Rooftop garden also known as cool roof located in urban residential area demonstrating one of the topics covered in this Weeks Eco-Friendly News.
Dec 11, 2023
weekly eco news

Revolutionizing Sustainability: The First U.S. Solar Canal, Cool Roofs, Transformative Plastic Recycling Plant and More- 5th Issue

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No More Excuses: The British Monarchs Are Getting Involved in upcycling Too

Union jack flags lining the road towards Buckingham palace.

Are you ready to be draped in royalty? Quite literally. Old curtains from Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle have been upcycled into a unique collection of kimonos. 

Spearheaded by King Charles, more than 30 different draperies were sent to students in a textile program run by the King’s Foundation. These curtain designs spanned over 40 years of royal style during the reign of Elizabeth II.

"We hope this project will show what can be done with vintage materials in terms of repurposing and upcycling," said Jacqueline Farrell, the education director for the King’s Foundation.

Tailored by hand, each kimono was patched together over the course of ten hours. The collection was auctioned to support the textiles program. 

Read more about the King’s kimonos on BBC.

Cities tame urban heat with innovative solutions

Rooftop garden also known as cool roof located in urban residential area

Cities around the world have stepped up to the challenge of urban heat with a range of green infrastructure to reduce temperatures and protect their residents. 

Urban heat poses public health risks – especially for vulnerable populations – damages infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and even power plants, and contributes to economic losses for cities.

Driven by climate change and urbanization, the urban heat island effect exacerbates these impacts within city limits when compared to rural areas. Natural areas are replaced with concrete jungles to accommodate the migration of people.

Examples to mitigate this heat effect include: the 300 parks and gardens planted in Singapore, miles of cool pavement in Los Angeles, and cool roofs on the skyscrapers of New York City. When the temperature cannot be reduced, there are heat management strategies in place to protect people, such as dedicated cooling centers, reliable energy, and worker protections.

These solutions can make cities more resilient, liveable, and sustainable in the face of urban heat.

Learn more about the science behind these strategies and solutions on the Earth.

First solar canal to be built in the U.S.

Solar panels on water canal also known as solar canal.

In partnership with Gild Bend tribe members and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Arizona will be the first to build solar shades across 1000 feet of a Level Top canal.

Positioning the panel over the canal will not only provide a renewable energy source, but also act as a barrier for water evaporation in the arid climate. The water beneath will help cool the panels during those hot, summer days, too.

"This is the type of creative thinking that can help move all of us toward a more sustainable future,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), to the Euro News.

Read more about the details of these Arizona canals in Euro News

Green corridors help save Brazil’s endangered golden monkey

Close up side profile of Golden Monkey also known as the Golden-Headed lion tamarin.

A group of environmentalists planted hundreds of tree seedlings to revitalize the Atlantic Forest, the only home to the golden lion tamarin. Decimated by deforestation, only 2 percent of this small monkey’s habitat remains. The organization purchases now barren land from farmers and ranchers to replant lost patches of forest and recreate canopied connections. 

“One of the biggest problems is the fragmentation,” said Luís Paulo Ferraz, executive director of the Golden Lion Tamarin Association, known by its Portuguese acronym AMLD. “Otherwise the monkeys start mating within their own families.”

Fearful of predators, the lion tamarins will not cross cleared areas, even as short as a few hundred meters. These green corridors allow for the genetic exchange across populations, thus their survival as a species. Less genetic diversity among individuals weakens the population. 

This logic applies to other species, too. Stitching the Atlantic Forest back together shows promise for the golden monkey, along with other plants and animals that call this tropical paradise home. The current lion tamarin population sits at about 4,800 individuals – a drastic improvement from the mere 200 monkeys documented in the 1970s when conservation efforts began. 

Learn more about the conservation efforts to protect these iconic primates on the Associated Press.

Sweden launches revolutionary plant for recycling plastics

Compressed plastic packaged for recycling.

Plastic waste is no match for Site Zero in Central Sweden! As the largest of its kind, the state-of-the-art recycling plant scans a maze of conveyor belts to sort through more plastic packaging than any other facility in the world. 

By employing infrared cameras, the operation can sort plastics into 12 different types, capable of doubling the amount being recycled in the Nordic region. The previous plant only sorted 5 types of plastics. The process improves the quality of the recycled materials, which in turn can be sold to manufacturers for other products.

More efficient operations, like Site Zero, are essential to protect the environment with plastic waste projected to triple by 2060.  

Dive deeper into this revolutionary plastic plant and its positive impacts on the Associated Press