Illustration of make-up bottle with 100% vegan symbol printed on the front against black background as a reference to one of the topics covered in this weeks eco-friendly news issue.
Jan 22, 2024
weekly eco news

New Horizons of Sustainability: The Curious Tale of Vegan Beauty, 3D Printed Shoes, and The Crucial Role of The Red Wolf - 11th Issue

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The World’s First Print-To-Size, Compostable Shoe

The infographic demonstrating the circular consumption function of the new 3D printed compostable shoe by Vivobarefoot.

Are you ready to step up your sustainable shoe game? London-based company, Vivobarefoot, introduced a compostable model, similar in style to Crocs, that are 3D printed to size and shape for individuals. Unlike millions of other shoes dumped in landfills, these pairs provide a sustainable solution.

“We are trying to build a regenerative footwear business in an industry that is pretty famous for exploration, extraction and short-termism,” said Asher Clark, a co-founder of Vivobarefoot. 

Vivobarefoot partnered with a material science company, Balena, to create these prototypes out of a now patented thermoplastic substance, made with 51% biological materials.

Customers will go to the store for a foot scan, then return 30 hours later to pick up their new product. Once the shoes are ready for retirement, they can be given back to be composted at an industrial facility where they will be broken down and recycled. 

First Beauty Brand To Be 100% Certified Vegan

Illustration of make-up bottle with 100% vegan symbol printed on the front against black background.

The Body Shop reached its target for 100% of its brand to be certified by The Vegan Society, which symbolizes that all of their products are free from animal ingredients or their by-products. This is a significant achievement for both the company and the clean beauty movement as a whole. It proves this level of sustainability is possible. 

More than 4,000 ingredients were assessed by the nonprofit organization to display their vegan trademark on all of The Shop’s products, including skincare, haircare, makeup, and fragrances. 

The Body Shop was involved in the fight against animal testing in cosmetics and also pioneered the movement for cruelty-free musk in their fragrances. As a response to consumer demands, the company pushed to be the first global beauty brand to achieve this milestone. In 2021, only 60% of their products were certified vegan.

Norway To Greenlight Future Deep-Sea Mining

infographic of deep sea mining that demonstrated how the extraction process works.

In a controversial move, the Norwegian Parliament approves the exploration and extraction of deep-sea materials in its surrounding waters in order to ‘lead a green transition.’

Valuable minerals hide in nodules beneath the oceanic crust, particularly near hydrothermal vents and other plate formations. These minerals are essential for green technologies, such as lithium batteries for electric cars and cobalt for solar panels

Though these technologies could help the nation move away from fossil fuels, there could be irreversible impacts on marine life and stored carbon into the ocean. 

“The deep sea is the world's largest carbon reservoir and our last untouched wilderness, with unique wildlife and important habitats that do not exist anywhere else on Earth,” Kaja Lønne Fjærtoft, Global Policy Lead for WWF’s No Deep Seabed Mining Initiative said.

Despite international and expert criticism, the nation passed the vote with the promise to be ‘cautious’ when opening its waters to mining operations. This move secures the supply of these minerals within their jurisdiction. The rules will be finalized by the end of 2024. 

Study Shows Endangered Red Wolves Critical To Ecosystem

Side profile of a Red Wold laying on green grass looking in the direction of the sun.

Once common across the southeastern U.S., the elusive red wolf reached the brink of extinction more than once since humans stepped into its environment. 

During its most recent decline due to poachers and trophy hunters, researchers tracked local populations with cameras to prove the predator’s importance to the ecosystem. The study was the first-of-its-kind on this critically endangered species. 

"The importance of long-term camera trap studies cannot be understated, especially when working with a cryptic and endangered species like the red wolf,” said lead author Alexa Murray.  
“Our seven-year camera trap dataset gave us an incredible resource for investigating what is going on with the wildlife in the Red Wolf Recovery Area."

Black bears accounted for the most camera detections, followed by white-tailed deers. This research expelled rumors that the wolves caused the collapse in the local deer population. It also showed that this keystone species is critical to regulate the population of smaller predators, such as raccoons. 

In 1987, red wolves were the first large carnivore species released back into the wild after a successful captive breeding program. It served as a model for the famous grey wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park. 

Despite the recent decline, new litters were detected in 2022 and 2023, sparking hope for their conservation and rebound to healthy numbers once again in the near future. 

Colombia Creates A New National Park

A green map of Colombia highlighting all its landmarks and parks.

Warped by years of erosion, the Orinoquia region in Colombia is dotted with critical wetlands and misshapen hills. Its tributaries vein through the endless plains, eventually transforming into the jungles of the Amazon. This special area is now the National Natural Park Serranía de Manacacías. 

It is the nation’s 61st protected area, which spans almost 170,000 acres and holds vast tropical savannas – an ecosystem underrepresented in protected areas. The park serves as a wildlife corridor between these two regions. 

In an area known for its cowboy culture, the new park also safeguards the unique heritage that dominates the region. Here, a symbiotic relationship consists between the livestock, wildlife, and llaneros. Recently, large-scale development began to close in on this iconic landscape. Colombia and its partners saw an opportunity to protect this biodiversity corridor from this imminent threat before it was too late.

Only behind Brazil, Colombia stands as the second most biodiversity country in the world. This area alone is home to a quarter of its bird species and numerous other unique species. This is another step towards the global commitment of protecting 30% of the planet before 2030. Thank you, Colombia.