Tuesday, 29 September 2015

How Would You Like a Landfill Salad?

Credit: Huff Post Good News, UN Spokesperson’s twitter

Curious about what a landfill salad consists of? Apparently it’s made with vegetable scraps, rejected apples and pears, and chickpea water. Together with the ‘burger and fries’ made with off-grade vegetables, repurposed bread bun, bruised beet ketchup, picked cucumber scraps, and cow corn fries, the landfill salad was served to Ban Ki-moon – yes, the United Nations Secretary-General, and about 30 world leaders including French President Francois Hollande, at a high-level working lunch at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York last month. 

The menu was the brainchild of award-winning chef Dan Barber, and former executive director of first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, Sam Kass. The menu was so designed to hammer home the point of food waste as an ‘overlooked aspect of climate change’, with food manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal consuming an exponential amount of energy, mostly derived from fossil fuels, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

If you ask me, I think similar food waste menus should be served to all and not just world leaders to cultivate the habit of sustainable food consumption, as well as raising awareness of the sheer amount of food we dump into the landfill on a daily basis. Here’s the thing: most of the foods that are dumped are still perfectly good to eat, and just as nutritious as their better-looking counterparts; they’re dumped because advertisers and marketers tell us that the foods are too ugly to be presentable. But that doesn’t make sense, especially if you come to think of the time, energy and effort put into growing food.

So, what’s on your food waste menu tonight? 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Live Off-grid in an Egg

Credit: Ecocapsule

It comes with the tagline ‘Dwelling with the spirit of freedom’, and we have to agree, because what is off-grid eco-living if not ‘freedom’?

Measuring 4.5 metres in length, 2.4 metres in width, and 2.5 metres in height, the Ecocapsule, designed by Nice Architects, features a total usable floor space of 8 square-metres, comfortably sufficient for two adults. Despite being a portable home that boasts an ‘immense off-grid life span, worldwide portability and flexibility’, the Ecocapsule is equipped with a folding bed, two large operable windows, a working/dining area, shower and flushable toilet, built-in kitchenette with running water, and even storage space. The eco-friendly part of Ecocapsule is that it is powered by a built-in 750W wind turbine and a 2.6-square-metre array of high-efficiency solar cells; in times of low solar and wind activity, the egg-shaped portable home will stay operable with a high-capcity battery (9,744Wh). The rounded shape is more than just aesthetics issue, but also for rainwater collection optimisation. Weighing 1,500 kilograms, the Ecocapsule can easily fit inside a standard shipping container, meaning you can ship it to your travel destination for a green escape, instead of booking yourself into a hotel.

The price is expected to be announced end of the year, and meanwhile, Nice Architects are looking into further reducing the size and weight of the pod for easier transportation. So eco-fancy, don’t you think? 

Last Living 9/11 Search and Rescue Dog Gets Big Birthday Surprise

Credit: BarkPost

I couldn’t wait to write this piece when I stumbled across this story, and I knew you would want to hear about Bretagne the dog’s birthday surprise too, as I finished reading the story with tears welling up my eyes.

16-year-old Bretagne is a golden retriever that was one of the search and rescue dogs that helped saved lives in the wake of 9/11, and what makes her special is that she is the last one known living, which is why BarkPost reached out to 1 Hotel Central Park to throw a big birthday surprise for the hero dog. What happened was Bretagne and her handler and mum Denise Corliss, both members of Texas Task Force 1, were flown to New York to be received by 1 Hotel Central Park, where they were escorted to a room equipped with a comfortable dog bed and lavished with dog treats and toys; Bretagne even got to dive into a gourmet burger especially made and delivered through room service. The duo were then taken around New York City – the city they served 12 years ago – on a vintage yellow cab, where they stopped by a park and were greeted by New Yorkers who wished to express their gratitude. The day ended with a surprise birthday party at the hotel, where Bretagne got to pick her favourite toy and tuck into the birthday cake.

So it’s not some heart-wrenching story, I know, but it’s one that makes you cry happy tears nonetheless (I did anyway) because a dedicated working dog definitely deserves the best!