Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet http://www.greenprophet.com Impact news for the Middle East Mon, 26 Sep 2016 08:51:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://i1.wp.com/www.greenprophet.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-green-prophet-logo-2-300x123.png?fit=32%2C32 Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet http://www.greenprophet.com 32 32 The Silicon Valley for agriculture to be built in Denmark http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/new-agro-food-park-for-denmark-to-change-the-core-of-a-broken-system/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/new-agro-food-park-for-denmark-to-change-the-core-of-a-broken-system/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 07:38:13 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112813

denmark-food-park

We all need better food in our lives.

Now Denmark is putting its stake in the ground and ploughing ahead with new ideas. It’s working with leading architects and is making investments in a making huge investments in a balanced whole-systems and ecological approach to growing our food.

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William McDonough + Partners, GXN, 3XN Architects, BCVA and Urland have put together the master plan the Agro Food Park (AFP), which is built on an existing hub of agricultural innovation center. The firms designed a connection between research and business and urban agriculture to the needs of food of tomorrow can be me without further degrading our planet.

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The original food park opened in 2009 and is owned and run by The Danish Agriculture & Food Council. William McDonough + Partners said it is expected to “create synergies among the many existing tenants while building an ecosystem inviting new entities to further strengthen products and expertise developed within the hub.”

Related: Creating a food and expert network for urban farmers

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“Embracing Agro-Urban Ecosystem Design, the AFP treats urban and agricultural development together as a unified, productive and restorative ecosystem,” said William McDonough + Partners.

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“By integrating the carbon cycle and other ecological processes into large scale urban systems and their surroundings – buildings and energy flows, water cycles and wastewater treatment, land use and food production – the AFP creates economic value within the urban and agricultural infrastructure.”

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Meet the Mad Men for urban and small-scale farmers http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/meet-the-mad-men-for-urban-and-small-scale-farmers/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/meet-the-mad-men-for-urban-and-small-scale-farmers/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:49:07 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112809
Farmed Here special hydroponic growing project

Have a special farm, growing hyper-nutritious food? Nick Burton, Founder of the State of the Soil agency helps small business farmers craft the messaging and media to sell what’s grown at a profit.

Urban farming. High-tech farming. Modern farming, or maybe it’s traditional farming? However you call it, farming in the US is shifting against the tide of large-scale monoculture, chemical company-controlled mega farming, where farmers measure success by operating at smaller loss than the year before. The farming industry is on the verge of collapse. Oil prices are dropping, seedstock prices are quadrupling and with mega billion dollar mergers like Bayer and Monsanto looming, US farmers fear the absolute worse is yet to come.

We know the world feels what happens to the US: the current breadbasket to the world in many staples such as corn and wheat.

Thousands of new farmers in the United States are revolting against the system in their own gentle way, by farming with dignity and doing things differently than factory farming. They are creating small business farms in all shapes and sizes from hydroponic greenhouse farms to one acre organic specialty crops farms.

The problem for these farmers isn’t growing. They learn what to do, they love it, and they grow successfully. Their problem, says Nick Burton, in the green business for 20 years and a hydroponic farmer for 3, is now building a media and branding services to modern farmers –– because most do not know how to market and brand themselves.

Burton (pictured below) started a new business growing hyper-local greens for Texans and has nailed the packaging, email lists, and is growing a booming business out of Paris, Texas called the Victory Lunch Club. Burton’s company supplies artisanal salads to your office desk.

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Burton gets behind your urban farm or smallhold farm brand, and tells your story to your market

He found marketing and media was his calling, his purpose for changing the world and has since created a new business, State of the Soil. It is intended for growers and farmers of all stripes, using any medium and system for farming. State of the Soil is like your Mad Men advertising agency if you are a small or medium sized farm business holder.

As the company builds out, it will be building conferences and events, starting with an online speakers event this coming January – register here.

The company will support community growers through social media, it will create events, and will provide educational resources to the people who have started farming and want to learn more.

Services will be affordable and not multiples of thousands of dollars, which the conventional ag industry has normally changed for its events and services, so no one but managers of chemical companies and financiers could afford to attend.

Burton is putting farming back into the hands of men and women. If you are keen on joining the urban farming movement, get your message and story right for the farmer’s market. Burton will show how it’s done –  sign up here.

Meet Nick at NYC AgTech week happening next week September 19 to 24. 

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World deforestation: we’re losing a forest the size of NYC every 2 days! http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/world-deforestation-were-losing-a-forest-the-size-of-nyc-every-2-days/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/world-deforestation-were-losing-a-forest-the-size-of-nyc-every-2-days/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:13:00 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112806

unsustainable development, Turkey, Taksim Square,

This is an issue of global concern. Climate change, urbanization, and resource depletion (more mouths to feed, burn wood in stoves for, graze more cattle for) is still happening at a fast an alarming clip, influencing our planet’s ability to store CO2 emissions, and protect diversity. We hate scare tactics, but put it into scale and see how much we are losing compared to reference points you can understand.

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Via eCO2 Greetings

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Sustainable technology trends in sun, wind and air http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/sustainable-technology-trends-in-sun-wind-and-air/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/sustainable-technology-trends-in-sun-wind-and-air/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:57:59 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112799

World's largest solar farm

Technology is a driving force of innovation. Everything we build, adapt and refine, generally has the express purpose of making our lives on this planet easier. Whether it’s transportation, growing food, or the sending and receiving of information, technology exists to solve a problem or streamline a process. Nevertheless, the environmental cost of this technology is vast. For example, the average carbon footprint for the manufacture and use of an iPhone is between 55kg and 75kg depending on the model.

However, emerging technologies are reducing environmental pressures across the board. This is in part to large companies taking a positive stance on sustainability. For example, Nike has stepped up to the plate to show others that recycling on a large scale is possible with its Reuse-A-Shoe program. Web hosting companies such as 1&1 made known their own green efforts, demonstrating how their data centers are some of the most energy efficient worldwide, preventing upwards of 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere every year. Even in the banking sector, financial organizations are doing their share, as The World Bank has earmarked $16 billion to mitigate climate change in 2016 alone.

But a lot of credit is also due to ingenious inventions by lesser-known start-ups and inventors. These technologies operate with the intention of reducing carbon output, producing clean energy and depolluting water source; in essence, to mitigate the damage our current technological advances have caused.

Bladeless wind turbenergy-bladeless-wind-towerines

Wind turbines have been a staple of renewable energy for a while. However, for all the good they do, they are large, incredibly noisy, and not particularly friendly to bird populations. Vortex Bladeless is one company working on a turbine that leaves behind the cumbersome blades of conventional turbines. Instead, their models will harness power via the vibrations caused by wind. Two bladeless models exist for domestic and industrial use, and the carbon footprint is 40% less than traditional turbines.

Air filtration towers

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Cities such as Delhi and Beijing suffer from very poor air quality. Daan Roosegaarde and Bob Ursem recognized this and designed a seven-meter tall filtration tower, which sucks in polluted air and expels it smog-free. Currently situated in Rotterdam, the tower is able to clean 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour.

Solar roofing

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Solar panels are nothing new, but tech mogul Elon Musk is taking it one step further. His solar energy company, SolarCity, proposes not just installing solar panels onto roofs to power homes, but instead to make the roofs themselves out of solar panels. As Musk himself says, “It’s a solar roof as opposed to a module on a roof.” This technology, combined with the Tesla Powerwall – proprietary technology from one of Musk’s other endeavors – will effectively allow homes to exist off the power grid, and generate completely clean energy.

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Jordan gets its first craft brewery, causing ire among Muslim clerics http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/jordan-gets-its-first-craft-brewery-causing-ire-among-religious-clerics/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/jordan-gets-its-first-craft-brewery-causing-ire-among-religious-clerics/#comments Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:22:14 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112790

carakale-craft-beer-amman-jordan

If you’ve ever visited a Middle Eastern country, one noticeable difference to Europe is restriction on alcohol. Muslims are not allowed to drink according to scripture (read why Muslims don’t drink here) so depending on the ruling government, access to alcohol may be restricted to your local hotel or nearby speakeasies (big in Iran) or it may be available widely, like in Turkey.

Some Middle East Muslims do choose to drink alcohol, with brewing traditions that span back to ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian times (try our recipe for Tej, Ethiopian honey beer), and not all of the Middle East is Muslim. And read about this 5000 year old microbrewery found in the Holy Land.

Yazan Karadesh, a local Arab Christian from Amman, for instance has started brewing Jordan’s first craft brewery, hoping to compete in the $22 billion US craft beer market. He went through a difficult experience getting the permit and the land on which to brew (according to this article in Haaretz). He eventually found Christian-owned land in a Christian suburb called Fuheis.

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Karadesh’s brand brewed in Amman is called Carakale Brewery. It is infused with Middle Eastern flavors, unique to the region, he says.

Taybeh beer from the West Bank, Israel is one of the more notable beers from the region. There is also Shepherd’s and Wise Men’s Choice.

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Pouring some of Palestine’s finest beer, Taybeh.

But Jordan’s Yazan Karadesh wants his own in Amman: “Alcohol might be taboo but you can find alcohol and buy alcohol easily in the market,” he says.

Craft beer is a good alternative to cracking the monopoly that beer makers such as Carlsberg and Heineken own in the Middle East region.

Dancing Camel brewery with 2 locations in Tel Aviv is cracking through the monopoly in its own way. It already infuses its beers with local flavors such as pomegranate. It was Israel’s first craft brewery and by many standards has influenced a whole culture of craft beer making in the entire region.

This movement of craft beer making joins the local DIY movement in the Middle East. Trends such as urban farming (hydroponics), craft making and returning to a simpler lifestyle is taking root.

 

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Food Tech, it’s a battleground. Come pitch your startup at Google http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/food-tech-startups-wanted-to-take-a-bite-out-of-dld-in-tel-aviv/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/food-tech-startups-wanted-to-take-a-bite-out-of-dld-in-tel-aviv/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:33:19 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112746

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Israel! You are so good at so many things beyond technology. And food, as locals and tourists know is becoming Israel’s rising star. With hyper-local fresh food production capabilities, Israelis from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem enjoy traditional Mediterranean food, hybridized with any international trend.

It makes complete sense in a country that’s into food, and in the know for startups and technology, that the two intersect in a new industry. It’s called Food Tech. Potentially one of the last frontiers in tech and all of us have to eat. Kimbal Musk, the brother of Elon Musk, calls Food, “The New Internet.”

yossi-dan-challengyThanks to a french import Yossi Dan, and his company Challengy, Israel is about to put some serious spice into the international Food tech scene. Dan is looking for 100 Food Tech companies to duke it out Battleground style, at the Google Campus in Tel Aviv later this month.

Dan is calling all innovators to collect and compete at The Foodtech Startup Contest, part of Global FoodTech TLV. This coincides with the DLD, one of the largest and craziest conferences and tech/art expos Israel does every year. The contest is calling for 100 startup entrants, so if you are just coming to scan for new opportunities, bring a bag of healthy snacks and a cold pressed juice as you watch companies inside the ring pitch their startups.

Ten semi-finalists go onto an even bigger stage to compete for chances to be seen by even more investors, and to get the chance to be swept under Dan’s wing as his firm Challengy leads business development efforts in Food Tech in various global cities.

Do you have what it takes to take a bite out of the Food Tech industry?

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Do you:

1. Build vertical farming technologies (like hydroponics), create new opportunities for farming in business development, or have a way to make food tastier, healthier or more sustainable. If yes, Click Here.

2. Build technologies that serve the digital landscape making it easier to order online, cut food waste from restaurants, or build platforms to manage inventory at point of sale? Click Here.

3. Build technologies in new
frontiers to understand food quality of industrial chains, from farm to fork, can you monitor water, detect toxins, certify that food is safe? If you are one of these guys or gals, Click Here.

Palestine-food-prices-technologyDetails about the pitch:

Where? Google Campus TLV
When? September 27, afternoon
Who? Food Tech startups from anywhere. Internationals are encouraged to apply
Cost? Free. You just need to register here and be selected among the 100.

If selected, you’ll come and pitch in front of a panel of International experts.

The event is framed around the annual DLD event which is part serious, part crazy. Mostly fun.

Your entrance to the Food Tech scene in Israel, Dan suggests, will be a part of some bigger acceleration program he is putting into place with international partners.

Get some ideas from innovators from Israel featured at Dan’s event last year. 

Le Chaim and good luck.

 

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Full moon hike with consciousness about water in Auja http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/full-moon-hike-with-consciousness-about-water-in-auja/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/09/full-moon-hike-with-consciousness-about-water-in-auja/#respond Sun, 11 Sep 2016 08:20:28 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112734

full-moon-hike

Our favorite eco-organization EcoPeace Middle East are arranging a full moon hike in the West Bank this week with a local center, the Auja EcoCenter which offers tried and true alternatives for better living in desert climates.

Auja has been the focus of a number of stories we have covered here on Green Prophet, namely because the village has agreed to pilot a number of solutions that can greatly improve the welfare of people in Palestinian Territories, but also in Syria, Jordan, Israel and anywhere where the sun is plentiful and water is scarce. See pictures below of some projects ongoing there.

Treating greywater in Auja

Treating greywater in Auja

Treating greywater in Auja

Treating greywater in Auja

Auja-playground

Compost toilet at Auja

Compost toilet at Auja

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Villagers of Auja

Villagers of Auja

Want to get educated on the Middle East eco issues and be part of something bigger than yourself? Join EcoPeace Middle East and Auja EcoCenter for a Full Moon Hike and Bedouin dinner this Friday, September 16thThe hike is 3 hours long, and it’s at Beginner’s level. Cost is $25 and it includes an authentic Bedouin dinner. Expect to be spoiled by a rich experience and good people.

Auja is a short drive from Jerusalem. And is accessible from Jordan via the Allenby Crossing. Guests can stay overnight for an additional $25, and the cost includes bed and breakfast.

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To stop crippling air pollution, Iranians do car-free Tuesdays http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/to-stop-crippling-air-pollution-iranians-do-car-free-tuesdays/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/to-stop-crippling-air-pollution-iranians-do-car-free-tuesdays/#respond Mon, 04 Jul 2016 12:01:54 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112398

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Cities in Iran are some of the most polluted in the world. It’s estimated that 27 people a day die in Tehran from the low quality of air.

Tehran pollution

Mohammad Bakhtiari, 25, from Arak decided he couldn’t take it anymore, and started car-free Tuesdays –- a day when he’s encouraging Iranians to find alternative ways to get around. He told local media, “With air pollution getting worse, I did not like to sit back doing nothing. I thought everybody is responsible for this problem. And I was thinking of a way to involve more people to help with it.”

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So he proposed that people go car free on Tuesdays. Residents in Tripoli, Lebanon tried it once a long time ago, but it didn’t stick.

Mohammad wanted the idea to stick. He went with posters and flyers and explained to locals in Arak until the Department of Environment gave its stamp of approval. It’s catching on in all Iranian cities but there are no reports on how many people are actually doing it.

air pollution tehran, iran

 

Tuesday was the day picked because it is in the middle of Iranian week when traffic congestion is high and air pollution is at its worst.

The World Bank estimates losses inflicted on Iran’s economy as a result of deaths caused by air pollution at $640 million, which is equal to 5.1 trillion rials or 0.57 percent of GDP. Diseases resulting from air pollution are inflicting losses estimated at $260 million per year or 2.1 trillion rials or 0.23 percent of the GDP on Iran’s economy.

Leaving cars at home can reduce air pollution: The campaign that started this spring is expected to run for 600 weeks. The idea is to get people to use bikes and more public transport.

Mohammad said: “Sixty percent of the people who know there is such a campaign have supported it. Our first step is to tell people that there is such a movement. The second step is to tell them why they should support it.

“The third step is to have incentives for those who join the campaign.

“And the fourth step is to push the government to carry out its responsibilities at a more rapid pace.”

He is now pushing the government for safe bike routes, and more people to start using electric motorbikes. As well as an overhaul of public transport.

Cities in Russia and India, have made a similar pledge to be car free on Tuesdays.

Read more on sustainable Iran:
Iran Looks to Create Biofuel
Iran Inaugurates Its First Solar CSP Plant
Celebrate Spring and Iranian New Year

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Iranian women “selfies” without headscarves causing rivers to dry up http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/iranian-womenselfies-without-hijab-causing-drought/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/iranian-womenselfies-without-hijab-causing-drought/#respond Sun, 03 Jul 2016 18:49:15 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112387

women-without-hijab-iran

Today on the streets of Jaffa, where I live, I saw for the first time in my life a woman in hijab (helmet on top) driving her motorbike in full throttle along Jerusalem Boulevard. She was too quick for me (on my peddle bike!) to take a photo. I was pretty proud of her, because although Muslim women in Israel can be quite liberal, this was something that broke all stereotypes.

But in Iran it’s another story… women who are not wearing the traditional headscarves, also known as hijab, are now being blamed for devastating drought.

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She’s causing rivers to dry every time she rips off her headscarf.

Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad, an arch conservative prayer leader in the city of Isfahan announced that Iranian women who continue to wear immodest clothing are causing the nation’s rivers to run dry. They are also damaging the environment in other ways, the cleric has claimed.

A strict Islamic dress code must be enforced, he mandated, to ward off drought. In media reports this same cleric, also suggested the use of acid attacks, and the whip on “bad hijab” women: those who are not properly covered up.

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Couple support scarf-free head.

Last month he roiled against a new trend where Iranian women are taking selfies without the headscarf and posting them online.

“They have brought me pictures that shows women by the side of the dry Zayanderud river, ” the cleric said. “These actions will ensure the upper stream of the river will become dry too. Believe me it is true.”

"I want freedom.... No matter you might think of my demand, my male compatriots... No matter what you might think of my dear fellow female compatriots. What I want is to save my hair from the storm blowing over in my country. I do not want to simply have to go abroad in order to save my hair. Yes, my dear male compatriots... Freedom should oblige you to stop obsessing about the body of your female compatriots [when they do not wear the hijab]. It should not oblige me to wear the hijab.

“I want freedom….I do not want to simply have to go abroad in order to save my hair. Yes, my dear male compatriots… Freedom should oblige you to stop obsessing about the body of your female compatriots [when they do not wear the hijab].”

In some paradoxical nonsense he also said:

“You may ask yourself why European countries with so much crime and sin have so much rainfall … God punishes the believer, for remaining silent and letting girls take pictures by the river as if they were in European countries.”

Headscarfs have been compulsory since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Those who can get away with it bend the rules.

Thousands of women have posted pictures of themselves without headscarves on the Facebook page, My Stealthy Freedom.

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Iran’s devastated Lake Urmia wins recognition http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/irans-devastated-lake-urmia-wins-recognition/ http://www.greenprophet.com/2016/07/irans-devastated-lake-urmia-wins-recognition/#comments Sun, 03 Jul 2016 18:28:14 +0000 http://www.greenprophet.com/?p=112384

lake-urmia

Like Israel and Jordan’s Dead Sea, Iran has it’s own inland salty lake called Lake Urmia. Climate change and dam construction has caused its demise to about 10% of its of former glory.

Local protestors who have dared called on the government to fix it have been tied up, beaten and tortured. One trusted source I have in Iran says this is the country’s top 2 environmental “problem” to solve.

NASA, satellite images, Lake Urmia, Orumiyeh, climate change, shrinking lake, ecosystem collapse, Iran, environmental activism

Lake Urmia before in 1998, taken by NASA

 

One young photographer Pedram Yazdani summarized the devastation in a photograph, above, which has just one recognition for an environmental prize by the the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year, an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and film.

NASA, satellite images, Lake Urmia, Orumiyeh, climate change, shrinking lake, ecosystem collapse, Iran, environmental activism

Lake Urmia in 2011, taken by NASA

Yazdani won the prize for capturing The Salt Lake Urmia in Iran. Lake Urmia is the biggest salt lake in the Middle East, but it is now only a shadow of what it once was. This image demonstrates how dramatic impact land management decisions can be to our environment.

Continue learning more about Lake Urmia below by Youtube movies produced by Iranians.

More on Iranian Environmental Issues:
Saltier than the Dead Sea, Lake Orumiyeh is in Trouble
Iran Lacks Water Planning
Iran and Qatar Align to Help the Environment

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