use and design of more environmentally sound fuels for vehicles or tools. This could be solar power or bio-based fuels that can reduce this carbon footprint.

Planning for a Sustainable Work Site

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when planning or setting up your work site. More is added when you have to start considering all the different ways to make the job site more eco-friendly to appease a bigger crowd that is steadily growing in their desire for environmentally safe construction sites.

While it may be a lot to consider, or even think about while trying to make your project site more eco-friendly, there are many ways you can start doing this. These include finding sustainable building materials that would be more environmentally friendly, conserving the use of electricity, saving water, and even maximizing the use of natural energy sources, recycling what you can from leftover materials or demolitions, and even reducing your carbon footprint by investing in eco-friendly fuel and ways of transportation.

While it is a lot to think of, don’t be afraid to plan this journey out slowly, and take small steps to become more eco-friendly at the job site. Even the smallest steps make a great impact and will slowly add up.

How Green Financing is Changing the Renewable Energy Market?

Growing interest in renewables is rapidly changing how energy projects are financed in America and around the world.

One of the biggest shifts has been an influx in outside money into the industry in the form of “green financing” — bonds, loans and other assets earmarked for renewable energy projects around the world.

The rise of the green financing market shows how investors are starting to take renewables more seriously — and it could signal a major transformation of the renewable energy market over the next few years.

Green Finance

Green Financing May Accelerate Renewable Energy Projects

Green financing is a catch-all term for investment in financial vehicles related to renewables and other green industries. Assets, bonds and funds related to renewable energy and other green investments make up the green financing market. In recent years, a robust green financing market has become widely viewed as essential to accelerating the development of new renewable energy technology projects.

Green finance is growing fast. In 2012, the sustainable debt market — including “green” and sustainable bonds and loans — was worth only around $10 billion, according to data from BloombergNEF. In 2018, just six years later, the market was worth nearly $250 billion.

Most of these gains came in the form of new green bonds (sometimes also called “climate bonds”), which are fixed-income investments designed to raise money for new renewable energy projects.

The growth of green financing represents a slow but noticeable divestment away from fossil fuels.

The pivot may also represent a change in how businesses are structured. The growing popularity of bonds as an investment vehicle may enable community co-ops rather than corporations to become a more viable business model for renewable energy providers. For example, the Westmill Solar Cooperative in the United Kingdom has raised more than £6 million ($7.94 million) through bonds offered to investors.

While coil, oil and natural gas are likely to remain a good investment in the short-term, the strength of the green financing market does seem like a signal that, over the next 10 to 20 years, non-renewables will become less and less tempting for investors compared to renewable and sustainable investments.

How Green Financing May Change Energy Around the World?

As the green finance market grows, regulators are beginning to codify what counts as a green investment.

In the EU, for example, regulators recently debated whether plastics manufactured from entirely recycled materials could count as a “sustainable” investment under European finance laws.

These new definitions and regulations may determine which industries receive major funding and which are left out of the green financing boom.

Nuclear energy, for example, is generally not regarded as renewable energy, but is sometimes considered sustainable. Nuclear power plants generate waste, but they also produce zero emissions, unlike fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Natural gas is also not considered renewable or sustainable, as it is a fossil fuel and produces significant carbon emissions when burned for power. However, some proponents of the energy source argue that it should be considered sustainable, as it produces significantly less carbon dioxide than similar fossil fuels.

green-financing

In 2019, EU regulators reached a deadlock over whether or not nuclear and natural gas power plants should count as sustainable investments. In a final compromise, EU lawmakers ruled that both nuclear and natural gas projects were neither included nor excluded in the definition of sustainable by default. Instead, projects would need to prove that they “do no harm” on a case-by-case basis.

Similar rulings and legal challenges could shape the future of energy as governments around the world grapple with the challenge of shifting away from fossil fuels.

A Coming Sustainable Energy Revolution

The rise of the green finance market may change what alternative energy looks like around the world. Legal debates over what should count as “renewable” or “sustainable” may affect which projects receive funding, while bonds and loans may make community cooperatives that provide renewable energy more practical.

As fossil fuels become less attractive to investors and the renewable energy market grows, green financing is likely to have major impacts on the future of renewables.

Solar-Powered Pumps are Game-Changing for Agriculture

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear solar power is a solar panel placed on a rooftop for creating electricity for commercial or residential use. However, solar power has another important function – to mine and deliver water to improve productivity. This is especially applicable in sunny nations like Australia and most countries in Africa since its main industry is agriculture. Still, their productivity is suffering since their fields don’t get sufficient irrigation. Though, using solar pumps, they can double or even triple their profits. These economic gains can improve the lives of many farming communities.

Importance of Water in Agriculture

Our lives depend on clean water. The developed countries can sometimes take water for granted, but the evolving economies understand the significance of this commodity. A solar pump is an ecological option to get water for the crops and deliver drinkable, clean water.

The founder and CEO of the British-American company Ignite Power, Yariv Cohen, confirmed that solar pumps brought more efficiency, leading to bigger disposable income and more employment. Farmers can now grow three seasons per year instead of one. So, disposable income increased by 20% to 30%.

60% of the Sub-Saharan Africa population is employed in agriculture. Therefore, agriculture is accountable for 60% of economic output. This is less productive than the other regions in the world since only a part of the farmland gets constant irrigation – just 6% across Africa. Most farmlands go without irrigation, so most farmers in Africa rely only on rain for the larger lands, while they take care of the smaller areas with manual effort.

What is Solar-Powered Pumping System

The solar-powered pumping systems include a solar panel array, which fuels an electric motor. The motor, in turn, fuels the surface pump. The water is pumped from the stream or ground into a storage tank, utilized to water crops. If the farmland is irrigated consistently with solar pumps, the farmers will double the production compared to farmlands irrigated by rainwater or with manual effort.

Life-changing mechanism

About 600 million who live in Africa don’t have consistent electricity access. This is damaging the economic health of the continent. Everyone knows the ideal solution is to expand the electrical grid, but financial and geographical considerations prevent that. Ignite Power provides off-grid solutions to African countries in rural places like Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.

Cohen explains how solar pumps allow the farmers to irrigate their lands by using the sun. They first connect the homes, and then they utilize the same solar panels to water the fields. Using solar power, the pump enables a big area to be regularly irrigated. This improves the yield affordably.

Ignite Power has 1.1 million customers in Africa. So, there is room for enormous growth for his company and other providers of solar power in the continent. Cohen aims to reach 500 million houses.

They work with the bank and try to find the ideal solutions. They want to provide the best solution for the country with the help of the government. They can connect any payment providers or manufacturers to their system. They can connect all the suppliers, so many people could join.

The case of the two Rwandan women Grace Uwas (23) and Tharcille Tuyisenge (20) is admirable. They started working with Cohen’s company and bought solar systems for homes in Rwamagana, so people there have sustainable and safe electricity. Until now, they have installed twenty-five solar systems and more are coming!

Bottom Line

Electricity is the quintessence for any country. The solar power is game changing for African evolving communities to get access. In this way, they won’t just keep their lights on, but their agricultural productivity will be improved.

Manage Trees With Sustainability In Mind

There is growing concern as forest land outside of conservation areas is steadily decreasing. There has been a disturbing reduction in primary forests of 40 million hectares in the last decade. The total area of forest within protected areas has increased by 94 million hectares in the past two decades and now accounts for 13% of the total of forests globally.

Tree healthcare for humans

Trees are well known for providing oxygen as a result of their photosynthesis process. It is in fact the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is removed during this process therefore helping to mitigate the negative effects of burning fossil fuels ie. CO2 production. The benefits to the world of this process make the existence and importance of the Amazon rainforest especially significant.

Trees benefit cities too

Not only are trees a beautiful addition to any city, they also serve a practical purpose by absorbing pollutants. Their presence makes a city appear more vibrant and more friendly. For example, San Francisco is home to 105,000 trees. Tree planting should be kept in pace with tree mortality and tree removal. A tree management plan is essential to ensure sustainability.

Tree management for woodland

Trees should be checked for health and also for the merchantability of the trees. When areas of the woodland require thinning out it is useful to produce a product that has a commercial value. This way waste management has been prioritized and has turned a Liability into an Asset.

The harvested wood/logs can be considered an asset and can be sold as fuel. Always ensure trees are removed when over-crowding is an issue to allow for tree growth of the remaining trees. The woodland is sustainable by including sufficient planting of new trees.

Arborists are trained to evaluate the health and ongoing sustainability of a tree. Oftentimes they can prescribe solutions to prolong a tree’s life, thereby protecting the environment as well as improving surrounding property values.

Most cities have tree service companies that offer trained arborists who can provide consultations. Depending on the depth of the consultation it may be free or at a very low price.

An ISA-certified arborist can make qualified decisions on whether a tree needs to be removed or if it can be saved.

Additionally, during their consultation, they will be careful to not damage the tree further. Trufast Tree Care has a certified arborist on staff for helping with these tree evaluations

Maintaining the urban trees

Your arborist can advise you of local procedures and the law regarding your trees which if not properly managed can become a legal liability. Some types of trees do not take well to heavy pruning, for example the Southern Live Oak is best not located in restricted areas where heavy pruning to clear avenues may be required. It is better to grow it in a larger landscaped area where it can grow with minimal pruning. They often reach 60 to 80 feet in height with a 60 to 100 foot spread.

trees-sustainability

The branches of Live Oak tend to droop as they grow so some careful pruning will be necessary especially as this type of growth can be a problem for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath. Many trees are not permitted to be removed without obtaining a tree removal permit first. This is good as it provides some protection for the trees.

Other tree varieties to grow with sustainability

The beautiful red maple is a great yard tree being very tolerant and is able to grow in nearly any conditions but especially in acid to neutral soils. Plant away from paths etc as the roots can raise sidewalks if too close. A good layer of organic mulch should be placed around the roots to feed and help retain moisture.

Presence of trees make a city appear more vibrant and eco-friendly

Another commonly found tree in the US is the Loblolly Pine. When found in plantations it provides the perfect habitat for wildlife such as deer, squirrels making it a very sustainable choice. Being a faster growing tree it requires more regular pruning.

Enjoy our future with sustainability for trees

Sustainability ensures we leave the world in a good state for future generations to enjoy, whilst still meeting the needs of the current population. Keep your trees maintained moving forward and always pay attention to the type of tree and manage accordingly. This way you can enjoy the many beautiful trees around you.

Why Wastewater Treatment is Crucial in Our Society

Wastewater treatment is essential for maintaining proper balance throughout the world’s ecosystems. Wastewater contains toxic substances that harm wildlife and humans, including (and especially) aquatic life. This toxic water comes from a variety of sources, including sewage systems.

When organic matter enters a water source, like a river, aquatic lifeforms consume it as food. As the organic pollutants break down, the animals require more oxygen for the process. This leaves less oxygen in the water overall. When oxygen levels become dangerously low, animals in the water suffocate and die.

effluent-treatment-plant

Wastewater is toxic

Although some fish and other animals can break down toxins, toxic water is a serious risk to human health and is responsible for millions of deaths each year, mostly in developing nations.

Unclean water also causes diseases like cholera and schistosomiasis. Although these diseases generally occur in developing countries that don’t treat their wastewater, they can occur anywhere.

What is wastewater treatment? How does it work?

Wastewater treatment is the process of filtering contaminants out of water that has been previously used for another purpose. This process can occur both naturally and through manmade efforts.

Our ecosystem has a natural water treatment system that involves microorganisms that eat waste material, along with different layers of substrate and soil that filter the water as it absorbs into the earth. However, this process is too slow to efficiently filter the enormous amount of wastewater produced by humans. That’s where water treatment facilities come into play.

Water treatment plants are complex systems

What exactly happens at a wastewater treatment plant? While there are different methods, some of the systems use similar components. For example, the Four Rivers Sanitation Authority in Illinois treats wastewater by first pumping it to a higher elevation for gravity to pull the water through the first part of the treatment and filtering process.

The treatment process begins by filtering out the largest debris like plastic to prevent the pumps from becoming damaged. Debris that gets filtered out is then sent to a landfill.

Next, abrasive materials like sand and coffee grounds are filtered out of the wastewater. This grit is separated and sent to a landfill.

Settling tanks are then used to filter out fats, oils, and greases. These tanks also separate solids, most of which are sent to a separate processing facility. A small amount of solids are sent to the aeration tanks to maintain the proper environment required for microorganisms to devour the solids.

The water is then processed through a second set of settling tanks and is then disinfected with high-powered bleach. Sodium bisulfite is used to reduce the amount of chlorine in the water to make it less harmful to plant life when it’s discharged into the river.

What is in wastewater, exactly?

Since wastewater comes from human use, thousands of contaminants are present, although not all are present in every batch of water. In general, there are both inorganic and organic compounds found in wastewater.

sewage_sludge

Organic matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Oils
  • Greases
  • Synthetic compounds from detergents
  • Carbohydrates

Inorganic matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Sodium

Most of these contaminants come from industrial wastewater and aren’t easily broken down. When these inorganic compounds collect in water sources, they build up over time, making the water increasingly toxic to animals and humans.

Other matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Nutrients: High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous create “dead zones” by feeding large algae blooms. These blooms block sunlight, causing plants to die. Bacteria then proliferate by feeding on the dead plant matter.
  • Microorganisms: Harmful microorganisms include E. coli, parasites, and bacteria.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals enter wastewater through human waste and people flushing drugs down the toilet.

Wastewater treatment can help with water scarcity

There are many places across the world that experience droughts and water shortages on a regular basis. Without treating wastewater, drinking water sources become (and remain) contaminated. This includes rivers, lakes, and streams.

Treating wastewater in these areas would provide residents with a clean source of water to use for drinking, washing clothes, and bathing. After continually treating the wastewater, it would eventually bring the rivers, lakes, and streams back to a less-polluted state over a long period of time.

However, getting a treatment system set up takes money, time, and resources. The nations that need it the most can afford it the least. However, there are people and organizations working on solutions to this problem.

It’s not an overnight fix, but hopefully, one of those organizations will soon create a successful model that works for developing nations.