These 5 out-of-the-box inventions will help us live sustainably
Our environment defines us and we define it; we are interconnected in kind of an inescapable loop. We all know that our existence is because of our environment only – the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land that we live on are the most basics amongst the plethora of our needs and wants.
But look at the plight of our environment today. Grave issues have emerged, like global warming, pollution, ozone layer depletion, which seriously threaten the survival of our future generations. We share this planet with a million other species, and we have already driven thousands of them to the brink of being extinct or endangered.
While many policies, summits and collaborations have been signed on international, national and local levels, the real change begins we individually start incorporating certain practices to live more sustainably.
Some of the cool inventions which will help us to do so are:
1) Pineapple fibre ‘leather’
A new textile called ‘Piñatex’ is developed by Ananas Anam. The Philippines-based company turns pineapple leaf fibres into an environmentally friendly leather alternative. This also generates an additional income for these farmers, hence boosting the economy.
2) This straw turns dirty water into drinking water
The invention, called ‘LifeStraw’ uses a hollow fibre membrane that doesn’t require chemicals such as chlorine or iodine. Using high pressure upon sucking through the straw, the water is forced through the narrow fibres, trapping bacteria, protozoa and other contaminants, which are then flushed out by backwashing.
It removes 99.9999% waterborne bacteria (including E.coli), 99.9% of protozoan parasites, and other health issues such as Hepatitis E, Typhoid Fever and Dysentery. Turbidity (muddiness) is also reduced down to 0.2 microns. This is a huge step for people in areas where water shortages are common and the sources of water are unfit for use.
3) A plant-based ‘plastic’ that doesn’t pollute
Indonesian entrepreneur Kevin Kumala was successful in creating a plastic made from biodegradable materials. He was inspired by watching dozens of motorcyclists wearing vinyl ponchos to protect them from the rain. “It clicked that these disgusting, toxic ponchos would be used a few times and then discarded, but they would not decompose,” he said.
Being a biology major, had the knowledge of materials that would help him create the biodegradable plastic. He and his partner were finally succeeded in making ponchos, bags and food packaging from cassava, a cheap and common vegetable found across Indonesia.
In 2014, Kumala launched Avani Eco, which produces four tons of cassava-plastic products each day. He hopes to secure funding to produce a lot more.
4) Tiles for growing mini gardens
Swedish designer Caroline Brahme has come up with some tiles that are like tine pockets of greenery. They aim to brighten the urban space, and having indoor plants helps to clean the air, reduce pollution and even improve the mood of the residents. Now you can say bye to gloomy and plain spaces with these awesome tiles.
5) Sustainable houses made from plastic bottles
These amazing houses are “bulletproof, fireproof, and can withstand earthquakes. They also maintain a comfortable temperature, produce zero carbon emissions, and are powered by solar and methane gas from recycled waste”.
By filling the bottles with sand, then binding them together with mud and cement, strong, solid walls are formed. They can be used to make homes up to three stories, using over 14,000 bottles! With over three million such bottles thrown away every day in Nigeria (and 130 million per day in the U.S.), there is an abundance of building material available for these thrifty builders.