🦉 Energy Wall and Owls


Hi 👋 Did you know? If you enjoy watching horror movies, they might have a therapeutic effect on you. Indeed, they allow some people to control their fears and manage stress in a safe environment.

📈 Uplifting Trends and Facts

  • Paris invested $260 million to become 100% bicycle-friendly by 2026. The "Plan Velo: Act 2" is part of a greater endeavour to remove cars from the city centre, including transforming the Champs-Élysées avenue into a vast community garden.
  • In Barcelona, drivers can exchange their old car for a 3-year free transit pass. Since public transit infrastructure already exists, promoting such incentives is significantly cheaper for the city than advertising electric vehicles.
  • Thanks to environmental education and new legislation that criminalizes poaching and consuming turtles, the number of loggerhead sea turtle nests on Cap Verde beaches increased by 2000% in the past six years.
  • In a highly successful trial, a ship operated by The Ocean Cleanup brought almost 30 tonnes of trash ashore. As a result, the non-profit organization now wants to scale up the operation to clean up the Great Pacific garbage patch.
  • Scientists studying carbon sequestration discovered that whales account for around 60 percent of annual sequestration in the areas they live – more than seagrass, salt marshes and kelp put together. Preserving the whales could therefore be instrumental to fixing the climate.

💡 The Wall That Produces Energy From Wind

American designer and entrepreneur Joe Doucet created a concept of a wind turbine that fits into a wall.

This "kinetic wall" comprises an array of rotary blades that spin individually, driving a mini generator that creates electricity. The electricity can then power the building to which the wall belongs or go back into the national grid, generating a new revenue stream for the owner.

However, this device is not only aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, one wall is enough to cover the energy needs of an average American home. Moreover, deploying such walls along roads and highways would be highly effective, as they would benefit from the natural wind and the one generated by the trucks and cars passing by.

Joe is currently working with several manufacturers to help him develop and commercialize this exciting product.

Why does it matter? Wind energy plays a significant part in reducing the world's dependency on fossil fuels. However, wind turbines for homes have encountered very slow uptake due, in part, to their intrusive physicality. As a result, wind turbines flourish mainly offshore, where nobody can see them. This situation leads to wasting potential energy sources in cities prone to strong winds, such as Wellington (New Zealand), Perth (Australia), Chicago or Boston (USA).

Joe's kinetic wall can be a gamechanger in these urban areas by covering all their energy needs.

🦉 The Owls That Replace Pesticides

Today, 80% of Napa Valley winemakers use owls to control their rodent population, while less than 20% use rodenticide instead.

Farmers realized that they only needed to build nest boxes near their fields to attract owls and reap the benefits. For example, a farmer with 20 owl boxes can expect those owls to catch around 70,000 rodents per year — which represents a cost of 26 cents per rodent, against several dollars for traditional methods (e.g. trapping, rodenticide).

Replacing pesticides with barn owls for rodent control is part of a broader environmentally sustainable trend among Napa Valley farmers. Indeed, many also reduce their water consumption in the face of Californian droughts and plant perennial grass between rows to prevent the dangers of monoculture.

Why does it matter? For decades, Napa Valley's wineries relied on pesticides to prevent rodents from damaging their crops. However, this strategy, coupled with grapes-only monoculture and the usage of commercial fertilizer, generated a toxic taint in certain wines, demonstrating the need for more sustainable practices. In January 2021, California passed a law restricting rodenticides, but lobbying created a loophole for agricultural use.

Although still technically authorized, Napa's growers turned away from rodenticides because they understood that people and nature depend on each other to thrive. Also, they took this opportunity to make a few raptor friends along the way.

(source: baynature.org)

🎯 The Guild's Pick

In France, Les Arts Verts grow tropical produce in greenhouses to reduce the carbon footprint associated with importing food from around the globe.

These pioneer farmers in the Pyrenees produce bananas, turmeric, passionfruit, mangos, and many other species that we usually find in La Réunion (a French department in the Indian Ocean). Their secret is to find species that can handle conditions colder than the tropics to flourish in European greenhouses.

Moreover, Les Arts Verts grow their food according to the organic certification ECOCERT. In particular, they cultivate their tropical produce in living spaces, using polyculture to keep the soil rich and increase biodiversity. Also, they do not heat their greenhouses but equip them with solar panels to put clean electricity back into the grid.

Finally, this farm collaborates with the greatest French chefs—including a Michelin-starred restaurant— to provide them with zero-carbon exotic products.

Why does it matter? Bananas and mangos are among the preferred fruits in France. The country imports 3.4 million metric tons of fruit every year, despite the vast amount of farms within its borders. However, importing 2 tons of products can generate 6 tons of carbon dioxide and its greenhouse gas equivalent.

Eco-conscious consumers in France will now be able to get their favourite tropical fruits while enabling the creation of local jobs and preventing adverse effects on the environment.

🌍 Meanwhile, Worldwide …

💧 Alphabet's X lab recently open-sourced the data, prototypes, software, and hardware documentation of its atmospheric water harvester, a device producing safe drinking water from air humidity. This move aims to improve the device's efficiency to give more than 1 billion people access to clean drinking water.

🐮 A team of scientists in Dummerstorf, Germany and Auckland, New Zealand, discovered that potty-training cows could lead to a 56 percent reduction in ammonia emissions, which cause acid rain, NOx pollution and contamination in rivers.

🌱 The Swedish non-profit Milkywire created a curated list of carbon offsetting projects to help corporations support climate action as part of their CSR. The organization designed its "climate transformation portfolio" to contain only credible and impactful projects.

🥗 Compass Group rolled out an eco-label, displaying products' ecological impact, across its workplace catering sites. This initiative occurred after a successful pilot project with researchers from Oxford's Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) group that triggered a statistically significant shift towards ecologically greener foods among the participants, including a 10 percent reduction in meat consumption.

🌽 Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences found a way to produce starch more sustainably. The new method creates this versatile cooking ingredient from carbon dioxide, using 90% fewer resources than the traditional approach (e.g. corn) and only 11 biochemical reactions instead of 60.

😍 Wholesomeness

That’s a wrap. If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share this post to spread positivity among your friends. For any feedback, reach out and drop a comment here or on LinkedIn :-)

Have an amazing week ahead 💗