Billionaire Shipping Magnate Sponsors WWF Research Vessel


Kjell Inge Røkke made billions from running a shipping company and now he wants to give back to the very thing that made him wealth – the high seas. He has committed to giving away most of his fortune to better the world, and he just announced his donation to WWF Norway. His donation is specifically going to a research vessel that will provide scientists a great way to research the oceans. What’s more is that the same ship will be able to remove 5 tonnes of plastic from the ocean everyday!

Røkke, a former fisherman, said the oceans “have provided significant value for society” and directly to him and his family.

“However,” he noted, “the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.”

“The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge,” Røkke told Business Insider. “I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board, to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas.”

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Get Water from Air by Using a Windtrap

desert and stars
In Frank Herbert’s book Dune the inhabitants of a desert planet collect water using giant “windtraps,” now we can do the same on earth. Researchers at MIT have built a prototype, which can be easily scaled up, that can capture a lot of water from even the driest of places. Basically, air is filled with moisture and when it flows through the wind collector it comes in contact with a slightly charged surface that sucks the water right from the air. The amount of power needed is negligible, which means that the device can run using only solar panels.

The researchers built a small prototype water collector that contains a thin layer of MOF powder. The powder absorbs water vapor until it is saturated.

“Once you achieve that maximum amount,” Wang says, “you apply some type of heat to the system to release that water.”

And when the water is released, it collects in the bottom of the prototype.

There are other compounds that can suck water from the air, zeolites for example, but Wang says it takes a significant amount of energy to get these materials to release the water. Not so with a MOF device. “The amount of energy required is very low,” she says.

In the prototype, the heat needed to drive the water out of the MOF comes from ambient sunlight — no external power supply is needed.

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Thanks to the Flea!

A Water Bottle to Help Others Drink

In too many places around the world potable water is hard to get, and a recent fundraising campaign is trying to change that. Brita teamed up with Me to We to sell a water bottle that will help pay for a drinking well in rural Kenya. It’s key that the bottle they’re selling is reusable – not one of those one-off disposable bottles.

Bottled water is a ridiculous commodity in places where tap water is drinkable, like Canada. If you regularly drink bottled water in communities with drinkable tap water – please stop buying bottled water! It’s not as well regulated as tap water and it’s insanely wasteful. The Globe and Mail published a great article outlining the troubles of bottled water and the culture around drinking it.

Today is world water day and it’s about time to commit to stop drinking water from an inefficient source.

So instead of throwing money at a wasteful bottle of water get yourself a reusable one you can fill from a tap.

The statement bottle, on sale starting March 1st is part of Brita® Canada’s continuing partnership with WE, an organization that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. Their joint pursuit of sustainable change shows through initiatives like Filter for Good™ where every purchase of a Brita specially-marked ME to WE product supports a borehole in Irkaat, Kenya, which provides the community of more than 1,800 with access to clean water.

According to the United Nations, over 80 per cent of wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused and 1.8 billion people get their drinking water from a source contaminated with feces which puts them at risk of contracting disease like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Globally, unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene kill 842,000 people in a year.

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This River is a Person in New Zealand Law

The Whanganui River its the first river to have the same legal stats as a person. The New Zealand federal government recently passed a bill granting the river legal personhood. This means that the river is afforded all the rights as a person under New Zealand law. The river’s rights to clean air, legal representation, and other protections people get are now granted to the river itself. This will protect not just the river, it also represents a change in how NZ thinks about the law.

With progress and time we should see other natural entities be granted the same protection as humanity in other jurisdictions.

Long revered by New Zealand’s Maori people, the river’s interests will now be represented by two people.
The Maori had been fighting for over 160 years to get this recognition for their river, a minister said.
“I know the initial inclination of some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality,” said New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.
“But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.”
The Whanganui River, New Zealand’s third-longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.
The recognition allows it to be represented in court proceedings.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Over 100 Golf Courses Closing in China

golf
I make games for a living and I love seeing people have fun – but I really don’t like golf courses. Golf takes up a lot of land and consumes an inordinate amount of water for the amount of entertainment it provides. Essentially, I agree that golf ruins a perfectly good walk.

In China the environmental (and social) costs of golf courses have reached record heights. As a result, over 100 golf courses are being closed by the Chinese government. Ironically, these golf courses were classified as parks and were built since China banned the development of new golf courses in 2004.

China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday the courses were closed for improperly using groundwater, arable land or protected land within nature reserves. It said authorities have imposed restrictions on 65 more courses.

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Thanks to Delaney!