“Artifishal:” the New Documentary Exposing the World of Farmed Fish

May 20, 2019

A new documentary film by outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25. The film is titled “Artifishal” and takes a look at the practice of farming fish and the unsustainability of the practice. The documentary looks at fish hatcheries, farms and the environment surrounding fish found in the wild. The focus of the film is on Icelandic salmon.

Patagonia partnered with the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) and started an Against the Current campaign to stop open-net pens in Iceland from growing in number. The filmmakers encourage viewers to sign a petition to ban open-net salmon farms in Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Ireland, and thus far has over 10,000 signatures.

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10 Basics of Farmed Fish

May 16, 2019
farmed fish

One of the basic food choices experts recommend for omega-3s is fish. However, not all seafood is created equal, and some of it is downright unhealthy for your body and the environment. Does that mean you should never eat farmed fish? Of course not, but you should be aware of where your food comes from and the practices of farmed sources.

In the last 50 years, the consumption of seafood has risen more than 50 percent, which puts a strain on the sustainability of the fishing industry. The demand for fish continues to grow as the global population rises.

Farmed fish is likely to become a necessity sooner rather than later. Here are 10 facts you should know about it, so you can protect yourself and your family and ensure you eat from only the best sources available.

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Green Technology

How Green Buildings Will Change Our Architectural Landscape

May 13, 2019
green buildings

Decades ago, you didn’t hear much talk about global warming or saving the planet. It was all about building bigger and better. Studies now show construction — everything from sourcing materials to putting them together — is responsible for 23 percent of air pollution, 40 percent of water pollution and 50 percent of landfill waste.

Now, people are more aware of the Earth’s dwindling resources and are taking steps to implement green initiatives.

This growing awareness — along with sustainability becoming more profitable and desirable in the construction market — has led to a demand for more building options. In fact, experts say green building is the fastest growing industry worldwide.

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Could AI Save Endangered Species?

May 9, 2019
ai save endangered species

As animal populations across the world continue to decline, efforts to protect endangered species are increasingly urgent. The scale of the issue is difficult to comprehend given the rapid rate of extinction. In northern Kenya alone, the number of reticulated giraffes has decreased by up to 70% in the past 30 years.

Regardless of the challenges, conservation professionals are doing everything in their power to ensure the survival of endangered wildlife. Fortunately, they have access to new technologies and methods of conservation with incredible promise. The potential of AI to save endangered species is particularly notable.

Of course, when the average person hears the words, “artificial intelligence,” their first thought usually isn’t wildlife conservation. But the impressive functionality of AI technology has made it useful for far more than self-driving cars and programs for predictive analysis. It has value elsewhere, for conservationists.

With that in mind — how can conservation organizations integrate artificial intelligence to increase the likelihood of success? What do their AI-driven projects look like, and what significance do they have for the future of conservation? These questions have fascinating answers, and we’ll explore them in greater detail below.

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7 Composting Facts for Composting Awareness Week

May 6, 2019
composting facts

International Composting Awareness Week (ICAW) occurs during the first full week of May each year and educates the compost industry and individuals about the benefits of composting. ICAW started in 1995 in Canada and has a different theme each year, such as “Cool the Climate – Compost” for 2019.

The Composting Council, who heads up ICAW, works with businesses across the globe to create composting events for communities, such as workshops, compost give-away days and lectures from gardening experts. If you’ve been thinking about starting your own compost pile, May is the perfect time to get started. Begin by learning a few basic composting facts before moving into more aggressive sustainability approaches.

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Reclaimed Water May Be One of the Biggest Focuses of Wastewater in 2019

May 2, 2019
reclaimed water

As the global population grows and droughts hit many areas of the world, governments, businesses and individuals are looking for ways to ensure access to water. Reclaimed water is a major focus of these efforts and will likely get even more attention in 2019.

Reclaimed or recycled water is used more than once before being released back into the environment. It could refer to wastewater, stormwater, runoff and water from other sources. Depending on where it comes from and its intended use, the water may undergo treatment before reuse.

You can use reclaimed water for nearly any purpose as long as it’s treated adequately. You can use it to water farms, lawns and golf courses. Companies can apply it in their manufacturing processes. It can be used to fill lakes and fight fires. It can even be used as drinking water, although that requires more intensive treatment.

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Green Technology

What Green Healthcare Means for Medical Manufacturing

April 29, 2019
green healthcare

The term, “green healthcare,” refers to the incorporation of eco-conscious practices in healthcare delivery. Industry professionals have seen the value in these improvements, as they reduce their ecological footprint, save money and help educate members of the public on environmental stewardship.

As an example of the updates, the use of biodegradable cutlery in hospital cafeterias results in less waste. Safe cleaning agents, fewer pesticides and sustainable renovations are all a part of the green healthcare movement. In short, it’s an effort to enhance the well-being of patients while restoring the environment.

Beyond the benefits of the transition, it’ll have a transformative effect on many areas of the industry. Medical manufacturing will need to change, given the massive volume of waste from the disposal of medical supplies. Though it’s an issue of patient safety, it represents a significant problem for sustainability.

In terms of the scale of that problem, a U.S. study found that a single hysterectomy produced as much as 20 pounds of waste in packaging, drapes, plastic and related materials. The gowns, syringes, clinical instruments and other single-use items from healthcare facilities are piling up in landfills at a rapid pace.

That said, the solution isn’t as simple as reusing supplies. Health Canada and Ministry of Health standards are clear in which instruments medical professionals are allowed to reuse, and which they have to throw out. So how extensive is the issue, and what are medical manufacturers doing to adapt to green healthcare?

A Complex Problem

As mentioned earlier, healthcare professionals dispose of single-use medical products for patient safety. They also dispose of them for cost and convenience, as it’s often easier and faster to throw out a pair of scissors, for example, than resterilize and store them. This practice was common for procedures outside the OR.

In recent years, hospitals have substituted scissors and similar instruments with disposable alternatives. Even the surgical trays themselves are disposable. While this may not seem that consequential, a doctor with a piece of broken equipment will have to open a new tray and throw out the equipment in that tray as well.

Even though this waste appears excessive, it’s unfair to assign blame. When outbreaks reveal vulnerabilities in supplies which are difficult to sterilize, regulatory bodies mandate these medical instruments as single use. If they don’t, they’re placing their patients at risk by increasing the chance of future outbreaks.

Naturally, this creates a conflict. The primary goal of medical professionals is to preserve the health of their patients, but in doing so, they produce a substantial amount of non-biodegradable waste which is harmful to the environment. Fortunately, medical organizations have noticed, and they’re taking action.

A Potential Solution

Several organizations in the United States have called for higher standards of sustainability in the healthcare industry. In 2016, two NGOs and four major healthcare companies launched the Greenhealth Exchange. Its mission is to investigate and promote green alternatives for medical professionals.

Greenhealth Exchange is part of the organization, Practice Greenhealth, which seeks to help the healthcare industry embrace environmental values. Their “Greening the Supply Chain Initiative” aims to provide a common set of tools for manufacturers, suppliers and purchasers in healthcare.

Give the size and influence of Practice Greenhealth, their project will likely cause a considerable shift in the healthcare industry. As context, the nonprofit has more than 1,100 members and represents 20% of the healthcare market. They have the means to effect change on an enormous scale.

Concerning that change, Practice Greenhealth intends to develop a range of industry-specific, standard questions around the Kaiser Permanente Sustainability Scorecard. It covers all medical equipment and associated products currently in use in medical offices, hospitals and related facilities.

With this initiative, Practice Greenhealth hopes to build a database to simplify the distribution and purchase of eco-friendly medical supplies. Eventually, with updates to product evaluation and the application of new technologies, organizations everywhere will move closer to their sustainability goals.

A Glimpse of the Future

As we move toward the future, green healthcare will only grow increasingly relevant. Greater attention on sustainability will drive more healthcare institutions to seek eco-friendly alternatives to single-use medical supplies, and Practice Greenhealth will provide the information they need to make the transition.

More than that, the fourth industrial revolution has immense potential to transform manufacturing. The integration of new technologies supports innovation. While these digital trends have a mixed effect on the environment, they’ll likely prove important for green healthcare initiatives in the decade to come.

Despite the challenges of regulations and single-use medical products, organizations are coordinating to find solutions. Whether these solutions come in the form of recycled exam table paper or hemp hospital gowns, it’s exciting to speculate what we’ll see from medical manufacturers in the next several years.

A Significant Step Forward

Green healthcare is integral to increasing sustainability in medical institutions around the world. As nonprofit organizations like Practice Greenhealth push for change, and manufacturers adapt, the healthcare industry will continue to make progress. Ultimately, these efforts represent a significant step forward in the ongoing fight for environmental protection.


10 Ways to Prevent Ocean Noise Pollution

April 25, 2019
ocean noise pollution

The average person associates the word “pollution” with carbon emissions, chemicals and debris. Pollution takes the form of smoke, exhaust from vehicles, oil spills and the discarded refuse that contaminates the country’s coastlines. By comparison, noise pollution doesn’t receive nearly as much attention.

Even so, noise pollution is just as dangerous as the more visible manifestations of pollution. In certain environments, noise pollution can even prove deadly. You don’t have to look further than our oceans to find an example of this, with ocean noise pollution causing the death of precious marine life, including whales.
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The History of Earth Day: How Has It Shaped Our Planet?

April 22, 2019
history of earth day

Every year on April 22, we collectively demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day is a celebration of nature and a petition to preserve it, a time when people of all backgrounds, affiliations and cultures come together for one commonality: the planet where we live.

While it’s taken on more of an abstract purpose, Earth Day actually marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. The history of Earth Day begins in 1970, a pivotal year for the U.S. for a number of reasons. With all the problems plaguing the nation, pollution wasn’t at the forefront.

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Animal Extinction Statistics: How Many Species Will We Lose in Our Lifetime?

April 18, 2019
animal extinction statistics

Do you think you could name 200 species, or 2000 if you could include plants? When looking at plant and animal extinction statistics, research has found 200 to 2000 extinctions occur every year.

It’s important to frame the crisis in this context because numbers can only say so much. Statistics provide a picture of the problem, but that picture is incomplete. It’s difficult, if not impossible to imagine 2000 of anything, let alone 2000 individual species disappearing from the face of the planet in a single year.

These numbers are an attempt to quantify the damage humans have caused through deforestation, poaching and other harmful practices. As the effects of climate change continue to disturb the environment and disrupt ecosystems, the rate of extinction will increase, and the issue will only intensify.

With this in mind, how many species will we lose in our lifetime? What’s the extent of the damage, and more than that, what are possible solutions to the problem? These critical questions have fascinating answers, and we’ll walk you through everything you should know moving into 2019 and the next decade.
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