Earth Day – Have you ever wanted to be a tree?

Earth Day is upon us and instead of being doom and gloom about the woes of the environment here are three out-of-the-box ways that human kind is dreaming up to help.

I y-urn to be a tree!

Have you ever fancied becoming a tree? Well now you can be, once you’re dead that is. With the Bios Urn your ashes will help a seed grow into a wonderful tree that can be planted in your family garden. This company have manufactured an entirely biodegradable urn that will allow your ashes to nourish the tree of your choice. You’ll be dead but you can still bring a smile to a loved one on an autumn day as your leaves tumble down, you can still annoy them when they have to rake up the leaves. Perhaps some day your great great grandchild will share their first kiss under your sheltering branches. So the next time you try tree pose, you can practice for the future.

Bugs – the food of the future

The latest exhibition at  Science Gallery Dublin is all about food futures which features edible insect packages and insect based protein bars. Recently there has been a lot of chatter in environmental circles about eating insects for protein instead of cows. Insects take a lot less food and water than cows, pigs or chickens to grow and contain a lot of protein bang for their buck. They are also lower in fat and contain various minerals. The trick is to make them look a little more appealing. It is highly likely that in the next few years things like insect protein bars or insect flour pasta or other crazy variations to whet our appetites. Here’s a video of people springing edible insects on unsuspecting bystanders in London. If you don’t fancy becoming a vegan but want to lower your food carbon footprint, warm up to the idea of insect munching.



Plastic eating bacteria

You’ve probably got the message by now that fossil fuels are bad bad bad. Plastic, a fossil fuel product, is like society’s heroin. It’s so ubiquitous that it is terrifying to even think about going cold turkey on it as some mega zero-wasters have. Japanese scientists may have made a step towards solving this problem however. The research published in Science reports that they discovered a bacteria that eats the common PET plastic. PET is estimated to take up to half a millennia to decompose and every piece of plastic we’ve produce still exists. Finding a microorganism that actually eats plastic as a food source could help us deal with the billions of tonnes of plastic waste that we’ve already produced. The bacterium Ideonella sakaiensis contain enzymes which safely break down the PET into its components using the carbon energy in it to live. The research hasn’t been commercialised yet so it may be awhile before these little bacteria start eating our waste. In the mean-time if Earth Day inspires you to consider cutting back on disposable plastic, see this list for some fantastic swap-out ideas.

 

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