Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet https://www.greenprophet.com Good news that impacts the Middle East and your world Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:16:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.greenprophet.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-green-prophet-logo-2-300x123-32x32.png Karin Kloosterman – Green Prophet https://www.greenprophet.com 32 32 Want to live on Mars? Gala dinner in LA unveils first opportunities to eat like a Martian https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/04/want-to-live-on-mars-gala-dinner-in-la-unveils-first-opportunities-to-eat-like-a-martian/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/04/want-to-live-on-mars-gala-dinner-in-la-unveils-first-opportunities-to-eat-like-a-martian/#respond Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:39:42 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=114190

If you could move to Mars, what would your house look like? Would you eat from your local hydroponic Martian farm, drink wine from the Martian vineyard and eat meat cultured by vegetarian butchers?

Mars architect Very Mulyani is building the first Mars City, on Earth, and is pretty sure your future home on Mars, with 40% less gravity, won’t be anything like what you own or rent on earth today: “With lower gravity, a house doesn’t have to have a door touching the ground,” she says.

And for food? These questions and more will be answered in Los Angeles on May 25, at the world’s first dinner for Mars. Grab a date, and take advantage of discount tickets, ($150 instead of $300 for Green Prophet readers, and $500 for VIP) as Mulyani lays the foundations for the first Martian city she is creating on Earth, in the Mojave Desert.

Her blueprint is smart: take a city that has a long time reputation as a “failed planned city”, bursting with potential, hidden natural treasures beneath it and Space enterprise all around it, and rebrand it into a city for Mars. The plan is to turn “the city that survived”, California City in the Mojave Desert, into the first Mars City prototype on Earth.

California City, unbuilt suburb

California City was built in the 1960s by real estate developer and sociology professor Nat Mendelsohn who purchased 80,000 acres of the Mojave Desert to build California’s next great city to rival Los Angeles. Complete with a 26-acre central park and lake, the idea didn’t take off. Though about 14,000 people live there today, crumbling paved roads and loss of potential is evident everywhere. The city needs a positive boost.

California City today: full of potential.

This is where Mulyani plans on building the first Mars City prototype, and then scale the idea to locations around the world. The new project will give a chance for real people to live in a habitat that could simulate Mars, while creating an educational and innovative environment for real progress to be made for our future on the Red Planet.

But before you buy your first condo on Mars, Mulyani’s event will let you get a taste of the future. An Evening on Mars she explains, was created for a few reasons: Once we live on Mars, we can’t only eat “potatoes and ketchup” like Matt Damon did in The Martian.

If people inhabit Mars, they will need to be aware of their food choices, and shape this future, Mulyani tells Green Prophet: “We will promote some of the food available for astronauts for the long duration of space travel to get to Mars, but also the long-term solutions needed for indoor farming in a region that is not very compatible with what we can eat.”

At the dinner, guests will get to sample future Martian food grown with hydroponics and some vegan Martian meat “made for astronauts who might miss a burger,” she says.

Mars Farm, Eddy hydroponics, grow food“Square Roots by Kimbal Musk, Herbivore Butcher, Eddy, Mars Farm and other pioneers have begun developing and popularizing this concept, through hydroponic and aquaponic gardens. We will savor this new variation of eating healthy as if we were on another planet!” says Mulyani.

Gray Bright will be the Space Master of Ceremony –– with hosts such as The Mayor of California City; General Pete Worden, the Executive Director for Stephen Hawking’s organization; Loretta Whitesides, the first astronaut client of Virgin Galactic; and Dave Bearden, General Manager, NASA & Civil Space Programs at The Aerospace Corporation.

gray bright

The aim is to attract investors and donors who share the vision of creating Mars City for the end goal, while benefiting the prototype and sustainability technology implementation on Earth.

Building Mars City will require some planning. The group will build temporary structures in the desert for science retreats, art festivals and a space fashion show already planned for 2018. Permanent structures will be built later, from 3D-printed sustainable smart homes to the Mars Research lab, which includes: the Museum of the Future, science retreats for summer camps and Stargazers’ Park.

Future residents to Mars City (on Earth) do not need to be scientists. In fact, Mulyani wants artists, kids, everyday people to be part of shaping the future.

And the big questions we want to know are, when Elon Musk’s group is enroute to Mars, what’s going to be waiting for them? How will Mulyani (pictured below,with friends) make it livable before then?

Making the Mojave Desert the first Mars City prototype. Very Mulyani is pictured far left. Next to her is the President of The Chamber of Commerce of California City (Alexia Svejda), Aman Chowdry (land owner, Blugill Solar), Andrew Allado (Credit line capital, financier).

“The first three things we will build will include a spaceport where rockets can land safely, refuel and then operate the robots to prepare the land and build shelter and a base for humans. Then I hope these robots will then build a photo booth, an instant O2 homebase with a ready-to-eat growing indoor garden, and a satellite connected phone cabin,” says Mulyani.

Rendering of Mars City on Earth by Séries and Séries

“We will have to come up with some technology where the humans are conducting their avatars which are designed robots, as if they live there already. I definitely don’t recommend humans go before a safe and entertaining environment is set up, tested and passed through safety checks by Aerospace Corp.,” she says.

But before we get there, dreaming and building will not be a waste, even if it takes another 100 years: “Mars, with all its natural challenges, gives us the discipline to think differently, survive differently and go beyond our comfortable habit to exist,” concludes Mulyani.

Spirulina gnocchis anyone?

Thinking about moving to Mars? Get a taste at An Evening on Mars
When: May 25th, 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Where: The Skirball Cultural Center, LA

Link here to buy a ticket. Use code MARSFRIEND50 for 50% OFF

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Desalinated water use in Israel causing alarming iodine deficiency in people https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/03/desalinated-water-use-in-israel-causing-alarming-iodine-deficiency-in-people/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/03/desalinated-water-use-in-israel-causing-alarming-iodine-deficiency-in-people/#respond Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:42:26 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=114104

Israel touted for its national policy of reusing waste water and creating desalinated water for human consumption is now facing a health crisis, according to a new report: The first national iodine survey conducted in Israel has revealed a high burden of iodine deficiency among Israelis, posing a high risk of maternal and fetal hypothyroidism and impaired neurological development of the fetus in Israel. Some 85% of pregnant do not have enough iodine in their diet and 65% of all schoolchildren are lacking, and this will affect intellectual functioning of young children, stresses a new report,

The report was prepared by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, with support of the Iodine Global Network, and as such has obtained the first nationally representative data about iodine status in the Israeli population.

To do this, they collected pre-discard spot-urine samples, from 1,023 school-age children and 1,074 pregnant women, representing all regions and major sectors in Israel (Arab, Jewish secular and orthodox), during 2016 at the Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) central laboratory.

The International Child Development Steering Group has identified iodine deficiency (ID) as a key global risk factor for impaired child development, and the World Health Organization’s recommends routine monitoring of population-based data on urinary iodine every five years as a means of sustainable elimination of ID.

Yet Israel is among the few countries that have never performed a national iodine survey, and does not provide iodine prophylaxis, even though some of its population has suffered from ID in the past. Israel similarly lacks current data on the incidence and prevalence of thyroid disease.

The crisis is due to lack of a universal salt iodization program, and in light of the heavy national reliance on iodine-depleted desalinated seawater as drinking and irrigating water, the study’s results point to a major national public health problem. They found a high burden of iodine deficiency in the general population: 62% of school-age children and 85% of pregnant women fall below the WHO’s adequacy range.

The median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) among Israel’s pregnant women, only 61 micrograms iodine/liter and for school-age children, the median of 83 micrograms/liter suggest that the iodine status in Israel is amongst the lowest in the world. Iodine adequacy is defined by the WHO as a population median of 150-249 micrograms/liter for pregnant women and 100-199 micrograms/liter for school-age children.

Virtually no differences were seen between different ethnicities and regions of the country suggesting that low iodine status is widespread and universal throughout the country.

Adequate iodine intake is essential for thyroid function and human health throughout life. Even mild iodine deficiency might prevent children from attaining their full intellectual potential, and mild to moderate ID has been linked with decreased cognitive performance.

Iodine deficiency in utero and in early childhood impairs brain development, and severe iodine deficiency causes cretinism (physical malformation, dwarfism and mental retardation) and goiter (the enlargement of the thyroid gland).

According to the researchers, the high burden of iodine insufficiency in Israel is a serious public health and clinical concern. By comparison to data from other countries with a similar extent of deficiency, these data suggest that there is a high risk of maternal and fetal hypothyroidism and impaired neurological development of the fetus in Israel.

By extrapolation, given the rate of insufficiency in Israeli pregnant women, nearly all pregnant women and their children may be at risk, implying that the majority of the population could be unlikely to realize its full intellectual potential.

“The immediate implication of our findings is that we need to improve the public’s intake of iodine,” said Prof. Aron Troen, Principal Investigator at the Nutrition and Brain Health Laboratory, School of Nutrition Science, Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “It seems that as in most other countries, Israel’s food supply and our collective dietary habits do not ensure iodine sufficiency. Thus eliminating iodine deficiency and achieving optimal iodine status in Israel’s population will require a sustainable, government-regulated program of salt or food iodization.

The research findings were presented at The 46th Annual Meeting of the Israel Endocrine Society, which took place on March 20-21 in Ramat Gan, Israel.


Yaniv Ovadia, the doctoral student and registered dietitian who performed the study, said, “Individuals can improve their iodine status through increased consumption of iodine-rich foods such as milk, dairy and salt water fish. They can also replace regular table salt with iodized salt.”

However, only a small fraction of the salt sold in Israel is iodized, and it is sold at a much higher price than regular salt, although it does not need to be. The World Health Organization and Iodine Global Network encourage mandatory, universal salt iodization, including the all discretionary household salt.

However, some countries have effectively been able to increase their iodine intakes through the use of iodized salt in processed foods, including bread and condiments, and this may be considered in Israel.



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Popular driving app uses the crowd to stop roadkill overkill https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/03/popular-driving-app-prevents-hopes-to-use-the-crowd-to-stop-roadkill-overkill/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/03/popular-driving-app-prevents-hopes-to-use-the-crowd-to-stop-roadkill-overkill/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:05:42 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113903

You see a bear, moose or a turtle on the side of the road and hope that the car behind you doesn’t veer right and hit it. Car crashes caused by wild animals can be fatal, not only for the animals. But in a bid to save the animals from death by auto, a leading NGO in Israel has partnered with the popular Waze app to help drivers report roadkill, leading to better warning signs on the road. Thousands of wild animals are killed in Israel every year.

It’s getting worse as urban areas expand and highways cut through habitat.

While some people in America have turned roadkill into tonight’s dinner, it’s not common in Israel for people to eat non-kosher animals (the wild ones), and certainly not ones maimed or mangled on the road.

Using the data collected by the app, The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) will create maps that will then help developers build safe passageways for animals when faced by highways that intersect their natural trails.

Types of animals killed by cars in Israel include gazelles, porcupines, badgers, turtles, hyenas, and otters.

In January alone this year, the Waze community of drivers logged 1,416 roadkill reports. Bad driving is notorious not only in Israel but in the entire Middle East where in some countries maiming, trapping and killing animals is a wild sport or frightening habit.

hunted wild birds in Lebanon

The news comes ahead of the UN’s World Wildlife Day, tomorrow. Love the idea and use Waze in your community? Be in touch with them to start the same.

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Is the rise of online trade benefitting the environment? https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/is-the-rise-of-online-trade-benefitting-the-environment/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/is-the-rise-of-online-trade-benefitting-the-environment/#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:43:08 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113900

Markets used to look like this. Then the stock exchange was invented, and now everything is on the internet.

We say in our times, that we all live in a global village. It sounds true when we see our shared Facebook friends around the globe, but it’s how our economies are run too: Trading exchanges went electronic back in 2011. Before then, traders used to stand on the trading floor, shouting at each other, setting prices there and then. Today, modern trading practices are defined by computers and technology, but twenty or thirty years ago, all trades were conducted with people using bits of paper and telephones. In many ways, this is not a bad thing, even if old-time traders describe today’s electronic trading platforms as ‘soulless’. Computers may lack emotion, but one thing is certain – online trading is better for the environment.

Online trading has eliminated the requirement for in-house trading. Trading platforms operate from the cloud, so very little infrastructure is needed. Employees can work remotely and modern communications allow for a global operation run with very low overheads.

Global Power Shift, Gezi Park, Istanbul, 350.org, Turkey, climate activism, climate change crisis, youth movement, Taksim Square

We are now a global village and our parts are from everywhere!

Renewable Energy

Online businesses can be sustained by renewable energy. Major tech players like Apple, Facebook and Google are committed to using renewable energy to power their operations. Other influential companies are also looking to make changes to the way they use energy, and online trading platforms are no exception. Of course, such decisions are not always guided by altruism. Most tech companies are well aware that renewable energy is a good long-term investment, as it will one day be cheaper than traditional forms of energy.

Before computers came along, financial and trading transactions were recorded on paper. Computers eliminate the need for paper audit trails. Every single trade is recorded in a database, which can be audited and archived. Going digital is, in theory, better for the environment, but what many people don’t realise is that paper is a sustainable industry.

Recyclable Paper

Paper is now one of the world’s most recyclable commodities. 65% of paper in the US was recycled in 2012, and this figure is almost certainly going to be higher in 2017. The majority of paper is made from sustainable forests, which are replanted when trees are cut down. E-waste is far less likely to be recycled.

Alternative Christmas Tree

Recycled paper used in art

There are millions of tons of electronic equipment, from laptops to smartphones, discarded every year. Online trading relies on the use of electronic equipment such as laptops, desktop computers and smartphones, and in the case of high speed trading, equipment needs to be high-spec and capable of handling a large number of complex trades in a short time. Tech businesses can do their bit by ensuring electronic equipment is responsibly recycled.

Working from Home

Online trading has led to a fundamental shift in the workplace. Traders are no longer required to travel into work to conduct their trading activities. It is now very common for traders to work from home instead. To trade online, all you need is an internet enabled device and a high-speed internet connection. This reduces workplace costs, which is better for the environment.

Working from home is cozy

Financial services institutions, including investment banks and trading exchanges don’t need as much space for employees if a large number are working remotely at any given time. This saves on the cost of providing heat, light, and telecoms, not to mention desk space and refreshments. Fewer people working in a building means less energy is used. This helps the environment and saves the business money.

It costs, on average, £90 per square metre to rent office space in the city of London. Providing office space is expensive, both for a business and for the environment. It’s far greener to allow your employees to work from home.

Reducing Carbon Footprints

A study carried out by the Office of National Statistics found that working from home drastically reduces a worker’s carbon footprint. With 75% of British workers travelling to work in a car, fewer cars on the road means less environmental pollution. In London, the majority of workers use public transport, but nevertheless, there is still an important environmental gain to be made from traders working from home.

There are other environmental benefits from fewer vehicles on the road. Vehicles cause a lot of wear and tear on the roads. Current estimates state that around £12 billion is needed to fix Britain’s roads. Local authorities are responsible for road maintenance in their area, but with fewer vehicles on the roads, less maintenance is needed. This money can be spent on renewable energy and green technology instead.

The Benefits of High Speed Trading

High speed trading has become very common in the world of online trading. Computer algorithms have automated trading transactions, making high volume trades easier and much faster. Algorithms look for small discrepancies in prices, which would be impossible for human traders to find in any volume. The rise of high speed online trading has reduced the man power needed to manage institutional trading accounts at investment banks, hedge funds and pension companies. The less people needed to trade online, the lower the cost to the environment.

Online trading is better for the environment, but only if companies allow employees to work remotely and make use of renewable energy in the workplace.

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The price of take-away cups https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/the-price-of-take-away-cups/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/the-price-of-take-away-cups/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:24:51 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113882 Jasmine revolution, renewable energy, travel, nature, narrative, Wikipedia,

It’s so easy to be tempted to get that take-away cup when you are on the run. But every time you feel terrible about the plastics in our waterways, rivers, seas and bodies, this about this infographic below. Because the cost of styrofoam cups adds up! Our advice.


Take a cup sitting down or standing at the bar like the Italians do. You will have a more interesting life meeting strangers in real life!


coffee cup waste


Via http://www.eco2greetings.com/

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Garden Igloo: Grow tasty food and cannabis in this modern biodome greenhouse https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/garden-igloo-grow-tasty-food-and-cannabis-in-this-modern-biodome-greenhouse/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/garden-igloo-grow-tasty-food-and-cannabis-in-this-modern-biodome-greenhouse/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:42:28 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113859 eddy biodome karin kloosterman

The Garden Igloo hydroponic biodome at night, in Tel Aviv

My house has loads of space, so finding a place to grow my indoor hydroponic garden would be no big deal. But when I saw an image of the Garden Igloo, a geodesic dome plastic tent, my heart jumped. This is it: the perfect modern conservatory for my roof.

Hydroponic greenhouse

Thieme Hennis from Border Labs of Holland checking out my hydroponic rooftop garden.

Hydroponics robot grow buddy Eddy.

I’ve been working on building a technology called Eddy. It’s a grow robot that uses artificial intelligence to make hydroponics accessible to anyone. Hydroponics is growing plants without soil, on a treated medium based on water. It’s something super easy to do once you have some of the chemistry and science down pat. That’s what Eddy is going to help you with.

Since I live in the Middle East, I have the luxury of being able to grow year-round outdoors, as long as I had a greenhouse. Greenhouses that I found online were clunky and expensive. They looked like garbage and they would not pass my husband’s aesthetics test. Any of the decent ones would cost me a fortune to buy or ship to Israel.

An admirer of Buckminster Fuller and all the proponents of round rooms –- Hassan Fathy and Nader Khalili who pioneered Super Adobe, I knew that I wanted my space to feel organic and comfortable. I investigated building my own Buckminster geodesic dome using bamboo poles and netting. After much investigation, people on the street told me that I would basically need a hippy to help set it up, “because only hippies understand the geometry and how to do it,” according to one sound guy who was helping us renovate our music hall.

When I saw the Garden Igloo online, I knew I had to have one: The Garden Igloo fits the bill and is a perfect greenhouse, creating a true greenhouse effect. Two small windows zip open to let you control temperature and humidity. A nice touch is that it doesn’t cost thousands and is in the price range for most Americans who own a home or who rent an apartment in an urban area like New York City.

Great for global nomads. Grows with you, wherever you roam. Nails not needed

If you live in an area that doesn’t get colder than -4F ( or -20C), you can use it year long. When summers get hot, consider the mosquito net option as shade to shield your plants from intense sun. Amazingly sturdy sandbags secure my Garden Igloo to my rooftop where winds from the Mediterranean Sea can be intense in winter. Perfect because I can’t nail a thing to my roof.

Once you have plants in your Garden Igloo (I have two hydroponic systems in mine), add some touches to make it feel like home. I added some LED lights for growing, as well as a desk, some stools and a chair, small wicker couch I found on the side of the road, some cushions, my favorite books and a reading lamp. I am going to bring up a kettle and my favorite coffee so it can be homier even still.

When people enter the Garden Igloo something feels good and right to them, like when you visit a straw-bale home for the first time. The round interior embraces you, and protects you while letting your outside environment in. You can be in a noisy city like I am, and still feel protected.

Great for hosting friends and study buddies.

The effects become more pronounced at night. With some basic lighting (not necessarily needed for growing, but for your comfort), you can create an awesome looking space that will impress your friends and dinner dates!

hydroponics greenhouse

My Garden Igloo biodome at night.

Since I wanted to use mine primarily for growing plants (I am growing bok choy, lettuce, all kinds of herbs for tea and spice) I needed lots of space on the ground for my hydroponic systems. With the help of my father I flashed back to Grade 7 Geometry class and figured out the circumference of my dome on the ground and built and then hoisted a demi-platform up to the roof. The wooden platform, made from chipboard, was assembled in pieces inside the doe and gives an even and protected raised floor from the rain.

When set up, the Garden Igloo looks like a high-tech biodome from Mars. In fact, I am using it as such as we build out experiments for highly controlled food production suited to space travel, space stations and Mars (join me at Mars Farm), but in reality the structure itself is made from plastic poles and a strong PVC-like shower curtain material. No doubt there has been years of thought and engineering into the product, as the pieces fit together perfectly despite being of different lengths. The instructions are color-coded and harmonize to any language.

Note to all the girls and women and men out there who shy away from big box assembly: while it does take some wheels turning in your mind, the Garden Igloo is easily assembled by hand. I used no tools except a rubber hammer to help me secure some hard-to-push joints. I used a chair to reach higher spots later on as the tent expanded. The Garden Igloo was 100% assembled by me alone in about 6 hours, a project I enjoyed every single step of the way.

Suzi Maimon of iPonic inside the Garden Igloo in Tel Aviv. That’s her hydroponic system right.

I created the floor using a jigsaw. Pieces were assembled inside the tent, using old wooden 2×4 chunks for support. No nails or screws used, which for me would be a massive problem since assembly was done on a water-tight, white tarred roof.

That’s me Karin Kloosterman inside the Garden Igloo. I call it my biodome.

Designed in Turkey

And the story has a Middle East twist… the Garden Igloo story  began in a small studio in Istanbul. For two years, Cagla Isin Alemdar (pictured below) worked meticulously and experimented with different materials, colours and designs for the Garden Igloo. Her plan was to create a convertible greenhouse which could be used all year round and which also looked good. The geodesic dome for optimal temperature distribution is one result of this period of experimentation.

The other result is the extraordinary resilience of the materials and frame.

Garden Igloo designer Cagla Isin Alemdar

In the late summer of 2013, the Garden Igloo was unveiled at the garden trade fair Spoga-Gafa in Cologne in Germany. To the delight of the designer, it was immediately included in the ranges of several major distribu-
tors. Online shops in many European countries and the US are selling it. It has also been available since March 2013 via the company’s own website www.gardenigloo.com and it has its own sales company in Germany.

The initial studio in Istanbul is now too small, but Cagla Alemdar has made a conscious decision not to relocate production to a cheaper country. She has moved into a new building with larger rooms and now employs about 50 people in her factory. In her opinion, being involved with production is really important to continue to guarantee good quality.

And it shows.

For the retail price of about $900 (the product ships to your home in the US or Europe and beyond) everyone in suburbia and cities should be growing their food – and where laws permit in the US – cannabis this way. The dome is really perfect for hydroponics. And it is exactly what the industry has been missing with all the over-priced and extremely inefficient one-plant grow box appliances coming on the market for $3000 a pop. The Garden Igloo is an antidote to this way of thinking, helping us expand our food and medicine possibilities, and ultimately ourselves.

I love that it was first conceived in the region and that it was made for growing. It’s not hard to love the Garden Igloo.

::Garden Igloo website

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New ways of growing plants https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/new-ways-of-growing-plants/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/new-ways-of-growing-plants/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:44:45 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113857

Urban Farm School teaches you how to grow food in your city.

As urban sprawl continues, we are seeing less and less green space. Farmland is sprouting with subdivisions, city parks are being crowded out, and ever-smaller residential lots feature more residence and less lot. People are becoming less and less familiar with the wonders of nature, and they are craving access to it.

Of course, from this necessity has come lots of creativity. Plants are remarkable things. They aren’t too picky about the particulars of their environment. As long as they have nutrients, water, light, and carbon dioxide, they are in pretty good shape.

It’s for this reason that even the most urban of dwellers can find a way to get a patch of Kentucky bluegrass or a strawberry vine to grow at their home. And they’re doing it in some interesting ways.

New Techniques

When you don’t have soil, how do you grow plants? This question would have once been considered ridiculous, but innovations in agriculture have made it a very legitimate query that has been answered in a number of ways.

Many people are familiar with hydroponics, the process of growing plants in some type of non-soil based arrangement. Many farms now incorporate hydroponics as an efficient and effective means of growing transplants for vegetables and other crops. Others utilize a dual arrangement between fish production, in which the waste water from fish is used to fertilize the plants, which cleans the water to return to the fish.

Alternative Locations

When an aerial view of a development shows more roof than turf, it’s time for turf to fight back–along with trees, shrubs, and flowers, and even fruits and vegetables.

Properly managed, rooftop gardens can produce an ideal location for city dwellers to escape the concrete and asphalt and to socialize with friends and neighbors. Thanks to their altitude, they provide a view that in many ways beats a natural setting, and they can even provide food.

Apartment buildings, offices, hospitals, and countless other structures are now integrating rooftop gardens as a way to help give back to the environment what was lost with construction. Parking lots also feature more green space, with grass strips and some trees mixed in among the curbs and culverts.

Tweaking The Traditional

rooftop farming, egypt, maadi, hydroponic farms, soilless farming, agriculture, aquaculture, urban farming, organic farming

There was a time when people thought they had to have a large piece of ground to grow a garden. While it’s true that space-hungry crops like watermelons and corn require a lot of square footage, other food crops aren’t quite so demanding.

People with limited space or just limited mobility are growing tomatoes in buckets, strawberries in hanging flower pots, and cabbage in their landscaping as a way to make use of what Mother Nature offers. Others are finding ways to construct raised beds that use more traditional methods but utilize space more efficiently.

Even grass can be done the same way. Why not grow a little patch of it on your high-rise balcony? It could be the perfect place to rest your feet on a sunny day.

As the world has always done, it has adapted to changing conditions. There’s not as much open land as there once was, but that doesn’t mean plants and their natural beauty have been squeezed completely out of our lives. Creative techniques for growing plants will always show up to keep the world growing.

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Could hydroponics save Yemen from starving? https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/could-hydroponics-save-yemen-from-starving/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/could-hydroponics-save-yemen-from-starving/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:25:11 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113794 yemen child starving crisis food insecurity

The number of food insecure people in Yemen has risen by 3 million in seven months, with an estimated 17.1 million people now struggling to feed themselves, according to a joint assessment by three UN agencies.

Of the 17.1 million food insecure people, about 7.3 million are considered to be in need of emergency food assistance.

The preliminary results of the Emergency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment, created by the UN, show that food security and nutrition conditions are deteriorating rapidly due to the ongoing conflict.

More than two-thirds of Yemen’s population of 27.4 million people now lack access to food and consume an inadequate diet. Another Syria-style crisis may be on our way, and climate change and lack of water is making it worse.

Rates of acute malnutrition were found to have passed the “critical” threshold in four governorates, while agricultural production is falling across the country.

“The speed at which the situation is deteriorating and the huge jump in food insecure people is extremely worrying,” said Salah Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Yemen. “Bearing in mind that agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the population, FAO is urgently calling for funds to scale up its agricultural livelihoods support to farmers, herders and fishing communities to improve their access to food in 2017 and prevent the dire food and livelihood security situation from deteriorating further.”

beauty of Yemen

“We are witnessing some of the highest numbers of malnutrition amongst children in Yemen in recent times. Children who are severely and acutely malnourished are 11 times more at risk of death as compared to their healthy peers, if not treated on time. Even if they survive, these children risk not fulfilling their developmental potentials, posing a serious threat to an entire generation in Yemen and keeping the country mired in the vicious cycle of poverty and under development,” said Dr Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.

Yemen, Oxfam, drought, desertification, food scarcity, Ramadan, heat, global warming

“The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented, which is translating into severe hardship and negative humanitarian consequences for millions of Yemenis, particularly affecting vulnerable groups,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Country Director in Yemen. “Tragically, we see more and more families skipping meals or going to bed hungry, while children and mothers are slipping away with little to sustain themselves. WFP is urgently calling for support to provide food for the seven million people who are severely food insecure and may not survive this situation for much longer.”

Food Security

The severe food insecurity situation in the country has worsened sharply in recent months, with an estimated 65 percent of households now food insecure.

In addition, three-quarters of all households indicate that their economic situation is worse now than before the crisis. Incomes have fallen and many public-sector workers have gone for months without being paid. As a result, 80 percent of Yemenis are in now in debt, and more than half of all households have had to buy food on credit.

Many households – 60 percent – have resorted to negative coping mechanisms such as eating less preferred foods, reducing portions or skipping meals altogether.


The EFSNA results show that over 2 million children are acutely malnourished.

In four governorates – Abyan, Al Hudaydah, Hadramaut, and Taizz, – malnutrition rates have passed the “emergency” threshold, meaning an acute malnutrition rate of more than 15 percent. In seven governorates – namely Aden, Al Dhale’e, Al Jawf, Al Mahwit, Hajjah, Lahj, and Shabwah – rates now exceed the “serious” threshold, which indicates an acute malnutrition rate of more than 10 percent.


The agriculture sector is the main source of livelihood for at least 60 percent of Yemeni households. The livelihoods of this critical segment of the population have been hit hard with agricultural production falling drastically in 2016, compared to pre-crisis levels.

Up to 1.5 million households engaged in agriculture now lack access to critical agricultural inputs (including seeds, fertiliser, fuel for irrigation) and are in urgent need of emergency agricultural support. Of these, 860 000 households engaged in livestock production lack access to animal feed (fodder, concentrate, mineral blocks) and many livestock-dependent households have been forced to sell their herds to cater for other household needs.

Meanwhile, inadequate control of crop and livestock disease further erodes an already struggling agricultural sector and requires emergency protection and safeguarding of assets.

Related: hydroponic robot Eddy could feed the world

FAO’s emergency work in 2017 focuses on four main areas of activity: providing agriculture kits and tools, as well as vegetable kits and irrigation systems to vulnerable households to improve families’ access to food; emergency protection of livestock by vaccinating millions of animals; providing emergency support to improve and diversify income and livelihoods with cash-for-work programmes, poultry, bee keeping, and fishing; and strengthening the coordination of institutional food security and agriculture responses while building resilience.

FAO is urgently requesting $48.4 million to scale up its response and assist 3 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen in 2017.

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Saudi prince’s 80 falcons take flight in a commercial airplane https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/saudi-princes-80-falcons-take-flight-in-a-commercial-airplane/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/02/saudi-princes-80-falcons-take-flight-in-a-commercial-airplane/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:36:26 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113789 falcons on plane, Saudi prince

Because of restrictions on the number of birds he could fly with, a Saudi prince boarded 80 of his own birds onto a commercial flight, each in its own seat. The few spaces not taken by a bird were occupied by humans, one of whom snapped the scene and posted it on social media.

It’s not readily apparent which airline transported the birds, but several Gulf state carriers do allow falcons in their cabins as a concession to their two-legged passengers who are passionate about falconry, a popular sport among the the privileged class in the Middle East. Seasoned falconers commonly train multiple birds at once, much like nuturing a stable of fine race horses. The birds travel with their owners for racing and hunting events.

falcons on plane, Saudi prince

In 2013, Gulf News reported that over 28,000 falcons had received passports since 2002 as part of an effort to combat the illegal trade of the birds. Travel is restricted to nine nations: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Syria. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are hubs for the ancient and gentlemanly sport.

falcons on plane, Saudi prince

Qatar Airways permits up to six birds on board. Etihad and Emirates allow birds on board, as does Royal Jordanian on limited occasions, provided they sit in economy class, be secured to their seat with a cord or chain, and carry valid health certificates. In every instance, each bird must be hooded, and carry a pet passport. The airlines provide protective covers for the seat upholstery. In every instance, these airlines allow more falcons in their cabins than they do dogs or cats.

Though 80 birds on one plane is unusual, the human travellers appear nonplussed. Modern day flying really is for the birds.

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Crowdsourcing nature reserves to save the yellow-tailed woolly monkey https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/crowdsourcing-our-worlds-nature-reserves-to-save-them/ https://www.greenprophet.com/2017/01/crowdsourcing-our-worlds-nature-reserves-to-save-them/#respond Sun, 29 Jan 2017 11:48:57 +0000 https://www.greenprophet.com/?p=113771 peru nature reserve crowdsource

We did this when I was a kid at high-school: raise hotdog money or donations to buy rainforest in the Amazon. Researchers from Israel are now crowdsourcing the idea and turning Peruvian jungle into a nature reserve. Great ideas like this may save our planet. We reported on this initiative it in 2015, and now it’s happened, with questions answered.

The Israeli-founded organization called Time, has crowdsourced funds to purchase the first area of land to become a nature reserve. The goal is to preserve biodiversity and save endangered species around the world. But this first plot, 80 hectares in size, contains over 300 species of animals, many on the brink of extinction.

“Within less than a year, we’ve managed to show that it’s possible to save species and protect the earth through crowdsourcing, thanks to lots of caring people,” says Time founder Prof. Uri Shanas from the University of Haifa.

Related: save seeds and preserve food diversity with Eddy

TIME which stands for This is My Eart) was established by Shanas and the renowned environmentalist and lawyer Alon Tal of Tel Aviv University, about 18 months ago. Any person that donates to the organization, whether a dollar or a million has equal voting rights.

Once a year members choose at least three threatened habitats from different parts of the world selected by the organization’s scientific committee. Each of the habitats is home to a diverse range of endangered species. The selected habitat is then bought by TIME and becomes a nature reserve. The sale is undertaken through local organizations responsible for managing the new nature reserve following its purchase.

The first habitat chosen is in the Peruvian Andes is home to over 300 species of birds, lizards, and mammals, many of which appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey and the long-whiskered owlet.

The owner of the site placed it on the market and TiME will buy the land for $30,000. Of this sum, $25,000 was raised by crowdsourcing while $5,000 was donated by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which supports environmental protection projects, among other areas.

“According to Peruvian law, the land can only be sold to locals and accordingly, the land will be purchased in the community’s name by a local conservation organization, Neotropical Primate Conservation, managed by the researcher couple Sam and Noga Shani.

“The Shanis have lived in the area for years, working to help save species in danger of extinction. They will manage the site together with the local community, and in the spirit of TIME, research and educational activities will be integrated in the purchased area,” said Tal.

“The rate of deforestation in the rainforest is among the highest in the world,” Prof. Shanas concludes. “This specific site serves as an important corridor between two existing reserves. Breaking the chain of forests in this area could dissect the region, leaving small animal populations unable to survive.

“Although this is a small area of land, we have been motivated by this success. We really hope that this proof of concept will help us recruit more supporters and members over the coming year.”

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