ecoTrain "Out Of The Box" Sustainable Curation and Podcasts #3

in ecoTrain4 years ago


Welcome to "Out of the Box", a regular curation of interesting and important eco news from around the world. We cover many topics relating to sustainability, lifestyle, energy, climate etc. and keep you informed about things you may have missed, or are not always mentioned on the mainstream media.

There is one thing for sure, our climate is still enjoying a huge break from the relentless pollution that we have imposed on our earth for so long. The data from this global reduction in human activity is priceless, scientists will be analysing it for months and years to come to help us to understand a very important part of climate change.. which is HOW long does it take for the earth to reverse global pollution? Just what is our impact on the world, in terms of climate but also on nature, the movement of animals, and their habitats. These unique circumstances are providing unique data, and i think we will start reading more about this as time goes on.


Urban land could grow fruit and vegetables for 15 per cent of the population (UK)

Growing fruit and vegetables in just 10 per cent of a city's gardens and other urban green spaces could provide 15 per cent of the local population with their 'five a day', according to new research.

In a study published in Nature Food, academics from the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield investigated the potential for urban horticulture by mapping green spaces and grey spaces across the city.

They found that green spaces including parks, gardens, allotments, roadside verges and woodland cover 45 per cent of Sheffield -- a figure similar to other UK cities.

Allotments cover 1.3 per cent of this, while 38 per cent of green space comprised of domestic gardens, which have immediate potential to start growing food.




New droplet-based electricity generator: A drop of water generates 140V power, lighting up 100 LED bulbs

Generating electricity from raindrops efficiently has gone one step further. A research team led by scientists from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has recently developed a droplet-based electricity generator (DEG), featured with a field-effect transistor (FET)-like structure that allows for high energy-conversion efficiency and instantaneous power density increased by thousands times compared to its counterparts without FET-like structure. This would help to advance scientific research of water energy generation and tackle the energy crisis.

In order to improve the conversion efficiency, the research team has spent two years developing the DEG. Its instantaneous power density can reach up to 50.1 W/m2, thousands times higher than other similar devices without the use of FET-like design. And the energy conversion efficiency is markedly higher.




COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine.

The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.

"By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes," said Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper.

Evidence for natural evolution

The scientists found that the RBD portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins had evolved to effectively target a molecular feature on the outside of human cells called ACE2, a receptor involved in regulating blood pressure. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was so effective at binding the human cells, in fact, that the scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not the product of genetic engineering.

Josie Golding, PhD, epidemics lead at UK-based Wellcome Trust, said the findings by Andersen and his colleagues are "crucially important to bring an evidence-based view to the rumors that have been circulating about the origins of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19."

"They conclude that the virus is the product of natural evolution," Goulding adds, "ending any speculation about deliberate genetic engineering."



An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage

Sustainable energy storage is in great demand. Researchers at Uppsala University have therefore developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds. The battery can be charged and discharged over 500 times without any significant loss of capacity. Their work has been published in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

The researchers have been able to demonstrate that their battery can be easily charged using a solar cell. Charging can also be accomplished without the aid of the advanced electronics that, for example, lithium batteries require. Another advantage of the battery is that it is unaffected by ambient temperature.

the research team has chosen quinones as the active material in their battery. These organic carbon compounds are plentiful in nature, among other things occurring in photosynthesis. The characteristic of quinones that researchers have utilised is their ability to absorb or emit hydrogen ions, which of course only contain protons, during charging and discha




9 Sustainability podcasts you need to know!

These podcasts mostly can be listened to episode by episode — you don't need to follow the shows from the beginning. I've chosen a nice range of topics and some quite interesting and also entertaining podcasts! Hope you enjoy!

1. Sustainability Defined

This podcast is a great access point for any topic under the umbrella of sustainability. Each episode breaks down one part within the extremely broad field of "sustainability" through an educational lens. This is a great podcast to fill a gap of knowledge you might have.

2. Think: Sustainability

This radio show-cum-podcast gets a bit more in the weeds with sustainability topics by taking deeper dives through more intersectional lenses, assuming a more substantial degree of knowledge of the listener than Sustainability Defined. That said, it's ridiculously interesting to listen to both Sydney, Australia-based host Jake Morcom and a variety of expert guests.

3. Climate One

The Climate One podcasts are cool because they convene the diverse guests and audience in person at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, so you can tell that the conversation really gets going in-person, before, during and after the recording. The show usually features decision-makers on its given topic, which makes for in-depth conversations. Think of the mayors of Miami and Houston on extreme weather, or climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe on climate conversations.

4. Stanford Social Innovation Review

The weekly show asks Stanford University academics and community members to solve a social problem. Their perspectives, a mix of personal and professional, are illuminating. Although these episodes aren't always about sustainability, many intersections are discussed. Sample episodes: "How big indicators can help solve global problems" and "Embracing emerging technology for social change."

5.. The Guardian's 12-part series on climate change

This series follows the editor-in-chief of the Guardian as his team takes up the fight against climate change. It's a cool podcast because they're not just talking at you after the fact. Instead, they're talking in real time about how they can effect change in their personal lives and how they can leverage the power of the institution they're a part of, and what responsibility they have as being a part of an institution in the media.

6. Bioneers

If you want sustainable stories told with empathy and compassion that you might not hear in more mainstream settings, this podcast is for you. Think of this show as the sustainability version of NPR-affiliated radio show "This American Life" (in a good way) — there's a depth to the storytelling, and the focus on solutions makes for great listening.

7. Sustainababble

If you wanted to combine an improv comedy podcast with a well-researched sustainability podcast, you're in luck. The hosts of your friendly neighbourhood sustainability podcast, "Ol and Dave," tackle current environmental news to get behind the greenwashing and PR. And they do it in a conversational, accessible, British-accented style.

8. Greentech Media's The Energy Gang

This long-running, well-known weekly show also talks energy, but each member of the regular crew has a unique background and perspective. They tackle current events and recent research, and you'll learn something new every episode.

9. Sourcing Matters

This podcast examines how we source food and why that matters. With a diversity of guests, each episode examines a different issue, from food waste to organics to fisheries, through a sustainable lens, and you get to think about how much really goes into what's on your plate. Chief host Aaron Niederhelman is a fishmonger and CEO of OneHealthAg, which aims to "modernize the meat supply." Recent guests include Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA administrator; and Marc Oshima, co-founder of AeroFarms.

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