Our Thursday green news bring you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:
- Science professor will teach out of a dumpster for one year: As a reaction to the current “crisis of education“, an environmental science professor and dean of Huston Tillotson University at Austin, Texas Jeff Wilson is launching the Dumpster Project. This crisis is described by author and environmental educator David Orr: “concepts and disciplines are taught with little hands-on application in the real world and with little insight into their overall impact on ecosystems.” As part of the project starting this fall, Mr.Wilson will be living and teaching a new course on low-impact living and sustainable design in a dumpster for one year. The project is only a part of a new green campus initiative at the university.
- Climate change poses risk to future food supplies: A recent draft of a report by a United Nations Panel on Climate Change indicates that in coming decades climate change will create serious risks to the world’s food supply (unlike the 2007 version of this report), most likely causing lower crop productions that could drive prices high as demand for food increases. This draft reflects an extensive research conducted in recent years that proves how crops are very sensitive to heat waves. At the same time there are new assumptions about possible increases in some food production thanks to higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, since this gas also plays a role of a plant fertilizer.
- New innovative compostable material could replace plastic: A new bio-based industrial material called “Zeoform” made solely from nature’s own cellulose fiber and water has been promoted as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics, which remain an inexpensive and desirable commodity but also an environmental nightmare. Developed by an Australian company, Zeoform is completely nontoxic and compostable. However its commercial success and therefore general use will depend on ensuring that its patented cellulose conversion process is cost-competitive and less energy-intensive than the production of conventional plastic.