Positively Newsworthy is an uplifting section of the magazine, devoted to highlighting positive happenings in the world. Enjoy the stories from our Winter 2022 issue below!
1 Super Charged Nature
Coral reefs get electric therapy
by Kate Stuart
Coral reefs are considered one of the richest ecosystems in the world, providing important care for the diverse life underwater. The health, abundance and diversity of the organisms that make up a coral reef is directly linked to the surrounding terrestrial and marine environments. Over the last five decades we have seen how climate change and human interference has directly affected coral reefs and has caused a decline in their survival, affecting other parts of the ecosystem. Each species in the ocean has a role to play, some a very specific and unique function, that if they were to become extinct could herald a devolution. Electrical stimulation is the only method known to reverse the impacts of extreme stresses on corals and other marine organisms.
Developed in the 1970s, electrical technology has been successfully applied to growing limestone breakwaters to protect islands and coastal areas from erosion and rising sea levels. In nature, coral reefs grow at an extremely slow rate; however, electrically charged reefs can grow at a speed of up to 12 times higher than normal. Low voltage charges accelerate the coral’s growth phase bringing barren areas back to life. This electric technology can be powered by the sun, using solar energy as well as wind and wave energy.
According to the Coral Reef Alliance, “The beauty of this technology is you can have reefs anywhere along the coast, even in areas without natural coral reefs.”
At a time when coral is being damaged by external forces, this technology has been seen to have immensely positive impacts on this delicate ecosystem, creating a more resilient mariculture, now and well into the future.
2 Plant-Based Packaging
Circulating food waste back into the economy
by Kate Stuart
Sustainability has become a mainstream topic of conversation in recent times with more and more people considering what products they use, how they use them and how to dispose of them ethically. It is estimated that the global cosmetics industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging every year, most of which is non-recyclable and ends up in landfill, or worse yet, the ocean.
A plant-based packaging solution has been developed by industrial design student, bio-designer and material researcher Alara Ertenü to combat the circulation of single-use plastics. Packioli uses the by-product of artichokes and peas. Artichoke leaves and peapods can be used to create a durable material that can take the place of plastic. When it comes to artichokes, more of the vegetable is discarded than consumed. In Turkey alone, 40 tons of artichokes are produced annually; this creates a gargantuan amount of food waste. “By using artichoke leaf, it tackles the enormous artichoke waste – 80 percent of each artichoke is thrown out – especially in the west of Turkey.”
The idea is that this material could be used instead of using single-use plastics for commercial products. While this product isn’t in circulation as of yet, the idea is to spark a conversation on the possibilities that are out there. The project aims to address the pressing environmental issue of single-use plastic consumption while simultaneously reducing food waste – two main concerns within the world today.
3 ‘Project Empower’
by Alison McEvoy
This autumn saw Damian Browne row across the Atlantic, 3,000 nautical miles from New York to Galway, in a 6.2 metre row boat. With only the power of his arms to propel him, Damian made the journey in 112 days at sea. Damian was originally accompanied by his lifelong friend Fergus Farrell, but Fergus had to be airlifted to safety due to health problems after 13 days.
The pair created ‘Project Empower’ in advance of their journey, sharing their driving forces, their visions for what the world would take from the move and their personal ambitions to break a record that has been set for the past 125 years.
In 2018, following an accident, Fergus was told he had 5% chance of ever walking again. Just one year later he walked 206 km across Ireland for charity.
These guys are not Disney characters but real flesh and blood superhumans. Super because of their constant decision to dream big and never give up.
According to Damian, this is the message they wish to embody with their actions: “The hope? To give kids and adults alike a real image, a touchable action, to emulate and inspire them to dream big in whatever avenue of life they decide to pursue.”
For Fergus, “My kids are a huge driving factor. I want to show them no matter what life throws at you, you can achieve what you need to by hard work, determination and never giving up on yourself.”
If you are in need of some serious inspiration, check out the documentary ‘Waves of Change’ on these two. It is like an injection of positivity and empowerment!