Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas, and inspiration from across the world that demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact.
We’re taking a look this time at inspiring, yet perhaps unusual green initiatives. Whilst some of the examples we’ve included may not take off, we’re more interested in the innovation, the initiative, and the potential of some of these ideas which may, one day, make a real difference.
As the demand for housing increases, high rises are likely to become increasingly common as we struggle to make the most of the limited space available. With this in mind, we rather loved the vertical forest design from Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri.
Each building has planted terraces with 350 trees and around 14,000 shrubs, and whilst vertical forests are already out there, this is the first one in Egypt, so it’s great to see the concept catching on.
Established vertical forests are pretty eye-catching, check out Liuzhou Forest City for some amazing innovation and simply stunning imagery. The first “forest city” in the world, Liuzhou Forest City is forecast to absorb around 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of micro-particles each year, as well as produce around 900 tons of oxygen. With 68% of the world set to live in urban areas by 2050, we’re going to need more concepts like this.
If you’re feeling inspired by the vertical forests, but aren’t likely to be building one of your own anytime soon, then perhaps consider creating your own green roof at home; they’re becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban areas.
We don’t want to get too morbid here, but we’ve noticed increasing numbers of ways to “die sustainably” recently, including these biodegradable Eco Pods which are coffins made from recycled paper and hand finished with mulberry pulp. There are plenty of colors to choose from as well! If this piques your interest, then also check out the Capsula Mundi project which wants to challenge the way we think about death. Their slogan “life never stops” ties neatly into their concept to place a body into a biodegradable egg-shaped pod and bury it with a tree planted on top.
Whilst we’re on this fairly controversial subject (and let’s face it, it’s not everyone’s favorite subject), cremation is considered a more environmentally friendly choice than burial as it’s a less resource-intensive process and the chemicals from the embalming process don’t leach into the ground.
But for a green burial, additional suggestions for an eco-friendly version include dressing the body in materials that are biodegradable, like cotton or wool, or opting for a natural burial.
Let’s lighten the mood for a bit now with Studio Roosegaarde’s sustainable dance floor which generates electricity through the act of dancing. The energy produced is used to power the lighting and DJ booth, in a closed-loop type of system. There’s something rather lovely and a bit hedonistic about this concept isn’t there? People coming together to enjoy themselves, moving collectively to create a separate kind of energy. Whilst this is a seemingly small project, it’s the scope and innovation to potentially scale to something much bigger which is exciting.
If you’re looking for further inspiration, then click through the Studio Roosegaarde studio website whose projects aim to “improve daily life in urban environments, spark imagination and fight the climate crisis”. A few that caught our eye include the smog-free tower, which is coined as the world's first smog vacuum cleaner, and Grow, a project which shows how “the beauty of light can help plants”.
Have you heard of fog harvesting? If not then it’s worth reading about the innovative “Cloudfisher” which collects fog and converts it to safe drinking water (approved by the WHO). You’ll find the accompanying video via the link above which shows examples of how the Cloudfisher is working successfully in countries such as Morocco, Tanzania, Bolivia, and Kenya.
We watched the Moroccan story which suffers terribly from drought. Morocco borders mountains, the Atlantic, and the Sahara, where a perfect environment is created for fog and therefore the Cloudfisher technology. The fog harvested here provides 1600 people with clean drinking water, directly to their homes.
Previously, locals were spending hours and hours trekking to obtain clean water from the closest source. And it’s not just the water that is a benefit, locals are being trained to maintain and manage the Cloudfisher, so jobs are created too.
Areas that are subject to regular droughts are, as you’d expect, underpopulated as people are forced to relocate. It’s original ideas like the Cloudfisher that will help people to remain in coastal areas rather than move to overpopulated urban cities.
The idea of a walking house made us smile so we had to include it! Looking more like a giant insect than somewhere to live, this solar and wind-powered house is an impressive ten feet high with plenty of space for a living room, bedroom, composting toilet, and kitchen.
One of the reasons behind a movable design is a desire to keep traditional nomadic culture alive (a culture that is fast declining), but the concept is also linked to land ownership or lack of. The designers of the house are keen to challenge the idea that ownership of land is acceptable, something that many of us rarely question.
Whilst it’s unlikely we’re all about to move into a walking house anytime soon, some quick research did bring up a connection to how portable houses might, in the future, be a way of moving out of potential danger zones brought about by climate change. For example, one in ten new homes in England are being built on land with high flood risk, so having homes that can pack up and move away quickly from such areas is certainly something to think about.
Sam produces our regular #TRVSTLOVES where she seeks out inspiration, news, and ideas from across the globe that both highlight and celebrate how actions can make for social and environmental change.
Sam is passionate about seeking out small businesses that are implementing remarkable and exciting projects to tackle the climate crisis; she enjoys exploring how their innovation will help change the future of our world.
A degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton has given Sam the research expertise to share and contextualize stories around innovative projects, legislation, and changemakers.