Startups rallying to clean up our oceans, a public park made of recycled plastic, and a tiny slug that absorbs plants into its skin to feed off sunlight — let’s see what good news is on the horizon.
An edible “bioplastic” company from New York is one of five startups invited by the Sustainable Ocean Alliance to take part in the Ocean Sollutions Accelerator project. Representatives of each company will spend the summer in San Francisco consulting with experts on how their products can best work to preserve the planet’s oceans. The summer will conclude in September with a showcase by all five participants.
In the Netherlands, the Recycled Island Foundation has created a park from recycled plastic materials. Located beside the floating pavilion in Rotterdam, Recycled Park includes seating areas, small wildlife habitats and litter traps for collecting even more of the city’s discarded plastic. Its modular design even allows for easy expansion should the need arise.
You might think that humans are alone in harnessing solar energy, but one species has us beat. Elysia chlolorotica, a sea slug that lives in New England and Nova Scotia, absorbs photosynthetic algae into its skin. It can survive without food for up to nine months. “It’s unique; it’s controversial; it’s elusive; it never eats,” Patrick Krug, a biologist at California State University, Los Angeles, told National Geographic. “Basically your typical L.A. celebrity.”
Unmanned data collection will be getting easier with solar-powered drones. California-based UAVOS is flight-testing an energy-efficient aircraft that can operate at over 65,000 feet above sea level for more than 1,000 hours. It’s built from lightweight materials, and having a preprogrammed flight plan means it doesn’t waste power receiving signals remotely.
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