Thursday, September 8, 2011

GOOD news

It has been a while since I last posted. My intention has been to post more frequently, but life intrudes and plans change. Several very interesting items have found their way to my inbox over the last several months.

From my friends at GOOD: New York-based Bright Farms, which builds rooftop greenhouses, hopes to turn a profit while cutting shoppers' "food miles" down to zero by growing vegetables where people buy them: the supermarket. Urban areas would definitely benefit from this plan, as well as the suburbs. But what about local farmers?  Many areas, around the country, have local farmers struggling to survive. They are trying, desperately,  to keep their farms from being foreclosed on, or just outright abandoned. 

As a fan of the slow food movement I think it is important to find a way to support local farmers. Co-ops, farmer's markets, CSA's are some of the ways that this can be accomplished. Perhaps there is a way to take a page from the Bright Farms business model to get supermarket chains to contract with local farmers for locally grown produce and locally raised meat and eggs.The benefit to all should be obvious. 

Transportation costs would be reduced, as well as the carbon emissions produced by transporting food across the country. Produce would be grown for flavor, not for it's ability to survive long distance travel. Local farmers would have a local outlet for the sale of their produce.  By cutting out the transportation and distribution costs farmers could get a fair price for their goods, and consumers would still have access to affordable, fresh, healthy food.  Farmers could better afford to use sustainable methods for farming, allowing healthier food to be available.  Definitely a winning situation for all involved!

Also from GOOD: The world's dependence on oil is not news, but a company that can turn plastics back into oil is. Vadxx, an Ohio-based energy company, is taking even plastics that can't be recycled and reverting them to the material state from whence they came: crude oil. The company takes the bits that don't qualify for normal recycling and even uses non-metal parts from junked cars.  Vadxx says that each of its oil production units could shrink landfill deposits by 10 to 14,000 tons a year.  Think of the benefits!  Communities would reduce their landfills, there would hopefully be more local participation in the recycling of plastics.  Less drilling offshore, and in pristine wilderness locations, like Alaska. Jobs could be created for the collection and sorting process. What a boon to the economy and the environment.  Add a sustainable energy source, like solar, for the production units, and it's definitely a winning strategy for the planet.

Speaking of solar...researchers at the Australian National University, working with the country's military, announced that they've created a wearable solar panelTransform Solar, an Idaho-based company, will be producing the panels and should have a prototype ready by December. The benefits of a mobile power source are pretty obvious.  With so many high-tech accessories like tablets, smart phones, mp3 players, etc. the idea of wearable energy is pretty appealing.  If everything goes well in the land down under, the world may soon see a new fashion trend!

Check out my friends at GOOD, for great information and ideas on how to change our world.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.