If you can put down your phone for just 10 minutes and leave it untouched the whole time, UNICEF Tap Project sponsors will donate enough money to pay for a day’s worth of safe water for a child in need.
All you have to do is use your phone to navigate to the UNICEF Tap Project, follow the prompts, and then set your phone down for just 10 minutes. The site accesses the accelerometer in your phone to determine if you’re actually leaving it alone for the whole time.
Mrs. Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor and pianist, passed away in London at the age of 110 one week before Sunday’s Oscar ceremony.
The film’s producer, Nicholas Reed, stated, “Kids all over the world grow up on superheroes. What we, their parents, must remind them, is documentaries tell stories about ‘real superheroes.’ Superheroes are based on great people, real people, like Alice Herz Sommer.”
Today is an exclusive live video interview with Mattias Ohlson, for the interview series “Interviews with the Leading Edge.”
In this series of interviews, I engage with people who are on the leading edge of transformational change, doing work to further the consciousness revolution and how it is manifesting in culture, politics and spirituality, in order to help bring along a more enlightened society.
Mattias Ohlson is one such person.
Mattias, a native of Sweden, is the CEO of the company Emerging Cooking Solutions, based in Zambia, Africa.
Emerging Cooking Solutions is based on a simple premise that has the potential to have profound results. What Mattias’ company is doing is encouraging the locals of Zambia to change their cooking habits from using charcoal and firewood as the cooking fuel to using pellets made from biomass.
Why is this so profound? For a number of reasons:
1) Many African countries have seen over 95% of their forests destroyed. You would think this is due to excessive logging or development, but this is not the case. The main reason deforestation is occurring all over Africa is because forests are the main source of cooking fuel for the locals – either as wood or charcoal.
2) Smoke from cooking fire is hazardous to the health, and more people die from smoke inhalation than from malaria.
3) All the burning of wood and charcoal release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. 18% of greenhouse gases are from the use of firewood and charcoal in cooking.
Mattias and his associates looked at this, saw the problem, and came up with a simple solution: there is an almost unlimited amount of biomass available in these areas, in the form of grass, straw, sawdust, nutshells, corn stalks and many other agricultural waste products, and so they determined that if pellets were made of this material, these pellets could become the cooking fuel, and by so doing, eliminate the need to use wood and charcoal.
Not only would these pellets help the environment by stopping the deforestation of much of Africa and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and help people’s health by stopping their inhalation of wood and charcoal smoke, it would actually save the locals money, because pellets are cheaper to buy than charcoal. It is estimated that the average local could save $100 – $150 a year, which is a major savings for many Africans.
Emerging Cooking Solutions is operating in Zambia, and there they have a facility manufacturing the pellets. They are working with local governments, businesses and church groups to spread the word and get more and more people to make the switch.
The United Nations has eight millennium goals to improve life conditions for the poor, and the Emerging Cooking Solutions model contributes to all eight. Furthermore, The World Wildlife Foundation states that the model of Emerging Cooking Solutions could benefit 180 million people over the next 10 years. And the website Mashable featured 10 Innovations that Improved the World in 2013, and Emerging Cooking Solutions was number five on that list.
Clearly Mattias Ohlson and his company, Emerging Cooking Solutions, is onto something that can make a profound difference in the lives of so many, and in the health of the planet. And the remarkable thing about it is is how simple their solution is. Today they are focusing their work in Zambia, but their plan is to spread their model throughout Africa and other developing nations.
I recently met with Mattias in New York City, where he came for a couple of weeks to visit family and friends, and also to give a couple of talks about his work in Zambia. We had an engaging conversation not only about his work but also about his life journey to get to where he is now, and his search for meaning within an evolutionary and integral framework.
To learn more about Mattias’ work, you can go to Emerging Cooking Solutions.
Also, if you are interested in helping sponsor the purchase of the cookstoves, which at $100 is a bit of a stretch for the average Zambian budget, you can go to Give Cooking.
When the tiny anatomy of a small child is involved, heart surgery is extremely difficult procedure. When 14-month-old Roland Lian Cung Bawi’s heart was failing, surgeon Erle Austin knew that he had to prepare meticulously for an intricate operation, and turned to 3-D printing for help.
Austin and his team produced a 3-D model of little Roland’s heart, allowing them to come up with a precise plan to limit the amount of exploratory incisions, reduce operating time and prevent the need for follow-up operations.
Urban bees are using PLASTIC to build hives – and it could stop parasites from infecting their nests!
Yet urban bees in Canada have found a novel use for the litter.
Research from the University of Guelph has revealed some urban bees have resorted to using small pieces of plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests.
The plastic is used as a substitute for plant resins and researchers claim it highlights the ‘bees’ resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world.’
‘Plastic waste pervades the global landscape,’ said lead author Scott MacIvor, a doctoral student at York University and a Guelph graduate.
‘Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment.’
MacIvor, along with Professor Andrew Moore, supervisor of analytical microscopy at Laboratory Services, made the discovery while examining nest boxes in Toronto.
They found two solitary bee species using plastic in place of natural nest building materials.
Markings showed that the bees chewed the plastic differently than they did leaves, suggesting that the insects had not collected the plastic by mistake. Nor were there a shortage of leaves for the bees in the study.
‘The plastic materials had been gathered by the bees, and then worked – chewed up and spat out like gum – to form something new that they could use,’ Moore said.
In both cases, larvae successfully developed from the plastic-lined nests. In fact, the bees emerged parasite-free, suggesting plastic nests may physically impede parasites, according to the study.
The nests containing plastic were among more than 200 artificial nest boxes monitored by MacIvor as part of a large-scale investigation of the ecology of urban bees and wasps, a project involving numerous citizen scientists.
‘The novel use of plastics in the nests of bees could reflect the ecologically adaptive traits necessary for survival in an increasingly human-dominated environment,’ MacIvor said.
The research was published recently in the journal Ecosphere.
Danish design student Konrad Wójcik envisions a suburbia where people live in tree-like houses that blend right in with the forest, calling it a return to a “primeval symbiosis”, in a recent article on Tree Hugger.
Supported by a single pole, much like a tree trunk, Wójcik’s pine tree-shaped homes will accommodate anywhere from two to four people. According to FastCo.Exist, the four-floored dwellings would be outfitted with bio-digesters, heat pumps and a whole wall of solar panels to generate power, and they would be built with a timber frame, rather than with cement and steel. The intent is to reduce deforestation, and create homes with a low carbon footprint, which also have the possibility of being recycled or reused in the future.
To reduce the large environmental impact of a car-based suburban lifestyle, Wójcik’s design is intended to be built within biking distance of the city, in some kind of forested area that still has access to roads.
Do you think this is a feasible idea?