Bond Pet Foods develops slaughter-free chicken for sustainable pet food

September 3, 2020 by  
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It’s an ethical conundrum vegetarian pet owners frequently face — isn’t it hypocritical to eschew meat consumption yourself while still supporting animal slaughter by purchasing pet food? Those days of having to choose Fluffy over a nameless abattoir victim may be coming to an end as Bond Pet Foods improves a new lab-grown chicken protein technology. The Boulder, Colorado-based biotech company has figured out how to crack the genetic code of a chicken and replicate it in a lab. In this case, Inga, a farm-dwelling heritage hen from Lindsborg, Kansas, was the blood donor. Food chemists combine the genetic code in a fermentation tank with food-grade yeast, and voilà, they’ve created something identical to animal meat. The fermentation process is similar to one commonly used to make enzymes for cheese. Related: 7 ways to be an eco-friendly pet owner “A new wave of responsible food production is emerging, working with the best that nature and science has to offer, and our team is leading this wave in Pet,” said Rich Kelleman, co-founder and CEO of Bond Pet Foods. “Our team’s continued developments are laying the foundation to bring high-value meat protein and nutrition to dogs and cats, while removing farm animals from the equation.” Don’t race to your local pet food store just yet. Bond aims to have the slaughter-free pet food on shelves by 2023 with support from seed investors. In the meantime, an early test of a dog treat made from the cultured chicken protein was a success with canine consumers. “Our initial tests with dog volunteers have been very promising, and its nutritionals, palatability and digestibility will only improve on our path to commercialization,” said Pernilla Audibert, co-founder and CTO of Bond Pet Foods. “The science team at Bond is also working on production of other cultured meat proteins made through a similar fermentation process. The successful chicken prototype is a demonstration of our technology’s potential to create a complete portfolio of animal proteins for pet consumption, and beyond.” + Bond Pet Foods Via VegNews Image via Bond Pet Foods

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Bond Pet Foods develops slaughter-free chicken for sustainable pet food

Thousands of farm workers face extreme conditions in California

August 25, 2020 by  
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Have you ever thought about the cost of the sweet, fresh fruits you purchase from the store? While produce seems cheap, thousands of low-income laborers at farms are paying a heavy price. In the past few weeks, hundreds of wildfires have broken out in California , filling the air with thick smoke. From the COVID-19 pandemic to wildfires, heatwaves and drought, farm workers in California have been forced to continue working despite unhealthy conditions. Many farm workers who are forced to work under these conditions come from marginalized communities. They are already disadvantaged by the fact that they have no way to shelter from the virus . It is not possible for such workers to harvest produce from their homes. Further, many farms in California are not automated and as a result, farm workers have to manually harvest the fruits and vegetables. Related: Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia According to the Community and Labor Center at the University of California, more than 381,000 people in California work in the frontline agriculture industry. This means that they cannot shelter from COVID-19, as food is considered an essential service. “Whether it’s wildfire , pandemic, drought or storm, farmworkers are out in the field,” said Lucas Zucker, policy and communications director for the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy. “It’s a largely immigrant workforce, many undocumented. Many are from Indigenous communities from southern Mexico who face even greater barriers to accessing services and reporting labor abuses.” Zucker said that the wildfires’ impacts on the workers are far-reaching. Some workers have reported experiencing chest pains and headaches after several days of working under harsh conditions. Each fire season, there are many farm workers who do not receive N95 masks to protect them from smoke. During the pandemic, these masks are even harder to come by. As such, farm workers are left to face the wildfire smoke and the virus in addition to heatwaves and drought. Zucker said employers need to provide workers with safety education and better protective gear. Via The Guardian Image via Bureau of Land Management

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USDA closes Tiger King zoo for animal welfare violations

August 25, 2020 by  
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This week brought more drama involving the human cast of the popular “Tiger King” series but hopefully some peace for the tigers themselves. Time is up for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Garvin County, Oklahoma, which is now officially closed to the public after the USDA cited multiple animal welfare violations. The park became infamous when Netflix debuted its “Tiger King” documentary series in March. The show’s behind-the-scenes look at big cat owners was wildly popular, garnering 34.1 million views in the series’ first 10 days after release. “Tiger King” introduced the viewing public to Joe Exotic, former owner of the park, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing five tigers, abusing other animals and trying to hire somebody to assassinate Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Related: “Tiger King” drama overshadows abuse of captive tigers in the U.S. But in April, a month after “Tiger King” rocketed to fame, the Humane Society of the United States released footage showing that Exotic’s successor at Greater Wynnewood, Jeffery Lowe, was also abusing tigers. Federal judge Scott L. Palk responded by revoking Lowe’s exhibitor license and giving him 120 days to remove the tigers and vacate the premises. That 120 days is up this week. Palk also granted Baskin control of the 16 acres of land that housed the infamous zoo as part of a $1 million trademark dispute Baskin had filed against the Greater Wynnewood Development Group. Lowe denied any wrongdoing. On a Facebook post, he accused the USDA of “false accusations” against him. He claimed the agency was “folding to pressure” from PETA . “The ‘Tiger King’ phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways,” Lowe said . “It has brought us more attention than any human deserves, good and bad. It has and probably will continue to make us a target of every nutjob and animal rights loon in the world, but we are prepared.” Via VegNews and Yahoo! Image via Capri23auto

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USDA closes Tiger King zoo for animal welfare violations

The future of organic coffee: Building a network of support for regenerative agriculture

July 30, 2020 by  
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The future of organic coffee: Building a network of support for regenerative agriculture Jean Orlowski Thu, 07/30/2020 – 02:00 Nearly a decade ago, as we took in the lush plant life, clean air and warm sunshine surrounding us during a vacation in Hawaii, my wife, Danielle, and I knew a life shift was happening. A connection to the land — this island — was built on that trip, leading us to relocate permanently to Captain Cook, Hawaii. It was there that we came across a six-acre Kona coffee farm that had fallen into neglect. Nurturing this farm back to life strengthened our relationship with the island, taught us the true meaning of sustainability and allowed us to become advocates for organic farming beyond our own acreage. Today Hala Tree Coffee Farm consists of nearly 100 acres, and we’ve built a network of like-minded coffee farmers looking to become fully organic. While organic processes may not change the taste of the coffee beans (the environment here takes the credit for that), the organic processes show respect to the land that produces them. We’re firm believers that authentic Kona coffee is organic and that shifting toward regenerative agriculture is vital. Globally, but especially on an island, just being “organic” is no longer enough.  Moving from ‘minimizing impact’ to regenerating  Our motivation to make a career out of farming stemmed from a love of the land. We wanted to work with this island, not take from it, and leave it even better than we found it. Learning the intricacies of Kona coffee farming from the ground up highlighted the need for organic practices early on. While sustainability is important no matter where you live, living on an island increases the urgency. Our soil, our trees and our water eventually connect to the ocean that surrounds Hawaii. While we want to care for the island itself, the consequences of not using organic practices can reach to the mainland United States and beyond, carried by the currents. Even small island farms leave a lasting effect — both positive and negative — on the environment globally. And because Hawaii must import large amounts of produce (resulting in 600,000 pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere for each flight from San Francisco to Hawaii), regenerative agriculture is imperative for our state. One major way to do that is to shift the way farming is done, especially for key crops such as coffee. Until recently, Hawaii was the only U.S. state that grows coffee beans (California has just started), and Kona coffee is coveted around the world. The mix of rain, quality soil, sunshine and elevation on the island creates the perfect environment for farming coffee beans. The conditions truly can’t be reproduced elsewhere, and that’s why the Kona coffee farming community is passionate about the environment and our island. At Hala Tree, we focus on two key areas: our soil and our trees.  We focus on topsoil regeneration by using perennial peanuts as ground cover to nourish the soil and anchor it. Our farm, as with most coffee farms in Hawaii, covers sloped areas prone to runoffs. Ground cover is vital to stabilizing our soil; we focus on the regenerative piece by choosing materials that give back to the soil. During pruning and clipping seasons on the farm, everything cut from the trees is spread on top of the current soil throughout the farm. We also use natural fertilizer made from fish bones throughout the farm. Wildlife is also a consideration with ground cover; we must ensure that we are not restricting movement or harming native animals. These species are key to the land’s ability to regenerate, and we must work with them, not around or against.  New trees are continuously planted on the farm to boost carbon sequestration. We have about 100,000 trees under our management, each being carefully maintained with organic practices.  Part of our initiative to move toward regenerative agriculture is helping other local farmers obtain organic certification. This initial process can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for small farms; for example, the weed maintenance piece is a tall order in a wet, humid climate where plants grow at astounding speeds. By bringing more farms under our wing and helping them on the organic path, we aim to better equip the agriculture community to embrace regenerative farming.  What’s good for one is good for all  While smaller farms may have the most to gain from going organic, the upfront cost to earn that designation can be prohibitive. Materials, tools, processes and labor need to be accounted for, not to mention the cost of certification. Farms also must be fully organic for three years before a certification can be awarded, adding a time investment on top of cost. For a small farm with just a few acres, this may be impossible to achieve alone. In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands ) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support. In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support.   Our own expansion as a company is partially fueled by mentoring other farms. The territory here can be difficult to work with, given the grades of hills and the need for special equipment. We help smaller farms by sharing resources and, in some cases, we manage their acreage to support their journey toward organic certification. Our partners either pay a fee or share a part of their harvest with us in exchange, making organic farming attainable while ensuring that they still see profit. It’s a form of regenerative agriculture itself: We’re investing in the community that invested in us, keeping everything local. Other types of agriculture are starting to use this model, and more need to follow. The wine industry is similar to coffee in terms of cultivation, harvest and processing. Established vineyards with organic certification can lift up neighboring vineyards and share their resources. When more organic wine enters the market, consumers are more likely to try it, which benefits the newly established organic farms and boosts the industry as whole. While new technology can help this process, machines can’t fully replace people or mimic the value of a strong, supportive network. That’s why we all need to work together. We hope to see farms of all kinds on the mainland and beyond consider the model we’ve created in Hawaii. We need more minds behind innovation in this area to continue growing and making regenerative practices accessible. While living on an island initially may have raised our sense of urgency for going organic, it’s no less imperative for our farming community in other U.S. states and around the world to shift their practices. While sustainability discussions can feel overwhelming and difficult, we have an opportunity in the agriculture community to show fellowship, support and positivity — and perhaps improve products and profits along the way. Pull Quote In order to create more organic farms and better serve the planet, larger farms (and perhaps even corporate brands) need to prioritize the sharing of resources and support. Topics Food & Agriculture Regenerative Agriculture Organics Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hala Tree Coffee Farm owners Danielle and Jean Orlowski. Courtesy of Charla Photography Close Authorship

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Electric boilers fuel Diageo’s carbon-neutral whiskey distillery dream

July 30, 2020 by  
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Electric boilers fuel Diageo’s carbon-neutral whiskey distillery dream Jesse Klein Thu, 07/30/2020 – 00:30 Even whiskey is going electric. Distilleries have long been difficult operations to electrify due to the large heat loads it requires to turn grain into one of humanity’s oldest vices, alcohol. But Diageo’s new 72,000-square-foot distillery is designed to be completely carbon-neutral. According to Diageo, it should avoid more than  117,000 metric tons of annual carbon emissions by switching to renewable electricities compared to operating using a traditional natural gas facility.  “This is an opportunity to build a new distillery from the ground up,” said Andrew Jarrick, North American environmental sustainability manager at Diageo. “It’s not every day you get that opportunity.”  The Kentucky facility primarily will produce Bulleit Whiskey (Diageo also makes Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Bailey’s, Captain Morgan and others) and will be one of the largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America, according to the company. The facility is under construction, with completion slated by mid-2021. Eventually, it will produce 10 million proof gallons of whiskey and employ about 30 full-time brewers.  The distilling process has three large heat requirements: first to cook the grain into mash; then as steam to capture the ethanol in a distillation column; and finally for drying the leftover grain for alternative uses.  Moving away from fossil fuels for this heat production was the first step and the first big obstacle for Diageo.  “The distillery industry is built on very traditional ways of thinking and relies very heavily on time-tested methodologies,” Jarrick said. “We want to produce the same liquid every time. The biggest challenge was to maintain that process integrity, but also move on from traditional fossil fuels.” Instead of traditional equipment, the facility will use 22-foot tall high voltage jet electrode boilers from Precision Boilers . Aside from not using fossil fuels and emitting less greenhouse gases than usual, electric boilers require less maintenance. Gabriel Dauphin, vice president of sales and marketing at Precision Boilers, told GreenBiz via email that the boilers use conductive and resistive properties to carry an electric current and generate steam.  Unlike fossil fuel boilers, which have a certain minimum energy output before turning off, the electric boilers can be turned down to any level before shutting down completely and they can get to the desired heat level almost immediately, Dauphin wrote. This makes the boilers much more precise and nearly 100 percent efficient, with the bonus of zero emissions, he said. Once they decided to make the leap to electric boilers, Jarrick and his team opted to electrify as much as possible in the operation. The lighting in the facility will use LEDs, all the vehicles on the property will be electric and the atmospheric heat systems Diageo will include for  the comfort of workers are likely to use electricity rather than a fossil fuel source. The company is also installing occupancy sensors, lower ceilings and exterior solar panels to help increase energy efficiency. Diageo wouldn’t comment on the exact financial costs or long-term savings associated with the carbon-neutral facility.   Diageo plans to get 100 percent of its electricity needs for the site from renewable sources through partnerships with East Kentucky Power Cooperative and Inter-County Energy . These companies will provide a mix of solar and wind energy to power the distillery. Continuing on its carbon-neutral promise, the facility plans to be zero waste to landfill by giving the dry leftover grain to organizations that can use it for animal feed.  While electric boilers were key for getting this project to carbon-neutral, Jarrick doesn’t know if Diageo is a true convert and will go electric across all its operations. But to deliver on Diageo’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions and sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, it must make additional changes.  Topics Energy & Climate Decarbonization Building Electrification Manufacturing Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The facility will use 22-foot tall high voltage jet electrode boilers from Precision Boilers.

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Electric boilers fuel Diageo’s carbon-neutral whiskey distillery dream

Water irrigation reservoir and spa in Nepal will harness the power of fog

July 24, 2020 by  
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This unique reservoir and spa design by Margot Krasojevi? Architecture for the Ilam District of Eastern Nepal proposes a fog-harvesting structure to help conserve the area’s water and natural environment. The conceptual project would use a network of solar pumps, pipes and valves as well as a system of reservoirs connected to suspended polypropylene fog nets. Once completed, it would have the ability to produce an average of 3,000 to 5,000 liters of filtered water per day. The region is known for its many tea plantations, a subtropical climate, a range of different altitudes and high humidity, all of which combine to create the perfect conditions for fog formation. Rather than using up precious water for the agricultural landscape, this hydrotherapy health retreat is focused on using a fog net to capture the air’s moisture — with the added bonus of providing filtered water to nearby farms. Related: Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air According to the architect, the practice of collecting fog and condensation is rooted in ancient traditions, from the Namib Desert in Africa to dew ponds in Southern England. This contemporary adaptation will use mesh fog nets draped and embedded into the site’s ledge and woven to capture the most water droplets depending on the wind direction. The water droplets that make up the fog are obstructed by the mesh. Then, these droplets flow through the filters and trickle into a collection trough below. The water is then funneled through a pipe network and stored into three pools, one inside to anchor it to the site and two to supply the spa and to be used for agricultural irrigation and drinking water. The fog nets are kept clean and free from toxins, mold and microorganisms using an electrical current. The current will loosen and dislodge airborne pollutants and dust. The location of the project was determined based on where could provide the best conditions for harvest and maximum output efficiency. The nets are hung in sections to allow for adaptation and to accommodate the natural contours of the property. + Margot Krasojevi? Images via Margot Krasojevi?

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Water irrigation reservoir and spa in Nepal will harness the power of fog

Applying rock dust to farms could boost carbon sequestration

July 10, 2020 by  
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A report in the journal Nature has revealed that enhanced rock weathering (ERW) could help slow climate change by sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This process involves spreading rock dust on farmland to help absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. When rocks, such as basalt and other silicates, are crushed and added to the soil, they dissolve and react with carbon dioxide, forming carbonates and lock carbon dioxide. Although this is the first time that scientists are proposing this approach in dealing with carbon dioxide, it is not a new concept. Normally, farmers use limestone dust on the soil to reduce acidification. The use of limestone in agriculture helps enhance yield. If the proposed enhanced rock weathering technique is adopted, farmers could incorporate other types of rock dust on their land. Related: Eos Bioreactor uses AI and algae to combat climate change According to the study, this approach could help capture up to 2 billion metric tons of CO2 each year. This is equal to the combined emissions of Germany and Japan. Interestingly, this technique is much cheaper than conventional methods of carbon capturing. The scientists behind the study say that the cost of capturing a ton of CO2 could be as low as $55 in countries such as India, China, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil. For the U.S., Canada and Europe, the cost of capturing one metric ton of CO2 with ERW would be about $160. The scientists propose using basalt as the optimal rock for ERW. Given that basalt is already produced in most mines as a byproduct, adding it to farmland soils can easily be instituted. Further, the countries that contribute the highest amounts of carbon dioxide are the best candidates for the ERW technique. Countries such as China, India and the U.S. have large farmlands that can be used to capture excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Given that carbon emissions are a big problem for the entire world, this technique might just be the light at the end of the tunnel. The enhanced rock weathering technique is affordable and practical, making it a win-win. + Nature Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Rocket Crafters creates safer, greener hybrid rocket engine technology

July 10, 2020 by  
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Rocket Crafters, an aerospace company based in Florida, is patenting its hybrid rocket engine technology . The engine, which the company described as throttle-able, affordable, reliable and 3D-printed, is said to be a milestone in the world of rocket science. For many years, rocket scientists have been trying to develop a hybrid engine — unsuccessfully. All of these attempts failed along the way due to fuel combustion issues. However, thanks to 3D-printing technology, Rocket Crafters has managed to develop a hybrid engine known as the STAR-3D. The engine has completed over 40 subscale engine tests and is now poised to engage in large-scale tests. What is a hybrid rocket engine? If you are not a fan of rockets or rocket science, you may not have a clue about the impact of developing a hybrid engine . In simple terms, a hybrid engine means that the rocket will be fueled by a combination of solid and liquid or gas fuel. This is a big achievement for the world, considering that the hybrid engine will be much greener. The combustion of rocket fuels has negative impacts on the environment, but this new technology tries to address these issues. Related: Studio Roosegaarde’s laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky Rockets that are strictly solid-fueled cannot be throttled or restarted, while hybrid rockets can. This is one of the reasons why many scientists have been working on hybrid rocket technology. The hybrid engine is much faster and safer as compared to solid- or liquid-fueled counterparts. According to Rocket Crafters, the company can also scale rocket engines from 125lbf all the way to 5000lbf. Compared to the liquid-fueled rocket engines, the hybrid is much easier to develop and less expensive, too. Liquid-fueled rockets have been favored in the past for being environmentally safer than solid-fueled rockets; however, the cost of developing liquid-fueled rockets has proved to be the problem. Most aerospace companies have been striving to find a balance between the cost and sustainability of the rockets . Hybrid engines are less expensive in terms of maintenance. The engines by Rocket Crafters only have two movable parts, which means that they are less mechanical. They separately store fuel in two different states (solid and liquid), which helps safeguard against accidental detonation. But the attempt to shift to hybrid engines has been met by many challenges. According to a report in 3DPrint, both governments and industries have been unable to develop a safe hybrid engine for years. In previous attempts, the rockets were met with issues such as excessive thrust and unpredictable vibrations. Purpose of the hybrid engine In the initial stages of developing the engine, it was used to send small rockets into the Earth’s orbit. The company now plans to work with private businesses and governments that send small satellites to outer space. The 3D-printed hybrid engine makes launching rockets into space much easier and safer. Just as many other companies that have been using 3D-printing to make the world a better place, Rocket Crafters have managed to change the future of rockets completely. This means that rocket travel will be much more accessible. The new technology now seeks to bring the cost of more sustainable rocketing to a record low. Hybrid engines are greener The most impressive aspect of the new hybrid engines is that they are better for the environment. Traditionally, solid-fueled engines would emit heavy carbon waste into the atmosphere . Due to such effects of solid-fueled engines, there has been pressure for more rocket manufacturers to turn to liquid-fueled engines, which are greener. Liquid-fueled engines are propelled by liquid hydrogen, which produces water vapor exhaust. But the production of hydrogen itself can also cause significant pollution. The end game for rocket manufactures turns out to be hybrid engines — something that Rocket Crafters hopes to make as safe and sustainable as possible. + Rocket Crafters Image via Unsplash

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Agrihoods: The Intersection of Sustainable Farming & Real Estate

July 10, 2020 by  
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Agrihoods are residential housing developments with a professionally managed farm … The post Agrihoods: The Intersection of Sustainable Farming & Real Estate appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Nature Is Hinting at Us

July 10, 2020 by  
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Today’s quote is from American poet Robert Frost, who wrote: … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Nature Is Hinting at Us appeared first on Earth 911.

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